We have to help installers get ready for mass market heat pumps – Opinion

Paul Smith has been named as the new MD of NIBE Energy Systems UK.

Installer caught up with him to find out about his plans, the opportunities in the heat pump sector, and the role that engineers play in mass market heat pumps:

Q: What is your background in the industry?

Paul: “I’ve been in the HVAC industry for almost 20 years now. I joined NIBE from Carrier which is a big name consisting of lots of different brands. I worked mainly on the commercial side with heat pumps, chillers, air handling units and things like that. Now I’ve joined NIBE which is a market leader for residential, so it is a bit of a pivot, but I’ve had experience in residential in previous roles as well.”

Q: What are your plans in your new role?

Paul: “I’ve only been here a short time, but the goal is to further grow the NIBE brand in the UK as we are transitioning to a mass market of heat pumps. Naturally, installers are essential to us. As more people look to transition to installing heat pumps, we need to be at the forefront of training and supporting that installer base as it grows. We also have to be in the eyes, ears and minds of the consumer, so that NIBE becomes a brand of choice. We need to invest in the people and the team, and it won’t really come as any surprise to say that in order to grow, we need to grow the people and we need to look after our customers.”

Paul, pictured right.

Q: How is NIBE, as a manufacturer, helping engineers transition to renewables?

Paul: “NIBE has a fantastic brand heritage and a longstanding reputation for pioneering heat pumps. That’s what attracted me to the business, and it’s also what installers are looking for in a manufacturer. We are second to none in the European heat pump industry and market leader in Sweden, a market that is fully heat pump mature. We’ve been there, we’ve been making these systems and supporting installers to design, fit and service them for decades.

“Training is a big part of that, but also helping installers become heat pump experts. There’s a fair amount of scepticism about heat pumps in the media narrative and in the wider marketplace, so it’s our job to help installers and engineers answer the questions and bust some of the myths that may be out there.

“We have NIBE Pro and we call it a journey internally because that’s exactly what it is. We don’t just want to bring heating engineers into our training centre to train them on the products and then leave them to it. We want to be on hand to support their entire journey. From training the theoretical knowledge through industry recognised courses such as the CIPHE Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water in Dwellings Course, and the RQF Level 3 Award in Heat Pump Technology, to our in-house tools such as NIBE DIM Heat Pump Dimensioning software. We have the responsibility to make sure that we support engineers with a design service, a dedicated technical phone line, and a physical presence on site so we can see and ultimately help them and sign off their installs. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we continue to train and support our NIBE Pro installers on that journey.”

Q: How important are installers when we’re talking about the heat pump rollout?

Paul: “I cannot overemphasise how important installers have been to our business historically, and the importance of the continued role they will play. They literally have our brand reputation in their hands each time they install a piece of our equipment. We have a responsibility to make sure that we support the installer every step of the way because then they will provide that excellent customer experience. We also need to ensure that we train new installers as they look to diversify their skillset and build their businesses to support the transition to sustainable heating.

“There is currently lots of government support available to help installers to encourage the adoption of heat pumps, including the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which supports with the upfront costs of eligible products, such as MCS Certified NIBE Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps in England and Wales, and the Home Energy Grant and Loan Scheme in Scotland.”

To find out more about NIBE and how to get involved in heat pumps at: https://www.nibe.eu/en-gb/installer/what-is-nibe-pro