Get trained up for a low carbon future

As we move towards our target of net zero by 2050, increasing the energy efficiency of domestic buildings is high on the agenda.  Big changes are coming, and installers will need to ensure they are equipped with the skills and qualifications to stay ahead of the game. Mark Krull from Logic4training, explains more.

This summer the UK government committed to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050; an ambitious target that will require major changes over the next three decades, creating new opportunities for experienced building services installers with valuable skills.

Energy efficiency boost
Domestic buildings account for around a fifth of UK emissions, so increasing the energy efficiency of both new and existing homes has once again become a priority for the government.

In the decade up to 2015, uptake of additional energy efficiency measures led to a 37% reduction in gas consumption and an 18% reduction in electricity usage in a typical dual fuel household.  However, since the collapse of the Green Deal in 2015, the number of energy improvements made to households has fallen by 80%, a figure which needs to drastically improve very soon if we are to fulfil our legal obligation of net zero by 2050.

Customer benefits
As well as being one of the most cost-effective ways for the government to reduce UK carbon emissions, improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock also has wide reaching-benefits for homeowners.  In a more efficient home, less energy is required to achieve the same level of warmth and comfort, reducing energy wastage and driving down the cost of utility bills.

Energy efficiency improvements are also a key driver in eliminating fuel poverty.  The National Energy Action (NEA) recently calculated that at the current rate of installations, it would take the government 96 years to reach its legal targets to eliminate fuel poverty.

With the General Election looming at the time of writing, pledges to fund warm homes will be a major part of the main parties’ manifestos.  Installers should keep a close eye on developments in this area as any new schemes could provide a potential new training opportunities and income streams.

‘Future Homes Standard’
The government are currently reviewing Part L of the Building Regulations which sets energy performance standards for buildings.  This is the first stage of their commitment to introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025 which aims to ensure new build homes are ready for low-carbon heating, have less impact on the environment and the cost of energy bills is reduced.

Part L covers energy usage in homes, such as space heating, cooling, water heating, lighting and mechanical ventilation.  We run an LCL Awards Energy Efficiency in Domestic Buildings training course which provides an enhanced knowledge of Part L, demonstrating competence and enabling building services installers to self-certify their work, eliminating the need for Building Regulations approval.

This course also covers Boiler Plus and the additional energy efficiency measures that are now required for new combi boiler installations.  The Boiler Plus legislation was one of the first concrete commitments to the Clean Growth Strategy, a document that sets out the government’s plan for a low carbon future and promotes innovation across a wide variety of sectors – from low carbon power generation through to improved building practices and the retrofitting of our housing stock to make it more energy efficient – all of which offer training opportunities for installers keen to embrace the future.

Low-carbon heating opportunities
The transition to low-carbon heating will also provide training opportunities for building services installers over the next few years.

A report by think tank Carbon Connect recently highlighted the pivotal role that installers will play in achieving net zero, recommending that the government should work with industry, training centres and certification bodies to develop and deliver training modules that provide existing installers with the specialist knowledge to install and explain low carbon heat technologies, such as heat pumps and hydrogen boilers.

Future-proof your skills
The UK is undergoing a period of change, with new targets to provide homes for future generations that are prepared for the challenges of climate change, legal obligations to reduce emissions, and rapid technological developments that are changing the way we’ve done things in the past.

It’s a great time to re-evaluate our working lives and embrace the opportunities that a net zero future presents. Building services installers are on the frontline of the industry and can make a valuable contribution to consumers wishing to use their energy more efficiently.

Staying up to date with the latest industry news will enable installers to identify new markets and seize training opportunities that build on their current skills sets, allowing them to capitalise on the UK’s low carbon aims and potentially taking their career in an exciting and profitable new direction.

For more information on Logic4training’s range of building services course, including Energy Efficiency in Domestic Buildings and Heat Pump training, visit www.logic4training.co.uk

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