You cannot hope to stay efficient and effective in residential and commercial applications without adjusting your practices to suit developing trends and new technologies. Traditional approaches for designing, installing, and maintaining complex electrical systems are falling by the wayside for modern techniques that are faster, safer, and offer better performance for the paying customer. With 2020 drawing to a close, here are five facets of the electric industry destined to continue expanding and diversifying for the better.
- Products for Reducing Energy Usage
Customers want to have more of a say-so in how their energy gets used and become a proactive force in reducing consumption and subsequent bills. While this driving force has encouraged many to pursue elaborate solar panel systems to negate their energy bills almost entirely, it has also appeared in more “smart” and energy-efficient products and appliances. Because of how diverse this technology has become, customers are finding savings with:
- Smart Thermostats
- Insulated Windows
- Smart Power Strips
- Energy-Star Certified Appliances
When you consider that nearly three-quarters of power consumed by households and their respective appliances and electronics happens when these products are shut off, installing smart strips can lead to saving hundreds on electric bills over a year. These intelligent devices shut off power to these products when not in use, reducing the Phantom Loads.
Likewise, programmable thermostats help to give consumers more control over conditions in their house that could ultimately cost them more over time. These devices only heat/cool your home when you designate active times and not idle points when you are at work.
Appliances are likely where most customers see the bulk of these energy-efficient products on the market. Smart systems like washers can reduce energy usage and even eliminate the overuse of other utilities like the water. In this same market, Energy Star-certified refrigerators use almost 10% less power on average. Upgrades in a household can save customers hundreds over the year.
- DER – Distributed Energy Resources
Because there is such a growing need and demand for sustainable energy, distributed energy resources are moving away from being a commodity of the electrical system to a centerpiece of new technologies with the development of more accommodating energy storage solutions. These DERs are either generation stations or storage technologies that can create as much as 10,000 kW in the appropriate applications. This requires less direct reliance on specific grids and makes green approaches more feasible for residential and commercial consumers. In any use, DER technologies pave the road for the future of sustainable clean energy in communities. Think Super Batteries.
- Interconnected Smart City Technologies
Most of the major cities, including a broad assortment of mid-sized city infrastructures, are implementing varying degrees of smart technologies to be more connected to what is happening with the municipality. This advancement for the city also helps to provide an invaluable position for electrical contractors to install elements of the smart city projects and maintain these pieces of technology to ensure their peak performances.
Between homes and businesses, many of the utilities connect to structures through the foundation, allowing installed smart technologies to detect water leaks, evaluate air quality through residential sensors, and even maintain and power modern streetlight grids and poles. When you consider cloud-based data collection, a more significant database of relative information can showcase the costs of smart city projects and reference established clean energy goals.
Contractors can show customers advanced solutions to persistent problems like power outages, where generators would have been the answer. Smart tech can automate these solutions when necessary, but advanced products also include battery storage and microgrids to keep the lights on. The advantage for the electrical utility in the area is that cities often lack the expertise and equipment to implement smart city projects without technicians and contractors that the utility can supply. The need for collaboration positions utility companies well with local municipalities.
- The Internet of Things + 5G Connectivity
Interconnectivity is a substantial element of smart devices and technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of smart devices and products communicating with one another. Often in larger formats, this technology relied on 4G connectivity to share data between these multiple points. Similarly, mobile devices utilize this same band of transmission to share media and messages between two points. 5G promised a greater connection featuring lower latencies and 10x the data transmission capacities between devices connected to the IoT. While the ultimate rollout of 5G was slower than anticipated, it should become the universal standard within the next few years.
IoT technologies and devices are growing exponentially, leading to the inevitability that they become staples on electric construction sites and the maintenance of active systems in municipalities. For instance, 5G connected devices help with the more rapid transmission of data to give on-site technicians up-to-the-minute information to make the best choices for the system and its components. Learning to work with these devices, service them, and increase their productivity when necessary can find growing job opportunities over the next decade. Electricians and construction infrastructure companies understand the opportunities rapidly approaching.
LED Continues to Outshine
When LED technology first hit the market, the industry knew immediately that it would be revolutionary. As the years pass, this LED technology continues to improve, offering an incredible 25-80% less energy consumption per unit. You can also expect the lifespan of bulbs to be, on average, twenty-five times the length of traditional bulbs on the market. Though it might be a more considerable upfront cost, residences and businesses alike can appreciate the substantial savings possible with LED lighting solutions throughout the property over time.
Another consideration for home and business owners considering the switch to LED is potential insurance breaks and incentives. Because LED bulbs cannot combust, you eliminate the possibilities of pop explosions that could injure occupants. Speak with your insurance provider about rebates or discounts that could be possible by making this cost-saving upgrade to your lighting system.
The winners in the electrical services trades and industries will be those that take up the mantle of innovation and run with it.