Help your customers stay warm for less

As the UK energy crisis continues to develop, millions of homeowners across the country will soon face a sharp rise in their basic living costs. In his second regular column for Renewable Energy Installer Griff Thomas, from GTEC, looks at how installers can help their customers choose the best green tech for their homes, helping them to stay warm for less this winter.

On 1st October 2021, the energy price cap – which restricts the amount energy suppliers can charge consumers for their energy – rose, leading to an average £135 rise in energy bills for consumers.  This comes in the midst of an energy crisis that has seen the wholesale price of gas rising at an unprecedented rate (as much as 70% one month to September 2021) with wide-reaching ramifications across critical sectors.   

Faced with the approaching winter season and a sharp rise in energy costs, many homeowners might be thinking more seriously about how to heat their homes for less.  The market is flooded with developments in eco-friendly technology, and navigating this can be confusing.  Renewable energy installers and heating engineers are in the perfect position to bridge this gap, helping customers make the right choice for their homes and their needs.  

How can homeowners’ future-proof their homes? 

Get smart about heating
New combi boilers have heating controls built-in, but if customers have an older style boiler with a reasonable life left, installing heating controls such as weather and/or load compensation and individual room by room digital TRVs can help to boost efficiency and reduce energy bills.

Smart thermostats use AI to optimise heating and homeowners can manually control temperature and timings remotely, leading to savings for some alongside the obvious lifestyle benefits.  

Room-by-room heating control is significantly overlooked but, as an example, most of us don’t go to bed until around 10pm; why then would we want that room to be heated up at 5pm? When we get home from work we don’t go round the house and switch on all the lights so why do the same with all the radiators? 

Install a smart meter 
Smart meters automatically monitor household energy usage, provide automatic meter readings and help energy suppliers to monitor and meet demand. For some customers, the ability to see their usage and cost in real-time brings peace of mind and a sense of control. Smart meters are available from energy suppliers with no upfront cost.

Energy self-sufficiency
With the rapid development of renewable technologies, a clean, green vision of the future is starting to emerge. Homes and water heated with super-efficient electric heat pumps and solar thermal. Solar panels on the roof with surplus electricity are either used to charge up an electric vehicle (EV) or stored in-home battery systems.

What can installers do to help? 

Upskill to new technologies 
Heating engineers need to be multi-skilled to meet the demands of a low-carbon future. Upskilling courses are an add-on to existing qualifications and can be achieved quickly. Level 3 air source heat pump (ASHP) training, for example, takes three days and enables engineers to apply for Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation and expand their services.   

New qualifications, such as our Level 3 qualification in Electrical Energy Storage Systems (EESS), cover emerging technologies and enable renewable engineers to provide extra value to their customers. 

Be an expert 
Make sure you are up to date with new standards and regulations, for example, our Part L (Energy Efficiency) training course covers updates to Part L of the Building Regulations, the Domestic Heating Compliance Guide 2013 and 2018 requirements, ErP and the Boiler Plus legislation. Manufacturer training is another great way to keep up with new products and technologies.   

Share industry insight 
So much choice and speculation can be overwhelming and your customers will appreciate credible advice on how to stay warm this winter.  Why not make some flyers, or use your social media platforms to connect with your customers?  You could offer advice and industry insight surrounding the transition to low-carbon heating, how to ensure their boiler is working efficiently and alternative heating options. 

Installed to perfection Installers are in a unique position. They have a deep insight into the industry and legislative developments that can cut through media noise. They are the customer-facing element of the heating sector and this is critical as we head down the low-carbon pathway.   

But even more importantly, it’s the skill of designing energy systems, specifying the correct products for the type of home and installing them correctly that will make all the difference to household energy usage and bills.   

GTEC deliver heat pump and other renewables training for its centres in Hawes, North Yorkshire. For more information, visit www.gtec.co.uk.