Plumbers merchant PTS today opened the first of their Renewable Energy branches which will show customers and visitors the range of renewable products and technology available now and in the future.
The branch, in Aylesford, Kent, is a departure from a normal plumbers merchant branch in that it has no trade counter, nor products on display. Instead there are information pods on different sectors of the renewables market, coupled with interactive presentations from manufacturers and suppliers of technologies in that sector. There’s also an auditorium for presentations and meetings.
“You won’t see a radiator anywhere, nor anything that you might find in a traditional heating and plumbing merchants,” PTS managing director Alan Ball told buildersmerchantsjournal.net. “This is 100% about renewables. And you won’t see anything else like it in our sector of the industry because we are going to have the stock to follow up the enquiries.”
The branch still needs to be a commercial operation so it will be selling products and delivering them from the attached 20,000sq ft warehouse. This will also act as the renewables distribution hub for the whole of PTS in the south east. “We have dedicated delivery vehicles, all with their own renewable energy logo in which, like the branding at the branch, the PTS logo is smaller, because this is all about the renewables”.
The branch is an extension of the company’s earlier Green Room concept which was a showroom attached to a branch showing sustainable and renewable energy products.
“This market is moving so rapidly that we didn’t want to fill the place with products which developments on technology would render out of date pretty quickly. Instead we are focussing on information, on the technology that is at the forefront of this sector and on getting the message out to customers, to housebuilders and developers, architects and specifiers, to anyone who might have an interest in this sector,” he continued.
To that end, the branch will be linking up with schools and colleges across Kent, who will be able to visit as part of their Science curriculum. “It’s those in schools and colleges who will really grasp the message and run with it. They will be designing the fuel cells in 20 years time, so it’s vital we get the message across to them now.”
“The Code for Sustainable Homes will be a real driver for housebuilders in this area,” Ball says. With housebuilding so quiet, many developers are taking the opportunity to investigate new technologies, he says, in order to be ahead of the game when the market does pick up again.
Ball sees the Aylesford branch as the first in a series of maybe six or eight across the country. “We will look at how we do with this one and then, once we are happy with the concept, will roll it out to other areas across the UK. That’s the PTS way.”