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Trainer Ben Bartle-Ross looks at the easy ways installers can add renewable heating to their arsenal

To reach our ambitious net zero targets, heat pumps have a key role to play – and this has already been recognised by government, which is forecasting 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028.

This means that there is significant opportunity for business growth, whether you are an existing heating engineer or an air conditioning installer.

This is because there is now a huge variety of renewable heat pumps from 4kW to 1,000kW and over.  You can also get heat pumps producing hot water up to 90 degrees C, so they will suit almost any building and any application.

Whatever side of the HVAC industry you are coming from though, there is always concern when learning about new products and technologies because of the time commitment needed ‘off the tools’.

Training installers on heat pump installations doesn’t require a significant time investment

Ben Bartle Ross Ben Bartle-Ross Technical trainer

An easy update to your skillset

However, this is exactly where I would urge everyone to look a bit closer at both the opportunities for growth and just how easy it can be to update your skillset.

Both plumbers and air conditioning engineers are already highly skilled professionals but neither are necessarily up to speed with how to apply a heat pump to a building, whether residential or commercial.

And this is where online learning can really help as the majority of the training can be condensed into bite-sized modules that can be completed at a time of day (or night) to suit you and your engineers.

Companies therefore needn’t be worried that training their installers on heat pump installations will be a significant time investment,.

Firstly, installers already have most of the skills they need to be able to fit heat pumps. What they may need is a better understanding of the differences between the technologies and how to apply heat pumps.

But this does NOT mean taking on a whole new set of practical skills.

In fact, there are real benefits to upskilling to a heat pump installer, both in an ethical and business-minded sense. There are three main areas where additional training can benefit not only businesses, but the planet too:

  • helping make the UK more sustainable
  • future proofing businesses against tightening regulations
  • increased financial and business security due to rising demand for sustainable heating

The time is NOW 

It can be tempting to think about green issues as a ‘future problem’. Without proper education and detailed information on what net zero is and means for our world, it is often difficult to grasp the practical steps needed to reach net zero.

In fact, a recent BESA webinar shared a study that found that 42% of Building Engineers have either never heard of net zero, heard hardly anything, or only heard a little about it.

However, global warming is accelerating at an alarming rate – doubling from 1981 to 2021.

The UN has announced that for global warming to be limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, then global greenhouse emissions will have to decrease by 43% by 2030.

This is why we are seeing an end to gas boiler installations looming and why I am recommending that everyone looks at the help available to understand how to apply a heat pump.

Futureproof your business

The ability to install low-carbon heating solutions is now a must-have for many businesses and it’s essential that contractors become a part of the movement as early as possible by future proofing their installers’ skillsets.

By investing in the right online training now, these existing skills can be added to, and installers become empowered with skills that will serve them and the business for years to come.

As already mentioned, these sessions don’t require a significant time investment. Blended learning – which we offer - features a mixture of online learning and virtual workshops.

This helps installers get a wider and more in-depth picture of what they are being taught – allowing them to pick the subject up in much less time. Years of opportunity can be future proofed with less than a week of online training, which can be undertaken at times to suit.

We then offer ‘hands-on training’ as an additional cherry on the top for those wanting to get on top of applying the ultimate heat pump.

Competitive advantage

Ensuring your business and engineers are equipped with the skills to meet this growing demand for installations only increases the profitability of the business, and by broadening the range of services offered, new opportunities for growth are opened up.

In addition, while end-customers know that they need to move to renewable heating, many aren’t aware of what is involved in this process.

By being able to provide end-customers with a wealth of knowledge about renewable heating, installers will gain the edge over competitors.

Ben Bartle-Ross, Senior Technical Trainer at Mitsubishi Electric.