Energy Efficiency Starts with Insulation

September 01 2012

Since it was announced that the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) would be replaced by the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), providers at all levels of the energy industry have been on the alert as to what the changes will mean for their business or organisation.

Kershaw Contracting Service Limited is one such company.  It’s Insulation division covers the South East, including London, and the Midlands, and has been trading successfully since 1972 when it was set up in the wake of the Gulf War crisis.  Based in Cambridge, the company also provides heating and plumbing, and solar services, and has an Asbestos division located in Kent.  Paul McLeish, Kershaw Contracting Service’s Sales and Marketing Director, explains how the Insulation division is dealing with the transition and looking to the wider industry in order to maximise opportunities for growth.

Accommodating change

For business continuity it’s important to recognise that, although we in the industry are having to get to grips with new schemes, the guiding principles remain the same.  CESP is a whole home solution, as is the Green Deal.  CERT is about utilities helping the hard to reach, as is ECO.  Therefore, it’s about evolution rather than change, which is easier to approach and manage.  Kershaw has been installing insulation for 40 years and we have always made it our business to understand the bigger picture, hence, we are looking to enter this new era with our focus on the upgrading of aging housing stock.

We see a clear opportunity in helping the Government’s Affordable Warmth Group remove themselves from fuel poverty.  This will be a natural extension of our work this year assisting household energy consumers reduce the carbon footprint of their homes – the result of Kershaw signing a contract with a major utility company to help them make savings in the amount of CO2 emitted from dwellings, as required to meet CERTs, with the delivery of a monthly carbon tonnage in the form of household insulation measures.

To be part of the Green Deal we will all have to secure authorisation to deliver our chosen services under it.  At Kershaw, we are currently going through the process of becoming an authorised installer and are pleased that our existing MCS and Achilles accreditations will go towards meeting the PAS 2030 standard.  So it’s worth asking any schemes you are a member of, what their involvement in the process is and whether they can help you.  It goes without saying that it will be extremely difficult to tender for work without Green Deal authorisation.  We will also be putting one of our managers through an assessor course to gain the best possible understanding of the measures that will be recommended; this will help us shape our service offering.

Joined up approach

One of the key changes Kershaw has observed is that these latest schemes are serving to bring the industry closer together than it has been in the past.  This is partly because the situation is constantly evolving, with all parties trying to keep abreast of developments, so it makes sense to pool information and share latest thinking rather than stand alone.  Partly because there is a strong emphasis on local implementation and finding effective ways to reach the Affordable Warmth Group.

We are involved in a number of regional steering groups, looking at the way forward in our immediate area, whose members include public, community and voluntary sector bodies, installers like ourselves and other supply-side businesses, consultants, energy companies and consumer groups.  Of course, our competitors belong to these as well, but collectively we see them as an opportunity to increase our understanding and help secure future work, so the atmosphere is of collaboration and we are working hand-in-hand to influence policy.

Partnership and innovation

In the meantime, winning and delivering the work continues as it always has for Kershaw Insulation, whilst in the background we gear up for the Green Deal and ECO.  Key to one recent success have been the sustaining of client relationships over the years and our willingness to innovate with our installation techniques.

Having maintained a relationship with Hackney Council, and carried out various installation works for them, over a 10 year period, we have recently secured our biggest contract with the borough to date.  This will see us working with main contractor Mulalley on behalf of Hackney Homes Limited who are responsible for the management of council homes.  For the first time, Kershaw will be using teams of abseilers for the installation.  They will be blowing Rockwool mineral wool cavity wall insulation into tower blocks up to 18 storeys high across the borough.  Abseiling negates the need for scaffolding so it helps the client keep costs down.  Our plan is to take this ‘hard to treat’ buildings model to other London boroughs.

The last word

So in summary: be confident that you know your business - clients will continue to need your core services although the delivery models may be different; keep your channels of communication open – treat the industry, including competitors, as a useful network to share experiences and information with; make sure you do what it takes to stay competitive – ensure you have the necessary accreditations and keep up-to-date with new techniques; and finally, maintain your relationships – there’s nothing like a partnership that works for securing repeat business.

September 2012

For further information regarding this release, or to arrange an interview, contact Sarah Payne, PR and Marketing Manager on 01223 715800 or email Sarah.Payne@kershaw-grp.co.uk