Merchants can ensure all their customers are able to offer energy efficient and cost effective heating solutions by stocking heating control and water treatment packages, says CORGI Controls Sales and Marketing Director, Bryan Gates
Energy-efficiency is a commonly heard phrase in the heating industry, but what does it mean to your business? At the moment there’s a tendency to define energy efficient products in terms of high-efficiency boilers and renewable technology. While there’s little doubt of the benefits of these products, energy efficiency doesn’t begin and end with boilers, biomass, heat pumps, and solar thermal systems. Heating controls and water treatment products can significantly improve and maintain the performance of high-efficiency boilers, and the heating system as a whole.
This is an important distinction to make, because no doubt the vast majority of your customers already buy high efficiency boilers from you, even if they don’t place any orders for renewable technology. But are they buying water treatment products and heating controls with the boilers, too? If the answer is no then you are missing out on add-on sales. And, these are products they need in order to comply with Part L of the Building Regulations, which stipulates that where mains hard water exceeds 200 parts per million (ppm), feed water to water heaters and the hot water circuit of combination boilers must be chemically treated to reduce the rate of limescale accumulation. Plus, the Regulations are due to change slightly in 2014 where new builds are concerned. From 6 April onwards, new build homes and non-domestic buildings will have to be 6% and 9% more efficient.
Therefore it pays to take a strategic approach to marketing energy efficient solutions, tying boilers in with water treatment and heating control products. The reason for doing so is that even a high efficiency boiler will only run as efficiently as the heating system it is fitted into. Hard water areas can reduce the performance of a high efficiency boiler even after a few weeks if left untreated.
When it comes to water treatment, a system must be cleansed first, otherwise plenty of debris within a heating system will remain there. According to manufacturer research, adding a cleaner to the flush can remove up to 80% of any sludge or limescale that’s built up, and inhibitors will protect the system from future problems.
These statistics highlight how a heating system will use more energy and incur higher fuel bills without heating controls and water treatment products, which obviously isn’t the objective when having a new boiler fitted.
Delays to schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), (the Government scheme due to kick-off in spring, which offers householders and businesses a financial incentive to have renewable technology installed), haven’t helped your customers’ enthusiasm when it comes to many things energy efficient.
The hope is that the RHI is a real shot in the arm for you and the industry as a whole, but at present renewable technology and the training required to install it still represents a significant investment for many of your customers. So they need to be alerted to the benefits that water treating a system when a new boiler is fitted, as well as fitting heating controls, offer their customers, as well as their own businesses. Naturally, this will benefit you as well, as hopefully it will lead to more business.
At first, some of your customers may be reluctant to quote for any additional work involved. After all, what if their potential client decides to choose a cheaper option which doesn’t include measures like water treatment? The reality is that there is a huge need for energy efficient products, and that need isn’t going to go away any time soon. The UK has one of the most inefficient housing stocks in Europe.
Some might argue that new build developments will help on rectifying this, but this is not the case, as MARC (Manufacturers’ Association of Radiators and Convectors) estimate that 70% of the housing stock of 2050 is already built. This means retrofitting products will be the solution to making homes more energy efficient, resulting in cheaper fuel bills. So any merchant selling and promoting these products is going to benefit.
Energy efficiency begins with the fabric of a building. If it doesn’t already have heat loss measures in place like cavity wall insulation and double-glazing it won’t feel the full benefit of any retrofitting, whether it be renewables, high-efficiency boilers, or water treatment and heating controls. Once heat loss has been addressed it’s important your customers are able to communicate the need for water treatment and heating control products. This is where the industry research we’ve touched on in this article comes in handy, as does point of sale material highlighting the benefits.
As an industry, we need to promote the obvious benefits that energy efficient products offer when fitted together. While the UK is starting to make the transition to new renewable technology, more traditional technology like the radiator is going nowhere, with around 190 million of them currently installed across the country which means energy efficient solutions, like heating controls and water treatment products, will be crucial to your business.