Net Zero 2050: It’s time the heating and cooling industry got comfortable with being uncomfortable

Neil Henry
Neil Henry, director, HLA Services, explains why sustainability is set to revolutionise the way the UK energy industry operates and those within it need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, according to Neil.

If Covid-19 has taught us one thing, it’s that amazing things happen when we are pushed outside of our comfort zone. In March of last year, the economy went in to a tailspin when lockdown was enforced and yet the vast majority of companies are still here today to tell the story, some are even in a better position and most are more adaptable than ever. We had no prior warning that Covid-19 was coming but we do know that renewable energy is the future and businesses have time to prepare and execute a plan of action, in line with Net Zero 2050.

All sectors and industries will have to adopt new processes and protocols but the oil and gas industry will, in the long-term, have to be deconstructed and built back better, with renewables acting as the saviour of an industry standing on the precipice of a rebirth. Naturally, this is a scary process for many within an industry that has traditionally not had to diversify in the way others have, in part due to lack of consumer demand.

The answer to fear is always education. At HLA we know that we cannot make the decision for a customer as to whether to invest in low carbon forms of heating and ventilation but we can commit to talking through why it will be better in the long-term, both domestically and within industry.

We can also commit to being part of the solution by continually looking for ways to improve our own emissions and processes. After all, we cannot expect our customers to invest in renewable energy if we are not leading by example.

We continue to strive to become a carbon negative company and have recently added to our managerial electric vehicle fleet and provide charging points on site, a feature we are also able to install for customers. Electric vans are something we are looking to invest in but, having already implemented a trial, we have found that weight issues with the vehicles mean they are currently not a viable option. Sustainability isn’t an all or nothing process, it’s about starting with the low-hanging fruit, making the changes that are possible and bring about the most impact, and planning for the long-term.

As evidenced by The Heat Pump Association, which represents around 95% of the heat pump manufacturing market share, the shift is happening. A survey of its members revealed that manufacturers have placed orders with their supply chains to deliver a total of 67,000 units in 2021, a significant projected increase on the 35,000 heat pumps sold in 2019.

Consumer demands for low carbon options are filtering in to all sectors and industries, a glaring example of this can be seen within the automotive industry, with EV, Tesla Model 3 the UK’s best-selling car overall in June 2021 and plug-in vehicles taking 17.2% of the auto market in the same month, up from 9.5% in June 2020.

Here at HLA, as part of our services, we offer a range of renewable energy services including heat pumps, photovoltaic (PV) solar, thermal solar, battery storage, LED lighting, mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR), voltage optimization and bio-mass boilers. We welcome any business looking to investigate the benefits of switching to renewables to reach out to us for advice. Change is coming and businesses that act now will reap the benefits.