David Coburn, CEO of NAPIT, reflects on the progress the electrical industry has made to enhance electrical safety standards over the past decade, including the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS), and considers issues that remain unresolved. In recent months I have met with senior politicians and department officials in a range of meetings where the path to a carbon-neutral world, and how to catalyze that, has been a critical topic. This provided the opportunity to directly discuss with Cabinet Ministers and others the need for government and industry to work together to meet carbon reduction ambitions. What was clear during the discussions was that there was recognition that future energy and carbon goals could not be achieved without the carrot (grants, loans, subsidies) and the stick (legislation), and that all buildings and all forms of ownership and tenure had to be covered. It would be easy to look at the GHGVS cancellation and only see the failure, but we need to think about why it failed and what lessons can be learned. In my view, the root cause of the GHGVS failures was that it was envisioned primarily as an economic stimulus to give the industry a boost as the pandemic was believed to have begun to ease last fall. This made it inherently a short-term measure when the problem of demand, delivery and resources are long-term issues. If a similar plan is to be followed in the future, the main lessons to be learned are: – ensuring managerial simplicity, for both consumers and installers – a commitment to a plan to give certainty of schedules and financing that can be relied upon by those who need to invest time and money to deliver It is critical for installers while aligning certification requirements for installers – targeting areas of need, and considering different approaches to helping landlords, tenants and building owners especially the vulnerable and fuel-poor. The withdrawal of the GHGVS does not mean that overall funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives is expected to decline. We repeatedly stress that the government remains committed to funding in this area and there are existing and new schemes still being supported, including: – Energy company commitment – Renewable heat incentive – Warm home discount – Local authority delivery scheme – Social decarbonization fund – Upgrade grant Projected Home – Projected Clean Heat Bonus On the regulatory side, the Homes of the Future Standards will set strict new energy efficiency standards to ensure that new homes built from 2025 will be ‘zero ready’. This is in some ways a clearer indication of government commitment than funding mechanisms and we await the publication of the Heat in Buildings Strategy, which is expected from BEIS imminently. There’s no denying that the emissions targets are big, and the journey to get there will be tough. It is critical that we voice the industry’s needs to the government at every opportunity if we are to succeed in forming a successful partnership in reaching their ambitions. The publication of the latest infographic titled: “Meeting Government’s Net Zero Emission Targets – Installers Perspective” identifies the goals and challenges facing the industry and proposes solutions and key knowledge for future policy, with an emphasis on how to grow the installers network. We will use this infographic to continue playing our part in communicating what we believe is necessary to deliver a qualified and capable workforce, aligned with the future needs of a low carbon future. We can help ensure fit-for-purpose certification schemes for government and installers. This year we will be working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to review, update and document what we mean by efficiency for all those working in the built environment. I personally have been honored to accept an invitation to sit on the HSE Temporary Industrial Efficiency Committee in an early step toward establishing the new Building Safety Regulator. This efficiency work will take into account the need to provide building safety as well as energy efficiency and carbon reduction, taking into account electrical safety, fire safety, indoor air quality and structural integrity. Streamlining the training and certification path for installers is key to creating a strong and competent workforce. While continuous improvement of standards and customer protection must remain the cornerstone of government policy, the impact of the cost and complexity of compliance with various certification requirements on installers must also be considered. There are positive examples of industry working together to help installers enter the renewable energy market, such as the RHITTS program with awarding organization (LCL Awards) to develop qualifications that a training provider (GTEC Training) can offer to provide courses for installers and prepare them for that assessment by a certification body ( NAPIT) in order to join the Certification Scheme (MCS). This is a great model for collaborative work. NAPIT is also participating in an initiative similar to NIBE Pro in which installers receive training and help prepare for work under the Microsurgery Certification Scheme (MCS). By demonstrating that these initiatives can succeed, I hope that the industry will gain further support from Treasury, BEIS and MHCLG, while building the confidence of installers, and encouraging them to prepare to maximize the opportunities available over the coming years.