24 May 2021

Editor Introduction

Shifting demographics suggest a need for ‘new blood’ in the HVAC industry. It has never been a more important time to attract new applicants into the industry. Fortunately, there is a range of exciting opportunities for applicants of any age, including new disciplines and skills needed as HVAC systems transform in the digital age. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the emerging career opportunities in the HVAC industry?

Jeremy Rainwater Johnson Controls

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clean air a public concern, leading to increased adoption of intelligent, data-driven HVAC technologies that contribute to highly connected environments. The transition towards connectivity uncovers exciting career opportunities in the HVAC industry. Service technicians and engineers, for example, are in high demand in commercial facilities. This need is becoming more apparent as HVAC systems become smarter and capable of optimizing facility efficiencies and energy costs across various industries. For people of every background and at every stage of their career, there’s opportunity for professional development and technical learning to shape them into skilled technicians and engineers to develop, implement, service and manage these smart HVAC solutions. With the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and other connected solutions becoming a critical part of a building strategy, there’s great opportunity to be part of an industry becoming more innovative, diverse, and better for the planet.

With increased focus on technology, new fields are opening in HVAC, from engineering, to software development to product management. The lines between software and hardware are thinning as more manufacturers and scrappy startups enter the HVAC technology space. At Motili, we are seeing a significant increase in companies offering remote monitoring technology, and energy efficiency tracking, hardware and software. New products require innovative minds to create, develop and promote. Much more, we are seeing an increased need for technical competency in the traditional HVAC space combined with technical knowledge of software development especially back-end application programming interface (API) integrations to create applications that interface with existing software infrastructure with emerging technology.

Adrian Gray HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt

In my opinion there has never been a more exciting time to join the HVAC industry as the influence of our profession spreads beyond its traditional scope. In addition to those with traditional engineering skills, it is interesting to consider other areas where HVAC plays. Sustainability is a fast-developing area of expertise supported by the HVAC industry, and there are numerous career opportunities for those passionate about the Green Agenda. Collaborating with Architects to design low-energy buildings in order to reduce CO2 emissions is something many of those starting a career will find interesting. This provides opportunities in the industry for computer modeling, analysts and even code writers. Another area is the digital revolution and the way we use information during the design development. Engineers are now trained to work directly in a 3D model environment, including integrated calculation packages to develop a digital twin of the project.

Data centers are a real growth area that presents a unique and exciting opportunity to those joining the HVAC sector. When you have been engaging with the planning authority and local community groups, there are always departments that will have their own directives or objectives to achieve. For example, traffic and highways and employment officers, all have aspects of planning policy to achieve. Data centers are not significant generators of traffic movements, but conversely, considering their scale, they are not significant contributors to employment. To mitigate this situation, on one scheme, we are working closely with local technical colleges to support the development of student’s technical skills in response to growing demands from industry for well-educated and professional engineers. With continued growth projections, in five or 10 years, digital skills for working in data centers for the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Facebook and Google will be in demand.

Editor Summary

From solutions connected by the Internet of Things (IoT) to new software developments to fresh approaches that promote a greener environment, the HVAC market is rich in opportunity for anyone looking to enter the field. Another critical factor is to get the word out about what HVAC has to offer – the first step in providing the much-needed labor force that can drive HVAC into an exciting and changing future.