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Against the backdrop of mounting legislation, Government stimulus, fuel price hikes and a more ‘eco aware’ consumer, recent years have seen an increasing gravitation towards sustainability with businesses and homeowners alike. This means there are endless opportunities for the contractor in the know. Here, Peter Elliot, commercial director at Newey & Eyre, advises why contractors should embrace the lucrative green scene.

Energy efficiency is one of the biggest challenges to the modern world. According to the latest report by World Energy Outlook, global energy demand will increase by 37 per cent by 2040 as developing countries like China and India seek to fuel their rapid economic growth. However, climate specialists suggest that carbon emissions must be halved in order to avoid serious climate change effects. Clearly then, the current situation is not sustainable and economies around the world are under increasing pressure to take action.

The UK’s response has been a firm one. As the first country to set legally binding carbon budgets, the Government has committed to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent or more by 2050. This is seen in a raft of legislation; the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), the Green Investment bank, SAP, the Code for Sustainable Homes and more.

In addition, there are also plenty of Government initiatives making a compelling case for going green; The Green Deal, the RHI, Enhanced Capital Allowance, the roll out of smart meters, subsidies for electric vehicles, to name but a few.

However, it isn’t just about the legislative aspect; there is also the financial benefit. As we all know, energy prices are continuing to escalate. According to a recent report by Which, consumers are now paying an average of £410 more a year for energy compared with a decade ago, despite using significantly less. The result is that the case for going green is becoming an ever more attractive proposition for both consumers and businesses looking to safeguard against inevitable further price hikes.

Adding to the appeal, the dramatic reduction in the payback period of green technologies is making it more affordable for all.  With LED, for example, long payback periods previously created a barrier to adoption, whereas the latest generation of LEDs are more comparative in cost to traditional options. Payback periods of less than 2 years are now achievable in certain applications and the cost of energy efficient technology is also reducing in heating and ventilation products, with other sectors beginning to follow suit.

Unsurprisingly then, recent years have seen a gradual yet marked shift in gravitation towards sustainable products and practices. Through an increased awareness of the inherent long term benefits of energy-efficient technologies, commercial and domestic users alike are becoming more willing to invest in such products in order to reap the financial savings and future proof their property.

And so the role of the modern electrician is transforming; it is no longer a case of simply doing the job in hand, consumers are seeking energy advisors who can provide informed advice on how to make the most of their energy.

If, however, electrical contractors are looking to differentiate themselves and tap into this burgeoning green opportunity, being proactive is key. They need to go outside the traditional remit and position themselves as energy experts in order to secure a competitive advantage and this alternative revenue stream.

Here, it’s important that contractors remain fully informed on the latest legislation and most advanced solutions, so that they can not only advise and supply their customers with the right products, but also be skilled on the installation of these new technologies. Although this isn’t something that will result in instant results, adapting business approach and embracing a willingness to learn will ultimately ensure contractors are leaders within the field.

Plus, the good news is help is at hand. Newey & Eyre, for example, recently partnered with JTL to provide sessions at nineteen branches on apprenticeship developments across the country.

There are also many further options available to businesses such as internal schemes with mentors, industry associations and government backed initiatives like the National Skills Academies.  Manufacturers have also developed training programmes to help support both their own employees and the wider industry.

In addition, installers can always ask for advice at their local trade counter, with branches of Newey & Eyre being able to provide all the latest updates on the world’s leading suppliers – as well as free technical literature to take on the go. Better still, as Newey & Eyre is a wholesaler, installers can rest assured of an unbiased recommendation (drawn from a comprehensive overview of the market) every time.

There’s no question about it – the world is becoming greener. Indeed, this may mean more legislation and technological advancements for the installer to get to grips with, but the good news is that there are many financial benefits to be had. For the shrewd installer then, the recommendation is to adopt a new way of thinking on sustainability and adapt their business model accordingly. In that way, they can ensure they remain one step ahead of competition.

Visit neweysnews.co.uk to get the latest news and product information from Newey & Eyre. Alternatively, please call 0800 783 6909 or call into any local branch.


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