November 10, 2022
Behind the scenes of the growing heat pump industry
The heat pump industry is rapidly growing in the UK, with the market expanding by nearly 50% in the last year alone. The Government introduced its £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme earlier this year, and homes and businesses across the UK continue investing in innovative, greener technology.
For the last two years, Managing Director Laura has been the Chair of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA), the national industry body for the heat pump sector.
It has brought many changes for the GSHPA with new training programs, sell-out annual conferences and membership increases of 27% based on 2019.
We talked to Laura about what it was like to be at the helm of the GSHPA at a time when the UK is seeing such a boom in demand for heat pump technology.
The industry has substantially grown over the last two years. What was it like being Chair of such a growing industry body?
It was a real privilege being at the helm of the GSHPA over the last two years. The whole team has worked tirelessly, and it was great to be a part of that as our trade body continues to grow.
It was challenging trying to find time to fit everything in at times, but it is extremely rewarding to see how far we have come and how the GSHPA continues to flourish.
I participated in activities I would never usually have been involved with, from TV and radio interviews to meeting industry leaders and working with the Government to shape future policies. It was an eye-opener to realise what is involved.
A lot has changed during your role. How have you seen the GSHPA change?
It is an entirely different trade body from what it was two years ago. As a team, we have concentrated on building strong collaborations with colleagues in Government and other industry bodies such as MCS, Electrify Heat and the Heat Pump Federation.
This has enabled the GSHPA to grow, allowing us to set up training courses for members to enhance our offering and support. In turn, this has caused membership numbers to grow and the industry to come together to support advancements in the industry. Our annual conferences have gone from strength to strength with record attendance numbers keen to listen to leading experts sharing their valuable insights.
What is the one memory you will always have of your role at GSHPA?
I feel very privileged to have been able to support the team for two years. Being voted back as chair for a second term was a real personal achievement as it confirmed that the work we were all doing was making a difference and was recognised by the members.
I will never forget walking into the Charity Dinner in 2021 when the room was all decorated and we were preparing for our first sell-out event. Looking around and seeing what we had achieved, all the people who had come together to support the industry, it really was a fantastic evening.
The industry has come so far, but what do you see as the main focus for the GSHPA for the next few years?
I would love to see memberships continue to grow year after year. The industry is developing, and it is crucial that we have members that can shape and enhance that growth.
Working closely with the Government to lobby and change policies will help to change the future of the industry as it is only destined to grow further as the Government’s carbon zero target of 2050 approaches.
However, I believe our biggest task is to increase education and awareness around ground source heat pumps. Not enough is known about their benefits, and we need to be shouting louder about where ground source works best. To do this, we need more case studies, data and research. This is definitely something I would like to see the industry continue to drive. We will only be able to educate and raise awareness of the benefits of ground source heat pumps when we have the data and research to back it up with facts and figures.
And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to anyone taking on this kind of role, what would it be?
Don’t say yes to everything. If this is a full-time role, maybe it would be different but fitting this around running your own business or a full-time job, I think it is essential to be realistic about what you want to achieve. Make sure you are clear about how much time you have and what you want to accomplish. That way, it keeps you focused and helps you achieve those goals.