There are more people retiring than entering the industry, so there is a sense of urgency to recruit new blood to meet the growing demands of the industry.
To be successful, it’s important to know what lies ahead…but it’s also important to know where we’ve been. The HVAC industry is on a path of growth, providing ample opportunity and job security for those wishing to join the movement.
For their eighth mission, Daniel, Josue and Matt were tasked with some historical research to understand the growth and development of the HVAC industry. And to take a look at the potential for job growth and job security, as well as what the industry may look like in the next few years thanks to evolving technology.
Read on below to see what these Mission: HVAC students think about their futures.
Daniel: To Seize the Industry’s Future, Uncover Its Past
Normal internal human body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper functioning of the body is dependent on constantly maintaining this temperature. The body produces more heat by converting food energy into heat and regulates the release of excess heat to the surroundings.
Since the beginning of the mid-1800s, researchers and inventors have developed all sorts of technologies around dehumidifiers and air conditioners to make dwellings more comfortable for our bodies. Fast-forward to 2015 and the production of Freon-based refrigerants was banned due to the negative effect on depleting the ozone layer. Now, new 410A and other new refrigerants have proved to have a higher cooling effect and better performance when used in the new line of environmentally friendly, high efficiency units. AC units – and the industry in general – have come a long way…with lots to look forward to in the future.
What do I see coming soon in this hi-fi age? How about new digital module controlled systems turning the HVAC industry into an “android” wireless spectrum with versatility beyond imagination?
Josue: The Past and Future of HVACR
Humans have always found ways to stay warm in cold temperatures and cool in hot. Wood fires were used to stay warm and as a source of light when humans lived in caves, but we’ve slowly developed alternative methods throughout time. For example, according to the TV show “Modern Marvels,” the Romans invented the first kind of central heating. Called the hypocaust, this “unit” was a hollow space under homes where they burned wood and would channel that hot air into the floor and walls of a building. We went back to using open fire to heat our homes after the fall of the Roman Empire, but slowly developed better methods with time.
We are now at a point of transition from inefficient equipment and refrigerants that cause ozone depletion and global warming to more efficient equipment and refrigerants that are safe for the ozone. The EPA is slowly trying to wean us off refrigerants that cause major global warming to refrigerants that are less harmful. This is the future, and to prove it, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced a proposal to reduce the consumption of HFCs by 85% between 2016 and 2033, according to a recent article published in the “ASHRAE Journal.”
Equipment manufacturers are also having to meet more rigid energy efficiency regulations that are being placed by the U.S. government. In order to meet these regulations, we have come up with equipment that can regulate itself to meet the demand of heating or cooling without wasting unnecessary energy. The newer pieces of equipment use software and sensors to check the environment and system performance, and then adjust accordingly. Top-of-the-line pieces of equipment are Wi-Fi capable and can be monitored from a phone or computer, which can assist a technician as they may have a general idea of an issue before they arrive at a worksite.
We are also at a point where all the baby boomers are retiring and there is a lack of HVAC technicians. There are more people retiring than entering the industry, so there is a sense of urgency to recruit new blood to meet the growing demands of the industry. This gives me a sense of job security since I know when I graduate and enter the work force I won’t have any trouble finding a good job.
When I enter the field I think there will be more of a demand for mini split systems than central air conditioning systems…at least that’s where the industry seems to be leaning. The commercial industry seems to be leaning toward CO2 systems, so I’m definitely planning to take a class specifically on CO2 systems before entering the industry. From a tool standpoint, the tools used in the industry, such as gauges, thermostats and meters, are all becoming Wi-Fi capable, so technicians can monitor the reading of their instruments from a phone or computer, which can be extremely helpful when troubleshooting issues.
What is for certain is that HVACR industry is booming and is full of opportunities…and I am excited to be a part of it.
Matt: The Future is Near
The HVAC industry is changing…there’s no doubt about it.
I did some research to see what’s going on in the industry. And here’s what I discovered: There’s a demand for better, more efficient systems and a need for more environmentally friendly materials. According to the website ScientificAmerican.com, “one idea is to replace coolant fluids and gases with solid material such as Bismuth telluride,” which can act as a semiconductor. The website also indicates other “cost-efficient ideas” are within the future.
Companies and individuals are also trying to make air conditioners more environmentally friendly. Some are trying to make solar-powered air conditioners, and others are investigating the use of geothermal technology to cool homes.
No matter what wonderful air conditioning systems are created in the future, there will continue to be a need for professional HVAC technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment in the HVAC field is expected to grow 21% in the next 10 years and many systems will need replacing after 10-15 years.” This website also states that because of “advancements in air conditioning technology, you will need qualified technicians to update or upgrade systems.”
Guess what? There will be plenty of work to go around for everyone.