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Efficiency has never been more important than it is right now if you’re about to explore a career in the trades as a plumber, electrician or HVAC technician. Our homes are being transformed as we look for ways to to save money through the use of technology and become more energy efficient.

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in the trades, here’s how technology is shaping your job – and this is what’s in store for you as you prepare.

Honey, I Shrunk the House

It used to be that we wanted houses as big as we could afford. But Millennials and Generation Z have a different approach. They’re looking for ways to increase energy efficiency. Often, it means that they’re looking for houses that have a smaller footprint than previous generations.

They expect houses to be “smart.” These houses will be super-insulated and fitted with HVAC systems that are highly energy efficient, so to cut down on carbon footprints. These houses will likely feature solar panels that will capture and contribute energy to local electrical companies. As an electrician, it’ll be your job to help homeowners set up and maintain these systems.

While tiny houses may appeal to some, the general trend is more about downsizing. These new technology-centric homes also feature interesting new approaches. Gone is the idea of a master bedroom. A home might have two or three bedrooms of equal sizes, as a growing number of people decide to team up with friends to achieve homeownership.

Smart(er) Homes

If you’re under the impression that an HVAC technician or electrician doesn’t have to know much about computer programming, think again. A growing number of standard household devices and appliances are becoming Wi-Fi enabled. It’s an exciting time for prospective electricians and HVAC techs, as the changing industry puts them directly in the path of providing solutions to making all these devices successfully communicate with the Internet of Things (IoT).

This technology isn’t just for show. Smart thermostats and energy-efficient appliances can significantly reduce heating and cooling bills.

Homeowners will increasingly come to depend on professionals to help them add major appliances and complete environmental control systems to automated systems that monitor and run the entire home system.. Even plumbers will be in on this effort, as new faucets and water heaters require Internet connectivity in order to share data to gain efficiency.

The Gatekeepers

Plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians are quickly becoming much more than the people who get called when something goes wrong. The next generation of professionals in these trades will be the experts who orchestrate connectivity and ensure that automated devices live up to their promise of offering convenience and efficiency.

There’s never been a more exciting time to consider a profession in the trades. These crucial jobs will allow us to take advantage of the technological advancements that make our homes and offices more comfortable and efficient.

Learn more about how the trades keep our country running.