Construction is changing and for electricians working in the industry, there is already a trend toward more technologically sophisticated buildings. 2020 will be no different and while your job won’t be affected by robotics and AI just yet, there are some things you need to take into consideration. From new products to an overhaul of the electric grid, it’s best to stay on top of industry trends.
There’s an increasing demand for electricians who are up-to-date with the latest happenings in the construction industry. Whether you’re a specialist or a generalist, understanding these trends for 2020 will help you stay on top of your craft and keep a full diary.
The Smart Home
The US is the largest consumer of smart home technology ($23.5 billion in 2019 and growing). This means that people are installing smart tech into both new build properties and existing homes. Smart home technology is defined as devices that connect via a network that allows users to control various switches, sockets, and appliances via voice commands or a mobile phone.
This includes things like smart meters for utilities as well as devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The latter are easy for the consumer to set up but some homes may require an electrician to install smart switches and sockets, security systems, and other technology that needs a professional touch.
These are usually simple devices that are easy to install but it’s worth familiarizing yourself with how these work and the product range available. Overall the worldwide smart home market is expected to grow from $76.6 billion in 2018 to $151.4 billion by 2024 so you’ll be seeing more of these devices popping up in your day-to-day work.
The Smart Grid
America’s electrical infrastructure is aging and is being pushed to do more and more, which puts pressure on it. In a bid to modernize the infrastructure, updates are being made to create a smart grid.
This means that two-way sensors will be installed throughout the whole grid including between utility companies and customers. As an electrician, it’s worth understanding how the smart grid works so it’s easy to explain to customers when you need to fit new smart meters to monitor their energy usage.
Across the country, the smart grid will help to increase the efficiency and reliability of the power coming to our homes. While smart meters will help us monitor what we use to help us cut costs and live more sustainably. Electricians will play a large part in creating the smart grid while helping it to become even smarter.
Solar power is more affordable and accessible than ever, which is leading to more homes choosing to install panels. In 2019, the number of installed panels across the US passed 2 million, signaling the demand for this type of energy. Wood Mackenzie analysts expect that to rise to above 3 million in 2021 and 4 million in 2023.
It’s important that all contractors understand the technology and testing associated with installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. As well as the practicalities of installing these large panels. To give peace of mind to your customers and to keep up to date with changes in the industry, it’s worth considering becoming part of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
There’s also a call for other solar-powered technology outside the home including garden lighting and gate openers. Understanding how these types of products work and the range available will help you make the right recommendations for your customers.
Having valuable solar panels ready and waiting to go can present a security concern, not to mention the risk of damage from bad weather. To protect this valuable equipment, the panels can be directly delivered to an on-site, secure PODS container where they’ll be protected as the job progresses.
This means delays such as roof repairs or bad weather won’t affect the panels as they’ll be tucked away safely in a weatherproof container. When you’re ready, they’ll be on hand, which will speed up the installation process.
According to Statista, by 2020 the global LED market is expected to reach as high as $78.8 billion. North America is expected to have about 25% of that market share. This is growing year on year, meaning more and more homes are looking for sustainable lighting.
LEDs make up a big part of this as they draw a lot less power than other types of lights. There are a number of things that electricians need to take into consideration with these types of lights as poorer quality bulbs and lamps run the risk of electric shock during installation. It’s important that you source high-quality lights or educate your customers on the types of lights and bulbs they should be buying ahead of installation.
As well as LED bulbs, look out for smart lighting that can be controlled on a timer, via a mobile phone or through voice commands. These can improve the energy efficiency of a property as well as improve accessibility.
These days, older people aren’t looking to move into retirement communities. Instead, they’re remodeling their homes. While relocating an elderly parent is one option, some people may prefer to stay in their home and adjust it as their age and needs dictate.
As an electrician, it’s important that you understand what might be required in a remodeling job for people who want an accessible home as they grow older. Safety, comfort, and ease of access are key here with the addition of ramps, stairlifts, and accessible bathrooms being large parts of any project.
When it comes to electrical additions to the home, it’s important to consider a person’s safety as they move around. You may be asked to install anti-scalding temperature controls, as well as switches with light-up panels, and motion-activated lighting. To make life easier for wheelchair users, lower wall switches may also be required.
Any home remodel is going to be a lot of work and these complex projects often see delays. A secure on-site container can take away the stress of ordering products to arrive on the day you’re going to fit them. Not only will your new switches, temperature controls, and tools be safe in a PODS container, they’ll also be protected from the elements while you get on with other work to help remodel the property.
You’ll also have your tools and other equipment close at hand without having to rely on a secure truck. By leaving the necessary equipment at the job site, your assets and materials stay safe — plus you’ll save money on fuel as you won’t be driving around a heavily laden truck.
HOW PODS CAN HELP ELECTRICIANS
High-tech developments in the construction industry present a number of challenges for electrical contractors as there’s a need to keep all these new products safe from the weather — not to mention the additional tools and equipment needed to install some of them. The way the industry develops also presents a number of opportunities to help you diversify your business and provide a higher level of customer satisfaction than ever before.
For electricians looking for an easy way to move and securely store expensive equipment and technology on construction projects, learn how PODS can help.