A survey commissioned by Energy Efficiency at City Plumbing asked installers about their current knowledge of renewable technologies in the heating market and whether they planned to get certified to install them.
The results show that significant effort is needed to reach the government’s net-zero target of installing 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028. In 2022 the number was between 60,000 and 70,000.
The survey revealed:
- Only 18% of installers are currently installing heat pumps and only 6% are MCS certified
- 44% of installers don’t know where to get training and only 27% say it’s easy to find a course near where they live
- 32% of installers are unaware of the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme in England and Wales (which offers rebates for homeowners upgrading to a heat pump if they hire a certified installer)
- Only 45% of installers say they know enough about heat pumps to explain the benefits to customers
Adam Foy, managing director of energy efficiency at City Plumbing said: “As an industry we need to make training more accessible. The underlying interest is there. Our survey found that 49% of installers would consider MCS certification if a course were available locally. When we asked installers if certification would be good for their career, 82% agreed.”
“It’s not possible to meet government targets without trained installers, so now is the time to act,” added Foy.
Energy efficiency at City Plumbing got the ball rolling by opening its first energy efficiency center in Farnborough, Hampshire, where installers can take training.
But the industry as a whole must work together to meet national targets, with heating in UK homes causing up to 17% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Climate Change Committee.
The survey highlighted increased interest in specifying renewable technologies in heating, with 53% of installers saying customers are increasingly interested in learning about heat pumps and 42% expect energy efficient heating to boom by 2025.
“We need installers to be ambassadors for renewable technologies, particularly in the domestic market where many homeowners have yet to be won over, so education and effective communication are key,” explained Foy. “Ultimately, without the right number of trained installers, net-zero targets will be difficult to achieve.”
Currently the number of MCS certified installers is around 1,500 but the Heat Pump Association estimates that 30,000 will be needed in the long term.