- Features | September 8, 2015
2015 Remodeling Trends for Electrical Contractors
The home improvement industry regularly tracks trends that impact the way contractors do business. Whether it's implementing mobile technology, targeting a new audience or exploring additional product offerings, as we head into the second half of 2015, we'll look at the trends impacting electrical contractors and how you can leverage them to help boost sales.
State of the Industry
According to an IBIS1 report released in March 2015, electrical contractors saw decreased demand because of the recession. The industry, however, is rebounding due to the improved economy and increased construction activity and is expected to fully recover within the next five years. While growth is driven primarily by new construction, IBIS also reports an increase in renovation and retrofitting activity, particularly energy-efficient projects.
Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies recently announced findings from its “Emerging Trends in the Remodeling Market”2 that echo the IBIS report, noting the more than $300 billion in spending in 2014.
Green is the Future
You’ve heard for years the importance of sustainable building. Industry reports, paired with GreenSky data, indicate a prosperous sustainability category. At GreenSky, we have seen a 40.8 percent year-over-year increase in average loan amount, specifically in the alternative energy category, and year-over-year solar installation loan amounts are up 10.2 percent.
The US residential solar market alone saw 76 percent year-over-year growth from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, shattering previous records, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.4 While California leads the country in residential solar installation, other states are catching up, including Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, Georgia, Texas and New York.5
Smart thermostats and smart metering are also on track to replace HVAC management systems of yesterday. U.S. utilities are fast approaching the point where smart meters are the norm, not the exception, with nearly 50 million networked, two-way communicating smart meters up and running across the country as of July 2014. That accounts for 43 percent of the country, up from about 33 percent as of mid-2012.6
The changing landscape of sustainability means it’s imperative to understand how to market your services and become a green-living resource for potential clients. One simple way to become a green business is to implement, and market, a recycling program and remove the waste and old products from a renovation or construction site. You can also create a dedicated sustainability coordinator position within your company who manages the recycling program, as well as certifications and education sessions on a local, regional and national level.
Joining the U.S. Green Building Council, which manages the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, is also a smart option. Any business can join the Council, which is a great way to network, share ideas and stay updated on regulation changes. The Council also provides contractors the opportunity to become LEED Accredited Professionals, adding credibility to your company as a leading sustainable business.
Take advantage of all opportunities to learn, whether that’s tapping the knowledge of experts, such as architects and general contractors in your market, who are already working in the green building space, or signing up for newsletters and following local and state-level&n