Leading electric heating firm Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation is at the forefront of the drive towards the use of renewable energy in our buildings. Sam Hawcroft talks to Trevor Redmore, who is working with local developers to help them navigate the ever-changing regulations in this sector.
The construction industry is under pressure like never before to conform to new regulations as the UK aims to become net-zero by 2050. This means completely decarbonising our buildings, and Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation (GDHV) has a team of experts on hand to help developers understand the changes and offer them the latest HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) solutions.
One of those experts is Hull-based business development manager Trevor Redmore, who has been with GDHV (a division of the Glen Dimplex Group) for nearly 20 years. He started as an area sales manager and, over the years, worked his way through numerous roles. He joined the renewables team just over a decade ago – but it was, he says now, a bit ahead of its time.
“We were looking after heat pumps for about four years,” says Trevor, “but unfortunately we were a little bit premature with that, because the heat pump market never really took off. At that time the UK was only installing something like 17,000-18,000 heat pumps a year. And that was stable for many years. We felt that take-up would have to be legislation-driven because no one was going to spend up to £10,000 on a heat pump if they didn’t have to.”
Over the next few years Trevor went into a business development role within the contracting team, primarily looking after consultants, architects and big contractors, and, in his current role, this has expanded to include housing associations and social housing providers. “I’ve literally done everything!” he says.
But his passion was always renewables, and Trevor says he’s glad that the Government has finally caught up, recently announcing that all new buildings will be required to be nearly-zero energy buildings (NZEBs) by 2025, meaning that they are gas and oil-free. Existing buildings must meet net-zero requirements by 2050, and the Government has begun by offering household grants worth £5,000 to those that install heat pumps, with the aim of installing 600,000 each year into UK homes by the end of the decade.
“When I was first in the renewables team,” says Trevor, “we had a saying that GDHV was the best-kept secret in renewables, because no one knew we did them. So now we’re trying to change people’s mindset.”
Indeed, GDHV has a policy of continuous investment in R&D in this area. The division is headquartered in Southampton, but is represented across the country by business development managers like Trevor, experts who can give advice to developers using up-to-date industry knowledge and experience. “In terms of the retrofit market, we’ve already got quite a lot of that,” says Trevor, who works across Hull and the North East of England. “My target market is definitely new-build, and the regional building firms that build 10-20 houses a year, rather than the big nationals who are likely to have agreements in place.”
GDHV may not yet be one of the most well-known names in renewables but many of its brands are household names – such as Dimplex, Xpelair, Valor, Redring and Creda. Their products range from smart electric heating systems using the latest control and communication technologies, through to communal ambient heating networks (a system of heat pumps that take energy from a central plant and efficiently deliver heating, cooling and hot water to multiple apartments throughout a building), MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) systems, and a range of heat emitters such as fan coil units and fan-assisted hydronic radiators.
Trevor anticipates a crowded market as demand for the technology grows and the need for new housing becomes ever more acute. Recent research shows that England alone needs an extra 340,000 new homes each year until 2031. “At the last count there was something like eight to 10 manufacturers of heat pumps, and, come next year, that will have probably doubled because everybody will want to be in the market,” adds Trevor.
The building industry will face a raft of challenges in the drive to net-zero in the coming decades as the population grows. Before the end of 2021, the construction industry will need to adapt its HVAC strategies and building design to adhere to new compliance regulations. This follows a government consultation to update Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations for new residential developments.
Trevor says he would like to become more proactive, not reactive, to developers looking to use renewable heating technology in new homes. “They’re as busy as everybody else,” he acknowledges. “It’s only when they’ve got something specific that they’re interested in talking to you. But we need to get the message across that we can offer them a solution for their new-build properties going forward.
“We can offer solutions for local, small builders, as well as large builders, to help them with any issues that they may have with conforming to the new building regulations.”
Contact Trevor at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how he can help with a range of heat pump and electric heating solutions, and visit gdhv.co.uk for more information on GDHV’s products and latest industry updates.