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HVCA Newslink: Carbon reduction offers threats and opportunities

The building services engineering sector has a great deal to gain from the increasing global commitment to carbon reduction and energy conservation, according to HVCA president Graham Manly.
In his inaugural address to the annual general meeting of the Association, Manly reminded his audience that energy supplies could no longer be taken for granted.

“Not only are many energy sources insecure, but legislation is demanding that we reduce demand or pay up,” said the president.

“It will not be very long before the Carbon Reduction Commitment is extended to all significant businesses – and our clients will expect us to be able to help them reduce their carbon footprint. “We must ensure that we are up to the task.”

Manly went on to acknowledge that demand for many “renewable technologies” had been limited to date, owing to increased costs, long payback periods and lack of both incentives and availability.

“However, last year, France and Germany combined installed 35 times as many heat pumps and 23 times as many solar panels as we did,” he pointed out – adding that the next three years would see very significant changes in the UK market.

“And it will not be long before replacing, on a like-for-like basis, the two million gas boilers we currently install every year will not be an option,” the president warned.

Contractors must therefore understand the renewable technologies and the legislation surrounding them, must acquire the skills they need to design, install and maintain them, and must be able to provide clients with informed and authoritative advice and guidance.

“If we do not do this, not only will inappropriate systems be installed, but others will come along and take our business away from us,” Manly concluded.

The government’s Carbon Reduction Commitments scheme – a mandatory carbon emission trading scheme for large commercial and public sector organisations – is due to be introduced in April of next year.
1 September 2009

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