We visited EcoBuild 2016 this morning and the one thing that really stuck out was how small this the event had become. Last year it filled two sides of the Excel centre in London, but this year it was just half that size.
I think unfortunately this is quite reflective of the industry itself at present. While thriving 18 months ago, in the last 10 months, the new government has slashed the Feed-in tariff and killed the Green Deal just as it was beginning to gain a bit of traction. As a result, we are hearing daily news of companies within the sector going out of business. When British Gas announced the closure of their loft and cavity insulation business in February of this year, it made clear that all is not well within the industry!
I think too the reduction of the solar feed-in tariff (that saw some 600,000 homeowners install solar panels on their homes) has had a huge knock-on effect – the amount of solar companies at EcoBuild this year was a fraction of what was on display last year. With regards to solar though there was certainly an increased presence of energy storage companies at the show. This is clearly where the industry has to go in order to ensure solar panels continue to be installed now the financial returns are less attractive. It was reassuring to see that in the 3-4 months since the reduction in feed-in tariff, these companies are already bringing commercial viable products to the table. It was also the first chance I have had to see the Tesla Powerwall in the flesh and it really does look a sleek bit of kit.
Aside from that, the show was a big disappointment to be honest. I don’t know if the organisers are resting on their laurels a little bit but we were at the Grand Designs show at the NEC late last year and that (although a marginally different demographic) seemed far more buzzing. I think perhaps EcoBuild’s position of dominance in the building sector as the no.1 show for energy saving solutions may be coming to an end!
If you are heading down to EcoBuild this week, or you have already visited, we would love to get your thoughts on how it was – feel free to leave a comment below!