Green Building Creates an Opportunity for Electricians

Two years ago Software Advice predicted that electricians would be one of the best-suited construction trades to capitalize on the growth of green construction. It appears that prediction is coming true. Since 2005, the green construction industry has grown from close to three billion dollar industry to one worth roughly $48 billion. And a recent report by McGraw-Hill Constructionstated that electricians are among the trades in highest demand today.

Individuals with electrical skills are needed to fill a wide range of green constructions jobs today--from renewable energy installations to building management projects. To capitalize on the green construction opportunity, individuals in the electrical trade will need a to obtain a green skill set. Below is a break down a few of the jobs--and corresponding skills--that electricians need to fill secure a job as green construction expands.

Skills Related to Renewable Energy Installations

While there are multiple types of renewable energy projects underway, electricians are well-positioned to fill jobs in solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind turbine installations. To fill these positions, electricians will need to following skills.

  • Solar PV - Naturally, these projects require a deep understanding of photovoltaic materials, equipment and codes--particularly article 690 of the electrical code which gives safety standards for dealing with photovoltaics. In addition to these skills, electricians need to know how to reconfigure panels while maintaining proper wiring. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners’ provides detailed skills information on their site.
  • Wind Turbine - Wind turbines require electricians that are capable of working at high altitudes and understand how to distribute power from low, medium and high voltages. Beyond these skills, electricians working on these projects need knowledge of hydraulics, torquing and gearing to properly set up the turbines to capture the maximum amount of energy.

Skills Needed for Energy Management Projects

A complementary set of skills in high demand is around the field of energy management. These projects are based on making an existing building more efficient or creating an energy-efficient building for the onset. These projects require a slightly different skill set.

  • Energy Auditing - Energy auditors need strong analytical abilities as well as an understanding of how lighting and HVAC impact overall energy consumption. Additionally, it's important to have an understanding of how to integrate electrical systems with communications systems.
  • Familiarity with Building Management Systems (BMS) - This role is dictated by a knowledge of computer systems such as programmable logic controls and motion-activated sensors. This means that electricians in these roles will need to know how to configure computerized systems.
  • Familiarity with LEED - The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) estimates that up to 40 percent of LEED certification is done by an electrical contractor. In addition to knowing LEED standards, these individuals need to know how to accrue (and track) LEED credits and coordinate renewable energy installations with energy management projects. The US Green Building Council publishes a comprehensive set of LEED certification information that can get electricians started on this path.

This is just a sampling of the types of green jobs that electricians can move to take advantage of. As the green construction market grows, more and more types of jobs will surely surface. Until then, what skills would you recommend electricians obtain to land a job in green construction?

Views: 171

Tags: LEED, audit, electricians, energy, management


You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network.

Latest Activity

Profile IconDenise Cooper, Maren Cooke, Steven Antonini and 1 more joined Home Energy Pros
Crosbey Archery joined Allison A. Bailes III's group


HVAC design, Manuals J, S, T, & D, Duct leakage, Air flow, ENERGY STAR new home requirements,…See More
Crosbey Archery commented on Ottawa Furnace Filters's blog post Some Useful Information about Furnace Air Filters
"This post is really helpful especially to those homeowners who are still confused on what to…"
Diane Chojnowski posted videos
Diane Chojnowski posted a discussion

Incentives & financing options for home energy upgrades has a useful database of incentives and financing options for home energy efficiency…See More
George Kopf commented on Home Energy Magazine's blog post My Fall Into The Smart Home, Lazy Life
"Matt, Another way of looking at this is that by freeing up my time/brain power, I can give more…"
Chris Laumer-Giddens's blog post was featured

Sparky Doubled the Air Leakage in this Home!

Sparky Doubled the Air Leakage in this HomeThis is the home.This is the hole that Sparky…See More
Chris Laumer-Giddens posted a blog post

Sparky Doubled the Air Leakage in this Home!

Sparky Doubled the Air Leakage in this HomeThis is the home.This is the hole that Sparky…See More

© 2015   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service