An Aira heat pump. Aira is opening a training center in Sheffield, U.K., to train installers.
An Aira heat pump. Photo credit: Aira

Swedish OEM Aira Plans to Train 8,000 Heat Pump Installers Over Next Decade at New U.K. ‘Academy’

The company, which manufactures residential R290 heat pumps, has opened a new training center in Sheffield.

Aira, a manufacturer of propane (R290) home heat pumps, has announced the opening of a new training center in Sheffield, England, which the Swedish company said will train more than 8,000 installers and “renewable technicians” over the next decade.

The Aira Academy: The new facility, named the Aira Academy, spans 320m2 (3,444ft2) and features training rooms and demonstration zones designed to give trainees the ability to practice “a variety of heat pump installation scenarios.”

  • In addition to recruiting students, Aira said it will also provide training to reskill “existing gas engineers.” The company noted that there are more than 151,000 “gas safe engineers” registered in the U.K.
  • Aira said it will welcome “hundreds” of recruits to its new training center this year.
  • The Swedish company established a presence in Sheffield last year when it acquired renewable home energy contractor All Seasons Energy.

Mind the gap: In opening its Sheffield training center, Aira said its goal is to close the country’s green skills gap.

  • The gap is quite wide with regard to heat pump installers. According to a U.K. Parliament report from January 2024, the country had just 3,000 “skilled heat pump engineers” as of 2022.
  • The report states that figure will need to grow to 27,000 if the government is to reach its goal of installing 600,000 home heat pumps per year by 2028.
  • The U.K. is attempting to stoke interest in heat pumps through the “Boiler Upgrade Scheme,” a subsidy program providing grants of up to £7,500 (€8,184/$8,792) to property owners in England and Wales who upgrade from fossil fuel boilers to “low-carbon heating systems.”

The Aira heat pump: Aira was founded in June 2023 and initially offered customers heat pumps supplied by German OEM Vaillant before releasing its own line of heat pumps in March 2024.

  • Aira’s air-to-water heat pump is available in three sizes: 6, 8 and 12kW (1.7, 2.3 and 3.4TR). It can produce hot water at temperatures up to 70°C (158°F) for space heating – via radiators or underfloor piping – and domestic hot water. It comes with either a 100 or 250l (26.4 or 66gal) hot water tank.
  • Optional fan coils enable the Aira heat pump to provide cooling at a capacity of 8–13kW (2.3–3.7TR).
  • Aira’s heat pump is available in the U.K., Germany and Italy and is sold directly to consumers through a monthly payment plan. Payment plans include all upfront costs and can stretch from 1 to 15 years.

What it means for NatRefs: Aira’s stated goal is to install 5 million heat pumps over the next 10 years. The opening of its new Sheffield training facility shows that the company does not plan to rely solely on existing HVAC&R contractors to reach its ambitious target.

  • Aira has previously announced that it plans to open academies in both Germany and Italy. Along with the academies, the company has acquired HVAC&R contractors in both countries. 
  • It acquired Garant Wärmesysteme, a plumbing and HVAC&R installer with locations in Munich and Glauchau, Saxony, in October of 2023. Earlier that year, Aira acquired TermoCinque, an Italian HVAC&R, water and electrical contractor based in Ancona.

Quotable: “I’m immensely proud to open the first-of-a-kind Aira Academy in Sheffield, which enables our ambition to take Europe off gas by training the much-needed green skills workforce,” said Aira CMO Pamela Brown. “By empowering the next generation of clean energy experts, Aira is able to deliver a complete end-to-end service with high-quality installation.”

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