NMBS Conference: Retro-fit, not Green Deal

Published:  22 June, 2012

SPAIN: "I'm not sure the Green Deal is going to work," said Dave Jordan, group sustainability manager for Ridgeons as he spoke of the journey that the merchant has undertaken over the last five years into the renewables sector. "The general public will not buy into it after what has happened with the Feed-In Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

"But I am sure that there will be a massive retro-fit campaign. There has to be."

The Ridgeons' journey started in 2007 with the discovery of the Code for Sustainable Homes. In 2008, research and creating awareness through product displays sat alongside the introduction of heat pumps and solar thermal into the stock range. 2009 saw the inclusion of all renewables in the Heating and Plumbing Guide as well as presentations and code assessor training. It was at this point that interest started to pick up as speaker requests began to come in.

In 2010 Mr Jordan gained the BREEAM domestic assessor licence and, still building knowledge, began writing articles for trade and retail press. He joined the local sustainability group, and Ridgeons started to see renewable sales begin to grow using a specialist sustainability team. The Green Light Guide, based on what an assessor would want to see was produced in 2011 and Mr Jordan joined the BMF steering group for the Green Deal. A staff training program was put into place and it is now mandatory that all new staff be trained in renewables.  Customer forums were opened, outlining opportunities for their business, and renewables sales grew significantly.

Now, in 2012, Ridgeons has a training academy and centre of excellence in partnership with the Cambridge Regional College, SmartLife and Cambridgeshire County Council with a training prospectus and a new retrofit course out soon. There are customer days and Ridgeons has embraced the 'whole house' approach.

Commenting on the future, Mr Jordan concluded: "We aren't selling products so much as selling how to do it, and the products are being pulled through from that."

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