Demand for renewables is on the up, say heating engineers

Heating engineers are fitting more renewable technology due to growing demand from homeowners, new research from Polypipe Building Products has found. MCS reported a record number of renewable energy installations in the first six months of 2023 and heat pumps have reached a high of 3,000 installations a month for the first time.

Its survey of 150 domestic heating installers found that 41 per cent of gas or oil boiler installers have now started to fit renewables. Additionally, 37 per cent said they’re currently looking into more renewables and associated training and 38 per cent said they’re considering moving into renewables.

One-third said their customers are generally very passionate about reducing carbon emissions, and 29 per cent said their customers only ask for renewable energy. Some of the demand for renewables is being driven by the economic climate and cost of energy: 18 per cent of installers said their customers are interested in renewables, but mainly because they want to reduce gas bills.

Dan Love, head of commercial at Polypipe Building Products, says: “It is brilliant to see that more consumers are gaining confidence in renewables and are looking towards them to decrease hefty energy bills and lower carbon emissions. The fact that heating engineers are adapting their service offerings in line with this, and the updates to Building Regulations, is excellent and to hear that over 40 per cent are now installing renewables is a big step in the right direction.

“While this is all positive news, as an industry we must continue to push this expansion in order to meet our shared national targets.”

Some installers remain steadfast in what they know, with 11 per cent of those mainly installing oil and/or gas saying they have no plans to look into renewable heating solutions.

One barrier to uptake is a lack of industry training: 30 per cent said they want to book a heat pump training course but can’t find one anywhere, and almost one-quarter said there are not enough heat pump training courses available.

Nonetheless, the survey found that many have already completed or sought out training on renewables such as heat pumps. Almost one-fifth (17 per cent) said they have had heat pump training and feel confident in the installation process and 21 per cent said they’ve had training, but so far there has been minimal demand from customers. A further 22 per cent said they’re already booked a heat pump training course but are waiting to attend.

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