Scottish companies team up to form thermal efficiency training academy

HeatFix Scotland and the Edinburgh Boiler Company are joining forces to create a new center to train 100 engineers a year and educate the public on the efficiency of heating systems

A new community-focused energy training academy will open in Scotland this year to raise awareness of operating efficient heating systems.

The academy will be housed in a 12,000 square foot building purpose-built to provide vocational engineering training and public workshops through a collaboration between HeatFix Scotland and the Edinburgh Boiler Company.

The new academy is designed to operate as a social enterprise that will upskill existing engineers, while providing apprenticeship training and public events focused on practical steps to improve the efficiency of home heating systems. The site will be located in the town of Dalkeith and will see the two companies work together to provide business training services for the HVAC sector which will be used to help fund ‘community driven’ projects to ensure more sustainable and affordable heating. in the houses. The announcement of the project comes as the UK braces for further significant increases in the cost of energy for heating homes over the next six months, which campaigners say will see a rise in rates of nationwide fuel poverty.

Andrew Lamond, managing director of HeatFix Scotland, said around 100 new heating engineers are expected to be trained at the center each year when it is fully operational. This training would also increase the focus on helping engineers specialize in renewable energy systems as demand grows. Mr Lamond said it is currently planned that managed learning programs and foundational apprenticeships will be offered at the site from 2023. In the meantime, theoretical-only training could start from this year.

Mr Lamond added: ‘The academy will be open to any plumbing, heating or electrical business requiring training. It will be a fully inclusive training center for all who need it.

Another objective of vocational training will be to offer extended internships to apprentices from the academy. Mr Lamond said: “We believe that seven weeks is not enough time to gain the vital experience required to become a heating engineer. We will also offer full-time jobs to top candidates in areas where we need additional staff. “

He added that these business training activities at the academy would help organize workshops and public awareness events.

Mr Lamond said: ‘We will work with schools and colleges for referrals. The council and the local education system will fund the training courses on an individual basis. There will also be free community events for local residents and business owners to learn about energy efficiency and new heating technologies.

The academy also plans to offer free services, repairs and installation work that can be provided to low-income or vulnerable households through a partnership with City Region Deal funding programs provided by governments. Scottish and British.

A separate objective of the academy will be to host classes from local schools on site. These tours are due to start later this year and will aim to teach individuals about energy efficiency and simple methods that can be implemented at home to reduce heat demand.

Mr Lamond said this work would be essential to address the limited public awareness of ensuring heating systems work efficiently in homes. Implementing some of these measures could save households hundreds of pounds a year in energy costs, he added.

Mr Lamond said: “The hot topic at the moment is the central heating flow temperature. We try to encourage home owners to lower their heating temperature to 55 degrees C for maximum efficiency. This only works if the system is properly configured and balanced. We have also recommended climate compensators which use the external and internal temperatures and adjust the power of the boilers so that they operate at their most efficient level.

The academy said it would also recommend the effective use of insulation in homes and that timers, thermostatic radiators and zoned heating are used.

Mark Glasgow, managing director of the Edinburgh Boiler Company, said it originally planned to operate an energy training center at its current headquarters. However, the decision was made to partner with another company to augment the academy’s training.

Mr Glasgow said one of the main aims of the academy was to help create local employment opportunities and meet the skills needs of the heating sector to provide more efficient and affordable heat.

He said: “For example, unless someone has a National 5 degree, they can’t do an apprenticeship or go to college. We will take them under our wing with this academy and provide them with an environment where they can learn, gain confidence and grow as individuals.

“Those who show real promise will complete the training program and hopefully, upon completion, a career as a gas engineer will await them.”

Earlier this year, the Edinburgh Boiler Company announced that it was undertaking a free fuel poverty prevention program for a limited time to ensure that boilers installed in the city area were operating efficiently. This health check program used an 8-point checklist designed by the company to examine the performance of installed boilers as well as the efficiency of their heating controls, radiator systems, valves and thermostats.