In my last post on insight, I tried to set out some of the highlights for visitors to the NEC for InstallerSHOW. I concluded by saying that there was so much going on that it was difficult to describe them in one article.
Well now the show is over, I can conclusively say that there was more going on than I could keep up with. In fact there was more going on than any human could keep up with – if we ever get to the point where we have AI-driven robots in this industry, I am going to make a bid for a Seminar Theatre Attending Robot, which we can send haring around the NEC taking notes on all the insightful debates taking place in opposite corners of the hall.
It was a thrill to make my debut as part of the content team on the show – requiring me to be part-chatshow host, part networking facilitator, part tour guide, and, sometimes, part diplomat – but one of the ironies of this, is that I couldn’t actually get to see half of the good stuff that we had enthusiastically been previewing.
To add to the anxiety of this, the proportion of people that I was hoping to see on their stands was an even smaller fraction. So part of this article is to apologise to everyone that I was hoping to bump into and didn’t – and to exhort you to get in touch we can see whether we can catch up in the weeks and months before InstallerSHOW 24 (it’s only 49 weeks away now…). Of course, that goes for anyone who has a story to tell for the elemental audience of specifiers, building operators and end-users – do email me on email@example.com.
Among the highlights of what I did manage to see was the keynote from Gary Neville in the Decarbonising Buildings Theatre. Like, I am sure, a number of you in the audience, I think I was expecting a media-trained ex-sportsman to be giving us some well-worn anecdotes about the playing days and some platitudes about the current state of the property business.
So it was both a surprise and a delight that it was the best part of an hour of opinion and insightful comment on the real world challenges of developing buildings that are both sustainable and affordable. He had a few choice words for the government too. The highlights are here.
At a more granular level, I also hosted a very enlightening discussion on how we could improve the efficiency of heat networks. For those who don’t know me, I am a strong advocate of the potential that heat networks offer to buildings operators and the HVAC industry that supplies them.
Too often, because they can be complex in terms of design and planning, I think they get overlooked in favour of lower hanging fruit in the low carbon heating discussion – heat pumps I am talking about you. But the conclusion of the debate was that while it is undoubtedly important to get the design and the installation right to make the network perform optimally, the heat network is a vital part of the net zero journey – and it offers all sorts of opportunities to use waste heat too. We will be debating the subject of district heating again in our webinar series on November 7th and 8th.
We will be returning to many of the subjects addressed at the NEC this autumn and winter, whether it be EV charging, decarbonising healthcare and schools or Indoor Air Quality, so do check them out here.
My final exhortation is to keep these debates going throughout the year – all these low-carbon discussions become more valuable as they evolve and take in new viewpoints. If there is something that we aren’t tackling, either in technology or in ‘issues’ terms, drop us a line.