ICOM chairman reflects on the politics of energy

Adrian Walker, chairman of the ICOM Energy Association, which represents the industrial and commercial heating industry, has criticised ‘contradictory messages’ that seem to fly in the face of the need to address rising energy prices by using energy more efficiently. Opening the recent ICOM winter conference, Adrian Walker, who is managing director of boiler manufacturer Hoval, said, ‘There has been a frighteningly quick pace of change in energy prices over the last few years, accompanied by commercial pressures to get more from less — including heating energy.

He said, ‘There are clearly limits to how far you can improve the efficiency of equipment, so the debate has broadened to installations and systems — including the insulation of buildings. It seems bizarre to me to relax the pace of insulating properties to reduce energy bills in the short term only to increase them in the long term and not reduce the amount of fossil fuel we burn.

Looking ahead, he draws encouragement from the Autumn Energy Statement, which commits Central Government to cut carbon emissions by 25% by 2015. ‘That is a big drop,’ comments Adrian Walker. Heating is one of the major issues to address, so this is about the future of heating and must mean a lot of new and energy-efficient gas-fire boilers being installed to replace old and inefficient plant.

‘Overall, my feeling is that manufacturers and companies serving this area in the UK are pretty well on message — developing technology and delivering it to the marketplace.’

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