BELGIUM/UK: Daikin Europe has signed a partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to create a test-bed for net zero technologies and services in public buildings, including social housing. The agreement, which is the first of its kind between a UK city-region and a Japanese firm, will see up to 1,000 homes benefit from heat pump retrofit trials. The five-year partnership is expected to contribute to Greater Manchester’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2038, while and boosting investment and job creation in the-region.

Daikin previously collaborated on a £20m project, spearheaded by Japan’s New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO), to demonstrate the energy-saving effects of heat pumps in Greater Manchester. This included the installation of hundreds of air-source heat pumps in social housing in Wigan, Bury and North Manchester. Announcing the new partnership, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “It’s a vote of confidence in our ambitious, science-based plans to become carbon neutral by 2038, and shows how we’re using our international outreach to make a positive difference to people right here in Greater Manchester. “We want to connect the dots between decarbonising our homes and buildings, fostering net zero innovation, and developing skills in the green industries of the future. This partnership with Daikin will provide a strong foundation for more opportunities to bring those green jobs, skills, and investment to Greater Manchester.” The partnership includes the installation of commercial heat pump heating and cooling systems in public buildings and providing energy-saving control through remote monitoring. Daikin will also address the shortage of human resources for HVAC&R technology and installation in the UK. This includes developing training programmes with schools and re-employment centres in Greater Manchester as well as creating an official qualification system. Other ideas include remote monitoring for HVAC&R equipment and the use of AI-powered wearable devices for workers, to make it easier to repair equipment in a completely different approach to the past. Masatsugu Minaka, chairman of the board of Daikin Europe and senior executive officer, Daikin Industries, said: “We are committed to making a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Greater Manchester. We will continue to engage in public-private partnerships and as a leading company in the European heat pump market, we will deploy new environmental technologies across UK and the rest of Europe.”

Photo: Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham (left) seals the deal with Daikin Europe chairman Masatsugu Minaka