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Looking to the future: is the industry ready?

Despite the challenges faced by the manufacturers of domestic heating and hot water appliances, Glow-worm’s Darren Finley believes the outlook is extremely positive.

He says that smart metering provides manufacturers with an opportunity: “There will now be more emphasis on integrating products into the new smart energy meters, and they will be developing products that make best use of the available energy - be it electricity or gas.

“I am looking forward to an era that will see energy efficient technology advance exponentially. The announcement at the tail end of 2009 from the Department for Energy and Climate Change that gas and electricity smart meters would be rolled out to every home in Britain by the end of 2020 was welcome news.

“Consumers will benefit from savings on their bills and smart metering will also help the transition to a low-carbon way of life,” he says.

Mr Finley also welcomes new government policy on using renewables for heating purposes. “The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive should reward end-users for thinking about renewable alternatives to heating and hot water, and this could push even greater interest into the renewables arena,” he says.

A lot of new technology has already been taken onboard by installers, says Mr Finley. “Solar has become more mainstream and for many installers has become a standard product of their total product and service offering.

“Due to the extensive ducting needed, heat recovery is almost exclusively used in new-build property, which has suffered in the current economic climate.

“As a result, growth has been slower, although the changes to building regulations will make developers think about ventilation requirements more seriously.”

“Heat pumps tend to be for the dedicated heat pump installer at the moment but I think they will appear increasingly inviting to the traditional gas boiler installer/plumber,” he says.

“Obviously, there is only a finite supply of gas, but in the UK we are fortunate that gas is still a far cheaper alternative to electricity.”