Building a new future

Ecobuild (5 to 7 March) provides the ideal platform for any installer looking to work with energy-efficient technologies. From getting hands-on with new products to listening to industry experts, the event has the potential to change any business for the better.
Moving into the microgeneration sector can seem to be a daunting step for any installation business. The biggest problem is knowing where to start – with so many options available, it is essential to make sure that the first move into renewables is the right one. It also appears to be true – based on the evidence of Installer readers who have already made the transition – that expanding into working with other microgeneration technologies is far simpler once there is an understanding of the sector itself.
Undertaking in-depth research is a crucial first step in the process, where factors such as the local market such be strongly considered. For example, rural areas that have no access to mains gas are more likely to look into renewable heating options than urban areas on the gas grid. Once the initial investigation into potential markets has been satisfactorily completed, more detailed enquiries can begin.
Invaluable opportunity
At this next stage of the decision-making, Ecobuild becomes an invaluable opportunity to gather more information and insight. Within one exhibition, it is possible to identify potential business partners who can not only provide the right products for any installation but also all of the necessary training, service and after-sales care needed to expand into this new sector.
With a small amount of forward planning, the proactive installer will be able to organise specific meetings with any manufacturers, merchants or suppliers that seem most suitable. Taking the time to talk to the right people can be of huge benefit at this early stage in terms of ensuring they are on the right track. With so many exhibitors at Ecobuild, it represents a golden chance to get any new venture established properly from the start.
Exhibitor showcase
Ecobuild also represents an ideal opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their latest products, making it a crucial event for those looking to branch into installing a specific technology. Attractions such as Practical Installer also allow installers to get first-hand hints and tips during live demonstrations of how to install and operate a variety of products in a retro-fit environment. This year, for the first time, installers will be able to see real-life ‘before and after’ scenarios that highlight the impact that effectively implemented measures can have on a property.
Andy Buchan is the CEO of the Cotswold Efficient Energy Centre – a specialist renewables installation company. As a former heating engineer, Andy moved into the microgeneration sector when he realised the business potential of installing renewable technologies. He believes that Ecobuild represents a unique opportunity to learn more about a sector that could have a massive impact on the way in which they work.
“I’ve visited Ecobuild right from its earliest days at Earls Court to the present incarnation at London ExCel, and it amazes me how the event grows – and improves – year in, year out. Walking into Ecobuild is like discovering a treasure trove because there are so many exciting products to seek out. In the back of my mind is always the question of whether I will find the Holy Grail – that one item that is new to the market and will have a huge impact on how we work. If that product is to be found, it will certainly be at  Ecobuild. If I can only visit one renewable exhibition in the year, then Ecobuild wins every time.”
Green Deal Terrace
It is also important to remember that Ecobuild is about more than renewable technologies, especially with the addition of the Green Deal Terrace attraction this year. It provides an ideal opportunity to get a clearer insight into not only the Green Deal but also the wider issue of energy efficiency.
As fuel prices – and therefore energy bills – continue to rise, consumers will be increasingly looking to finding ways in which they can save money. Any installer who can confidently explain to customers how to maximise the Green Deal – and then carry out any approved work – will be in a very strong position. Too often homeowners can miss out on ways in which they can improve their standard of living because they are unaware of the incentive schemes that they are eligible for.
Defining event
Simon Osborne, Head of Product and Channel Management at Baxi Group, believes that Ecobuild can be a defining event for those who are prepared to make the move into microgeneration and/ or energy efficiency.
“Ecobuild is the premier show for installers. We (Baxi) use Ecobuild as a platform to educate installers on the latest messages coming out of the heating industry. [It’s] a great place to gather information – from the latest industry trend and themes to feedback from existing and prospective customers.”