A Glimpse Into the Future of Electrical Contracting

As the trend continues to move to more energy efficient and green building techniques, electrical contractors need to shift their training focus to meet the demands of emerging green businesses. Now and in future years, more and more jobs will require knowledge of and expertise in installing renewable energy technology and alternative power sources such as solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal to reduce operating costs and environmental impact. Electrical contractors will also be called upon to retrofit existing buildings to improve energy efficiency by upgrades to lighting and HVAC systems. The federal government by executive order has goals and guidelines to reduce energy use in existing and new federal buildings by 30 percent. Electrical contractors will be needed to perform energy audits to ensure compliance. Businesses will also need electricians to integrate increasingly complex electrical and communication systems. As more people move to electric vehicles, the installation of charging stations near office buildings and in homes will become common. Electricians will be needed to install these stations and to maintain these vehicles.

Lean construction techniques are also important to help improve construction efficiency and thus lower the overall cost of large building projects. There is a trend toward more prefabrication and the use of building information modeling (BIM). Prefabrication allows wiring to be done in a climate-controlled environment, eliminating safety hazards caused by the weather at a jobsite. BIM helps to prevent costly design flaws before the bricks are in place and works well with inserting prefabricated units in a project.

Various incentives are currently available at the federal, state, and local levels related to the use of renewable energy and alternative power sources. Electrical contractors that can effectively communicate their knowledge of these incentives and have the training and experience to implement these new energy saving products will differentiate themselves and be situated for growth in the years to come.

Kathy Dreier is a Certified Public Accountant at VonLehman and can be reached at kdreier@vlcpa.com. Founded in 1946 and with offices in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, VonLehman is a leading full-service CPA, business advisory, and business turnaround firm with a national reputation in construction accounting. VonLehman provides forward-thinking accounting, tax, and strategic business advice to closely-held businesses, not-for-profits, and governmental entities throughout the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana region. Visit www.vlcpa.com for more information.