Photo 118242982 © Danieldep |
Dreamstime S 118242982 62473181c86b4

It’s Electrifying!

April 12, 2022
Electrification has been an important trend for the past few years, but two recent factors have put a real foot on the accelerator.

Luckily for my blood pressure, March has proved to be a much less stressful month than February, with its grueling line-up of huge events (read last month’s editorial to get some idea). This month Editor-at-Large John Mesenbrink covered the QSC Power Meeting (turn to page 6), and ace freelancer Kelly Faloon covered the MCAA Annual Convention with her Q&A of new MCAA President, Robert Bolton (on the cover). That left me to cover two events, one I’m an old hand at and one I’m brand new to.

The first was the Work Truck Show, which I’ve been attending for a couple of years now (highlights start on page 3). I really like the Work Truck Show and would recommend it to anyone who drives a truck as part of their business or who manages people that do.

The second was the ACEEE’s Hot Water Forum (my write-up begins on page 3 as well). And I must admit, I have done myself and the readers of this magazine a disservice by not dedicating more coverage to the event in years previous. It is the only show out there dedicated to hot water heating and I found it immensely valuable. Every speaker was a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’m still processing some of the insights I gained (so expect more follow-up articles in the months to come).

On the one hand, the two shows could not have been more different. One was in-person, the other virtual. One on a subject important, but tangential to my readers, the other at the very heart what they do for a living. One filled with all the flash and showmanship multi-million-dollar marketing programs could bring to the event, the other packed with enough institutional know-how to staff a board of regents.

But both (to me, anyway) had a common denominator: electrification.

Almost all the big releases out of the Work Truck Show had to do with either new electric vehicles, or the growing electric vehicle charging infrastructure. At the Hot Water Forum, electrification was tied into the growing adoption of heat pump water heaters and the drive towards decarbonization at local, state, and federal levels.

Electrification has been an important trend for the past few years, but two recent factors have put a real foot on the accelerator. First, the 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill earmarks 7.5 billion dollars towards electric vehicle charging stations. That means any fleet manager who has thought about purchasing electric vehicles will soon have one less obstacle to adoption.

Second, energy prices have been climbing. Inflation is currently at a 40-year high, and the price of energy is a big part of that. Combine that with worries surrounding the Russian invasion of the Ukraine (particularly the way Russia is leveraging its natural gas reserves to influence political decisions in Europe) and the sector is the most volatile it has been since the OPEC embargos of the 1970s.

Electrification is no panacea—opponents are quick to point out that fossil fuels provide most of the electricity in this country—but electric vehicles and systems do possess inherent efficiencies that save on consumption. Smart grid systems have the potential to unlock even further efficiencies that can deliver lower energy rates for entire communities. Electrification will also make the adoption of renewable sources—wind, solar and geothermal—more practical.

As was pointed out during the opening plenary of the Hot Water Forum, there are dangers in going too fast. We need to stay open to the what the latest technology can do, we need to be able to adapt in response to new data. But the trend line is clear, and almost all the major manufacturers (both of trucks and water heating equipment) are on-board. The future will be electric, and we’d all better get ready.

About the Author

Steve Spaulding | Editor-inChief - CONTRACTOR

Steve Spaulding is Editor-in-Chief for CONTRACTOR Magazine. He has been with the magazine since 1996, and has contributed to Radiant Living, NATE Magazine, and other Endeavor Media properties.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Contractor, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations