Greenbuild Expo 2012 at Manchester Central, 9-10th May
Author: David Thomas
Published: Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Greenbuild 2012 focussed on The Green Deal, and wood fuel. Over 180 companies exhibited, and thousands of visitors came through the doors of Manchester Central.
Greenbuild Expo 2012 - all about The Green Deal and Renewable Heat
On Thursday 10th May I visited Manchester to report on Greenbuild Expo 2012 for The Eco Experts. Unlike March’s massive Ecobuild event which was focussed on construction, Greenbuild was all about renewable energy: solar PV, solar thermal, and biomass.
Around 185 companies exhibited at Manchester Central, a beautiful ex-railway station built in 1880. Greenbuild had two principal themes: The Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). (It's important to remember that consumers will not be eligible for both The Green Deal and RHI.)
RHI & The Green Deal
The Renewable Heat Incentive: Government’s initiative to promote wood and biomass energy. The woodfuel industry had its own designated area known as Ignition 12.
And of course The Green Deal: a huge, national synchronising effort, that connects energy companies and installers to finance the energy efficiency of Britain’s 26m homes with measures like insulation, double glazing and modern boilers.
A conversation with the Ashwell Biomass MD
I interviewed Barry West, the MD at Ashwell Biomass Solutions. He told me the RHI makes it possible for people to earn thousands of pounds per year, in savings and in profit, by switching to a biomass boiler (fed, for example, on wood pellets).
Barry emphasised that, just as the feed-in tariff was an incentive, so is RHI – the savings are remarkable for the first in the queue but after a couple of years that margin will narrow.
On the other hand, The Green Deal is not designed to put enticing amounts of cash in some pockets – it’s there to keep cash in all pockets. And at the same time, increasing the warmth, insulation, and comfort of the nation’s homes.
Green Deal training. The National Skills Academy network includes UTN, Green Technology Centre, NAPIT.
Who else did I speak to? Plenty of training providers. In many ways these providers are the guys who’ll make The Green Deal happen. They’ll train installers to the standard required by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Dave Roberts of UTN Renewables told me about UTN’s training roofs, renowned as being the best in the North of England. This facility will produce accredited installers with realistic experience, and thorough understanding of how to complete a job properly.
At the time of interviewing Dave, UTN are awaiting Government instruction on aspects of the Green Deal accreditation requirements. As soon as that happens they’ll open their new facility for business.
I also met representatives from the Green Technology Centre and NAPIT. Along with UTN these are all integral hubs and spokes of the National Skills Academy, which provides training across a number of sectors, nationwide. Ed and I interviewed its Networks Manager at Ecobuild 2012.
Narec: making fuel poverty history
Narec is an independent research company. I spoke to Nick Davies and interviewed Tom Bradley about fuel poverty, which the Green Deal is tasked with reducing. There is the incentive for companies and for Government to mask the true fuel poverty statistics: hence the need for independents like Narec.
A conversation with BRE
Towards the end of my visit to Greenbuild I interviewed Chris Broadbent, the Training Director at BRE, just before he went onstage to deliver a seminar on Green Deal training. He explained the whole process in terms of logistics, from the perspective of customers and small businesses.
Drawing a conclusion
Based on my conversations with Chris and other experts at Greenbuild it’s safe to say that The Green Deal is coming in force and will be here for some time: like a boulder it will be rolling out gradually at first, perhaps taking over a number of months to arrive in full.
So many players have invested in making this financing initiative work, and so many properties are in dire need of energy efficiency improvements: The Green Deal has to work.