By Neil Saunders, sales & marketing director at Vokèra by Riello, Global Comfort Solutions Europe, Carrier.
To support the growth of the heat pump market, the government has set out an ambitious target for the installation of circa 600,000 heat pumps per year in the UK by 2028. It’s a mammoth task, particularly as large swathes of the current workforce will need to be upskilled to ensure they are qualified to carry out the work, so should we be doing more to make training easier for busy heating engineers and support the recruitment of new people entering the sector?
In terms of the present, upskilling the current workforce to upgrade and improve heating system efficiency in homes and businesses will create rare, yet exciting, opportunities for engineers. As many customers will testify, finding a specialist to assess or repair a heating system – particularly during winter months – is often a frustrating, time-consuming process. Therefore, it’s understandable that asking a heating professional to set aside time from an incredibly heavy work schedule to receive product training could be seen as a tall order. Manufacturers should attempt to display a degree of flexibility in their training. Although there is no substitute for in-person, ‘hands-on’ training, it is not always the most practical method for those in full-time employment.
At Vokèra, we have created a hybrid training programme including both virtual webinar sessions and direct, ‘hands-on’ learning. This proved far more convenient for full-time installers, with the live online sessions held late afternoon and early evening. The programme will tutor installers on the latest Vokèra and Riello product innovations, as well as cover a range of topics including compliance with regulation changes, considerations when installing heat pumps, hybrid integration, etc. Workshops will also be available for those who wish to take a deeper look into our products. We believe manufacturers have a significant role in helping train the installers of the future. This is paramount to delivering the low carbon heating solutions the UK needs to create a less-polluted, more energy-efficient environment.
Second career seekers
The UK government’s support of the growing heat pump market is important to achieving its net zero ambition. Therefore, the search for skilled installers may need to include those pursuing heating engineering as a second career choice. An equal amount of focus could also be given to increase the number of women entering the trade. In both instances, the sector might be overlooking a valuable recruitment resource at a time when a greater range of expertise to call upon is essential.
Job security is another benefit of retraining as a heating engineer. Previously, we’ve partnered with colleges and training centres, providing products and guidance for students on entry-level courses. These programmes were aimed at people who had recently achieved their NVQ Level 3 qualification, required to practice as a ‘Gas Safe’ heating engineer. Whilst these courses are vital to the development of apprentices, there is a growing need to create programmes aimed at more mature trainees, creating room for future opportunities.
The type of person who might be interested in a mid-career shift to heating system installation and repair might not necessarily be an industry newcomer. Someone with an engineering background and a particular interest in decarbonisation would certainly find heating an exciting new challenge due to its huge emissions impact. Such a candidate might feel they could make a difference in heating’s carbon output, particularly with the introduction of renewables, such as heat pumps, to the market. Furthermore, IT professionals might also find interest in the heating field, as their technical background would be beneficial when using services such as connected thermostats and smart controls.
From my years in the industry, I’ve found heating engineers to be very passionate about their trade. They enjoy the challenge of creating the best heating system for their client, while also considering cost-effectiveness and optimum efficiency. In my opinion, the desire to learn a new and valuable skill that will help secure our future sustainability is requisite for the role. If you’re one of those people, I think I can speak on behalf of many heating system manufacturers in saying, ‘Your industry needs you.’
Powering up Britain
A significant transition of UK households from fossil fuel heating to smarter, environmentally-economical appliances will take years to complete. However, attitudes to the global adoption of renewable technology are changing fast. This is being fuelled in-part by high-level initiatives such as the UK government’s ‘Powering Up Britain’ proposal. Described as a way to net zero, the document outlines how renewable investment will help ‘diversify, decarbonise and domesticate’ the country’s energy production. The proposal also highlights the government’s Heat Pump Investment Accelerator plan, which aims to accelerate heat pump manufacturing in the UK. According to the report on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, the systems’ British-made aspect, along with an extension of the government’s three-year extension of its Boiler Upgrade Scheme, will rebalance electricity and gas costs for compatible boilers.
For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the platform is in place to secure and build a career that’s enriching in multiple ways. Hence, there is no time like the present to upgrade your heating engineering skills or for those thinking of joining the sector, making that call that could benefit the rest of your life.
LONDON COLNEY, England, July 4th, 2022 – Vokèra by Riello has unveiled the Vibe MAX, a brand-new boiler platform that combines value-for-money with high-end functionality. Available in a choice of combi and system models, the compact Vibe MAX is designed to be 20% hydrogen-blend ready and is packed with all-new features, including built-in Modbus connector, revised ‘universal pipework’ layout, and a primary heat exchanger in corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Vokèra, through its parent company Riello, is part of Carrier Global Corporation (NYSE:CARR), the leading global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions.
The Vibe MAX takes the entry-level residential boiler to new heights of efficiency, functionality and reliability. The stainless-steel heat exchanger ensures optimum strength and durability, potentially increasing the life of the appliance and resulting in less downtime due to maintenance. This latest addition to Vokèra’s range also utilises advanced electronics, including a modern human-machine interface (HMI) and digital touchpad interface to assist operation, installation and servicing. Vibe MAX also incorporates a Bluetooth clock module that allows the end user to easily program the ‘heating’ ON/OFF schedule via their smart phone using our app.
The 26kW and 30kW Vibe MAX models both offer impressive 93% seasonal space heating efficiency and improved domestic hot water (DHW) performance. The compact Vibe MAX measures just 700 x 400 x 275mm, ensuring ease of handling and siting in all types of residential property, even where space is at a premium.
Hydrogen-ready boilers are considered key to facilitating the conversion of existing gas distribution networks from natural gas to low-carbon hydrogen. As a 20% hydrogen-blend ready boiler, Vibe MAX is the ideal choice for homeowners looking for an efficient heating solution that can burn a methane/hydrogen blend as and when their local network makes the switch.
Finally, as part of its advanced design Vibe MAX has the potential to become part of the IoT in today’s smart homes using Wi-Fi connectivity. This option will enable homeowners to program and control their heating for optimum comfort and efficiency and monitor their energy consumption via cloud-based services.
Our parent brand Riello is celebrating 100 years of innovation and engineering excellence in residential and commercial heating solutions. Riello’s expertise is now firmly focused on the future with the decarbonisation of heating.
Innovation and sustainability guide Riello in the way it operates and in the creation of cutting-edge systems. The objective is the continuous improvement of the quality of life, making the planet a better place to live today and for future generations.
This philosophy is reflected in the 100 years logo, an infinite embrace, a symbol of continuous research aimed at excellence of efficient, safe and sustainable solutions. 100 years represents an important milestone and a new beginning in the current energy transition: to be a reference player in industrial and cultural change.
For more information visit: https://www.riello.com/about-us-100-centenary
Carrier will be investing $16 million over the next two years to build an R&D Center of Excellence focused on residential and light commercial heating, air conditioning and domestic water systems located in Villasanta (MB), Italy. The goal is to expand the offering and strengthen the development of environmentally sustainable and innovative solutions, primarily heat pumps, hydrogen-ready boilers and IoT systems.
The investment will strengthen Carrier’s R&D capabilities and responds to a rapid increase in the demand for air-to-water heat pumps, efficient and sustainable solutions, as well as IoT systems and is linked to the acceleration of the roadmap outlined by the European Union’s Green Deal.
The project includes the construction of a new facility in Villasanta to house a laboratory and offices by the end of 2023.
Vokèra by Riello has launched the Unica MAX, its hybrid enabled, 20% hydrogen-ready gas condensing boiler range to meet the current integration needs of various energy sources, including gas, electricity and renewables. Vokèra, through its parent company Riello Group, is a part of Carrier Global Corporation (NYSE: CARR), the leading global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions.
Available in a choice of combi and system models, Unica MAX also features a leading-edge heat exchanger in corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Widely recognised for its strength and durability, stainless steel used for this key component can potentially increase the life of the appliance and result in less downtime due to maintenance.
In the journey to net zero emissions, hydrogen-ready boilers are considered key to enabling the conversion of existing gas distribution networks from natural gas to low-carbon hydrogen. Designed to accept 20% hydrogen, the new Unica MAX will adapt to burn the methane-hydrogen blend when the local network makes the transition. The boilers have active combustion control (ACC) so they can adapt the air/gas mix according to the gas quality available.
At the heart of Unica MAX is a colour LCD user interface. The full text menu-driven control enables both the installer and end user to quickly navigate through the boiler’s parameters and settings, including an optional embedded time clock to program the heating on and off times as desired. The display will also provide installers with excellent diagnostics.
For homeowners looking to replace their boiler with a more energy efficient heating solution, Vokèra’s Unica MAX hybrid system ticks the right boxes. As a hybrid it combines the familiarity of a traditional boiler with the renewable energy of an air source heat pump; the system automatically switches between them depending on which will deliver the best energy efficiency at the time. Integration of a domestic hot water (DHW) tank can be carried out from solar (if any) and/or from a heat pump. The boiler carries out the possible heat integration based on the set temperature. For ambient heating, the boiler prioritises the use of the heat pump depending on outdoor temperature and the temperature required by the system.
The new Unica MAX has been conceived and developed by Vokèra to deliver warmth, efficiency and long-term reliability, with high DHW performances and up to 94% seasonal efficiency for space heating. This latest addition to the range offers a new air filter featuring filter mats that can be washed and yet still retain their technical filtering properties.
Designed for ease of installation in various domestic heating and hot water installations, the new Unica MAX range is available in two combi boiler models: 35C and 40C and a choice of 20S and 30S system boiler versions.
LEGNAGO, Italy, September, 2020 — Riello is pleased to announce that Pierantonio Rizzardo, Riello plant manager in Volpago del Montello, was awarded the prestigious Community Impact award from Riello’s parent company Carrier. Rizzardo was recognized for his ingenuity and speed leading an initiative to convert an entire Riello production line to an assembly line for hospital beds during the COVID-19 crisis. Riello is a leading brand in heating, air conditioning and energy efficiency products and services, and is part of Carrier Global Corporation (NYSE: CARR), a leading global provider of innovative heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire protection, security and building automation technologies.
In just 24 hours, Rizzardo and his team converted a production line typically used to assemble boilers to an assembly line for hospital beds for Favero Health Projects, a company based in the Veneto region that designs and manufactures hospital beds for intensive care. With this project, Riello has made a tangible contribution to the fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very proud to have made a direct contribution in the fight against COVID-19,” said François Audo, CEO, Riello. “This is thanks to our employees and suppliers who were proactive and supported the initiative quickly and with enthusiasm. In 24 hours, Riello demonstrated its commitment to the community, bringing out its true heart, made up of professionals of value, initiative and responsibility.
“The hospital beds project was the result of collaboration with Favero Health Projects for the construction of hospital beds for the ever-increasing demand of intensive care wards at a crucial time for Italian Healthcare.”
For his leadership, Rizzardo was awarded the prestigious Carrier Community Impact award. With this award, Carrier gave a tangible sign of appreciation, rewarding him for “the exceptional contribution to health, safety and environmental protection.”
The Community Impact award was presented in July at the Riello plant in Volpago del Montello (TV) to Rizzardo in the presence of CEO François Audo, Human Resources Director Antonio Nigro and Operations Director Michele Candiani.
This initiative is in addition to the other projects Riello implemented during the emergency period, including:
– The introduction of smart-working for clerical staff in just four days, right from the beginning of the emergency;
– The adoption of all the necessary preventive measures in its plants, aimed at guaranteeing the safety and health of its operators;
– Taking out a health insurance policy for its employees in case of exposure to the coronavirus;
– The possibility, given to its network in the territory, to take advantage of free webinars on issues of interest in the sector, for the entire period of emergency.
Founded in 1922, Riello Group is a leader in products and services for heating, air-conditioning and energy efficiency. Headquartered in Legnago (Verona), Italy, Riello operates in over 120 countries. Riello is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a leading global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. For more information, visit riello.com