Subscribing to our award-winning Hub enables readers to receive regular emails with the top articles most likely to interest them

The Installer Show at the NEC

I’ve just come back from an exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, and I have to say I’m still buzzing. The event was called the InstallerSHOW and it was absolutely packed.

I’m lucky enough to have been a part of many successful ‘consumer’ shows in the UK, from the historic ‘Ideal Home Show’ to ‘UK Construction Week’, but if I’m being completely honest, some ‘trade’ shows can sometimes feel a little bit dry and boring.

The InstallerSHOW was far from that. It was really, really good.

Heating engineers were there in their thousands to learn more about low carbon heating

George Clarke George Clarke Architect, writer, TV presenter and Ecodan Ambassador

A packed event

The exhibition has doubled in size since last year, which is remarkable when you think about it. There were two giant halls packed to the hilt with over 600 amazing exhibitors and more than 20,000 visitors over the 3-day event.

This show is so important because installers are so important for the UK construction industry.

You can have the best manufactured products in the world, but if they are not installed properly then that is a nightmare for everyone, but mainly a nightmare for the consumer.

So the ‘installation’ industry is vital to the success of every part of the construction industry.

This particular show focussed on the installers, specifiers and decision makers from the heat, water, air and energy sectors.

There were heating engineers and plumbers everywhere and the greatest interest from them was around heat pumps.

We know as an industry we need to make the transition from burning fossil fuels to heat our homes to new, cleaner, greener, and low carbon forms of heat generation.

Heating engineers are aware of this more than anyone and they were at the NEC in their thousands to learn more how to make that important transition.

A real commitment to quality

To help them do so, Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan had a large stand at the very heart of the event and I spent the entire day meeting people, filming lots of exciting content and gaining a lot of knowledge myself about the heat, water, air and energy sectors.

Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan are without a doubt the market leaders in air source heat pumps.

Of course they want to sell as many air source heat pumps as they can (it is their business after all and they need to make money to pay the bills and everyone’s wages).

However, I’m always blown away by the amount of time, money and effort they invest in promoting the entire air source heat pump industry, how passionate they are about the standard and quality of UK homes, how much they care about the environment and how determined they are to help and support installers across the UK and abroad to improve the entire heating industry.

Their commitment is second to none.

Come on board

Mitsubishi Electric’s  ‘UPSKILL TO ECODAN’ campaign is brilliant.

If you are existing gas or oil heating engineer then making the transition to installing air source heat pumps is a lot easier than you might think.

The skills required to install an ASHP are very, very similar to a more conventional heating system. You just need to understand the new product and that really doesn’t take much time.

That is where the UPSKILL to ECODAN campaign kicks in.  It gives installers the additional new skills they need and opens up new and exciting business opportunities for their businesses as the air source heat pump market grows.

Remember, the market is expanding every single year, but the biggest leap is definitely going to be over the next 5 to 10. The entire UK market currently installs less than 60,000 heat pumps per year, but the government wants that to grow to 600,000 per year!

That is one hell of a market to miss out on if your skills as a heating engineer are limited to only installing gas and oil-fired boilers.

If you UPSKILL to ECODAN you will become a vital part of Britain’s journey to becoming net zero carbon, you will become part of a greener future and you will significantly grow your business.

That’s why the Ecodan stand was so exciting this year at the NEC. It focussed on ‘UPSKILLING TO ECODAN’ providing vital training and support to installers and because of that the stand was packed.

Benefits to installers

Installers could see the latest award-wining Air Source Heat Pump products from the actual heat pumps themselves to their innovative cylinder range.

They could attend ‘Introduction to air Source Heat Pumps’ seminars and learn everything about Mitsubishi Electric’s blended learning courses and training centres. These courses can be ‘online’ or ‘hands on’.

They even demonstrated their new Virtual Reality training system, which provides a more immersive experience for installers. It was great to see so many young and enthusiastic apprentices visit the stand to try out the virtual reality technology. That is exciting generational change for the industry.

The stand also sold the benefits of an installer signing up to Mitsibushi Electric’s ‘Partners Programme’. Becoming a partner with Mitsubishi Electric means an installer can offer an extended warranty of up to 7 years, they can benefit from free Upskill to Ecodan training and have access to a relationship development fund (RDF) to help support and grow their business.

On top of all of that, Mitsubishi Electric also offer lead generation with their ‘Find an Installer’ webpage and marketing support too, so there are lots of amazing reasons for becoming a ‘Partner’.

Benefits to homeowners

For homeowners, the stand demonstrated the Ecodan Selection Tool, where you answer some very simple questions about your home (the age of the property, the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, is your home solid wall constriction or cavity insulated etc etc) and the tool then gives you a personalised Ecodan solution.

It also connects you with accredited Ecodan installers in your area so you can get in touch with them for a more comprehensive design and quotation.

Beat the trainer

And for a bit of fun Mitsubushi Electric also had a ‘Beat the Trainer’ interactive game on the stand.

This is where installers were timed to place the individual components of an Ecodan Air Source Heat Pump unit in the correct position. I think the record time set by the trainer was 12 seconds. Unfortunately, my fastest time was only 17 seconds. I think I’ll stick with architectural drawing!

I can honestly say it was the most fantastic day. I never thought I’d have such a great time at an ‘installer’ exhibition, but it was so informative, educational, great for networking and the perfect place to gain lots of knowledge about the new technologies, training and support available for passionate installers to heat and power our homes.

Well done Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan for being one of the most significant players at the InstallerSHOW 2024, for inspiring so many people, from the very young to the very experienced, and for doing so much to help and support an industry in transition and on its way to becoming Net Zero Carbon.

The future is looking very bright indeed. I’ll hopefully see everyone at the event again is 2025!

George Clarke is an architect, writer, TV presenter and Ecodan Ambassador