Q1. What is the biggest issue within the H&V sector today and why? To get end-users to actually invest in energy saving measures. The coming Green Deal from the Government may help to ease the financial pain of the investment but it’s still going to be a big challenge for manufacturers like Danfoss to get homeowners to actually buy-in to the fact that better heating controls, for example, will reduce their energy costs.
Q2. How has the move towards greater energy efficiency affected the industry as a whole? There has probably never been a better time to be in the energy saving business! In spite of the low level of new build opportunities, energy prices are high and everyone is talking about the benefits of going green. Whilst a lot of homeowners are aware that using energy saving light bulbs and more efficient dishwashers and washing machines will reduce their energy bills many may not realise that the boiler is by far the largest consumer of energy in the home. We believe this fact is not being promoted enough and people simply don’t know that modern high efficiency heating controls can make a big difference to their energy consumption.
Q3. How has the raft of energy efficiency based initiatives affected the design, manufacture and sales of H&V products? For Danfoss, I’d say the development of new products is currently being guided by three main objectives:- To provide energy saving solutions that are quick and easy to install and so help keep overall installation costs down for contractors. To develop increasingly sophisticated solutions that are capable of dealing with and include a wider number of heat emitters and heat generation. Recognising the need for a more intuitive man-machine interface with heating controls as seen in Smartphone and touch-screen technologies.
Q4. How is your company incorporating energy efficiency into its products? Please give an example. Danfoss is dedicated to developing cost-effective solutions that make it easier for homeowners to take control of their energy costs with user-friendly heating controls. A prime example of this is the Danfoss TP5000 programmable room thermostat which features advanced chrono-proportional control to reduce energy consumption by the heating system compared with standard ‘on/off’ electronic thermostats. Another example is our recently launched living eco® programmable radiator thermostat which is really quick and easy to install and offers precise, intelligent heating control for end-users. According to studies based on typical UK heating system installing living eco® could save homeowners up to 15% on their heating bills. This is a real benefit which contractors can promote to their customers during a scheduled service visit or call-out, for example.
Q5. What impact has the RHI had and is it producing the desired results? This initiative is not directly relevant to Danfoss’ controls products.
Q6. How do you think the Green Deal will be received and how will affect the H&V industry? Whilst there has been some scepticism about the effectiveness of this Government-led initiative I believe the industry should support any efforts to ease the financial burden of creating greener homes and buildings.
Q7. What opportunities exist for electrical contractors in specifying and installing energy efficient H&V systems? There is a huge opportunity to install heating controls in the eight million homes without any form of control and so are missing out on significant energy savings. And using modern wireless systems makes installation much easier and doesn’t necessarily have to involve any changes to the pipe work.
Q8. What advice would you give to electrical contractors on this subject? That’s simple! Remember to tell your customers when you are on a job about the savings they could make on their energy bill by installing or upgrading their heating controls. For example, our tests show that replacing old thermostats with the latest electronic models with chrono-proportional capability could cut fuel cost and carbon emissions by 10%.
Q9. How do you see the H&V industry developing over the next few years and what do you think will be the next big issue? As already mentioned we see further developments in the man-machine interface and how this can make controls better able to adapt to variations in behaviour. Ease of installation/implementation will also remain a key priority in response to the ‘set-and-forget’ demands of consumers.
Danfoss is a leading manufacturer of world-class heating controls, from programmers and thermostats to TRVs and motorised control valves, with factories in the UK and Denmark. The company’s extensive product range is supplied through a national network of stockists. As part of its commitment to improving the knowledge and profitability of its customers, Danfoss offers a programme of installer training courses and CPD seminars, covering all aspects of domestic central heating techniques.