Energy-efficiency specialist Green Heat and its founder Peter Thom recently celebrated a double anniversary at a reception at Girton College, Cambridge.
This year sees Mr Thom celebrating his 50th year in the industry, while his company has been established for 25 years.
Having joined the industry in 1965 as an apprentice with Eastern Gas, Mr Thom’s career has seen become increasingly involved with major changes in the building services sector – particularly related to energy efficiency.
Speakers at the event included BEAMA marketing director Kelly Butler, who congratulated Mr Thom for being “a flag-bearer for energy efficiency from day one”.
“He campaigned long and hard for a change to Building Regulations and made sure it stayed on the table when progress looked doubtful,” Mr Butler said.
“He is also a flag-bearer for small businesses and has been a powerful voice for installers, ensuring their views are heard and their interests protected.
“We know what makes a good, inspirational business, and Green Heat is one. Peter works with true altruism and his tireless campaigning has been a great influence, and instrumental in some major changes in UK energy efficiency.”
Essex Building Surveyors Association secretary Ernie Spencer added praise for Mr Thom’s “superb” training support.
“He gives up so much of his own time outside running his business to help Local Authority Building Control and their customers provide warm, energy-efficient homes for residents,” Mr Spencer said.
“His advice, guidance and training have been invaluable for more than 20 years.”
Providing affordable warmth
Green Heat was established with the aim of making homes more energy efficient and providing affordable warmth to householders.
It reports that it has trained over 65,000 people in energy efficiency, has assesed and surveyed nearly 100,000 dwellings and buildings and helped to save more than 750,000,000Kg of carbon dioxide.
One of Mr Thom’s key objectives for the business was to develop and introduce a methodology to measure and rate the energy efficiency of homes.
“Back in 1990 energy efficiency was only concerned with draught-proofing windows and insulating cylinders, with no recognition of efficient heating,” he said.
“But if you can measure something, you can manage it and set targets for improvement.”
Another focus has been to encourage use of high-efficiency condensing boilers and the heating and hot water controls.
“In 1997 I made several radical predictions in a paper given at the Institute of Domestic Heating and Environmental Engineers’ annual conference: one being that only condensing boilers should be available within the following 10 years; and that open flue appliances should be phased out,” said Mr Thom.
The installation of condensing boilers was made a requirement in the 2005 Building Regulations.
To prepare installers for this new requirement Mr Thom developed the Heating Installer Energy Efficiency Course and trained over 400 trainers, who then delivered this training to over 65,000 heating installers.
In 2009, he also proposed the introduction of the Boiler Scrappage Scheme, loosely based on the government’s Car Scrappage Scheme, which was intrloduced in early 2010 with £50m of funding.
Campaigning for change
Continuing to campaign for change, Mr Thom said that training continues to play a vital role – particularly in helping the supply chain to understanding the process of SAP ratings and how they can be used to sell energy efficiency.
He also believes there is still too much red tape and industry jargon preventing people from improving their home’s energy efficiency.
Accolades won by the company include two trophies for Domestic Heating Installer of the Year in the H&V News Awards, in addition to winning the John Cheshire Green Business Award, Corgi Green Installer of the Year and the Gas Industry Energy Efficiency Award.
“This celebration is about thanking everyone for helping us achieve the progress we’ve made in enabling more people to live in warm homes that don’t cost the earth to run,” said Mr Thom.
“It’s vital that the momentum continues to ensure energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions remain a priority for the protection of future generations and the environment.”