During the emergence from lockdown, it’s still unclear what the ‘new normal’ might be. Unlike some business sectors, electricians are well-positioned to further increase their relevance in a post-pandemic landscape. Here are a few ideas around what we see as major opportunities for (what you might call) ‘the evolution of the electrician’.
Climate Change (what we’re noticing)
There is the critical issue of climate change and the need to reduce our carbon emissions. Lockdown has heightened public awareness of the problem with (for example), a visible improvement in air quality, caused by dramatically reduced travel and traffic. Decarbonising heat (reducing and eliminating the greenhouse gases it produces) is essential to tackling our climate emergency.
The UK’s Committee on Climate Change estimates at least 14% of our total carbon emission comes from the energy we use just to heat our homes – and recommended that new homes shouldn’t be connected to the gas grid from 2025.
Consequently, the Government’s Future Homes Standard will require all new homes, from 2025, to be future-proofed and provide low carbon heating. So electricity – now increasingly produced from renewable sources – is set to play a key role in new builds.
The need for retro-fitting low carbon heating in existing homes will be a greater challenge – but also a greater opportunity – as we transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Currently, the UK has around 27 million homes, with most (around 85%), heated by gas.
The climate emergency has also highlighted the Government focus on new low-carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles. Wherever possible, people prefer to have a dedicated EV home charging point installed, as it offers rapid charging and built-in safety features.
The demand for such charging points will increase, particularly as the emerging second-hand market in EVs matures. Revised infrastructure and planning measures will be needed to address this growth – and the installation issues for apartments and areas of high-density housing.
Shifting to homeworking has been put on fast-forward by COVID-19. But while it offers some conveniences, it does create urgency to keep electrical outlets maintained. Around half of all UK domestic fires arise from electricity, with most caused by electrical products. Homeworking usually requires a number of such items, including laptops, printers and mobiles.
Did you know, 40% of new homeworkers have more appliances plugged into extension leads than usual? They are often unaware that overloading sockets is a fire risk – and 44% of them are daisy-chaining the leads (an additional fire risk). But this also means that if they can’t access their electrical appliances, their ability to work from home becomes impossible. Meaning many will rely on an electrician to ensure they can continue working!
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