The 2011 annual National Insulation Association (NIA) conference was bigger than ever with more than 300 industry delegates and external guests gathering at Harrogate Conference Centre. With the Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and new EPC requirements high on Government’s agenda, it is no surprise that this year’s event saw its largest ever attendance.

The annual event was the first opportunity for open discussion amongst industry peers and associated agencies about the current Green Deal Consultation document. Answering questions about the upcoming scheme a full panel of senior officers from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) attended the conference, addressing key issues from members.

NIA Chief Executive, Neil Marshall said: “The conference was a great success but there are many changes facing the industry and the Green Deal and ECO are very much part of this. The attendance of key members of the Green Deal team is a clear indication of the key role that the insulation industry has in its success.

“Our members have a crucially important role in contributing to the Government’s energy efficiency retrofitting agenda. The Green Deal and ECO have the potential to transform the UK’s housing stock.”

During the conference Marshall highlighted a number of key areas that need to be addressed before the transformation can get underway including:

– Additional support for Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) and Loft Insulation (LI) to maintain sensible volumes under the Green Deal and ECO. Based on the current proposals CWI and LI volumes are expected to reduce dramatically after the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) ends on 31/12/12. This would have serious implications for the industry in terms of jobs and the transition that is needed to SWI and result in lost carbon savings from low cost CWI and LI measures.

– Support and funding from Government for skills and training to support the tenfold increase in Solid Wall Insulation supply chain capacity that will be required.

– A high level Government backed consumer awareness and engagement programme and additional incentives to drive consumer uptake.

NIA Chairman, Tony Hardiman said: “This year’s conference is the biggest to date with over 300 people attending and it’s been all about informing you, our members of the task ahead of us. We have major challenges going forward into 2012 with the Green Deal and ECO but we will be ready for them.”