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Issue: April 2009
By: Frank Bisbee

Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


How do we get the NFPA/NEC to consider another aspect of fire safety?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Cabling Contractor or Consumer,

Are you a guru on the NEC (National Electrical Code)? How do we get the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association to consider another aspect of fire safety in communications cable products?  Toxicity?

Imagine a fire drill (office building, hospital, or school) where everyone was required to wear a blindfold while exiting the building.  That seems sort of ridiculous, but that may replicate part of the scenario that may occur if there is a real fire.  Thick black smoke or colorless and odorless gas can have the same effect on the individual.

Gas emissions, due to the heat decomposition of some return-air plenum (CMP) communications cable materials, are dangerous, because when they come in contact with water (even minute amounts), they immediately form acid.  The water source that the gases use to form these acids can be found almost anywhere-moisture in the eyes, throat and lungs of individuals with whom it comes in contact. For example: due to the heat decomposition, Teflon® FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene), may emit a colorless and odorless hydrogen fluoride gas, which becomes hydrofluoric acid in the eyes, nose and throat of the individuals exposed to the gas.

Virtually everything that burns is toxic.  Some materials are more toxic than others.  During a fire, the occupants should try to exit the structure immediately. However, they may be blinded and choking from either heavy smoke or acids from invisible gases.  

For many years we have acknowledged the issues of reduced flame spread and low smoke generation.  The cables that are located in the plenum space (usually above the ceiling) are potential concealed highways for a fire to spread.  Reduced flame spread is part of the safety formula.  The low smoke generation property of the cable is designed to inhibit the obscuration factor associated with thick smoke.  We need to see the exit signs and the pathways to safety.  Smoke and gasses also have a choking effect when inhaled.  That is one more reason to limit the smoke and gasses.  Both flame spread and smoke are part of the testing criteria (UL910/NFPA 262 for CMP) for communications cables for use in return-air plenum space.  

Safety is too important to ignore.   As the public and private sectors are besieged with higher insurance premiums and liability litigation about safety issues, we asked the "BIG" question.  Does the testing process for fire safety measure the TOXICITY of the cables when overheated or burned?  The answer is shockingly "NO".   

Measuring toxicity output from cables used in building air systems is NOT part of the testing criteria for communications cables.  This important aspect of safety is completely absent from the criteria of the current of the NEC 2008 (National Electric Code) and the proposed criteria of the upcoming NEC 2011. 

During the past several decades, we have seen the effect of product “toxicity” on various industries and the victims.  No one can ignore the echoing repercussions from tobacco, asbestos, and lead.  The finger pointing and lawsuits continue to be prominent in the news.  One common area of these products seems to be the failure to warn the buyers/users about the dangers.

In the last cycle of the National Electrical Code (NEC 2008) an important development for the cabling industry was reaffirmed.  The need to reduce the fuel load in the return air plenums was identified and the code included a provision for the mandatory removal of "abandoned" cable.  This is a big step towards safety, but it does not address the toxicity issue of the cables "in use". 

Can cables emit corrosive and toxic gases when heated beyond their operating threshold? Yes!  Toxicity can affect your ability to escape the burning building. 

RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) compliant cables are now from all of the leading cable manufacturers in the USA. That is a huge step to reducing the exposure to heavy metals in cabling.  However, there are several niche markets that should become aware of the Toxicity and Corrosivity issues.

If some cables are exposed to heat toxic and corrosive gas is produced.

Fluoropolymer materials such as FEP (a common component in CMP cables) under heat decomposition generate Hydrogen fluoride (HF) is a toxic corrosive gas, and can cause death to any tissue it comes into contact with, including the lungs. The toxicity of HF is due to the fluoride ion and not the hydrogen ion. Breathing HF can cause severe lung damage, such as fluid buildup in the lungs (edema) and inflammation of lung passages (pneumonia). The fluoride ion (charged particle) is extremely toxic. It is a small ion and weak acid that diffuses quickly and can pass through tissues with relative ease. Fluoride ions inhibit cell respiration, decreasing production of ATP, the major form of chemical energy used by the body. Fluoride attacks cell membranes causing cells to die. The fluoride ion is negatively charged and naturally likes to react with positively charged ions in the body like calcium and magnesium. When fluoride and calcium bind, creating a "precipitate," a life-threatening condition of decreased calcium (hypocalcemia) can occur. Left untreated, decreases in calcium (and magnesium) can cause abnormal heart rhythm leading to heart attack, muscle spasms and death. Calcium administration is the main treatment for HF poisoning.

HF converts to Hydrofluoric Acid upon expose to moisture, even humidity. Hydrofluoric acid is a very powerful acid that can even eat glass. Imagine the impact on a data center or any collection of electronics. Many companies are unaware that their electronics may not be covered if they are damaged by corrosive acid as resultant damage from a fire event.

Security includes Property Protection.

The protection of property focus of numerous technology seminars seems to ignore the often uninsured aspect of corrosive toxic gas in the data center. Contractors and consumers are often not made aware of the high risk exposure associated with materials in the products used in the data center infrastructure.

A call to your company’s insurer will probably reveal that your own facility is not covered for the resultant damage on the electronic hardware and software (electronic records, etc).

The last data center, that we surveyed, had a fire event which was quickly contained in one small area in a closet. They suffered the loss of all hard drives within 48 hours due to the corrosive effect of the gasses. A HDD that won’t spin can’t be salvaged. Electronic equipment does not like Hydrofluoric Acid.

This is a prime motivator for companies to transfer a copy of their electronic records to secure off-site electronic storage.

In summary, on the Safety and Security issue: “What you can't see can blind you.”  After years of research we have determined that there is no PERFECT cable.  The best solution seems to be a fully informed buyer/user.  Perhaps, the NEC could be amended to include Toxicity in the testing criteria for cables in the air systems.


But that’s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee

Further Info: Web Resources

* Hydrofluoric Acid MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) by DuPont

* Toxics Use Reduction Initiative –

*"Cabling: What You Don’t Know Can Kill You" article by Stephen Saunders   

Industry News

Some History of Residential Wiring Practices in the U.S.

On December 31, 1879, Thomas Edison exhibited his newly invented electric lighting in a few houses along a residential neighborhood in Menlo Park, New Jersey. That New Year’s Eve night proved to be not only historical in terms of its significance to American ingenuity and invention, but it also signified the beginnings of residential electrification in the United States. Although originally available to only the wealthiest of families, by the turn of the century electricity in the home was becoming a reality for more and more people. This paper traces the history of some residential wiring practices from the early days of electricity into the 21st century. Wire and cable systems, overcurrent protection, raceways and boxes, wire splices and terminations, wiring devices, grounding, polarity and special protection devices are presented from the historical perspective of time, necessity, and technology. The influence of Code requirements and common trade practices are also presented.

Click here to read the rest of this paper by David A. Dini P.E. – Underwriters Laboratories Inc.


Anixter “Road Show” & a free movie to pump up sales

Anixter, a supplier of communications products used to connect video, voice, data and security systems, announced on March 24, 2009 that it will host the 2009 seminar series: “Solving the Data Center Optimization Puzzle”. The seminars will discuss practices and discuss future trends around data center security, infrastructure and sustainability.

A video presentation focusing on data center optimization will be broadcast in movie theaters in 10 cities across the U.S. The seminars will also give attendees a chance to participate in live discussions.

"As economic times are changing, organizations are looking for ways to save money and ensure their network is running efficiently," said Andy Jimenez, Anixter's Vice President of Technology for Enterprise Cabling Solutions. "These seminars were designed to help give customers some of the tools and best practices to make certain that the nerve center of their organization -- their data center -- is reliable, efficient, secure and sustainable."

According to the EPA, data centers continue to consume a significant amount of the nation's energy supply -- an amount roughly equal to the electricity consumption of approximately 5.8 million U.S. households. The continuing increase in power consumption will dramatically impact business operations, energy utilities and the environment. these 2009 seminars Series will try to provide attendees with information to help design and secure an energy efficient data center to reduce power and cooling costs and streamline deployment.

Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with leading infrastructure and security manufacturers, and to take advantage of the theater setting, guests will be treated to a private screening of a current blockbuster movie following the event. Guests will also be given two free movie passes for use at a later date. There will be free popcorn and CEUs.

Dates include Orange, CA (April 9); Union City, CA (April 16); Atlanta, GA (April 23); Phoenix, AZ (April 30); New York, NY (May 14); Raleigh, NC (May 21); Orlando, FL (June 4); Houston, TX (June 11); Chicago, IL (June 18); and Boston, MA (June 25).

To register


Bad economy may help environmental push

By Carol Wilson

US enterprises are still willing to go green – if it saves them money. So service providers that recently started marketing the environmental benefits of many network-based services such as telepresence and telework are now emphasizing the money to be saved in real estate and power costs and the productivity gained by enabling mobile workers to be more efficient. Read more:


Belden's New Adaptive Enclosure Heat Containment System 'Greens' the Data Center by Slashing Cooling Costs

Belden (NYSE: BDC - News), a world leader in the development of signal transmission products for industrial, enterprise, building management, broadcast, and security applications, has introduced a new adaptive enclosure heat containment (AEHC) system for data centers that will ensure the entire room is normalized with cold air to just the right amount, with no wasteful oversupply of cooling.


Carl Bruckner, General Manager of Belden's Cable Management Group, states: "The AEHC system is a key addition to Belden's enclosure products, allowing our partners to effectively manage the deployment of high density, high heat load equipment in both new and existing data centers."

In the new Belden system, a pressure reading made by a sensor inside the enclosure plenum modulates the rotational speed of the fans in the two cartridges mounted atop the enclosure. The speed is varied so that they pull out exactly the correct amount of air from the enclosure and send it back to the air conditioner return via a ceiling plenum.

The process of cooling enclosures in a data center today wastes excessive amounts of energy, largely due to oversupply of cold air by computer room air conditioner (CRAC) units attempting to compensate inefficiency in the enclosure cooling process. A recent study on 19 large computer rooms found that, on average, the amount of cold air supplied to a data center room is 2.6 times the amount of cold air actually consumed by the IT load. The CRAC is oversupplying the room with cold air to overcome both bypass leakage and the effects of hot/cold mixing. The result is a significant waste of energy and dollars.

However, because of its innovative heat containment design, the new Belden AEHC system overcomes these problems. Since it completely separates the hot and cold side of operations, the room will be normalized with cool air which never experiences mixing with exhaust heat from the enclosure. The bypass problem is eliminated, too. There is no need to oversupply cold air to the room.

The physical position of the CRAC unit and its proximity to the enclosures are no longer a concern, a fact which greatly simplifies the challenge of data room infrastructure design. Cool air can be fed to the computer room via a raised floor or an overhead duct which enhances your freedom of infrastructure design.

When designing a totally new data center with the AEHC system, you can now install bigger and fewer CRAC units, instead of relying on many smaller units that are less efficient. And when retrofitting an existing room, you can use the same amount -- and same type -- of cooling equipment currently installed. In either scenario, Belden's advanced management software will help you better control your IT environment by giving you real time assessment of enclosure cooling load or demand.

You will be able to deploy more IT load in the same room, a great efficiency benefit in today's economy. If you have space left in your enclosures but aren't deploying more devices there because your cooling system is already at full capacity, you can retrofit Belden's new heat containment system on those enclosures that have the highest heat loads, to be able to host even more IT equipment.

As a bonus, the AEHC system increases the temperature differential between the inlet and outlet temperatures of the CRAC unit for much greater operational efficiency, giving you an important savings in energy consumption. With no mixing of hot and cold air, it is possible to raise the temperature of the cooling air supplied to enclosures to be closer to the ASHRAE recommended upper limit. The cold/hot air paths are fully separated by the system, so the CRAC supplies less air to the room at a higher temperature, and still assures better cooling with no hot spots.

For more information about the AEHC system, download NP 300 at, or contact Belden, P.O. Box 1980, Richmond, Indiana 47375, 1.800.BELDEN.1. FAX: 765.983.5294.

About Belden

Belden is a customer focused company. We ensure that our customers' communications infrastructure issues are resolved and that they benefit from the best signal transmission performance for their investment. We deliver leading-edge copper and fiber cabling/connectivity systems, wireless technologies, and active switch devices. We employ customer-centric go-to-market strategies and we implement and retain world class manufacturing processes. Our partners span the globe, helping our customers design, install, operate and maintain their communications applications. And our experience is vast, including expertise in Enterprise, Industrial, Infrastructure, Transportation, Professional and Enterprise Audio and Video, and Government applications. To obtain additional information contact Investor Relations at 314-854-8054, or visit our website at


Belden to close Virginia plant, eliminate 45 jobs

Belden Inc. said it will close its Midlothian, Va., manufacturing plant by July, resulting in the elimination of 45 positions.

The closing is part of the electronics-components maker's overall corporate restructuring effort. In December, Belden said it planned to cut 1,800 jobs worldwide, or 20 percent of its work force, and consolidate some manufacturing operations, as demand for its products continued to soften.

At the time, the company said it expected the restructuring would help it save $30 million in 2009 and $50 million annually starting in 2011.

Belden said Tuesday that the Virginia facility's work, which includes making connectors and components for industrial-automation applications, will be transferred to its Tijuana, Mexico plant.


Commercial Real Estate is a changing world

In order to take a close look at the changes communications technology has made in the world of commercial real estate, we interviewed numerous Real estate Brokers for their experiences. The results were mixed. Some firms embraced technology while others were still following sales and service methods of yesteryear. The results spoke volumes in favor of the technical savvy broker.

Both BOMA – Building Owners and Managers Association and NAIOP – National Association Of Industrial and Office Properties  have added communications technology to the required list of MUST HAVE capabilities for success.

Pete Gentry, A Licensed Real Estate Broker from Jacksonville, Florida told us that these days, buyers & sellers, landlords & tenants, offering or searching for commercial real estate overwhelmingly use the internet to accomplish their task. He added “Florida Commercial Real Estate Services is well aware of this modern trend and has focused on the World Wide Web to promote properties they have for sale or lease. In commercial real estate it seems also that this trend is more effective for some types of properties than others.”

Peter Gentry, Florida Commercial Real Estate Services LLC. - tel (904) 470-0010 commented: “As far as we are concerned commercial real estate has picked up and we are having more calls and activity in the last three months than the previous year. Real estate is very local. When you hear reports from the national television that sales are down, that is an average which is weighted heavily by California, the Sun Belt, and South Florida. North Florida did not participate in the huge run up in prices of “residential” real estate. Currently we see a buyer’s market for office and industrial properties. Many property owners are motivated to sell for a host of reasons.”

The Small warehouse or office condominium properties seem to do better the old fashioned way by placing a sign on the property. However office buildings for sale will overwhelmingly bring investors or tenants through internet searches from all over the country. In fact most of their phone calls from brokers and buyers and prospective tenants come as a result of their searching the web.

Florida Commercial Real Estate Services uses a variety of commercial real estate listing and data services from Loopnet, CoStar, Property Line, Biz buy sell, BizQuest, and even the local MLS. They use wireless technology extensively. They also have wireless routers in their office and at the staff’s homes which allows them to carry their HP laptops and drop down almost anywhere and access email, listing services, etc.

Susy Turney also a principal at Florida Commercial Real Estate Services reminded us; “We also use high tech AT&T HTC Fuze phones which allows us to synchronize our contacts and data with Microsoft Outlook, and other applications on our laptops. The HTC Fuze PDAs also help us find properties with the help of GPS Services from AT&T and have a 3.6 megapixel camera.”

The brokers at Florida Commercial have a long history of technology having had careers in IT as programmers, managers and directors for several Fortune 500 companies. Florida Commercial Real Estate Services is truly high tech.

Wired and wireless: this firm is maximizing every opportunity to improve values for their clients.


WESCO’s and CSC’s Chicago Sustainability Summit a Success
Next up, Phoenix on April 29

March 5, 2009, Rosemont, IL. WESCO and CSC hosted their first of ten 2009 Sustainability Summits just outside of Chicago on March 5, 2009. 250 customers participated in the Summit and gained insight and strategies to begin or enhance their sustainability programs.

Roy Haley, WESCO's Chairman and CEO, opened the Summit and welcomed the large audience providing key observations about becoming a green and sustainable organization - with an emphasis on leading by example.

Andy Karsner, the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Energy (2005-08), served as the keynote speaker for the event. Mr. Karsner "wowed" the audience in his one-hour keynote. The most memorable quote of the day from Mr. Karsner was "….this is about being green, but green is also about building that hedge. It's about making us more competitive and more productive - ensuring that our economic development persists." David Bemoras, Vice President of WESCO and the leader of CSC, commented that "if Andy Karsner can't get an organization motivated to do the right things for their business and their community by embracing green technologies and taking costs out…nobody can."

The balance of the day included other key notables in green and sustainability circles such as George Tuhowski, the Chairman of the Chicago Chapter for the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and George Malek from Commonwealth Edison along with detailed breakout sessions that focused on data center sustainability and lighting solutions. In addition, a 30-company tradeshow topped off the event as the industry's leading suppliers offered customers the opportunity to see their latest green solutions. The next stop for the Sustainability Summit is Phoenix on April 29. The feedback from the Chicago Summit has been outstanding and WESCO is emerging as leading market advocates in the green and sustainability movement.

Visit to learn how you can attend an upcoming Sustainability Summit near you.


GRAYBAR leads the pack in many areas

Graybar’s 2008: $5.4 Billion

Details about Graybar’s calendar year 2008 were posted March 10 to Highlights:

  • Sales in both the electrical (2.3%) and comm/data markets (2.7%) increased. Sales came in at $5,400,194,000, up 2.7%.
  • Q4 sales were down 6.3% from 2007. Q4 gross margin declined 3.4%, the company said.
  • Gross margins for the full year were 19.3%, down from 2007 (19.6%) but up from 2006 (19.2%). The company blamed the year-over-year decline on “increased price competition during the last half of 2008 and inventory markdowns during the fourth quarter of 2008, primarily on copper wire and cable.”
  • Net income was higher, at $87.4 million. Net cash provided by operations came in at $148.5 million, up 57% over 2007. The company reduced its long-term debt “net of proceeds” by $28.9 million during 2008.

Separately, Graybar put out a brief press release on 2008. From Robert Reynolds Jr., chairman, president and CEO: “The economic challenges of 2008 aligned our entire organization around a shared strategy. We focused on achieving profitable organic growth and improving our performance, which produced record results for the second year in a row.

“Our employee ownership model drives us to consistently focus on serving our customers and manufacturing partners. The results of our efforts are reflected in Graybar's healthy financial statements, including our low debt position.

“We are well positioned for these uncertain times and believe we are equally well prepared for when the economy turns the corner.”

Additional Graybar news:

  • Karl Griffith, director of enterprises markets for Graybar, is quoted in a March 11 story on data center construction posted to Here’s a meaty paragraph:

    Griffith and his company maintain what he called a data center index, looking at all the distribution components that go through Graybar in its work with customers. He said the first two months of this year were flat with the same two months of last year. “I think flat is good news,” he said.
  • Beatty D’Alessandro, senior vice president and CFO at Graybar, sat for an interview with Modern Distribution Management, the newsletter. Subscribers can see the piece (posted in two parts, Feb. 25 and March 10). Here are some answers of note:

    “Business was strong until October and then it trailed off. It was two completely different economies in the same year. We think this slower trend will continue over the next few quarters, reflecting less construction activity, less activity in the markets we serve. We’ve planned accordingly.”


    On copper’s price moves: The swing “hurts us, but not as much as it could have. We use the last-in, first-out, or LIFO, method of inventory valuation. So the upswing in our inventory value had little impact on our profits.

    “As the price shot up and our inventory became more valuable, we captured the gain against future declines in cost. We account for our inventory this way because it better matches current cost with the current selling price.

    “It is a conservative accounting approach. Ultimately, our LIFO reserve grew. If we had used the more-common average-cost method of accounting, about half of that reserve would have flowed through as profits over the last few years.

    “As copper prices have declined, our LIFO reserve has worked in the opposite direction, protecting our gross profits. That’s a nice buffer during times like these.”

Reprinted with permission from The Electrical Distributor Magazine


IDEAL Drives Contractors into Victory Lane with New "Shift Into High Gear" Rewards Program

Who couldn't use a new TaylorMade® driver just in time for golf season? Or a Daiwa® fishing kit to enjoy on a lazy afternoon? Both are available now with IDEAL's "Shift Into High Gear" rewards program that lets contractors turn purchases of electrical and datacomm supplies into summertime fun prizes.

The IDEAL "Shift Into High Gear" rewards program makes it easy to win.  Professional contractors and installers submit invoices from their distributor dated April 1, 2009 till July 31, 2009 detailing their purchase of IDEAL electrical and datacom products. Next, they select from three qualifying levels to claim their rewards:

First Gear ($2,500): Cleveland® CG12 Black Pearl Wedge, Garmin® eTrex H Handheld GPS, 1 year Netflix® 1 DVD/Unlimited, Apple® iPod Shuffle 2GB and Accessory Kit, Danby® Maitre'D Wine Cooler, Daiwa® Executive Travel Fishing Kit.

Second Gear  ($5,000): TaylorMade® Rossa Spider Putter, Garmin® Nuvi 255 Portable GPS, Samsung® Home Theater System (HT-Z310T), Apple® iPod Nano 16GB, FireSense® Stainless Steel/Black Patio Heater, The North Face® Tadpole 2-person Tent.

Third Gear ($10,000): TaylorMade® r9 Driver and 12 TP Red Golf Balls, SkyGolf® SkyCaddie SG5 GPS and 1 year Eagle Membership, Samsung® Blu-ray Disc Player (BD-P1500) and 1 year Netflix® 2 DVD/Unlimited, Apple® iPod Touch 32GB, Weber® E-210 Gas Grill, Sevylor® 2-person Pointer Kayak.


Rewards may be claimed by combining multiple invoices from multiple distributors during the promotional period. Invoices must be submitted to IDEAL by August 31, 2009 by fax or US mail.

For more information, contact IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC., Becker Place, Sycamore, Illinois 60178. Or phone 1-800-435-0705, Fax: 1-800-533-4483. On the web,

IDEAL Launches New Industrial Focused

IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. a worldwide leader in tools and supplies for professional electricians, has launched of a new customer service team focusing on its Industrial Division Customers.

This group will provide dedicated support to Precision Tooling, Engineered Solutions (OEM) and Industrial MRO customers, the three primary business units of the IDEAL Industrial Division.

According to Cassie Donnelly, Sales Support Manager, Retail/Industrial Division, the demands and business processes of the customers in the Industrial Division require a different type of support than electrical distributors: "We are excited to launch this sales support group to our industrial customers to be able to handle their specific market needs and to continue provide them with the superior level of service IDEAL is known for."

For more information, contact IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC., Becker Place, Sycamore, Illinois 60178. Or phone 1-800-324-9571, Fax: 1-888-222-6140. On the web,


IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. has been serving the electrical industry since 1916. IDEAL is one of the world's leading manufacturers of professional quality tools and supplies serving installation professionals in the construction, maintenance, data communications and original equipment manufacturing industries.


International Optical Communications Event

With Business-Focused Programming and 800 Technical Paper Presentations

OFC/NFOEC is the Industry’s Most Influential Technical and Business Forum

What:Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optics

Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) 2009

When/Where:             March 22 - 26 (Exhibits open March 24-26) at the San Diego Convention Center 

Details:                       As the largest and most comprehensive international event for both the science and business of optical communications, this year’s event will host the entire scope of optical communications, providing educational programming, exhibits and other activities for all audiences from systems companies and equipment manufacturers to service providers and carriers.


·         550 optics and electronics exhibitors (40 percent based outside the U.S.)

·         Comprehensive technical program, featuring both the OFC and NFOEC programs, will comprise hundreds of sessions, including workshops, short courses, special symposia and paper presentations

Highlights:                  Business and Technical Programming:

OFC/NFOEC will deliver exclusive and timely programming this year for the 15,000 people expected to attend the conference. Visit the online conference program periodically for regular programming updates. In the meantime, here’s a preview of what to expect:

·         OFC/NFOEC 2009 Plenary Session, scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, featuring:

o        Philippe Morin, president, Metro Ethernet Networks, Nortel, Canada

Talk: The Changing Landscape in Optical Communications

o        Lawrence Lessig, professor, Stanford Law School, USA

Talk: Getting the Network the World Needs

o        Shri Kuldeep Goyal, chairman and managing director, Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) Ltd., India  

Talk: The Growth of Fiber Networks in India

Join these industry leaders for a unique perspective into today’s business realities.

·         Hot topics in technical development, including luminary presentations on datacomm, FTTx, future Internet, 100G advances, Ethernet, and optical grids.

·         Market Watch: Business and Technology - This three-day series of panel sessions, held March 24-26, engage the applications and business communities in the field of optical communications. Presentations and panel discussions feature esteemed guest speakers from industry, research and investment communities. Topics include 100G Standards, Next- Generation Optical Networks, DWDM Solutions and 10G to 40G to 100G.

·         The Service Provider Summit is a dynamic program with topics and speakers of interest to CTOs, network architects, network designers and technologists within the service provider and carrier sector. The Service Provider Summit will be held Wednesday, March 25 and will feature a keynote presentation from Robert Blumofe, vice president, Networks and Operations, Akamai, USA. Other speakers include executives from Tata Communications, NeoPhotonics and Verizon.

·         Hundreds of educational workshops, tutorial sessions and technical presentations.

                              Private media events will include:

·         A media lunch panel at 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 - OFC/NFOEC representatives and participating panelists from the scientific, corporate and analyst communities will provide a high-level view of the industry and innovation.

Registration:               Media/analyst registration for OFC/NFOEC 2009 can be accessed via the OFC/NFOEC online Media Center.

Contact:                      Please contact us or visit the OFC/NFOEC Web site for additional information, including travel arrangement details.

Keira Shein, +1 410.363.9494,

Leah Wilkinson, +1 703.907.0010,       

Colleen Morrison, +1 202.416.1437,   

Angela Stark, +1 202.416.1443,

About OFC/NFOEC:  Since 1979, the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC) has provided an annual backdrop for the optical communications field to network and share research and innovations. In 2004, OFC joined forces with the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC), creating the largest and most comprehensive international event for optical communications. By combining an exposition of approximately 550 companies with a unique program of peer-reviewed technical programming and special focused educational sessions, OFC/NFOEC provides an unparalleled opportunity, reaching every audience from service providers to optical equipment manufacturers and beyond.

OFC/NFOEC,, is managed by the Optical Society (OSA) and co-sponsored by OSA, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Communications Society (IEEE/ComSoc) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (IEEE/LEOS). Acting as a non-financial technical co-sponsor is Telcordia Technologies, Inc.



Endowment Aimed at Stimulating Local Area Job Growth

Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc. is pleased to announce the donation of two of its manufacturing facilities and properties to Ashe County Job Development Inc., a community economic development organization focused on attracting businesses and job opportunities to North Carolina’s Ashe’s County. The properties, located in Jefferson, North Carolina, are being donated to assist in the creation of local area jobs. Due to the severe decline in residential housing starts and commercial/industrial construction, the manufacturing of product lines at these facilities was consolidated at plants the company operates in Morganton, North Carolina and El Paso, Texas last year.

As a leading employer in the community for four decades, Ashe County and Leviton have shared a mutually beneficial partnership, with this year marking the 40th anniversary of the relationship. Over this period, Leviton has developed world-class operations and implemented ISO Certification, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, 5s and JIT programs with the help and support of its employees. Leviton employees have also designed and built the company’s automation equipment along with various molds and dies required in the manufacturing process.

As a family-owned company that provides active support for the communities in which it operates, Leviton anticipates that its donation will position Ashe County to competitively recruit job opportunities for those employees who have been affected by the impact of the economic downturn. It is on behalf of those employees that Leviton makes this donation, notes Lou Lovelace, Vice President and General Manager of the Company’s Southern Devices Division.

About Leviton Manufacturing

Leviton Manufacturing is North America’s leading manufacturer of electrical and electronic wiring devices. Founded at the dawn of electricity, Leviton has a 103-year long history of product innovation and service excellence. The company’s forward-thinking management practices and employee programs have received recognition from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and healthcare provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Leviton has a long tradition of philanthropy and social responsibility programs, employee wellness programs and incentives for healthy living and a “green mandate” that supports energy efficient building construction, energy conservation and ecologically conscious business practices. For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing or visit



Leviton is pleased to announce the appointment of Eileen McGlone to the position of Director of Marketing for its Commercial and Industrial business. In her new post, McGlone is responsible for building sales of the company’s commercial and industrial wiring devices across its electrical distribution, retail and end-user markets.  Working with product management, ED field sales and OEM & Retail business teams, she will focus her efforts on growing Leviton’s commercial and industrial market share through innovative product roll-outs, enhanced customer programs and services and management of the company’s commercial & industrial brand.

McGlone’s background and credentials include more than 20 years experience developing and implementing marketing and customer retention plans for a wide range of companies. Prior to joining Leviton, she worked for Polar Electro, Inc, a manufacturer of health and fitness assessment equipment and products as a Senior Customer Marketing Manager. There she developed programs and initiatives to generate revenue in the company’s business-to-business and business-to-consumer segments. She also worked as Director of Marketing for Drake Media Network, Inc. and a Senior Business Analyst for Cablevision Corporation, a Media Associate for Phillip Morris, Inc. and held several marketing positions with Avis Rent A Car.

McGlone holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Dowling College and Bachelors Degree in Business Economics from the State University of New York. She lives in Huntington, New York with her husband, Sean, and 2 children, Pauline and Lauren. For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing Co.,  59-25 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck, NY 11362-2591, or visit our Web site at


Mega Snake® High Capacity Cable Tray Is Now Available for Under floors

Snake Tray is pleased to announce that Mega Snake, the high capacity cable tray, can now be quickly installed under floors prior to and independent of the access floor installation. Mega Snake’s floor mounting system consists of support brackets that install in 15 seconds per foot of cable tray.  Mega Snake has a UL Classified grounding connection and pre-manufactured turns, tees and crossings which eliminate labor-intensive cutting and clipping and significantly reduces installation time and costs. Mega Snake requires no costly bridge and brace hardware and can be easily moved and reused. Mega Snake’s accessory rail allows for convenient placement of power modules and trays nest together saving on shipping costs and material handling.

For further information on Snake TrayÒ products please call Molly Hays on 800-308-6788 or email or visit


Megladon Manufacturing Is Added to Corning® Cable Systems’ Cable Assembly House (CAH) Program

Megladon Manufacturing Group announced acceptance into Corning Cable Systems’ Cable Assembly House (CAH) Program. A new product family is now available for immediate shipment that includes Megladon’s HLC SCRATCHGUARD™ termination technology and Corning Cable Systems’ fiber optic components. This will provide the industry with a scratch resistant mating surface assembly manufactured with the most widely accepted fiber optic connectors and jacketed premise/trunk cable.

“We are excited about utilizing Corning Cable Systems fiber optic components for several of our product families”, stated John Culbert, President and Partner at Megladon. He continued “We know our patented HLC technology and termination experience coupled with Corning’s products and support will give our customers a powerful solution. We are also located in a geographic area that can support Corning’s customers with quick-turn availability of finished assemblies”.

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, continues to demonstrate its leadership and innovation in local area network (LAN) and data center solutions.

¨    Megladon Mfg. Scratch Guard™ Fiber Optic test & patch cables and Fluke Networks combined to deliver a powerful and durable testing system solution for the Fluke Networks amazing DTX CableAnalyzer™ 

Incredible but true: Test results showed that over 1000 insertions of the Megladon Scratch Guard™ Fiber Optic test cables used on the Fluke Networks amazing DTX CableAnalyzer™  showed virtually no degradation or scratching.

About Megladon Manufacturing
Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd.®, is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes please visit the company’s website at or respond by email to

About Corning Incorporated
Corning Incorporated ( is the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics.  Drawing on more than 150 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, Corning creates and makes keystone components that enable high-technology systems for consumer electronics, mobile emissions control, telecommunications and life sciences.  Our products include glass substrates for LCD televisions, computer monitors and laptops; ceramic substrates and filters for mobile emission control systems; optical fiber, cable, hardware & equipment for telecommunications networks; optical biosensors for drug discovery; and other advanced optics and specialty glass solutions for a number of industries including semiconductor, aerospace, defense, astronomy and metrology. Corning cabling Systems continues a healthy growth during these exceptional times.


Megladon Manufacturing Presents HLC® SCRATCHGUARD™ Fiber Technology at BICSI U.S. South-Central Regional Meeting

The BICSI U.S. South-Central Regional Meeting in Houston, Texas on February 26 provided excellent value to the meeting attendees. The regional meeting included informational presentations from Megladon Mfg (, Tyco Electronics (, Panasonic System Solutions ( and others as well as vendor showcases from ADC (, Maxcell ( and many others. Lunch was provided along with CEUs.

Regional meetings, such as the South-Central meeting, allow BICSI members to attend shows with reduced travel time and cost while still receiving the value of a big conference. Michael Collins and other regional directors do an incredible job of promoting these events utilizing contributed time.

U.S. South-Central Region Director
Michael Collins, RCDD
Technical Sales Manager - AT&T
6500 W. Loop South, Zone 4.8
Bellaire, TX 77401
Tel: +1 713.567.1234
Fax: +1 832.553.8047
Cell: +1 713.306.6134

Megladon Manufacturing’s presentation “Extending the Lifecycle of Fiber Optic Cables” (Power Point Presentation at highlighted the challenges within fiber optic networks because of the fragile nature of fiber optic cables. Scratches and contamination on the mating surface of a fiber patch cord will cause decreased performance in the overall network, making the network only as reliable as the patch cords.

Industry best practices can contribute to extending the lifespan of the fiber optic cables, but are limited in their ability to actually safeguard fiber cables from damage.   An introduction to Megladon Manufacturing. SCRATCHGAURD™ technology shows how existing technology can help strengthen optical networks through more robust connector technology.

By John Culbert, President – Megladon Manufacturing.

“We are pleased and excited about serving the BICSI organization”, stated John Culbert, President and Partner at Megladon. He continued “We know our technology is good for the industry because it solves many of the struggles that have existed for years. Our goal is to educate the market concerning our existing HLC SCRATCHGUARD technology and continue to develop new solutions”.

Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd.®, is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes please visit the company’s website at or respond by email to



Mohawk, a leading manufacturer of copper cable and fiber optic products, announces the release of the indoor/outdoor version of Spectrum low skew video twisted pair cable.  First in the industry to offer this solution, Mohawk developed this cable in response to our “Voice of the Customer” initiative, while the use of digital signage applications for marketing and advertising continue to strengthen.

This product begins with Mohawk’s Spectrum design of four twisted pairs under one jacket.  This is a great alternative to coax for RGB (Red, Green, Blue) video applications or component style video broadcasts.  The product is then enhanced with a water-blocked design and a black sunlight-resistant jacket.  Spectrum I/O was designed for applications that run from inside a building to outside locations. It can be installed in flood-prone indoor locations or outdoor duct locations where standard plenum or riser-rated cables fail. It is suitable for outdoor applications in addition to having a UL/CM rating for indoor applications.

As with our Spectrum cable, the indoor/outdoor design is built strictly for video transmission and will not support other data-type applications. The primary market served is in Digital Signage, which includes retail, education, banking, government, hospitality and transportation. A secondary market is the broadcast arena for in-studio video monitors.

For more information on Spectrum, as well as other Mohawk products, please visit our newly re-designed website at or call 800-422-9961.

About Mohawk
Mohawk, a division of Belden, is headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, and has been providing fiber and copper cable innovations for over 50 years. Their headquartered location dedicates 210,000 square feet to today’s most advanced facilities for the design, development and production of copper, fiber optic, and hybrid wire and cable. Mohawk, an ISO 9001 certified company, develops products to meet and support TIA/EIA, ISO/IEC, ICEA and NEMA standards. As part of the global Belden operations, Mohawk is supported with worldwide management, financial resources, and distribution capabilities.


Moving into new markets means new licenses

As local markets feel the pain of a shrinking economy, numerous cabling contractors are reaching out to new areas. When you cross a state line, you will find a whole new set of regulatory requirements. Licenses must be applied for along with the entire process of training, testing, and a host of bureaucratic steps to be completed.

Most contractors are good at their respective areas of trade. Most contractors are not trained or experts in the constantly changing world of Business and Professional regulation and licensing. You probably should seek the services of an outside expert to guide your steps through this complex minefield of government protocols.

We researched to market for a selection of firms that could assist the contractor and found numerous firms to choose from. However, few firms did it all. We contacted one firm that claimed to provide all of the services required for the full licensing process. We talked to their clients and found their claims of quality and service were 100% accurate.

Our pick for BEST CHOICE in the Southeast is API Processing Company.

Unlike other companies, API manages the entire process from start to finish. Obtaining a state license can be an arduous process. It's even harder when you have to study for an exam and maintain your current job schedule and family obligations. As a Full-Service Processing Company, API manages the entire licensure process so you don't have to.

Comments from clients include “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your company for an outstanding job well done on the process my application for a State Electrical Contractor’s License as you know the processing requirements have become much more difficult. Thank you for all the hard work and dedication that was put forth into obtaining my State Certificate.  You and your company should be proud.  I will recommend your services; and I look forward to doing business with you in the future.” 

Experience You Can Trust!

API's founder and President, Dawn Johnson has worked in the Electrical and Construction industry for over 25 years. In addition to her vast experience in the industry, Ms. Johnson was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Contractors Licensing Board between 1992 and 2002. During her tenure on the Licensing Board, Ms. Johnson served on numerous committees. Most importantly, she presided as the Application Committee Chairman. As head of the Application Committee, Ms. Johnson was in charge of enforcing licensing laws and overseeing licensing activity for the entire State of Florida.

As you can see, Ms. Johnson is highly qualified and knowledgeable about the licensing process. She has personally built a team of professionals who are ready and available to handle any and all licensing issues and requirements made by the state. Her knowledge and experience are unmatched in the licensing field.

Quality Service

Not only does API offer the most experience in the licensing industry, we also offer the highest quality. Other companies only take your information and fill out your license application, leaving you to do all the rest. If there is an issue with the licensing board, they consider it your problem! This business approach may explain why these companies offer service at such a nominal fee.

At API Processing, we don't just push paperwork! Our company manages every aspect of the licensing process from start to finish. Our services range from preparing our clients to appear before the Contracting Board to forming corporation and fictitious name certificates. API is a full-service processing firm. API takes the guesswork out of the licensing process and we guarantee service until your goal is accomplished.

As a client of API, you will receive the benefit of personal one-on-one attention from our experienced professional staff; licensing expertise that is unmatched in the industry; and our commitment to your satisfaction and licensing goals.

API Processing Licensing Services

API Processing offers a wide variety of licensing services for the Electrical and Construction Industry. Our company provides quality service and experience that is unmatched in the industry. Don’t get bogged down with tedious applications and licensing laws. Let our staff of licensing experts manage the whole process for you!

Construction Contractor Licenses:





Underground Utility Excavation

Gas Line

Precision Tank Tester

Internal Pollutant Storage Tank Lining Applicator

Residential Solar water heating

Commercial Pool/Spa

Swimming Pool/Spa Service



Sheet Metal

Class A & B Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning Service

Glass and Glazing

Gypsum Drywall

Specialty Structure

Pollutant Storage System

Residential Pool and Spa


Electrical and Alarm Contracting Licenses:

Electrical Contractor

Alarm I and Alarm II system contractor

Low Voltage contractor

Sign Specialty contractor

Limited Energy


Lighting Maintenance

Utility Line

Assistance with application processing:

API prepares and processes required state applications and documents to simplify the process and obtain your license.

Initial Certification

New Business

Additional Business



Out-of-State Licensing

County & State Registration


Services Include:

Educate and consult our client on licensing laws and the licensing process

Determine Eligibility Qualifications based on client’s specific needs and background

Prepare and process licensure application

Assemble necessary documents

Prepare applicant for Board appearance, if required

Oversee the clients application until approved

Business Licensing Services:

Provide business Insurance

Worker’s Compensation or Worker’s Compensation  Exemption

Form Corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, and Fictitious Name

Financially Responsible Officers


Website Design, Business Plans and Cards

Find qualifiers for Start-up, Existing Companies ie., death of license holder or desertion by disgruntled employee, etc.

Registered Agent Service for out of state companies     

Foreign Corporate Filing

Exam Assistance:

Exam application processing

Provide exam materials

Allocate the appropriate prep schools, seminars, or home study programs

Consult with client about the exam process, testing procedures, and important rules.  



MRV COMMUNICATIONS, INC. <>  (Nasdaq: MRVC), a leading provider of products and services for out-of-band networking <> , physical layer switching <> , WDM and optical transport <> , metro Ethernet <> , fiber optic components, 10GE and other service aware networking products, today set a new KVM industry benchmark for user density and for video quality with the launch of two new MAX-KVM IP-based keyboard video mouse (KVM) switches <> .

Both new switches deliver as many as six concurrent high-quality digital video sessions, which can each be shared by as many as ten users—density crucial in environments that require multiple users to access servers at the same time. The switches also offer best-in-class video, refresh rate and mouse synchronization.  The two new switches include the 16-port MK-616, tailored to computer and networking test labs that need a high ratio of users to controlled devices, and the 48-port MK-648 designed for server farm and enterprise data and application centers.

Both the MK-648 and the MK-616 come in a compact 1U rack-mountable form factor and are managed via MRV’s “Orion” client, an advanced, secure, intuitive, high-performance Java software application that provides server access from anywhere using any platform and operating system.

“MRV’s launch of these industry setting new switches comes at a key time, as KVM’s role in the data center is intensifying as enterprises boost server density using blade and other compact servers,” said Noam Lotan, president and CEO of MRV Communications.  “Meanwhile, our communications test lab customers increasingly need server access as they test content- and “cloud-” related applications that integrate network equipment with servers.  The MK-616 and MK-648 meet the needs of both applications.”

Multiple MAX-KVM switches can be clustered to achieve a unified environment for controlling large numbers of devices.  Clustering MRV’s KVM switches requires no additional hardware or software components and gives lab managers control of their server farms from anywhere in the world.  Additionally, the MK series improves scalability and modularity in multi-server environments, simplifies – operation, administration, maintenance and satisfies growing computing needs.

The 16-port MK-616 switch is tailored to the high user-to-device density needs of test lab customers with its intensive server control, provision of superior quality video performance to remote IP and local users and intuitive clustering mode.  It offers engineers access to servers without physically entering the datacenter and offers lab administrators the ability to easily manage and cluster servers without the need for additional hardware or software modules while combining a unique embedded firewall, security capabilities and secured shell CLI.

Pricing and Availability
Both the MK-616 and MK-648 are generally available from MRV and its worldwide network of partners.  The MK-616 has a list price of $9,500, and the MK-648 price is $12,500. Price includes all software components and unlimited number of users.

About MRV Communications, Inc.
MRV Communications, Inc. (“MRV”) is a leading provider of network equipment and services, and optical components. MRV’s networking business provides equipment used by commercial customers, governments and telecommunications service providers, and includes switches, routers, physical layer products and out-of-band management products as well as specialized networking products for aerospace, defense and other applications including voice and cellular communication. MRV’s optical components business provides optical communications components for metropolitan, access and Fiber-to-the-Premises applications, through its wholly owned subsidiary SourcePhotonics, Inc. MRV markets and sells its products worldwide through a variety of channels, including a dedicated direct sales force, manufacturers' representatives, value-added-resellers, distributors and systems integrators. MRV also has operations in Europe that provide network system design, integration and distribution services that include products manufactured by third-party vendors, as well as internally developed and manufactured products. Publicly traded since 1992, MRV is listed on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol MRVC. For more information about MRV and its products, please call (818) 773-0900 or visit our websites at and


New Extended Warranty Options Now Available for Minuteman® Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Automatic battery replacement included in Premier Extended Warranty Option

Para Systems, Inc. announced the availability of two new extended warranty options, allowing purchasers of Minuteman uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) to cost-effectively lengthen the warranty period from three years to five years.  This new offering is in response to customer requests to provide warranty coverage through the life of a leasing contract or depreciation terms for new servers, data storage systems, security systems, or telephone/VoIP systems.

The extended warranties include either a Standard or Premier option.  The Standard Extended Warranty program includes two additional years of full warranty protection, which is in addition to the current three-year warranty period provided on Minuteman UPSs.  Free battery replacement is available to the user during the entire warranty period, and unlike many competitive warranties, Minuteman’s battery replacement program is not pro-rated over the life of the UPS.

The Premier Extended Warranty option includes priority status on a warranty claim, plus free freight on the repair or replacement of the Minuteman product.  Free battery replacement is also included during the five-year warranty period, and if the batteries have not been replaced after four years, the user will be automatically contacted by Minuteman to remind them to replace the batteries.  Once shipping information is confirmed, Minuteman replacement batteries will be sent with freight pre-paid, and the user can return the batteries for recycling at no additional charge.

 “By offering these two new extended warranty options, we are allowing users to align their warranty with the typical five-year leasing programs, along with equipment depreciation terms,” stated Kevin Canole, director of product development for Para Systems.  “We also think customers will appreciate the unique automatic battery replacement notification offered in the Premier package, along with the two extra years of peace-of-mind the extended warranty provides.  Under this plan, there are absolutely no additional charges to the end-user for maintaining optimum performance from their Minuteman UPS for five years.”

When purchasing Minuteman UPSs from a distributor or reseller, the user can opt for one of the extended warranty choices.  The extended warranty options are for UPSs acquired and installed only in the Continental United States.  Users are also able to procure an extended warranty within 90 days of the original purchase.  Further details on the extended warranties are available at


Noted Sustainable Design Thought Leader Scot Horst Named USGBC’s SVP of LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council today announced the appointment of Scot Horst to the position of Senior Vice President, LEED, a new position in the organization.  The appointment is effective April 1, 2009.

“Scot‘s visionary leadership has been much in evidence in his role as chair of the LEED Steering Committee these past three years,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC and board chair, GBCI. “The evolution of LEED under his watch culminates with the launch of LEED v3, which sets a new benchmark for high performance buildings. His transition to a full-time senior staff position in the organization underscores our intent to continue LEED’s upward momentum as the market’s tool of choice for advancing green building.”

“USGBC stands at the nexus between buildings and humanity,” said Horst. “Thanks to the incredible work of this organization, the question is no longer ‘How do we do less harm?’ rather, it has become ‘How can we do more good?  How can we make buildings restorative and ultimately regenerative? LEED is the focal point that makes these questions possible, and advancing the whole systems thinking it requires is a mission I am passionate about.”

Fedrizzi noted that Horst is widely recognized as a leader in the sustainable design movement as a partner in 7group, a green building consultancy and as president of the Athena Institute International where he has been involved with a broad range of work related to Life Cycle Assessment.   During his LEED Steering Committee chairmanship, Horst has overseen the development of LEED for Core and Shell, LEED for Schools, Revisions to LEED for Existing Buildings, LEED for Neighborhood Development, LEED for Homes, LEED for Healthcare and LEED 2009.As a LEED Accredited Professional he has worked on over 70 LEED projects.  He has been a LEED faculty member, a LEED reference guide author and chair of the PVC Task Force of the Technical Science and Advisory Committee.

“Scot rounds out USGBC’s management ‘dream team’ that includes Chris Smith, Rebecca Flora and Michelle Moore and Peter Templeton at GBCI,” said Fedrizzi.  “I’m honored to lead this talented group in support of our members who are working so hard every day to realize our vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation.”

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a
sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification programs, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (, and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit


Optical Cable Corporation Reports Fiscal First Quarter 2009 Financial Results

First Quarter 2009 Financial Results

Consolidated net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 increased 18.1% to $15.0 million compared to net sales of $12.7 million for the comparable period last year. The sale of products historically sold by SMP Data Communications, acquired by Optical Cable on May 30, 2008, added $3.8 million to the Company's consolidated net sales during the first fiscal quarter of 2009.

Gross profit decreased 10.2% to $4.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2009, compared to $5.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Gross profit margin for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 decreased to 32.0% compared to 42.1% for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. The gross profit margin associated with the sale of connectivity products was 19.8% for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009, and the gross profit margin associated with fiber optic cable sales was 36.2%. This is consistent with the fact that Optical Cable's fiber optic cable products have historically had higher margins than those of the connectivity products now sold by Optical Cable as a result of the Company's acquisition of SMP Data Communications.

Optical Cable recorded a net loss of $742,000, or $0.12 per basic and diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009, compared to net income of $862,000, or $0.14 per basic and diluted share, for the same period last year. The Company's results were negatively impacted by additional integration costs associated with the acquisition of SMP Data Communications, as well as pressure on gross profit margins due to softer volumes.

Management's Comments

"We are pleased with our solid net sales results given the current global economic downturn. We believe our sales strength demonstrates that our markets are responding favorably to our expanded product offerings and our enhanced ability to provide more complete cabling and connectivity solutions," stated Mr. Neil Wilkin, President and CEO of Optical Cable Corporation.

"Importantly, we ended the first quarter with positive cash flow and a strong balance sheet, despite our first quarter loss. Optical Cable is financially and strategically well-positioned, and we will continue to focus on growing sales and controlling expenses. We are confident that as the economic environment improves, our financial results will reflect the benefits of our strategy and our strong position in our markets," stated Mr. Wilkin.

Company Information

Optical Cable Corporation is a leading manufacturer of a broad range of fiber optic and copper data communications cabling and connectivity solutions primarily for the enterprise market, offering an integrated suite of high quality, warranted products which operate as a system solution or seamlessly integrate with other providers' offerings. The Company's product offerings include designs for uses ranging from commercial, enterprise network, datacenter, residential and campus installations to customized products for specialty applications and harsh environments, including military, industrial, mining and broadcast applications. Optical Cable Corporation products include fiber optic cable, copper and fiber optic connectors, copper and fiber optic patch cords, racks, cabinets, datacom enclosures, patch panels, face plates, multi-media boxes and cable and connectivity management accessories, and are designed to meet the most demanding needs of end-users, delivering a high degree of reliability and outstanding performance characteristics.

Optical Cable Corporation is internationally recognized for pioneering the design and production of fiber optic cables for the most demanding military field applications, as well as of fiber optic cables suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and creating a broad product offering built on the evolution of these fundamental technologies. With the acquisition of SMP Data Communications in May 2008, the Company also is now internationally recognized for its role in establishing copper connectivity data communications standards, through its innovative and patented technologies.

Founded in 1983, Optical Cable Corporation is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia with offices and manufacturing and warehouse facilities located both in Roanoke, Virginia and near Asheville, North Carolina. The Company primarily manufactures its high quality fiber optic cables at its ISO 9001:2008 registered and MIL-STD-790F certified facility located in Roanoke, Virginia and its high quality connectivity products at its ISO 9001:2000 registered facility located near Asheville, North Carolina.

Further information about Optical Cable Corporation is available on the Internet at and


TPMA and the Project Management Association (PMA) announce a merger, and new Project Management Training, and Certification Programs

Telecommunications Project Management Association (TPMA) Executive Director Donald E. Nelson today announced a merger between TPMA and the Project Management Association (PMA).

Nelson will serve as Executive Director for both organizations.

“PMA gives us new certification testing and training delivery options, and their focus is on the entire field of Project Management, not just telecommunications.” Members of both organizations will have reciprocal privileges.

The current 5-day, TPMA Project Management Certification

Program will be reduced to 4 days with two Internet based, on line Exams.

  • PM 101 will cover PM Fundamentals – (PM Process, Project Quality, Project Risk, Project Scope, Project Human Resources, Project Safety.
  • PM 102 will cover advanced PM knowledge – (Project Integration, Project Time, Project Cost, Project Procurement, Project Communications. PM 102 will include the PM Knowledge on line Exam. The Exam is “open book” and can be taken from home or the office rather than a testing center.
  • PM 201 will cover the creation of a manual project plan
  • PM 202 will cover software based programs and templates. It includes the electronic submission of the “Case Study” portion
  • Of the Certification Exam completing the Exam process.

All classes are based on the PMBOK 4th Edition, the new PM Standard

Each class will be available as traditional “Instructor Lead”, Internet, or Podcast. This will allow students to take the entire

Program from home (or office) and avoid travel & living expense, and time away from the job. Students will also have the option of Mixing Internet/Podcast classes with a reduced duration Instructor Lead class. That will afford then the opportunity to network with other students, and get away from their regular job long enough to re-think their current process.

Tuition for each class (with includes membership and all certification and testing fees) is $300 USD

The 5th day of the current program has been focused on the Project Management and Construction process as it applies to various technologies such as: Telecommunications, Information Technology, Information Transport, Outside Plant, Wireless,

Security and Access Control, and Data Centers. Each of them will now be offered as optional additional specialty certifications. They will be offered as Instructor Lead, Internet, and Podcast versions with an “open book”, online Certification Exam. They can be taken before or after the PM Program. It is expected that additional “PM process & technology” classes such as “Medical Center PM & Construction”, “Military PM & Construction” etc. will be available

In the near future.

“The current economy has generated an increased demand for Certified Project Managers, however training and travel budgets are being reduced. Our new program will allow someone seeking a new career to learn new skills and become certified for what amounts to $25 per week. I know of no other program that offers that” Nelson said.

For further details email Don Nelson ( or call (518) 250-1878


Sumitomo’s FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber Assists National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) to Meet Green Federal Building, Fiscal Responsibility, and Network Growth Objectives

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave today announced the deployment of its FutureFLEX® Air-Blown Fiber® system ( ) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library and the information and research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in all areas of biomedicine and health care. 

A growing collection of over 16 million MEDLINE articles and millions of other resources accessed through the web at  by approximately 900 million searches per year by health professionals, scientists, librarians, and the public, has necessitated NLM to expand its 2 data centers and storage capacity.  The NLM data centers also support the ongoing research and development of the National Center for Biomedical Communications and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which utilize high-bandwidth video and virtual reality to projects including telemedicine, The Visible Human Project and other initiatives, resulting in a large digital image library.  Other areas supported by the data centers are the Grant Programs division and the Toxicology and Environmental Health Program.

The expansion of the data centers and support of the growing bandwidth needs of researchers require a reliable, immediately scalable, non-obtrusive, and cost effective fiber optic backbone infrastructure.  Unlike conventional fiber optic infrastructures where fiber optic cables are pulled to provide sufficient bandwidth and capacity for network moves, adds, and changes, FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber allows NLM to blow any type and amount of fiber in and out of the IT network quickly and easily between and within buildings on an as needed basis.  This eliminates the need and expense of dark fiber and allows NLM to respond to bandwidth requirements and any network changes in real-time.  NLM can also turnaround network projects in 70 to 90 % less time and expense once the tube infrastructure is in place.   

“I recommended blown fiber technology because it’s a good infrastructure investment and it allows us to respond faster to the needs of the health community, researchers, and publics that NLM serves,” says Vic Previll, Computer Science Corporation engineer. “It is also easy and fast to install, provides minimum or no network downtime, and eliminates disruption to the Library building, visitors, and researchers since network adds, moves and changes are completed behind the scenes, unlike conventional cabling systems that require re-entering ceilings and walls.” 

The FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber system is RoHS compliant and encompasses other green attributes. Unlike conventional fiber optic cable,  fiber bundles can be blown out of the fiber pathway undamaged and may be immediately recycled and reused in the network, creating a continuously renewable and sustainable network infrastructure with no end to its life cycle.  Network upgrades, expansions, and reconfigurations require no construction work, thereby eliminating waste and debris, as well as hazardous abandoned cable, unused dark fiber, and other environmentally compromising materials.  Moreover, a blown fiber infrastructure takes up less building space and provides greater capacity, thereby allowing HVAC and other energy systems to operate with unobstructed air flow.

“With the Obama administration’s emphasis on green technology for federal buildings, the Air-blown Fiber system provides a means to continue further our commitment to environmental responsibility,” comments Wesley Russell, section head of engineering at NLM.  “We can also budget project to project with Air-Blown Fiber and save significant costs with network changes, thereby allowing us to be fiscally responsible, as well.”

The targeted completion date for the data centers’ expansion and upgrade, as well as the new Air-blown Fiber backbone infrastructure, is June - July 2009.

 About the United States National Library of Medicine:

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world's largest medical library. The Library collects materials in all areas of biomedicine and health care, as well as works on biomedical aspects of technology, the humanities, and the physical, life, and social sciences. The collections stand at more than 9 million items--books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, photographs and images. NLM is a national resource for all U.S. health science libraries through a National Network of Libraries of Medicine®.  For more information about NLM, please visit: .

About Sumitomo Electric Lightwave and FutureFLEX® Air-Blown Fiber® System:

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, located in Research Triangle Park, NC, is a leader in the development and manufacturing of optical fiber cable, interconnect assemblies, fusion splicers, and FTTx solutions.

Sumitomo was the first to introduce Air-blown Fiber technology to North America. Representative FutureFLEX adopters include: the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, DISA, DOD – all branches of military, and many other US government agencies and projects.  Commercial users of FutureFLEX include ESPN, CNN, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, Arizona Cardinals’ University of Phoenix Stadium, and others.  For additional information, please visit: and .

About Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC):

CSC is a leading global consulting, systems integration and outsourcing company, CSC's mission is to provide customers in industry and government with solutions crafted to meet their strategic goals and enable them to profit from the advanced use of technology. CSC offers IT consulting, systems integration, and outsourcing with commercial and government client in 15 countries.  For more information, visit: .

Technical Contact:                                                                     Editorial Contact:

Kurt Templeman                                                                        Alexandra Manning

Product Manager, Enterprise Networks                            Marketing Communications Manager

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave                                                      Sumitomo Electric Lightwave

Phone:  919-541-8100                                                    Phone:  919-541-8383

Email:                                 Email:


RHINO Professional Labeling Tools Launches its First Desktop Labeling Solution

RHINO Professional Labeling Tools is proud to announce the release of the RHINO 6500 desktop labeling solution, its newest and most powerful label printer and RHINO CONNECT™ Software bundled together.  Built from the ground up to support the demanding labeling needs of the electrical, datacom, security, construction and MRO markets – and others – the RHINO 6500 delivers an ultra-powerful assortment of exclusive features at a very affordable price.

The RHINO 6500 offers the same advanced features as the recently launched RHINO 6000, plus additional functionality and a desktop orientation that expands usability to new customers, markets, and applications not previously served by the existing RHINO product line. One of the major new capabilities of the RHINO 6500 is batch printing, which allows users to easily download, print, and automatically cut large labeling jobs – ideal for preparing labeling kits for manufacturing environments and multiple site cabling installations.

 “At RHINO, we are passionate about understanding what users want and need in professional labeling solutions,” stated Douglas Waldal, Global Business Unit Director of RHINO. “The RHINO 6500 Labeling Bundle is an innovative, value-added product that helps users improve efficiency, save time and money, and make their work look more professional.  Once again, our users have helped us develop a revolutionary product – one that we feel truly positions RHINO Labeling Tools as the best value in the market today.”

Like the RHINO 6000 hand-held label printer, the desktop RHINO 6500 printer features PC connectivity for increased versatility.  This allows users to create label files on their computer using the included RHINO CONNECT™ software or other Windows®-compatible software (i.e. Excel) and print directly to the RHINO 6500 or download the file for use at the jobsite. This feature is especially useful for electrical panel assembly, cable harness shops or multi-building/site projects that require all labels to be consistent and uniform. Other features of the RHINO 6500 include a library of over 250 categorized industry terms and symbols, plus built-in memory to store over 1,000 custom labels including terms, symbols, graphics, and even logos.

Creating nearly any type of label is quick and easy with the RHINO 6500. RHINO’s patented “Hot Keys” allow instant formatting of horizontal and vertical cable wraps, wire flags, fixed length, vertical, patch panel, terminal block, serialized, reverse-serialized, barcode and other label types. These advanced “Hot Keys” allows users to create complex labels with only a few keystrokes, reducing labeling time and making the labeling task as simple as possible.

Mechanically, the RHINO 6500 is also superior to other label printers. It is designed with features such as a large backlit screen with multiple label display, motorized auto-cutter, industrial casing with an integrated protective bumper and easy label access, label cartridge size sensor, automated label cartridge insertion/ejection system, and a user-friendly QWERTY keyboard.  It also handles industrial-strength RHINO labels up to 1” wide.

Rafael Martinez, Product Manager for RHINO explained the development of the RHINO 6500 label printer. “Our RHINO product line continues to add advanced features and capabilities due largely to our in-depth market research. Personal interviews, user involvement in the product development stage, and comprehensive beta-testing and improvement processes ensure that we are designing and engineering the label printers that customers want and need. The RHINO 6500 is a prime example of that and the powerful features we have added to this printer came directly from user input.”

The RHINO 6500 label printer retails for $349 and includes RHINO CONNECT™ labeling software, labels, USB cable, AC adapter and a quick-charge lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Visit for more information on the RHINO 6500 desktop label printer and to find a distributor near you.



RHINO is a brand within DYMO, a business unit within Sanford L.P., a Newell Rubbermaid company (NYSE: NWL). DYMO designs and manufactures RHINO professional label printers and tools for commercial, residential and industrial use. RHINO labeling tools are designed with easy-to-use features that greatly reduce labeling time. Learn more at


Engineering study shows Snake Bus® Power Distribution consumes 30% less copper resource than traditional wiring methods for distributing power in access floors

Snake TrayÒ is pleased to announce that in a recent engineering study the Snake Bus power distribution system uses almost 30% less of earth’s copper resource than traditional wiring methods to distribute power under access floors. Snake Bus’ pre-configured bus bar track system eliminates the need to hard wire equipment in access floors thus reducing the amount of copper used. Snake Bus is a green power distribution solution for sustainable building.

Snake Bus is a pre-configured power distribution system for workstations, trading floors, call centers and data centers that delivers 50 Amp, 3 Phase, 208 Volt providing up to 15 Kilowatts of power in one easy-to-install track. Installations and retrofits are easily done with the tap offs that deliver power to individual devices anywhere along the track. The Snake Bus bus bar technology is energy efficient and can be easily reused for changes and moves in the electrical plan.

For further information on Snake Bus Power Distribution Systems please contact Snake Tray at 800-308-6788, email or visit


ISC West, 2009

ISC West, 2009 - The first security show of the year is also the first security show of choice. The latest International Security Conference and Exposition was held April1-3 in Las Vegas.

ISC West 2009 - the security event that buyers report is the best in the industry.  Over 15,300 security buyers and a total of over 24,300 industry professionals, 44% of whom do not attend any other security event.  The exhibitors were pleased to reach the buyers with their latest solutions early in the year. In fact, ISC West attendees gave it the highest marks for offering the largest selection of products and services and for being the best place to see new products and trends.

Co-located with ISC West was the all-new Public Security & Safety Expo, a one-of-a-kind event offering companies and organizations a forum to showcase the products that are contributing to the ongoing security of our most public and highly visible areas.

We asked the team from NECA’s Electrical Contractor Magazine and Security + Life Safety Systems Magazine for a situation report from the latest International Security Conference and Exposition. The team from NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association’s top-rated publication – The Electrical Contractor Magazine ( included John Maisel, publisher and Andrea Klee, Editor, plus Ed Brown, Managing Editor, S+LSS Magazine.

Ed Brown commented “I returned from last week’s ISC West show in Vegas a few days ago, with my head swimming with impressions. They said it was a bit smaller than last year, but not so I (and my aching feet) could tell. It was LARGE and crowded, and the crowds and exhibitors seemed really enthused.”

“Once again this year, casually scanning the show floor, my first impression was that there was a sea of cameras and displays. As I began my rounds of exhibits and press conferences I picked up some major themes.

  • Everyone is sure that the trend in video is to change over from analog  to digital, but this is happening more slowly than had been predicted when digital was introduced a few years ago. But everyone also agrees that the question is not “if” but “when” and “how” the complete transition will take place. As far as “when”, one industry insider predicted that it will take about 5 years until the share will be 50/50. Some of the large players are addressing the “how” by designing-in backwards compatibility. For example, a hybrid DVR that can be used with both. The push here is to provide for upgrading existing systems in addition to new builds. This is especially important in tough economic times.
  • Video analytics — content analysis — the software that can be used to trigger video to respond to events such as someone loitering or walking in the wrong direction is a definite trend. The more sophisticated analytics programs can recognize persons and signal other cameras to focus in on them as they move about. Software can be used to pull certain images out of stored data if a significant event occurs.
  • There is strong movement towards IP compatibility, not just with video, but with access control as well. A number of manufacturers are designing in IP so that surveillance, intrusion alarms and access control can be easily integrated with other life-safety and building control systems, with an emphasis on fire alarm and control.
  • A number of companies are designing hardware and software based on open rather than proprietary standards — a trend that we believe will further accelerate the move toward IP integration.
  • One of the developments that we think is important, is the enhancement of displays. The rapidly increasing amount of data that is being produced requires more sophisticated displays so that the data can be used effectively. One of the flashier developments is a video wall, where images from any number of cameras can be displayed on a wall-sized space.”

In summary, team from NECA’s Electrical Contractor Magazine and Security + Life Safety Systems Magazine agreed that this event captured a growing opportunity of new business in the multi-faceted world of security. As belts tighten in the new economy, we found many solutions in which the buyers could “do more for less” with new technology. This is just a quick once-over; they plan on using the information they gathered at this jam-packed show for all of the coming issues of Security + Life Safety Systems and Electrical Contractor Magazine

Association News



Second Annual Cabling Skills Challenge Hosted Concurrently During Spring Conference Exhibition

Tampa, Fla., March 27, 2009— BICSI, the association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, announces events for the 2009 BICSI Spring Conference. Hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md., May 10-13, this unique conference will help BICSI members and nonmembers alike gain invaluable knowledge and take advantage of the rapidly emerging ITS industry to ensure future business success.

Conference highlights include:

  • Martin Piplits. Opening Keynote Speaker, Monday, May 11, 8:45-9:30 a.m.

As a Senior Consultant with The Persimmon Group, Martin specializes in business consulting, strategic planning and crisis management, with an emphasis on financial management. His extensive experience includes a term as General Manager and then CFO at Hilti Inc, a company with $3.3 billion net sales with operations in 120 countries. Martin was born and educated in Austria and has a wide range of international degrees—from mechanical engineering to economics—giving him a truly global perspective. He has a successful track record for situational turn-around and profit-growth strategy in international and multicultural markets. Don’t miss this opportunity for Martin to share his expertise and advice with you!

·         "Springtime in Baltimore—A Taste of Fell's Point," Monday, May 11, 7:45-10 p.m.
After your hunger for ITS knowledge has been filled with great sessions and the Exhibit Hall, satisfy your senses and your appetite with an evening of succulent local Baltimore favorites! Join the BICSI Northeast Region as they host "Springtime in Baltimore—A Taste of Fell's Point." Enjoy some of the finest culinary creations Baltimore has to offer while networking with your BICSI family in historic Fell's Point.

·          BICSI Cabling Skills Challenge, Sunday, May 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12,
4:30-7:30 p.m.; and the awards ceremony Wednesday, May 13, 10:15-10:45 a.m.
Last spring's BICSI Cabling Skills Challenge was just the beginning. Get ready for the 2009 event taking place in the Exhibit Hall in Baltimore, MD. Visit for more information.

·          Scott Burrows, Closing Keynote Speaker, Wednesday, May 13, 11-11:45 a.m.

Scott Burrows is much more than a survivor! He is a Murder-Ball athlete, a top-ranked kickboxing champion, a co-author and more. Scott is all about taking accountability for your actions and your attitudes. He knows what separates top producers from the rest of the field, because he’s been there.

Drawing from his personal and business experiences, and using his paralysis as a visual metaphor, Scott has been able to masterfully channel his proactive success strategies: Vision, Mind-set and Grit in a unique and mesmerizing way.

For more information about the 2009 BICSI Spring Conference & Exhibition or the BICSI Cabling Skills Challenge, please visit

BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, and audio & video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 23,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 90 countries. For more information, visit



BICSI, the association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, announces the name of a brand new credential to be released next year. The credential allows individuals with formal education and industry-related qualifications to obtain a BICSI information transport systems credential.

Following an opportunity at the 2008 BICSI Fall Conference for BICSI credential holders to suggest names for this new credential, six options were selected by industry experts. The balloting for the new name was held in February 2009 and over 2,000 votes were captured. All voters were entered into a special drawing to win an Apple® 16GB iPod® Touch and the winner was Donald Wilkinson, RCDD, from Georgetown, California.

“The most preferred name of those who participated in the name balloting was Registered Information Transport Professional,” said Jerry Bowman, RCDD, NTS, CISSP, CPP, BICSI’s NxtGEN Committee Chair. “The RITP represents a major step for BICSI in clarifying the roles and qualifications of the ITS professional. Having this professional credential will enable sales, educational and management professionals to proudly instill the same confidence in their industry knowledge and professionalism that RCDDs have for decades.”

The application process and requirements for the BICSI Registered Information Transport Professional (RITP) credential will be announced shortly. However, interested professionals can get a head start on the process by completing the ITS Fundamentals exam that is currently available online through BICSI CONNECT. Also available through BICSI CONNECT are five ITS Fundamentals courses designed to prepare applicants for the ITS Fundamentals exam. 

“This new credential opens the doors to the next generation of information transport professionals,” said Ed Donelan, RCDD, NTS, TLT, BICSI President. “We are excited to offer this opportunity to our existing members and credential holders in the information transport systems industry and also to bring new talent into our organization. It’s going to be the added exchange of knowledge and education across many levels of the industry that will help us advance our members’ business success and expand our profession’s reach globally.”

More information on the NxtGEN Program and future developments are available at


BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, and audio & video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 23,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 90 countries. For more information, visit



BICSI, the association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, announces the approval and publication of ANSI/BICSI-001-2009. Information Transport Systems Design Standard for K-12 Educational Institutions. This is the first-ever BICSI-exclusive standard BICSI has produced as an ANSI-accredited standards development organization.

“The release of this standard is the first significant stride in recognizing one of the major goals set forth in the BICSI Strategic Plan—to be the trusted source of global standards and best practices,” said BICSI President Edward J. Donelan, RCDD, NTS, TLT. “At the core of this achievement is a tribute to the ITS industry experts who volunteered their time and resources to advance the knowledge and success of our members, their customers and the ITS industry.”

The standard is intended to enable K-12 ITS design in the building development process by contributing to architectural considerations and providing information that cuts across multidisciplinary design efforts. Adequate planning during building construction or renovation is significantly less expensive and less disruptive than after the facility is operational. K-12 educational institutions can benefit from an ITS infrastructure design that is planned in advance to support growth and changes that will be required to enhance the educational delivery system. This standard specifies minimum requirements and guidelines for the design of ITS infrastructure for K-12 educational institutions.

“There are currently no other standards like this one,” said Robert Faber, Chair of the BICSI Standards Committee. “It deals with safety in an educational environment; most importantly—the safety of children. Therefore, the standard goes beyond normal standards to assure safety including the use of specialized types of cabling.”

Work on this standard began in 2004 when TJ Roe, BICSI Standards Committee Chair at the time, appointed Terry

Hochbein, RCDD, NTS, OSP, as the Chair of the K-12 Subcommittee. The mission of this subcommittee was to gather a number of industry experts to write the industry’s first ITS design standard for K-12 educational institutions. These industry experts have backgrounds as K-12 educational technology directors, ITS designers, technology equipment manufacturers, architects, engineers and consultants. Hochbein selected John Kacperski, RCDD, OSP, to serve as the subcommittee secretary and Todd Taylor, RCDD, NTS, OSP, to serve as the document editor.

“As the Director of Technology Design for a national Architectural/Engineering firm that specializes in K-12 education it was apparent to me that the TIA 568 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard was focused on office buildings and did not address the diverse types of spaces found in K-12 educational facilities,” said Hochbein. “As a member of the BICSI Standards Committee in 2004, I proposed that we develop a telecommunications cabling design standard for K-12 education that specifically addresses their unique type of spaces.”

More information on BICSI standards and upcoming standard releases is available at


About ANSI: As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

The Institute oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector: from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution, and many more. ANSI is also actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards – including globally-recognized cross-sector programs such as the ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.

About BICSI: BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, and audio & video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 23,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 90 countries. For more information, visit


CABA’s Bright Green Buildings: The Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings

The Continental Automated Buildings Association recently commissioned a comprehensive report on “bright” green buildings.  “Bright” green buildings leverage intelligent technologies to support environmental sustainability, while providing a significant return on investment.  The following is an excerpt from the report entitled “Bright Green Buildings: Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings”.

A bright green building is one that is both intelligent and green.  It is a building that uses both technology and process to create a facility that is safe, healthy and comfortable, and enables productivity and well being for its occupants.  It provides timely, integrated system information for its owners so that they may make intelligent decisions regarding its operation and maintenance, and has an implicit logic that effectively evolves with changing user requirements and technology, ensuring continued and improved intelligent operation, maintenance and optimization.  A bright green building is designed, constructed and operated with minimum impact on the environment, with emphasis on conserving resources, using energy efficiently and creating healthy occupied environments.  It must meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.  Sustainability is measured in three interdependent dimensions: environmental stewardship, economic prosperity and social responsibility.  Bright green buildings exhibit key attributes of environmental sustainability to benefit present and future generations.

In bright green buildings, fully networked systems transcend the simple integration of independent systems to achieve interaction across all systems, allowing them to work collectively, optimizing a building’s performance, and constantly creating an environment that is conducive to the occupants’ goals.  Additionally, fully interoperable systems in these buildings tend to perform better, cost less to maintain, and leave a small environmental imprint than individual utilities and communication systems.

ENERGY STAR-rated buildings in the United States earn substantial benefits compared to non-green buildings; in particular 40 per cent greater energy efficiency compared to standard buildings and significant lower operations costs.  Based on industry data, approximately 85 per cent of ENERGY STAR rated buildings use a system with energy management controls and 50 per cent use lighting system motion sensors to qualify for the ENERGY STAR certification.  The idea of leveraging intelligence to enhance building performance, either for energy efficiency or occupant comfort and thereby obtaining credits is also acknowledged by the U.S. Green Building Council.  If the objective is clear, the credit system under LEED is geared to recognize building performance that has been enhanced by automation and IT-centric intelligence.

Each building is unique in its mission and operational objectives and therefore, must balance short- and long-term needs accordingly.  Bright green buildings provide a dynamic environment that responds to occupants’ changing needs and lifestyles.  As technology advances, and as information and communication expectations become more sophisticated, networking solutions both converge and automate divergent technologies to improve responsiveness, efficiency and performance.  To achieve this, bright green buildings converge data, voice and video with security, HVAC, lighting, and other electronic controls on a single network platform that facilitates user management, space utilization, energy conservation, comfort, and systems improvement.  Chart 1 outlines the commonalities between intelligent and green buildings that form the basis of a bright green building and highlights the impact of that convergence.

According to industry experts, building owners are not going to make any investment unless it has a return-on-investment.  The question that building owners should ask is what is going to drive the ROI calculations.  If there is no value in carbon and no value in saving energy and no value in terms of corporate social responsibility, then there is no value and there are no ROI calculations.  In developing a financial justification for investments in intelligent and green technologies, and assessing the potential return on that investment, it is necessary to consider new construction and retrofit projects separately, because the requirements, and therefore the economic fundamentals of the two types of projects are very different.

New Construction

In a new construction scenario, the cost of creating a green and intelligent building is often not that different than the costs associated with creating a traditional building.  Certain aspects associated with intelligent building technology and applications, such as cabling, are actually less costly than traditional infrastructure – in the case of cabling, labor costs are often lower where intelligent designs are used.  However, other technologies and equipment will require additional investment to integrate all of the components of the system.  For example, integrating the access control systems with lighting and HVAC systems will cost more up-front than installing disparate systems alone.  As has been found in all of the case studies examined as part of this research, this initial investment in green and intelligent design and technology generally has a relatively short ROI period when compared to the anticipated usable life of a modern building.

Existing Buildings

Retrofits are more frequently driven by the desire to reduce energy costs than anything else.  These are often cases where the existing technology or system in a building can be upgraded easily and the payback period is expected to be short.  Intelligent building features such as better monitoring and control of energy-intensive systems such as HVAC and lighting can provide for optimum performance and predictive maintenance needs, reducing both energy usage and operating expense.  Additionally, reporting features assist in making decisions that make the building more efficient and more reliable.

Integrated building professionals report that facilities managers get very little decision making information, so tuning up the control system is the best thing they can do to optimize the building.  With one unified approach to monitoring facilities, buildings can change the underlying infrastructure without changing the enterprise level reporting mechanisms.  This allows building owners to have a heterogeneous infrastructure that creates more competition between technology vendors, where they can begin to generate savings more quickly, and can generate an ROI payback in two to three years rather than over the course of a decade.  By integrating utility bills into the enterprise asset management system, facility managers can further provide diagnostic information to facility managers, enabling them to take immediate action.  In order to conserve energy – and money – it is imperative that proper information management architecture is in place, which makes the information actionable and definable.

Occupant Productivity and Comfort

Occupant productivity, especially in owner-occupied buildings, has a significant measurable impact on the ROI calculation.  Given that energy costs represent about one per cent of the overall cost of doing business and investment expenses are about 10 per cent, staffing costs can represent up to 85 per cent of the total cost of doing business.  Any improvement in productivity can therefore have a significant positive financial return.

Life Cycle Benefits

Depending on how the life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is addressed, this could potentially enable facilities and organizations to attain their long-term sustainability goals by developing their environmental monitoring systems to generate pertinent data.  Therefore, keeping in mind that intelligent technologies are installed to deliver effective payback and long-term returns, it is critical for such systems to incorporate LCCA.

Building owners typically perceive that green and intelligent buildings will cost more.  In reality however, and industry experts agree, green and intelligent buildings ultimately cost less.  Although the capital expenditure or first cost of doing a more integrated concept typically costs the owner more, the operating and productivity cost will drop significantly and the economic cost or life cycle cost will be significantly lower.  Hence, green and intelligent improvements or investment in a building actually costs less if the building owner holds the building for a little while.

Typically, operations-related impacts account for over 80 per cent of life cycle impacts in buildings.  Owners’ operating costs are significantly lowered as a result of more efficient operations and better control, enhancing a building’s asset value.  By enhancing connectivity between building systems and users, intelligent buildings help to balance the operational objectives and economic performance of buildings with emphasis on scalability and changing priorities.  In an endeavor to provide a comfortable and reliable environment, intelligent buildings essentially help achieve a reduction in energy consumption, use resources more efficiently and explore renewable alternatives that enable them to be financially as well as environmentally sustainable assets over time.  Reducing operating costs enhances a building’s asset value.

Jorge Moreno is a Program Manager with the Frost & Sullivan North American Environmental & Building Technologies Practice.

Bright Green Buildings Report Now Online

CABA’s “Bright Green Buildings: Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings” report features several real-world examples that show how property companies around the world have employed advances in green building and networking technologies to increase profits, lower costs and help the environment.

Frost & Sullivan authored the report with contributions from several industry leaders.  Companies providing input and financial contributions include: BAE Systems, Cisco Systems, Inc., CommScope, Inc., Delta Controls Inc., Encelium Technologies Inc., Global Environment Fund, Herman Miller Inc., InfoComm International, Johnson Controls Ltd.,Legrand (Ortronics/The Wattstopper), Natural Resources Canada, Panduit, Corp., Robinson Solutions Inc., Sloan Monitored Systems, and Tridel Corporation.

Download the report free of charge at


David Dollihite of Direct Energy Appointed to CABA Board

The Continental Automated Buildings Association announced today that David Dollihite of Direct Energy has been named to the association’s Board of Directors.  CABA is a nonprofit industry association that provides information, education, and networking to help promote advanced technologies for the automation of home and buildings.

David Dollihite is Vice President of Product and Business Development at Direct Energy, a North American leading retailer of energy and related services.  He is focused on the development of products and services for residential energy conservation and efficiency markets.  He brings 20 years of experience to his role, eight in the energy industry and 12 years in related energy and chemical industries.

Dollihite was recently appointed Chair of CABA’s Connected Home Research Council and previously served as its Vice-Chair.

“We are elated to welcome David Dollihite to CABA’s Board of Directors,” stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO.  “His industry expertise will contribute valuable expertise and insight to our organization’s leadership.”

Dollihite replaces Robert (Bob) Huggard from Direct Energy who had served on the CABA Board since 2004.

About CABA

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is a not-for-profit industry association dedicated to the advancement of intelligent home and intelligent building technologies in North America. The organization is supported by an international membership of nearly 400 companies involved in the design, manufacture, installation and retailing of products relating to home automation and building automation. Public organizations, including utilities and government are also members.


Market Sizing North America / Intelligent and Integrated Technologies

Invitation to Participate
Market Sizing North America / Intelligent and Integrated Technologies
Webinar:  ThursdayMarch 26, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT.

The Continental Automated Buildings Association has rescheduled the "Market Sizing North America Intelligent and Integrated Technologies" webinar for Thursday, March 26 at 12:00 PM EDT. Learn how you can participate and receive the complete research report for only $5,000.

This meeting will educate both CABA members and non-members on how you can participate in the upcoming Market Sizing North America project. Also, you will gain a better understanding of how other companies in the CABA membership are taking advantage of collaborative research opportunities.

This study is targeted to assist CABA member companies and focuses on a range of concerns involved in the design, manufacture and installation of intelligent buildings controls. The project is of interest to: building controls manufacturers; systems integrators; controls contractors; facility management companies; energy management service companies; OEMs of HVAC hardware; architects; building services consultants; security, fire alarm and lighting control companies; telecommunications and computer hardware manufacturers; network and structured cabling suppliers; and installers.

To receive the project description and webinar details with updated participation levels, please contact Don O'Connor, at 613.686.1814 ext 226.


Registration is Open for 2009 NAED National Electrical Leadership Summit Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 16-20

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces that registration is open for the 2009 National Electrical Leadership Summit. The Summit will take place May 16–20, 2009, at the Westin Diplomat in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The agenda features an expanded lineup of top-quality speakers, industry panels, educational workshops, and networking opportunities that will provide members with the ideas, strategies, and trends analysis needed to help their companies survive today’s economic challenges and create new opportunities to thrive. With the theme “Expanding Our Horizons,” the conference will focus on strategic leadership issues in key areas of new markets, finance, risk reduction, and the economy.

The agenda features an expanded lineup of top-quality speakers, industry panels, educational workshops, and networking opportunities that will provide members with the ideas, strategies, and trends analysis needed to help their companies survive today’s economic challenges and create new opportunities to thrive. With the theme “Expanding Our Horizons,” the conference will focus on strategic leadership issues in key areas of new markets, finance, risk reduction, and the economy.

Keynote speakers include: FOX Business News Anchor, Economist, and Correspondent Stuart Varney who will cover how the American economy is being re-shaped by our new president; Senior Analyst for the Institute for Trend Research, Alan Beaulieu who will discuss the economic outlook for our industry and for the global economy; and leading management expert on intellectual capital and its impact on performance, Dr. Nick Bontis who will provide specific strategies and tactics that will enable leaders to shift quickly during these turbulent times.

Other highlights include:

·         A series of panels covering hot industry topics including “Washington Insider Panel: The First 100 Days,” “Pros & Cons of Getting into the Renewable Energy Product Market,” and “Green Buildings: Lessons Learned From LEED®.”

·         Solution-oriented workshops on industry trends and management strategies including: “Dealing with Contracts, Payment Bonds and Liens When Stakes are High and Markets are Down,” “Risk Reduction Strategies for Potential Value-Added Service Liability,” “Crash Course in Credit and Cash Flow,” “Preserving Competitive Advantage Through the Economic Cycle,” “ What’s Important to Green Building Customers and How to Sell to Them,” and “Hot Segments:  Are You Headed in the Right Direction?”

·         Special networking opportunities including the popular Strategic Planning Booth Sessions which provide opportunities for high level trading partner executives to meet, and the Women in Industry Networking Luncheon where the speaker will present “Defusing Workplace Violence – Risk Factors, Prevention and Survival Strategies.”

Financially based sessions provide opportunities for CPAs to earn CPE credits.

Visit today to register. The early bird registration deadline has been extended to April 3. For more information, contact the NAED Conference Department at
(888) 791-2512.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED’s membership operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


Applications Now Available for June 13 Certified Electrical Professional™ (CEP) Exam

Certification Recognizes Education, Training, Experience and Professionalism in Electrical Distribution

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces that the application process is open for the June 13 Certified Electrical Professional Exam (CEP) for inside and outside sales professionals. Applications are available at

CEP is a new certification program for distributors, manufacturers and others in the electrical distribution channel. Certification gives the holder credibility in their industry and increases the professionalism of the industry as a whole. By standardizing and validating the baseline knowledge in such areas as product knowledge, customer service, sales skills and soft skills, it ensures that employees have the skills necessary to succeed in the positions they hold.

"This program raises the bar for professionalism across the electrical industry," said Michelle McNamara, NAED vice president and executive director of the NAED Education and Research Foundation. "The CEP credential provides companies that invest in training and employees who develop their skills with a way to stand out from the competition."

Suggested courses, candidate guides, sample exam questions, and other materials to help individuals prepare for the exam can be found at The deadline for the early bird registration discount fee is May 1. Applicants must meet some basic requirements to sit for the exam.

The requirements to sit for the inside sales test are:

·         18 months' experience in an inside sales position in electrical distribution

·         High school diploma or GED (General Educational Development) credential

The requirements to sit for the outside sales test are:

·         A two-year degree combined with five years' experience in the electrical distribution industry and two years' outside sales experience in the electrical distribution industry, or

·         Three years' outside sales experience with five years' experience in the electrical distribution industry (with no degree)

All those who receive inside or outside sales certification must be recertified after three years, which requires 30 credit hours of coursework that has been verified, transcripted or otherwise "officially" recorded. In addition, certification is specific to the person taking the exam.

For more information about the certification program, visit You may also contact John Kiso, educational program manager for the NAED Education and Research Foundation at or toll-free at 888-791-2512.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED’s membership operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


Industry Leaders to Be Honored with Achievement Awards at 2009 NAED

National Electrical Leadership Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Bill Elliott of Elliott Electric Supply to Receive Highest Honor, Arthur W. Hooper Achievement Award

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) will honor seven industry leaders at the 2009 NAED National Electrical Leadership Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The award ceremony will take place during the closing event, the NAED Awards Banquet, on Tuesday, May 19, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST at the Westin Diplomat.


 Bill Elliott, president of Elliott Electric Supply, in Nacogdoches, Texas, will receive NAED’s highest honor, the 2009 Arthur W. Hooper Achievement Award. This honor is presented to an individual who has led an exceptional career in electrical distribution spanning many years.

In 1972, Elliott and his late wife, Micky, started a small distribution business, the company did $400,000 in sales the first year. Since its beginning, Elliott has maintained a commitment to the goal of having a minimum rate of 15% compounded annual growth, and has not only made a profit every year since its inception, but also often doubled its annual growth. Today, the company has 98 locations and in 2008, reported sales of $383 million.

From 1976, when he assisted in writing the first piece of software for the company, to 2005, when he chose “Building Your Bottom Line” as the theme of his term as chair of NAED, Bill Elliott has worked to grow the entire industry to a more profitable place. Dedicated to making the industry better for everyone in it, Elliott has been an active voice in the channel, serving as chair of NAED from 2005 to 2006 and as chair of NAED’s Education & Research Foundation.

As NAED Education & Research Foundation chair, his efforts to create an endowment fund for the Channel Advantage Partnership (CAP) served the entire industry and provided research that will improve the supply chain for years to come. During his term as chair, the Foundation raised more than $6 million worth of commitments; today that figure stands at nearly $8 million.

Ben Herr is the recipient of the 2009 NAED Distributor Distinguished Service Award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding and dedicated service to NAED and the electrical distribution industry.

Herr joined DSG in 1972. In 1991 he tackled what he calls his proudest industry accomplishment: organizing an employee group to purchase the company’s two North Dakota operations from its Chicago-based owners.

Herr credits a significant part of DSG’s success to its involvement in NAED. “The networking

opportunities, the seminars, and the training and education we gained from our involvement in NAED played

a big role in our success and growth,” said Herr. Another proud moment for Herr: his decision to pursue fundraising for NAED’s Education & Research Foundation. Ben has been involved in NAED through a number of boards and committees including his local market area meetings, the regional council, as Central Region vice president, and chairman of the board.

 Larry Powers, CEO (retired), Philips Lighting Business Unit Professional Luminaires, North America, is being honored with the Associate Service Award for his consistent promotion and support of the tenets and goals of NAED.

Powers entered the lighting industry in 1971, when he joined Thomas Lighting. In 1979 he was recruited to lead Hadco, which was acquired by Bairnco in 1983. In 1984, Bairnco formed Genlyte; Powers was named president and CEO of that company in 1994. When Powers took over the leadership of Genlyte, sales totaled less than $400 million; by 2008, sales had grown to more than $1.62 billion. In early 2008 he completed the sale of Genlyte

to Philips for $2.7 billion and subsequently held the title of CEO of Philips Business Unit Professional Luminaires, North America, until his retirement later that year.

Powers believed in the lighting industry and contributed to its growth through a leadership role: He served as a director and president of the American Lighting Association (ALA), became a member of the Supplier Advisory Boards of IMARK and AD, was a member of NAED’s Board of Directors, and is outgoing chair of NEMA.

Lutron Electronics Co, Inc. will receive the 2009 NAED Industry Award of Merit. This award is presented in recognition of a company

or individual in the electrical manufacturing business that has been exceptionally active in promoting and supporting the wholesale electrical distribution industry. Richard Angel, senior vice president of Lutron Electronics Co, Inc., will be accepting the award.

Lutron Electronics was founded in 1961 by Joel and Ruth Spira. The company’s first product, a “dimmer switch,” represented the first practical solid-state electronic device used to dim lights in a home. Today the company offers more than 10,000 lighting control product solutions for residences as well as for commercial projects. Lutron has worked hard to expand the market for lighting controls and to create new markets for energy-saving products.


NAED’s Honorary Life Award recognizes retiring distributors and manufacturers who have made exceptional contributions to the channel during their careers. The following individuals will be honored at the NAED Awards Banquet.

 Robert Bukowsky retired from the position of vice president of sales for IDEAL Industries in June 2008. He began his career with IDEAL as national sales manager in 1985 and was named vice president of sales in 1993. In 2007, he was awarded NAED’s Associate Service Award. He also served on NAED’s Manufacturers’ Council, was the council’s chairman, was appointed to the Associates Advisory Committee, represented manufacturers on the Alternate Channels committee, and is a supporter of the Education & Research Foundation.

Robert Lane joined IDEAL Industries as president in 1997. He became CEO in 2000 and retired from that position in February 2007. From 1980 to the present, Lane attended and participated in more than 100 NAED meetings. During this time, the companies under his direction have supported NAED activities through sponsoring receptions and events, giving of staff time and travel, supplying speakers at various events, committee and special panel participation, and gifts of several hundred thousand dollars in support of NAED initiatives.

 Ab Potter of Gordon Electric Supply, Inc in Kankakee, Ill. has been an enthusiastic supporter of NAED and distribution; he served on NAED’s Board of Directors and was regional vice president for the Central Region. He also has participated on various NAED committees and councils such as the Associates Advisory Council, Membership Committee, Project Development Team, and TED Advisory Committee. In addition, Gordon Electric Supply is active in the association, participating in many areas, including PAR, training with EPEC, and attending NAED meetings.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED’s membership operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


NAED Names Ray Womack as Incoming South Central Region Vice President-Elect

Industry Veteran with 38 years of Experience in the Electrical Distribution Channel

ST. LOUIS… The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has named Ray T. Womack, vice president of Womack Electric Supply Co., Inc., as the incoming South Central Region vice president-elect. The South Central Region Council elected Womack by majority approval.

He is honored to serve both the channel and NAED. “I’m pleased to be a part of the future of NAED and look forward to serving our distributors,” Womack said.

Womack has served in the industry for 38 years and has a long tenure on NAED’s South Central Region Council. In addition, his company is active in the association, participating in many areas, including PAR, training with the NAED Learning Center, and the Power Up Your Career Web site.

A husband and father of three, Womack is the second generation of his family to make a career in the industry. After graduating from the Duke University with a B.A. in Economics, he went to work for his family’s company.

“I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my father. The business is in my blood. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to work with my brother on a daily basis as well as watching young people grow up in our business and take our business to new heights,” he explained.

Womack offers this advice to those wanting to be successful in the industry, “Seek out to work with or hire the smartest people you can find and use their abilities to better yourself and your company.” 

Womack Electric Supply Co. has been a family owned independent electrical distributor since 1938. They operate 17 branch locations across Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, supplied by a central distribution center.

As an NAED regional vice president-elect, Womack will help lead the region’s conferences, council meetings, and other events. He will also participate in NAED’s Membership and Strategic Focus Committees. In addition, when Womack becomes vice president in May 2010, he will serve on the NAED Board of Directors.  

The South Central Region is currently under the leadership of Glenn Goedecke, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mayer Electric Supply Co., Inc., in Birmingham, Ala. Beginning in May, Steven Anixter, president of Advance Electrical Supply Co., Inc., in Chicago, will take up the regional leadership for 2009-2010.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED’s membership operates in approximately 4,400 locations internationally.


NECA Show News

Make Electrical Contractors

Your Customers

March 2009 Edition 2• Prepared by the National Electrical Contractors

Association • Convention - Exposition Dept.

NECA Show News

The 2009 NECA Convention Education line-up Positions Electrical

Contractors to benefit from Energy-Efficiency Retrofit Work.

Survive this economy? Contractors can thrive!

A sampling of the topics that will be presented in Seattle:

-See What No one Else can See & Do What No one Else Does / Thermal Imaging

-How LED Technology Can Change Your Business

-Entering the Green Intelligent Building Market

-Fundamentals of LEED®

-Keys to Business Success in the Solar PV Industry

-Sneak Peak at the 2011 Proposed NEC Code Changes

-What the Stimulus Package Means to Your Business

-Energy Audit Opportunities

-Federal and State Methods forGreenBuilding

-BuildingGreen:  Green Advantage Certification

-How to find the GEMS / Government, Education, Medical Business

-and many more

The NECA Show

September 13 - 15, 2009


For 2009 Exhibit Information

Julie Duda • 770-632-0044 []


"The best way to keep up with our changing industry and customer

expectations is to never miss a NECA Show. It's the one event where

everyone in my company can see the latest products and get the best

training.  We will be at NECA 2009 Seattle."

Wayne Tyrrell, Prime Electric

Industry Update

White Paper Shows Attendee Purchase Influence Still Ranks Top-of-Mind for


A recently-released white paper from auditing firm []

BPA Worldwide shows that the attendees' purchase influence/buying power is

the No. 1 factor an exhibitor considers when deciding whether or not to

exhibit at a show, followed by a show's past success. The paper,

“Determining Exhibitor ROI at B-to-B Tradeshow Events,” also found that

the perceived benefits that exhibitors gain from trade shows differed

depending on title. CMOs, for example, considered more strategic benefits,

such as developing new relationships (65 percent) and building/expanding

relationships with current customers (41 percent) as key payoffs.

Conversely, sales managers (42 percent) and exhibit managers (46 percent)

listed lead generation as the No. 1 benefit to exhibiting.

NECA • 3 Bethesda Metro Center • Suite 1100Bethesda MD 20814



2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) Adoption

Since the 2008 NEC was published, approximately 18 states have adopted it.

Approximately 18 states are currently enforcing the 2005 NEC and 14 states have their own electrical code and enforcing the NEC by local jurisdiction. For more information on NEC adoption in your area, check out the online NEC adoption map.



Green Energy Challenge Student Competition Kicks Off


Sponsored by NECA and ELECTRI International, the new Green Energy Challenge invites teams of students studying electrical construction, engineering, design and management to conduct an energy audit of a local school. Based on their findings, students will then develop customized proposals for energy retrofits that would improve the schools' energy efficiency. Teams will also design a new solar PV and/or wind energy system for the facility.


Cross Border Service Project Brings Solar Power to School in Honduras


Twelve students from the Pennsylvania State University Student Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) joined electrical contractors from the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Honduras in Roatán, Honduras, March 5-14, for NECA’s Cross Border meeting. While in Honduras, the students completed the design and installation of a solar electrical system that will provide power for a local school.



Anti-Counterfeiting is important for our safety

NEMA > Policy Issues > Anti-Counterfeiting 

The manufacturing and sale of counterfeit products is widely recognized by the United States and its trading partners as a crime involving the theft of intellectual property rights, including patents, trade, service and certification marks, and copyright. There are not only economic consequences from trafficking in counterfeit goods, including injury to the reputation of the rights-holder who has made a substantial investment in the quality of its product and brand name, but also to the deceived consumer, especially when health and safety is impacted, and governments that face a loss of tax revenue.

NEMA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Mission is to:

  • advocate the creation and enforcement of measures that remove counterfeit products from the marketplace and penalizes those that traffic counterfeit products.
  • assist its members with protecting their investment in their brands
  • communicate with the U.S. government and the public about the issues presented by the existence of counterfeit electrical products in the marketplace.


USGBC Conferences & Events Team First in to Receive Certification for Sustainable Event Management

U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Conferences and Events team today announced certification under BS 8901:2007, the new British standard for planning and managing sustainable events.  USGBC is the first organization in North America to receive certification for its Conferences and Events Team under BS 8901:2007, the world’s first certifiable sustainability management system standard for the events industry.

Each year, the USGBC Conferences & Events Team is responsible for over 100 events including the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, as well as the USGBC Federal Summit, various roundtables and Member Circle events.  The third-party verification that is part of the certification process was done by Sustainable Event Certification and included on-site auditing at the Greenbuild 2008 in Boston, Mass.  This year’s show will take place November 11-13, 2009 in Phoenix, Ariz. 

“At each Greenbuild, our Conferences and Events team works closely with our vendors, host communities, exhibitors and attendees to cut down on natural resource use and reduce carbon emissions,  while gaining feedback about ways to continuously improve the show,” said Kimberly Lewis, Vice President of Conferences and Events, USGBC. “Certification under the British standard validates our processing, execution and post-event monitoring and incentivizes us to continue to transform the global meetings industry.”

BS 8901 provides a robust framework through which event organizers, suppliers to the events industry and events themselves can demonstrate their commitment to a more sustainable future and requires organizations to aspire to continually improve their sustainability performance in relation to the management of events.  BS 8901 shares common management system principles and processes with the ISO 9001 standard on Quality Management and the ISO 14001 standard on Environmental Management.


The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization with a vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (, and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit

About Greenbuild
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo convenes the industry’s largest gathering of representatives from all sectors of the green building movement.  Three days of extensive educational programming, workshops, a vast exhibition floor and ample networking events provide unrivaled opportunities to learn about the latest technological innovations, explore new products, and exchange ideas with other professionals. Greenbuild 2009 will be held on Nov. 11-13, 2009, in Phoenix, Ariz.  This past year’s conference in Boston, Mass. drew over 28,000 attendees and featured more than 800 exhibit booths.  Visit for more information.  To view last year’s Greenbuild show, go to   

Article Contributions


BuildingGreen publishes information in outlets such as Environmental Building News (EBN) and BuildingGreen Suite that cover the most pressing issues in environmentally sensitive design and construction with a clear approach to all sides of an issue, keeping our readers informed on building for sustainability. This email brings you, as a news editor or website owner interested in sustainable design, links to breaking stories currently posted in the free area of

We encourage you to post these summaries and links on your website. However, please DO NOT post full articles without direct permission from Jim Newman at BuildingGreen, LLC.

When posting the summaries and links below on your website(s), please make it clear that the stories are coming from Environmental Building News and that the full article is available at Please include this byline:

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BuildingGreen, LLC owns the copyrights to all material contained in this email and to the full written articles. All rights are reserved except those explicitly granted herein. Contact Jim Newman at BuildingGreen, LLC, with questions or for additional information.

All materials Copyright BuildingGreen, LLC 2009.

Breaking News from

Top-10 Products for Affordable Green Retrofits

Tristan Roberts

Many cost-effective green retrofit strategies involve expert audits or operational changes. Many opportunities are also available in key product areas. To highlight some of the best, we've combed through our GreenSpec Directory of green building products for this list of the Top-10 Products for Affordable Green Retrofits.

Product Number 1. Fluid-Applied Roofing

Fluid-applied roofing products can be applied over an existing roof to extend its life and increase reflectivity, reducing cooling loads. If you have the budget, however, you'll get even more savings by replacing the roof membrane and adding several inches of rigid-foam insulation.

Link to the full article:

Current Stories from Environmental Building News:

NAIOP Study Shows that Saving Energy Takes Know-How

Allyson Wendt

A recent study released by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (also known as NAIOP), has become a flashpoint for debate over the cost-effectiveness of green building measures. The study has been cited in the New York Times and elsewhere as bringing into question the feasibility of basic energy-efficiency benchmarks championed in the green building community. However, critics of the study argue that it ignored many savings opportunities and underestimates the savings potential of the measures it does include.

Link to the full article:

Porous Paving

Backpage Primer from Environmental Building News

Also called pervious or permeable, porous paving allows rainwater to infiltrate into the ground. Although some porous pavement types are not new, pavements that are engineered to allow infiltration while also withstanding regular vehicle use are a more recent innovation.

Link to the full article: Launched

Here at BuildingGreen, we're thrilled to announce that formally launched on January 20, 2009 at the International Builders Show. This new residential green building website is the result of an incredible effort by Peter Yost, our director of residential programs; managing editor Dan Morrison, formerly of Fine Homebuilding; Martin Holladay, former editor of Energy Design Update; and others, and supported by our Advisors--15 of the nation's top green residential practitioners.

Combining expert advice, nearly 1,000 thoroughly vetted construction details, real-world examples of green homes, and residential GreenSpec product guidance, serves architects, builders, remodelers, and engaged homeowners.

Link to the full article:

Dates Announced for LEED 2009 Launch, LEED AP Exam

Andrea Ward

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that LEED 2009 (including the new LEED Online) will launch officially on April 27, 2009. The same date will see the transition of LEED project registration and certification to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), the third party that also administers the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) credential (see EBN Jun. 2008).

Link to the full article:

Remembering Greg Franta

Alex Wilson

Greg Franta, FAIA, 58, was a pioneer of the green building movement-and the solar energy movement before that. Greg was one of the founders of the AIA Committee on the Environment in 1990 and served as national chair in 1994. He was also active in the U.S. Green Building Council and received that organization's Leadership Award for Education in 2006.

Link to full article:


BuildingGreen, LLC is publisher of the nation's oldest publication on sustainable design and construction and the leading national directory of green building products. For more information on BuildingGreen and its resources on environmentally responsible design and construction, visit, email, or call 800-861-0954 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is a socially responsible company based in Brattleboro, Vermont.  



Government Stimulus Money Shouldn’t Revive Industrial Age

  Published on 4/1/2009 at where you always read REAL perspectives

Carlini’s Comments,’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man’s view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of “pseudo” experts.

CHICAGO – What enduring projects are we spending the stimulus money on and what skill sets are we trying to save?

 Every state and local legislature should be asking those questions as they look at spending money coming in from the federal government. Most people are looking at how to spend money on various projects that will put people back to work. Unfortunately, many are taking a 1950s (if not a 1930s) approach about which projects should be created to employ people.

While we have to understand that part of the infrastructure is made up of roads, bridges and bricks and mortar, there is now a virtual infrastructure made up of software, hardware and applications.

Kill Two Birds With One Software Application

We are past the Industrial Age, past the Information Age and into the Internet Age. Let’s not emphasize reinvesting in the past when there is so much to do in the future. There aren’t enough lawmakers in legislatures who understand that jobs and skill sets have advanced from picks and shovels to PCs and wireless communications as the bread-and-butter jobs for many Americans.

 Instead, there is a bureaucratic notion that – if we just create a lot of construction jobs – that action will somehow bring underemployed people who have lost high-paying financial and IT jobs back into some type of prosperity and consumer spending spree. These underemployed people (who are already highly skilled, degreed and certified) worked in different segments of the financial and information industry.

They don’t need retraining. They need real opportunities to apply what they already know. What about creating some new jobs to streamline obsolete government applications? Take antiquated manual applications that are labor-intensive tasks and automate them. This would be hitting two birds with one stone. People could be working on new systems and government services would be automated.

Every day there are more examples of the vortex of declining mediocrity. This shows the emphasis on saving old-skilled jobs instead of creating and maintaining cutting-edge careers. We should be looking at employing software and IT people to take a systems approach to government and cut down antiquated, manual processes.

Records management, court documents and other process-intensive applications would be perfect candidates for a government back-to-work project. Pick several areas that are lagging back into the 1950s “paper era” and create automated approaches to them. The immediate benefit would be to employ many IT people

More important, though, is the ongoing residual value would be to cut down the cost of government and cut out the waste that goes on in everyday scenarios. The problem is that there are more legislators and administrators who understand simple brick-and-mortar “build something” projects as compared to comprehending software, systems integration and the digital economy.

“Let’s build a road and employ some people” is a lot easier than saying this: “Let’s review the current system processes and create a more cost-effective and automated approach for this antiquated government application.”

Shovel Ready vs. Fiber Ready

If we are to look at road construction, let’s look at adding fiber optics into every road-building project. Let’s look at adding a law that requires every highway construction project to also undertake the expansion of a state-of-the-art network.

The incremental cost of adding fiber to the roadbed while it’s being built is negligible compared to going back, ripping up the street and adding it later. This seems to be the common-sense approach. Unfortunately, we have too many people who fail to comprehend this in many decision-making roles who work in highway departments across most states.

At the same time, incumbent phone companies try to stifle any new approaches so they can squeeze another couple years of profits out of a copper-based infrastructure without having to compete with innovation.

Just as some would point out that GM has failed in competing in the automobile markets, many incumbent phone companies have stumbled around instead of building a second-to-none network infrastructure in the last 20 years.

In a recent interview discussing municipal stimulus packages on Etopia News, you can see a clear side-by-side comparison of the different speed of various DSL lines. This demonstrates the choppiness of picture continuity when a slower speed is used. Having higher speeds for video-based conferences over the Internet would greatly advance communications if we had true broadband connectivity on a universal basis.

Consolidate Assets, Approaches

The idea of consolidating assets across different government agencies seemed to hit a chord last week. Many areas can utilize a shared approach and we would get more for our money by consolidating these assets: libraries, public safety facilities and water-treatment plants.

“We need to pour more money into this endeavor.” How many years have we heard that for education and other government agencies? How many times have referenda been passed without seeing any significant improvements? A different direction needs to be charted and pursued.

Carlinism: We are past the Industrial Age, past the Information Age and into the Internet Age. Let’s not reinvest in the past when there is so much to do in the future.


James Carlini will be the keynote speaker at the Service Industry Stimulus Summit from April 20 to 21, 2009 at the Hilton Milwaukee Center at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee. Learn more and register here. See James Carlini’s latest interview on intelligent infrastructure with the Strassman Report on Etopia News.


Check out Carlini’s blog at .


James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at or 773-370-1888.

Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Electrical Contractor Magazine

Safe at Home

BY diane Kelly

Increased training can cut fatalities

Perhaps one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a construction company is a job site fatality. It affects many aspects of the company, from finances to employee morale. This is especially relevant for residential construction, since nearly 25 percent of all on-the-job construction fatalities occur at residential work sites. In its study of residential fatalities, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) identifies the four main causes of 93 percent of residential fatalities and draws a link between an employee’s length of employment and the occurrence of fatal accidents.

The NAHB found that 6 percent of residential fatalities occurred to electrical professionals. The hazards that caused these accidents exist in four categories: falls, contact with objects and equipment, exposure to harmful substances, and vehicular accidents.

Falls in residential construction are most common among workers installing roofs, walls or decking. Most fatal falls occurred from a ladder, roof or scaffold, but the NAHB also found that fatalities occur from falls down a flight of stairs or by slipping through floor joists.

The possible objects or equipment a residential construction worker may come in contact with vary due to the different aspects of residential construction occurring on a site at any given time. An employee can be struck by a hammer falling from an elevated surface or caught in an excavation cave-in.

Three of the top four exposures that caused worker fatalities were related to contact with some aspect of electricity. Workers most frequently came into contact with overhead power lines; wiring; transformers or other electric components; and the electrical current of tools, appliances or light fixtures. Fatalities of this class make up the vast majority (67 percent) of fatalities caused by exposure to harmful substances. Other potentially harmful substances workers come into contact with include paints or varnishes or substances that cause allergic reactions, such as bee sting venom.

The majority of vehicular accidents were highway accidents involving a collision between vehicles or vehicles and mobile equipment. About 45 percent of the fatalities reported were not using safety equipment, such as seat belts.

After looking at these four hazards, a safety program for a residential construction company practically seems to write itself. A work site analysis should be done to highlight the areas of safety that must be included. By addressing and controlling these four hazards, an employer would have a good foundation and can directly reduce the number of fatal accidents on the job site. All safety programs, including one for residential construction, should include responsibilities of both the employer and employee. The employer’s responsibilities should include the following:

•Maintaining a hazard-free workplace

•Training employees to keep safe from any hazards that cannot be controlled out of the workplace

•Conducting regular job site safety inspections

•Having an employee trained in first aid and CPR on each job site

The employees’ main safety responsibility is to follow the employer’s safety program. The following will lead to an even safer workplace:

•Wearing and caring for all personal protective equipment

•Using safety features of tools and equipment

•Never allowing the work of one employee to put another in danger

•Never using drugs or alcohol when on the job

The NAHB’s study of residential fatalities states length of employment is linked to the likelihood of an injury or fatality. Two-thirds of fatalities occur when employees are with their current employer for less than five years. It could be a result of inexperience on the employee’s part, but it also calls into question the efficacy of the employer’s safety program. This helps illustrate the importance of companies investing time and money into their safety-training program, and that this training must begin at the time a new employee is hired.

Training needs to be formal and comprehensive, not simply the traditional “learn as you go” safety training. By properly training new hires, the fatality rate on residential construction sites will drop significantly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests new employees receive a safety orientation before setting foot on a job site, so they have enough training to allow them to do their job safely.

Despite all the hazards and the high number of residential construction fatalities, OSHA often does not get to most of these job sites. The projects are often small-scale, with the work moving quickly and being completed before inspectors are even aware the job exists. Often, safety problems are only documented after a serious injury or fatality occurs. Also, home building is largely viewed to be a gateway into construction work, so many of the workers are inexperienced with and unaware of many construction hazards. Formal skill and safety training doesn’t always occur beforehand but is done on the job. These increase the likelihood of residential construction fatalities, many of which could be reduced through proper safety training.

KELLY is a safety and health specialist with Intec, a safety consulting, training and publishing firm that offers on-site assistance and produces manuals, training videos and software for contractors. She can be reached at 800.745.4818 or Joe O’Connor edited this article.


NECA Leads the Way

by rex a. ferry

In Last month’s column, I mentioned that I admire John C. Maxwell. He is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker and author who said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” and “leadership is influence.”

One reason I like him so much is because his words apply to the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). In the above quotes, he might as well have been speaking about NECA, in particular, about NECA’s leadership regarding sustainable construction and energy independence. Participating in a meeting of the ELECTRI Council of ELECTRI International—The Foundation for Electrical Construction Inc. reinforced this thought.

We council members have four duties: to analyze industry trends and issues, to review project proposals submitted by universities and research institutes, to recommend major initiatives for project funding, and to serve on appropriate task forces to guide each commissioned project from start to finish.

The primary purpose of this particular meeting was to carry out assignments two and three, but the first item on the list is a constant part of everything we do. We selected five projects to be funded for active research this year; three of them pertain to green construction and energy.

There’s more information on them in the NECA Notes section of this magazine (page 113). However, I want to draw your attention to these three because we can look forward to the research findings being turned into informational reports and management education programs, and frankly, I’m excited by the prospect. The foundation has commissioned related studies in the past; I’m sure we’ll have more in the future. But, the 2009 projects are particularly relevant at this time, as our nation struggles to achieve economic stability, domestic security and energy independence.

One of the new projects will help electrical contractors learn how to conduct comprehensive energy audits, which are essential for helping customers make the best choices for controlling and reducing energy use and incorporating alternative energy sources into the operation of their facilities. Another will result in the publication of a strategic guide for renewable energy and distributed generation, revealing markets for electrical contractors that provide energy solutions.

And talk about up-to-the-minute timeliness: the third project deals with the national energy policy under development even as I write this column. It’s called Energy Roadmap Guiding Electrical Contractor Energy Independence Opportunities. It will examine the opportunities our national energy policy will provide for electrical contractors and point out how to take advantage of them.

As I wrote this, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the much-talked-about and much-needed economic stimulus legislation, and NECA was aggressively pushing for a place for electrical contractors in getting the economy back in shape. (You can read about this in NECA Notes, too.)

As previously reported, last fall NECA adopted a policy on energy independence. It calls for increased investment in renewable and alternative energy resources and repairing and expanding the nation’s electric grid, and it emphasizes NECA’s willingness to work with Congress and other organizations toward these objectives. Most importantly, it says electrical contractors who construct and maintain the infrastructure to generate, transmit and distribute electrical power play a key role in the move toward domestic energy independence.

Through the activities I have mentioned in this column, and many more I haven’t, NECA is working hard to prepare contractors to perform this important role. We’re “knowing the way” and “showing the way” through research and education. We’re “going the way” through advocacy and outreach efforts that can actually grow more jobs for contractors. We’re bringing our association’s considerable influence to bear on all these efforts.

Rex A. Ferry, President, Neca


Managing the Project

BY jim hayes

Network design for fiber optics, part 12

Managing a fiber optic project can be the easiest part of the installation if the design and planning is thorough and complete. If not, it can be the hardest. But even assuming everything has been done right, things still may go wrong, so planning for the unexpected also is important. Here are some project-management guidelines that can minimize problems and lead to a speedy solution.

First, someone has to be in charge, and everyone must know who is the boss. During the project, the boss must be readily available for consultation and updates. While this may sound obvious, sometimes the network user’s representative has other responsibilities (such as managing the IT department) and may not be able or willing to direct full attention to the project. Whoever is managing the project must be involved and available—preferably on the job site—full time. If necessary, delegate responsibility to the construction supervisor with requirements for daily reports and updates.

Make certain that everyone responsible for parts of the project has appropriate documentation and has reviewed the installation plan. Everyone should have toured the relevant job sites and should be familiar with locations. They also must know whom to contact about questions on the sites, including from the network user, the contractor and any outside organizations, such as local governments or utilities.

Everyone needs to share contact information—usually cell phone numbers, since e-mail may be too slow, and instant messaging will probably not be available to field workers. The on-site supervisor should have a digital camera and take plenty of photos of the installation to be filed with the documentation for future reference and restoration.

All personnel should know the location of components, tools and supplies. On larger jobs, managing equipment and materials may be a full-time job. Special equipment, such as splicing trailers or bucket trucks, should be scheduled as needed. Rental equipment should be double checked with the suppliers to ensure delivery to the job site on time. Contacts for vendor technical support should be noted on documentation for the inevitable questions that arise during installation.

Outside plant installations may require local authorities to provide personnel for supervision or police for protection or traffic management on public job sites, so they also must become involved in the scheduling. If job inspections are required, arrangements should be made, so the job interruptions for inspections are minimized. Supervisory personnel must be responsible for job site safety and have appropriate contact information, that includes public services, such as police, fire and ambulance.

If the project is large enough to last several days or more, daily meetings to review the day’s progress are advisable. At a minimum, it should involve the on-site construction supervisor and the network user’s project manager. As long as things are going well, such a meeting should be short. On longer projects, overnight security personnel at job sites should have contact information for the job manager, who must be available 24/7, as well as public service contacts.

Testing of the installed cable plant should not be left until after the job is completed. Testing continually during installation can find and fix problems, such as cable stresses or high termination losses, before they become widespread. Each installer conducting tests should have documentation with loss budget calculations and acceptable losses to use for evaluating the test results.

What if things go bad? Here, judgment calls are important. If (or when) something happens, obviously it is the responsibility of the on-site supervisor to decide quickly if he or she can take care of it. If not, the supervisor must know who needs to be brought in and who needs to be notified. By reviewing progress regularly, disruptions can be minimized. Equipment failures—for example, a fusion splicer—can slow progress, but other parts of the project, such as cable laying, can continue, with splicing resumed as soon as replacement equipment is available. An experienced installer should review problems with termination, and the cure may require new supplies or turning termination over to more experienced personnel. Never hesitate to call vendor support when these kinds of questions or problems arise.

Following the completion of the installation, all relevant personnel should meet, review the project results, update the documentation and decide if anything else needs to be done before closing the project.

This concludes the series on designing fiber optic networks. Next month, this column will begin a series on the next step after project design: installation.        

HAYES is a VDV writer and educator and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at


AFCIs, Coin-Operated Machinery and More

By George W. Flach

Article 210         Branch Circuits

Article 230         Services

Article 250         Grounding and Bonding

Article 366         Auxiliary Gutters

Article 422         Appliances

Article 517         Health Care Facilities

Various articles in Chapters 6, 7 and 8 are mentioned. The 2008 edition of the Guide Information for Electrical Equipment (White Book), published by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., also is mentioned.

Combination-type AFCIs

What is the meaning of the phrase “combination type” used in the description of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) for use in various rooms and areas in dwelling units?

The phrase “combination type” in 210.2(B) describes the type of AFCI that must be provided for installations in dwelling units.

According to the 2008 edition of the Guide Information for Electrical Equipment (White Book), published by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., six categories of AFCIs are listed. They are the branch/feeder type, which senses parallel arcing faults; series arcing faults with ground on branch-circuit wiring; and parallel arcing faults on cord sets, extension cords and power supply cords. The combination-type AFCI detects parallel arcing faults; series arcing faults with or without an equipment-grounding conductor on branch circuit wiring; and parallel and series arcs on cord sets, extension cords and power supply cords. Cord-type AFCIs are for connection to a receptacle and provide arc-fault protection to the supply cord and protect appliances plugged into the receptacle. The outlet branch-circuit type ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) provides protection of branch-circuit conductors with or without a grounding conductor and cord sets, extension cords and power supply cords from series and parallel arcs. The outlet circuit-type AFCI is intended to be installed in an outlet box and protects against arcs in the power supply cord. They may have connections for additional receptacles. Finally, there is the portable-type AFCI. These types are intended to be connected to a receptacle outlet and are provided with one or more outlets. These devices protect power supply cords and extension cords from unwanted arc faults.

For a more complete description of the various types of AFCIs, see pages 51–53 of the White Book.

Coin-operated machines in store foyer

Do coin-operated, electric horse-riding machines in a grocery store foyer require GFCI protection for the 20-ampere, 125-volt receptacle?

A horse-riding machine for children does not fit the definition of a vending machine in section

422.51. A riding machine is an amusement device, not a vending machine, and 422.51 does not apply. This section has been expanded in the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) and clears up some of the ambiguity that appeared in previous editions of the NEC. Section 422.51 states, “For the purpose of this section, the term vending machine means any self-service device that dispenses products or merchandise without the necessity of replenishing the device between such vending operation and is designed to require insertion of a coin, paper currency, token, card, key, or receipt of payment by other means.”

Vending machines manufactured after Jan. 1, 2005, must be provided with GFCI protection as an integral part of the attachment plug or be located within 12 inches of the attachment plug. Vending machines manufactured before Jan. 1, 2005, must be connected to a GFCI-protected outlet.

Dishwasher and disposal circuit

Does the NEC permit a three-wire, 14-AWG copper branch circuit to supply a dishwasher and garbage disposal from two single-pole, 15-ampere circuit breakers?

The 15-ampere multiwire branch circuit is permitted to supply these appliances, but the two single-pole circuit breakers are not. The disconnecting means for a multiwire branch circuit is required to disconnect all ungrounded conductors of the multiwire branch circuit by the use of a two-pole circuit breaker or two single-pole circuit breakers provided with a handle tie. Article 210.4(B) states, “Disconnecting Means. Each multiwire branch circuit shall be provided with a means that will simultaneously disconnect all ungrounded conductors at the point where the branch circuit originates.” Also, if this multiwire branch circuit is supplied by a raceway with other circuits in the same raceway, the multiwire branch circuit must be grouped with a tie wrap or other similar means in the panelboard or point of origination. Where three-wire nonmetallic sheathed cable is the wiring method, a wire tie or tie wrap is not required by the Exception to 210.4(D).

Removal of low-voltage abandoned cable

What parts of the 2008 edition of the NEC require removal of low-voltage wiring that is no longer in use?

Let’s start with Article 640—Audio Signal Processing, Amplification, and Reproduction Equipment. Section 640.2 has a definition of abandoned cable and 640.6(C) requires removal of the accessible portions of abandoned cables. Article 645—Information Technology Equipment requires that abandoned supply circuits and interconnecting cables be removed unless installed in a metal raceway. Article 725—Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 Remote Control, Signaling, and Power Limited Circuits requires removal. Section 725.25 requires removal of abandoned cables unless a tag is provided on the cable for future use. Article 760—Fire Alarm Systems has a requirement for removal of abandoned cables not tagged for future use in Section 760.25. Article 770—Optical Fiber Cables and Raceways contains a definition for Abandoned Optical Fiber Cable in 770.2 and 770.25 requires removal of abandoned cables unless identified with a tag for future use. Article 800—Communication Circuits has a definition for abandoned cable in 800.2 and a requirement for removal of abandoned cable not provided with a tag for future use in 800.25. Article 820—Community Antenna Television and Radio Distribution Systems has a definition for abandoned coaxial cable in 820.2 and a requirement for removal of abandoned coaxial cable that does not have a tag for future use in Section 820.25. Article 830—Network-Powered Broadband Communications Systems has a definition for abandoned cable and a requirement for removal of abandoned cable that does not have a tag for future use.

Ampacity of aluminum bus bars

What is the ampacity of ½-inch-by-2-inch bare aluminum bus bars installed in an auxiliary gutter?

The continuous current rating of bare aluminum bus bars installed in a metal auxiliary gutter is 700 amperes per square inch. A ½-inch-by-2-inch aluminum bar has a cross section of one square inch; therefore, the ampacity of the aluminum bus bar is 700 amperes. In Section 366.23(A), the continuous current rating of a bare copper bus bar is listed as 1,000 amperes per square inch, and for bare aluminum bus, the current is limited to 700 amperes per square inch.

Checking ground-fault protection

Is there a timetable for checking the performance of ground-fault protection on a 480Y/277 volt service that is rated 1,200 amperes?

There are two separate requirements for testing ground-fault protection (GFP) of electrical equipment. One is in 230.95, and the other is in 517.17. In 230.95, ground-fault protection is required for all services rated 1,000 amperes or more with a voltage of 150 volts or more to ground but not exceeding 600 volts. Part (C) of 230.95 requires performance testing, and it must be done when the equipment is first installed on-site. This testing must be done in accordance with instructions furnished with the GFP. There is no requirement for a periodic test. The electrical inspector should be furnished with the date and time of the test, so he or she can witness it.

Where the service supplies healthcare facilities, 512.12 also applies. This section requires GFP on the feeder(s) that are supplied directly from the service--disconnecting means. A delay of at least six cycles is required between the feeder GFP tripping time and the service overcurrent protective device. This six-cycle delay between opening of the feeder overcurrent device when a ground fault occurs and the service disconnect ensures selectivity between the feeder overcurrent protection and service-overcurrent protection. Testing to ensure compliance must be conducted soon after the equipment is installed. Here again, the electrical inspector should be notified of the date and time of the test so that he/she may be present to witness it.

Feeders protected at 1,000 amperes or more must also be protected by GFP to comply with 215.10.

Grounding separately derived systems

A 120/208-volt transformer is supplied from a 277/480 volt, three-phase service. If the secondary side of the transformer is properly grounded at the transformer neutral terminal, is it necessary to include a grounded circuit conductor in the raceway for the feeder? Metal water pipe is close to the transformer. This is the reason for connecting the grounding--electrode conductor to the neutral bus in the transformer.

Yes, the grounding-electrode conductor can be connected to the metal water pipe and the neutral bus in the transformer. Article 250.30 permits this method of grounding the grounded circuit conductor of the derived system, provided that the grounded-circuit conductor is isolated from ground at the disconnecting means for the secondary. The grounded-circuit conductor (neutral) must not be connected to a grounded terminal in the transformer secondary-disconnecting means. In addition, a bonding conductor must be installed between the grounded terminal in the transformer and the grounded bus that is secured to the disconnect enclosure. Exception No. 2 to 250.30(A)(1) reads, “A system bonding jumper at both the source and the first disconnecting means shall be permitted where doing so does not establish a parallel path for the grounded conductor.”      

FLACH, a regular contributing Code editor, is a former chief electrical inspector for New Orleans. Questions can be sent to


Sweet Home Automation; Homeowners demand emerging technologies

by Pat woods

With the green movement going full steam ahead, homeowners expect energy efficiency in both new construction and remodels. Baby boomers and subsequent generations demand energy-saving solutions that shrink utility bills and are easy to install and maintain.

New technologies

To meet consumer expectations, new technologies are released frequently. Recent residential innovations include self-powered wireless light switches, wireless tabletop lighting keypads, wireless shades and UL-approved dimmable outlets and plugs. Wired and wireless fan speed controls have added more flexibility when designing a complete solution for homeowners. Dimmable light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures and easy-to-retrofit, long-life lamps without mercury are on the horizon.

In the future, residential lighting will be thoroughly integrated into appliances and located closer to the task, replacing architectural downlights, which often needlessly illuminate the entire room, said Ann Schiffers, a lighting designer in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. Home office lighting will use simple direct/indirect fixtures sufficient for computer task areas. New lighting source technology will focus on LEDs that can be easily mounted in areas otherwise considered off-limits.

“Stairs can easily incorporate the LED source for safety,” Schiffers said. “Because the LED source is not hot, it can be used in walk-over applications or in stair treads. In another application, residential wine displays can easily be highlighted with low-heat source LEDs without impacting the wine-aging process.”

“When properly designed and integrated, new technologies will deliver lower energy costs, improved architecture appearance and enhanced lifestyle to customers and environment,” said Larry Bem, systems engineer at Audio Advisors, West Palm Beach, Fla. “When you supply this kind of service, you will create a win-win relationship with customers. And with that relationship, the opportunity for new and repeat business will certainly follow.”

With emerging technology, such as self-powered switches, contractors can offer a whole-house lighting control system at a reasonable price, enabling them to differentiate their company from competitors. These products eliminate the guesswork of figuring where the switches go or whether the home-owner wants a three-way or four-way switch.

Residential daylight harvesting

Extensive use of daylight harvesting to meet ambient illumination requirements is frequently a part of sustainable building projects. Electric lighting control and motorized shade systems make the energy-saving benefits of daylight harvesting possible.

Integrating daylight harvesting requires experienced lighting designers and talented programmers and is simplified with the use of modern processors and their algorithms, Bem said.

The benefits are many: reduced maintenance and replacement costs over the home’s lifespan, energy conservation, improved occupant health and productivity, and greater design flexibility. Daylight harvesting is popular because the light is free.

“All we need to do is provide control,” Bem said. “Control can mean reflecting light, filtering it or restricting it.”

The methods to achieve this are varied both in expense and required user interaction. Motorizing blinds and shades in combination with an intelligent controller will reduce heat gain and fabric damage from UV rays.

New generations of solar tubes that capture, reflect and disperse UV-filtered sunlight in the home are gaining popularity. Many of these have an option for electrical lighting to be installed in the tube, providing light at night through the same ceiling diffuser.

Light shelf interior and exterior is the best way to use bounce light to illuminate the room without direct sun and solar heat gain. According to Schiffers, this light shelf also can include electrical sources to recreate the daytime lighting effect. A simple LED strip light mounted on top of the light shelf can be used for this purpose.

“Contractors should gain knowledge of solar collection systems for integrating with the electric system,” Schiffers said. “If they understand current trends and the appropriate mounting/wiring methods for these technologies, they have the advantage of educating their customers as well as installing energy- and money-saving fixtures.”

Be the hub, not the spoke

Electrical contractors need to keep up with new technology, and the simplest way is through wholesale distributors and manufacturers’ representatives. But they also need to change their mindsets, said Norman Rosenberg, CEO, Rosenberg Custom Electronic Window Treatments, New York.

Home automation, as it relates to lighting control and other features, has generated interest among early adopter consumers, but the concept still needs some clarification for consumers and new presentation methods for builders and contractors.

On home theater jobs, for example, Rosenberg said electrical contractors will get a pittance for a power connection and leave big bucks on the table for other trades. Situations such as these call for integration of products and technologies.

Whoever gets to the customer first has the opportunity to sell additional technology and processes, Rosenberg said. You can perform line-voltage installation, cable runs and equipment connection. Moreover, you can do even more by bringing in strategic partners for other requests, such as automatic lighting controls, electronically controlled window treatments and whole-house audio and video.

New technology opportunities are wide open, and customers are thrilled to be introduced to them, Rosenberg said.

“It’s a high-priced field with high margins, and many electrical contractors are ignoring it. As an example, one could have a house with 70–80 dimmers being installed. What if the contractor said, ‘I can eliminate them for you and replace them with a few keypads’? Wouldn’t the homeowner want a product that does that?” he said.

Learn about the residential customer’s needs.

“Think beyond adding a new circuit or installing outlets,” Rosenberg said. “Does Ms. Homeowner want to ‘plug-and-play’ a new plasma TV with surround sound? Or does Mr. Homeowner want to experience sitting behind [home plate at] Yankee Stadium, feeling the tension from the bullpen in a ninth-inning clincher?”

Ask your prospects what they want in terms of home automation. Rosenberg said you don’t have to become an electrical engineer to make proper recommendations to customers.

“You don’t need to have competence with the systems and solutions you recommend,” he said. “But you do need to continually increase your knowledge of what’s possible and what’s on the horizon. Learn to move from being a subcontractor or niche specialist to the resource who brings in all the other experts to set up the home theater as well as other automation solutions. Being the hub geometrically increases your revenue stream.”        

WOODS writes for many consumer and trade publications and is updating lighting in her Arizona home. She can be reached at


Need to Know; MNS installation is a great opportunity for contractors

BY Jennifer leah Stong-Michas

Various school shootings and natural disasters have thrust mass notification systems (MNS) into the spotlight. Such tragedies have pointed out the need to further examine systems and how they can be enhanced. And where there is a demand, there is a viable application as well as an opportunity for specifiers and installers.

Peter Ebersold, marketing director for Notifier, part of Honeywell’s Life Safety Group, Northford, Conn., said he has seen increased interest in MNS in the educational market.

“Interest is coming from not only colleges and universities, but [it] has also trickled down to secondary and elementary schools, as well,” he said.

Marc Ladin, vice president of global marketing at mass notification solution provider 3n Global, Glendale, Calif., agreed with that assessment.

“Over the last several years, we have seen the market expand rapidly, and post-Katrina, we saw mass notification get even more attention,” he said. “A lot of schools had to make rush decisions due to calls and concerns from parents.”

It may appear the number of potential customers is declining. However, many early adopters implemented rudimentary systems, and those adopters are now realizing their original systems were not adequate. Also, some of the systems installed are now ready for upgrades.

“The fear was there, and people felt they had to get something,” Ladin said. “Most did their buying and deciding based on price, which is why so many opted for the text-message-only solutions. But now they are looking back and seeing the limits of these systems and are reevaluating their need for a more comprehensive solution.”

Beyond upgrading and reinforcing existing systems, there is more work to be done for contractors, especially those who understand MNS. For example, most text-only solutions cannot be upgraded; thus, there is an increasing need to switch to other solutions as school administrators determine their systems need to be more robust. Furthermore, many users with basic systems are beginning to fear potential backlash if a tragedy occurs and they are ill-equipped to handle it.

What can a contractor do to update,  upgrade or even formulate a client’s MNS? Ebersold said there are a variety of ways to approach mass notification. One of the first options to consider is adding emergency voice evacuation to an existing fire alarm system. From there, the choices and options are almost endless, including “giant voice” speaker arrays for outdoor notification, amber strobes, LED signs, and e-mail and text-messaging systems.

According to Ebersold, one can send emergency communications digitally over an Internet protocol (IP) network that already connects buildings. Another option is to use one dedicated IP network for mass notification and another for other IP functions.

On an IP network, most MNS activate a live or prerecorded message and then digitize it. It is converted back to analog for broadcast through speakers.

Getting out the word

There are a variety of options to distribute messages in an emergency. In fact, those in the industry agree that the more comprehensive solution offerings account for a variety of transport mediums. This type of solution ensures people learn, in real time, what is going on.

Another option for getting the word out, according to Ebersold, is to use existing video systems and displays. One could use the emergency system to interrupt the normal broadcast to scroll messages, either text-only or text and voice, across the screen, grabbing more attention. Ebersold said the forthcoming NFPA 72 will walk users through options.

“If cell phones are turned off or inaccessible—like in the case of an athletic team being outside on the practice field—people may not receive the message in a timely manner,” Ebersold said. “The same goes for an indoor-only intercom or paging system. The mass notification system should be extended outdoors, so people in campus quads, outdoor malls, parking lots and athletic fields can be informed, too.”

More building owners and campus administrators are revisiting MNS. Reassessing what they have and what they should have is creating new interest. Contractors can benefit from mass notification system installation business. Not only are there still entities that have nothing in place, but those with rudimentary systems are seeking other enhanced or replacement solutions.          

Stong-michas, a freelance writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached at


Face the Fear ; Succeeding in the world of home technology integration

by jeff gavin

With a residential market in search of a pulse, finding opportunities is daunting at best. Projects exist, but they may require work unfamiliar to you. Is that a deterrent or a challenge? Better yet, is it a door to opportunity? For electrical contractors (ECs) who have discovered intelligent systems for the home, benefits include clean installation and easy margins. Integration work hasn’t been immune to the economic downturn. However, learning the ropes, finding ready-to-go customers, or partnering with or becoming a home integrator will position you for an expected booming market attracting a range of homeowners.

Premiere Systems in Chicago is a home automation technology installer (integrator) serving the upper-income consumer. High-rise condominium and high-end rental property development is helping Premiere Systems weather the economic downturn. Russ Radke, chief operating officer, regularly partners with electrical contractors.

“Today’s control systems can do more and require both high-voltage and low-voltage work,” he said.

Premiere creates its own architectural drawings, which help an electrical contractor better understand the work at hand.

“ECs have a wealth of experience in wiring and often structured wiring,” Radke said. “In fact, many ECs we work with are commercial but find their way into residential through us.”

Radke appreciates contractors with experience in low voltage or who are willing to learn. He recommends they become  familiar with standards created by the Telecommunications Industry Association, the Electronic Industries Alliance and BICSI. Such standards focus on cabling; wiring; connectors; and other audio/video, security and data interfaces.

“We don’t mind getting a contractor up-to-speed,” he said. “But the more familiar they are with our world and how it intersects with theirs, the smoother the project.”

‘Just another level of wiring’

Gurtz Electric Co. in Arlington Heights, Ill., is mainly a commercial electrical contractor.

“Home integration found us,” said Christopher Ott, senior manager for Gurtz. “We are largely a core and shell and design/build contractor. Most of our work is in healthcare and commercial office buildings.”

Ott said a 37-floor condo gut rehab, for which Gurtz was the electrical finish contractor, brought Gurtz Electric and Premiere Systems together.

“Some of the condo owners wanted home integration features. That work fell to us,” he said. “In all honesty, the opportunity gave us pause because the work was different from what we traditionally had done.”

Radke said reluctance is a common reaction for ECs new to home integration.

“ECs are blown away by the amount of wiring needed for home integration projects, even if it is bundled,” he said. “There’s a lot to trim out and connect. That initial fear of overly complex work lessens once they think through the systems. It then all makes sense.”

Ott agreed that the initial concerns were soon overcome.

“Our job is to incorporate the integration systems into the electrical design,” he said. “Once we learn how to marry the two, it is just another level of wiring a building. You sit down with the system integrator and work through each other’s designs.”

New equipment and new contractors

An EC working in home integration is faced with equipment that needs to be wired, connected and communicable through a central processor. Every project can bring something new.

“I wasn’t aware that you can give a home system an IP address to control the mechanical and electrical systems from a laptop,” Ott said. “Customers want to remotely monitor their home whether it’s to view power or energy usage or check on their property through installed cameras. They can virtually punch up anything they want to monitor or change.”

Radke said finish levels are much higher residentially, especially in the high-end properties.

“You are dealing with equipment racks, wire management, touchpads, all of which must be attractively and cosmetically integrated,” he said. “They require extra time and thought. We might install three to four racks of equipment that a homeowner actually wants to show off. It falls to us and the EC to make this smart and unobtrusive.”

ECs also might find themselves working with contractors new to them, such as carpenters designing millwork to accommodate a home entertainment system or an interior designer charged with details that must harmonize with the home integration system.

Radke said the contractor who takes a team approach works best with a system integrator.

“An EC who shows initiative and interest in learning residential and home technology is a true partner,” he said. “People skills, including patience and flexibility, are essential, as well. In the past, the integrator was viewed as an outsider in the construction community, and that made it hard when we came in to do our work. Adding the EC to our project team is showing builders and others the growing prevalence of home integration.”

Going it alone

J Becher & Assoc. Inc., an electrical contracting firm based in Rogers, Minn., created its own low-voltage division. J Becher & Assoc. is a design/build residential, commercial and industrial contractor. Its low-voltage work includes structured wiring, security, multiroom audio, closed-circuit television (CCTV), card access control, central vacuum systems and full home automation systems. Like other contractors, home automation came to J Becher & Assoc.

“Ryland Homes set up shop in Minnesota in 1995, and we were their first electrical subcontractor,” said Jerry Becher, president of the firm. “Their customers were starting to ask for home integration technologies. The builder said to us, ‘If you can meet our standard price point, you can get this work.’ We agreed and ended up developing a separate low-voltage service. We were already doing electrical integration work with our commercial clients. That said, residential integration shares few similarities with commercial integration shy of CCTV and phone jack installation. It was a whole new world to learn.”

Becoming its own home integration firm required some image changing and marketing. The company moved into a new building to accommodate a showroom, customer conference rooms and a home theater room. Becher also decided to carry home electronic products, such as flat-screen televisions.

“Sure, some of the big-box stores can offer better equipment price points, but we can be competitive in installation and setup,” Becher said. “The showroom lets the consumer visualize and understand what home automation is all about. We also have our expertise as electrical contractors working in our favor. Costs are coming down in home automation, making if affordable to broader incomes. That’s key. It is really a consumer cross-sell vehicle.”

To create and run its new division, Becher brought in former home integrator tradesman Brady Elsenpeter to serve as the residential manager for J Becher & Assoc. To Elsenpeter, success in home integration work requires building awareness and gaining consumer acceptance.

“The average consumer doesn’t know what ‘home integration’ means and subsequently what we do,” he said.

J Becher & Assoc. competes against stand-alone low-voltage contractors, including audiovisual and security installers. For Elsenpeter, the quality of the work—supported by word-of-mouth endorsement—helps him succeed.

“Home integration is a service requiring a personal approach with the homeowner,” he said. “That’s why we have the showroom to visualize home integration systems. Marketing is hard and requires time and patience. But that’s how you build that personal relationship.”

That time and patience extends to the projects themselves. As part of its contract with a homeowner, Elsenpeter spends the day in a customer’s home to observe how they live and what elements of their lifestyle would benefit from home integration.

“It is an eight-hour day of observing and interviewing,” Elsenpeter said. “You truly develop a friendship as you start talking about tastes or favorites in music or movies. Maybe the topic is sports, gardening, love of technology or energy conservation. In the end, you are helping them design their personal space to accommodate a lifestyle.”

Both J Becher & Assoc. and Premiere Systems ensure the goodwill they build is not squandered. Each assembles and tests their home integration systems prior to installation in a customer’s home. The last thing either wants is the excitement of home automation dampened in the eyes of their clients.

An expanding customer base

Elsenpeter said today’s systems offer more affordable choices.

“That is encouraging to us and opens up the market beyond the luxury homeowners,” he said. “At the very least, we can get homeowners started through selling prewiring work, then build from there when the homeowner is ready to move forward.”

“Reaching a broader market had already started but the recession has cooled it,” Radke added. “We feel we are gearing up for an idle market ready to explode. Prices are coming down as acceptance rises and technological advances make systems smaller and simpler. In my view, the biggest help in popularizing home technology has been the dramatic drop in price of flat panel TVs. That has really freed the consumer to buy other parts of technology for home theater that might require dimmers, an automated screen or blinds and so forth. It’s the beginning of integration.”

The growth in wireless/radio frequency products also is opening the door to lower costs and broader homeowner appeal.

“Wireless is definitely a driver, especially with the retrofit market,” Radke said. “You might retrofit switches with controllable dimmers that can talk to a central controller you’ve added. Equally important are builders who are coming around and beginning to see home technology as a more common feature now and in the future. They are also seeing home integration as a trade no different from other trades.”

“It’s a new residential technology for many ECs,” Becher said. “You are kind of scared to take it on. Don’t be. We made the plunge because we were asked to, and it has given us something new and exciting to add to our business and profession.”   

GAVIN is the owner of Gavo Communications, a marketing services firm serving the construction, landscaping and related design industries. He can be reached at


Changes to NFPA 70E—2009 ; Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, Part 2

by michael johnston

This is the second of two articles that provides a glimpse of the significant changes to NFPA 70E—2009. The first appears in the January 2009 issue. This article reviews the balance of Chapter 1 along with changes in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 4 has been deleted from NFPA 70E, as it included installation requirements that paralleled- current requirements already provided in the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Article 120 Establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition

Section 120.2(D)(5) has been revised to require retraining of personnel as changes in the lockout/tagout procedure, job assignments or hazards occur. Note that no time intervals are specified in this requirement. This is based on conditions that may change to necessitate the need for retraining at intervals more frequent than an established time frame. The retraining is based on identified needs.

Section 120.2(F)(2)(f)(1) requires selection of what voltage detector will be used, the required personal protective equipment (PPE), and who will use it to verify proper operation of the voltage detector before and after use. The revision to this section specifically addresses the mandatory use of PPE in the voltage-detection step of verifying the absence of voltage.

Article 130 Work Involving Electrical Hazards

Section 130.1(A)(3) has been revised by adding a new sentence. The revision clarifies that if the purpose of crossing a limited approach boundary is for visual inspection only and the restricted approach boundary will not be crossed, then an energized electrical work permit is not required.

Section 130.3 has been revised to require the flash hazard analysis to be updated when major modifications or renovations take place. The flash hazard analysis also is now required to be reviewed periodically with intervals not exceeding five years to account for changes in the electrical distribution system that could affect the result of the initial analysis. Changes in the electrical distribution system can significantly impact the amount of available short circuit current at any point on the system. This new label requirement provides workers with more information on the equipment that assists them in selecting PPE suitable of the level of incident energy.

Section 130.6(A)(3) has been revised resulting in a change in scope. Employees shall be instructed to be alert for changes in the job or task that may lead the person outside the electrically safe work condition or may expose the person to additional hazards that were not part of the original plan. An example might be a facility that has a standby power system and a normal power system. In the normal mode, the incident energy levels might be at one value, and if the power fails, the standby mode is energized, which could have a significant impact on the available short circuit current. Since power system failures are unplanned, this could result in an unanticipated condition.

Section 130.6(C)(1) and (C)(5) now require workers to wear arc-rated flame-resistant PPE when any part of the worker’s body is within the arc flash protection boundary. Section 130.1(A)(3) has been revised by adding a new sentence. The revision clarifies that if the purpose of crossing a limited approach boundary is for visual inspection only and the restricted approach boundary will not be crossed, an energized electrical work permit is not required.

PPE and other protective equipment requirements are provided in Section 130.7. The general requirement for protection in 130.7(A) calls for protective equipment that is designed and constructed for the specific part of the body protected. New fine print notes clarify that compliance with the provisions in 130.7 is intended to protect people from arc flash and shock hazards. It should be understood that even if the appropriate PPE is selected and worn during live work operations, there is no guarantee an injury will be prevented. The PPE ensures the degree of burn or injury would be reduced, not eliminated.

Section 130.7(B) has been revised by including a new sentence that addresses storage and protection (care of personal protective equipment). PPE should be stored in a fashion that prevents damage from damaging conditions, such as those associated with moisture, dust and other deteriorating agents or conditions. This revision clarifies the requirements for protecting PPE from physical damage by the way and location in which it is stored. Tools have to be routinely cared for to work properly, so does PPE.

Section 130.7(C)(1) has been revised to require all parts of the body inside the arc-flash boundary be protected. A clarification has been made that requires full head-area protection where there is a danger of head injury from electric shock or burns resulting from contact with energized electrical conductors or circuit parts or from flying debris resulting from an electrical explosion (arc blast).

The exception to Section 130.7(C)(5) has been deleted. This exception used to permit flammable clothing to be used up to energy levels not exceeding 2 cal/cm². The result of this change requires employees to wear flame-resistant clothing where there is possible exposure to electrical arc flash hazards above the incident energy level of [5J/cm²(1.2 cal/cm²)].

Section 130.7(C)(6) addresses hand and arm protection requirements. This section has been revised to include maintenance and use of PPE. PPE is only as good as how it is maintained. It has to be maintained in a safe and reliable condition and must be inspected before each daily use and upon completion of tasks that could impact its ability to adequately protect workers. Gloves are required to be air tested and visually inspected for damage. The test voltages and required testing intervals are provided in Table 130.7(C)(6)(c).

Table 130.7(C)(1) has been revised to include additional requirements for protective clothing and equipment. Table 130.7(C)(10) is now required for hazard/risk categories 0 and 1. Flammable 12-oz./yard denim jeans are no longer allowed to be used instead of flame-resistant pants. A flash suit hood or face shield is now required for Hazard/-risk category 1. Table 130.7(C)(10) now includes hearing protection (ear canal inserts) under the flame-resistant protective equipment category.

Chapter 2 Safety-Related Maintenance Requirements

Chapter 2 of NFPA 70E covers practical safety-related maintenance requirements for electrical equipment and installations in the workplace and applies to maintenance operations that are directly related to and require employee safety.

Article 205 General Maintenance Requirements

Section 205.3 is new and provides a requirement for maintaining overcurrent protective devices. Overcurrent devices are an integral safety component in an electrical system and proper operation of such devices is related to safety of people and property. The requirement is that overcurrent protective devices be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. This information is provided with the equipment when purchased.

Article 210 Substations, Switchgear Assemblies, Switchboards, Panelboards, Motor Control
Centers, and Disconnect Switches

A new fine print note has been added to Section 210.5 covering protective devices. The note emphasizes the importance of properly maintaining protective devices and maintaining a consistent level of awareness relative to devices being used within their rating ranges. Protective devices must operate during fault events in a timely manner that minimizes equipment damage and possible injuries to personnel. The importance of preventive maintenance programs are often not realized until after an event causes serious damage or injuries. As the available fault current experiences changes over time, proper maintenance operations often can identify the need for equipment upgrades or even replacements that are necessary to ensure sufficient ratings for the amount of fault current that must be interrupted.

Article 225 Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Article 225 includes requirements for fuses and circuit breakers. Section 225.1 has been revised to address fuse holders for current-limiting fuses. The NEC includes a requirement that fuseholders for current-limiting fuses shall not permit the insertion of a fuse that is not current-limiting. This is an important safety feature for equipment and workers. The revision to 225.1 clarifies that fuse holders for current-limiting fuses shall not be modified to permit the insertion of fuses that are not current-limiting.

Article 250 Personal Safety and Protective Equipment

Article 250 covers personal safety and protective equipment. PPE is a worker’s defense to minimize injuries in the event of an incident. It is essential that PPE be maintained in optimum operational condition to ensure the highest degree of safety anticipated with its use. Section 250.1 has been revised to bypass jumpers and insulated tools and equipment to the list of personal safety and protective equipment that are required to be maintained in safe working condition.

Chapter 3 Safety Requirements for Special Equipment

Chapter 3 of NFPA 70E covers special electrical equipment in workplaces such as batteries and battery rooms, lasers, power electronic equipment, research and development laboratories, and electrolytic cells. The requirements in this chapter align with the scope of NFPA 70E as a whole and modify or amend the requirements contained in Chapter 1.

Article 300 Introduction

Section 300.3 has been revised by clarifying that research and development laboratories are covered within Chapter 3’s scope.

Article 310 Safety-Related Work
Practices for Electrolytic Cells

Section 310.5(D)(2) has been revised to limit the frames of eye protection to nonconductive frames only. Protective face shields are now included in the list and are limited to polycarbonate or other nonmelting type of product.

Section 310.5(D)(4) has been revised to indicate that bonding is permitted as a method to equalize potential differences between conductive surfaces and electrically energized surfaces. This bonding can be accomplished by a direct (solid) bonding connection or a connection through a resistor. The objective is to reduce potential differences to a voltage level that is insufficient to create an electrical hazard.

Article 320 Safety Requirements Related to Batteries and Battery Rooms

Article 320 has been revised to better align with several IEEE standards covering the same subject. Batteries and battery rooms present multiple hazards for workers. Not only are there concerns for energized parts (electrical hazards). There are hazards of exposure to electrolyte used in batteries. Workers must be familiar with the hazards of hydrogen gases created during the charging process and must be protected accordingly.

Section 320.4(B)(2) has been revised to include a requirement for minimum space between batteries, which is now not less than 12.5 mm (½ in.).

Section 320.5(A)(4) was revised to address spill containment for some installations in accordance with the applicable fire code.

Article 350 Safety-Related Work Requirements: Research and Development Laboratories

Article 350 is new to Chapter 3 in the 2009 edition of NFPA 70E. This article addresses unique hazards and conditions that might exist in laboratory and research centers. Many experiments and test operations can present hazards for workers, many known and some unknown. This new article is an effort to address electrical installations in those types of environments. The article applies only to those areas designated by the facility management as research and development or laboratories, and it applies to entire facilities in some cases and is applicable to designated areas within educational facilities or other facilities.


Electrical safety is both an individual (worker) and organizational (employer) responsibility. Workers need safety training to understand, recognize and avoid hazards. Working on electrical installations that are de-energized (placed in an electrically safe work condition) is the rule. Working on energized electrical equipment is an exception to the rule and must include documented reasons that show either the task is unfeasible in a de-energized state or that de-energizing introduces additional hazards.

Remember, this is simply an overview of the changes. To learn the new requirements in their full detail, obtain a new edition of NFPA 70E.

JOHNSTON is NECA’s executive director of standards and safety. He is a former director of education, codes and standards for IAEI; a member of the IBEW; and an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section, Education Section. Reach him at


Controlling Renewable Resources

by edward brown

New opportunities bring new challenges Part 2

With distributed sources, there can be a mix of grid-connected and grid-independent sources. For example, take the combination of photovoltaic sources in this figure. Ideally, there should be a mix of centralized and decentralized (distributed) generators.

Part one of this series sketched out some of the regulatory and financial constraints that must be considered when planning to use alternative methods of generating electricity. We must think differently about the distribution of electricity before we consider the details of the different technologies. Historically, when it has been decided that more power is needed, a new plant is constructed, and it is either connected to existing power transmission lines or new lines are built. The amount of power able to be produced using traditional methods is a function of the plant size, the availability of fuel and consumer demand. The problem with using nonpolluting resources, such as wind and sunlight, is they are fuels over which we have little control. Sunlight and wind are not stable resources, meaning there is no guarantee how much power they will supply at any given moment.

Conversely, there are good reasons to use renewable resources. They are free and never deplete, and they do not pollute the environment. So it is worthwhile to expend the effort needed to solve these problems.

The creation of an electrical grid has established the basic means by which different generating facilities can feed power to a wide area. When one locality is drawing too much power for its local utility to handle, power can be moved in from other utilities that are not so heavily loaded. This same structure can be adapted to allow nontraditional sources to get in on the act. Adding more power to the grid from alternative sources, such as wind and solar, means that less will have to be added by fossil-fuel-burning power plants.

At the moment, wind and solar power seem to be the two technologies closest to being used in a significant way. In addition, solving the grid interaction problems for these two will also open the way for other alternatives, such as fuel cells, geothermal and biomass.

Using large generating facilities based on solar and wind energy creates the problem of keeping the supplied energy fairly stable and predictable so as not to destabilize the grid. Therefore, these installations have to be located in areas that have plentiful and predictable supplies of sun and wind.

Solar thermal electricity

Sunlight currently is being used to produce electricity through two basic methods: solar thermal electricity (STE) and photovoltaics. Although both methods are found in large-scale centralized facilities, STE is the older and more straightforward application of the two.

With solar thermal electricity technology, the sun’s heat is a fuel source to create superheated steam to drive conventional turbines. There are two types of STE. The more prevalent type is a parabolic trough system in which long rows of mirrors with a parabolic cross section reflect sunlight onto a pipe filled with a synthetic oil. The pipe runs along the focus of the parabola. The oil serves as a heat-transfer medium. The mirrors are mounted on motor-operated structures that track the sun. This is the oldest, most reliable and least expensive form of solar-generated electricity today, according to an article in the summer 2007 issue of the EPRI Journal.

A series of these installations was built in California’s Mojave Desert, the first of which started generating 13.8 megawatts in 1985. There are now nine installations in the desert—Solar Energy Generating Stations (SEGS) I–IX—producing a total of almost 354 MW, tied into the California energy grid. The largest of these, SEGS VIII and IX, each produce 80 MW. Together, these installations comprise the world’s largest solar power plant.

Another form of STE is called a central heater, or solar tower, type. It uses an array of mirrors that track the sun and focus its light onto a central receiver located at the top of a tower in the array’s center.


Photovoltaics is the process by which solar energy directly produces an electric current by the photoelectric effect. It was first observed in 1839 by French physicist Edmund Bequerel; the physics of the process was described in 1905 by Albert Einstein.

The first actual photovoltaic module was built at Bell Laboratories in 1954 but was costly and inefficient. In the 1960s, however, the space industry saw the technology as a practical means for providing electricity for spacecraft. NASA developed versions of solar cells that were reasonable in terms of cost and efficiency that were later considered for earthbound applications.

Based on semiconductor technology, a single cell produces a small electric current depending on the intensity and wavelength of the impinging sunlight. To provide useful levels of voltage and current, large numbers of cells have to be connected in series and parallel. A typical arrangement is for about 40 cells to be combined into a module. About 10 modules make up an array, measuring up to 10 feet square. Ten to 20 arrays can provide enough electricity to power a typical household.

The largest photovoltaic farm in North America is in operation today at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. It covers 140 acres of capped landfill, with more than 72,000 panels containing more than 6 million cells, producing a total of 14 megawatts. Other large photovoltaic installations are being built in Germany, Spain and Australia.

At the other end of the size scale of alternative technologies, photovoltaic arrays easily can be built onto the roofs of factories and homes.

But solar isn’t the only technology moving to the smaller scale. Some manufacturers, such as Southwest Windpower, Flagstaff, Ariz., are building wind turbines that generate less than 100 kW and are designed to power an individual building.

Grid notes

We’ve explored how some of the technologies work, but how do they interact with the grid? What needs to be solved for alternative energies to be considered less “alternative”? With distributed sources, there can be a mix of grid-connected and grid-independent sources; for example, see the mix of photovoltaic sources in the figure on page 93. Ideally, there should be a mix of centralized and decentralized (distributed) generators.

Michael A. Anthony, a senior engineer at the University of Michigan and a member of the National Fire Protection Association electrical Code-Making Panel 1, suggested in a June 2006 NEC Digest article that, instead of choosing between centralized and decentralized electricity, it might be best to use both. He suggested it might be viable to construct microgrids where a strip mall or homeowners association could install its own distributed generation facilities and then connect or disconnect from the national grid.

Of course, the future grid must be capable of accepting  and distributing energy returns. In order for a system of distributed resources to work well, the grid must handle this for both technical and economic reasons. From the technical side, this is one way to make up for the variability of wind and solar resources. The economics suggest the cost of producing electricity by renewables can be reduced if excess power can be sold back to the utility.

One solution to help manage this type of system is what has been dubbed a “smart grid.” In their EPRI research paper, “Achieving Smart Grid Interoperability through Collaboration,” Matthew P. Wakefield and Mark McGranaghan wrote that a smart grid makes higher levels of distributed resource integration possible.

“The value is maximized by leveraging distributed resources at both the local and overall system levels as a ‘virtual power plant’ to better match energy supply with demand along with related value-added benefits,” they wrote.

What is meant by a virtual power plant is the aggregation of a number of electricity-producing resources by means of computer-controlled integration. In this case, a group of resources is treated as though they were elements of a single generator, and this way, they would all be controlled simultaneously. To accomplish this, the smart grid system must be able to transmit information on consumer demand and supply availability and balance the two. Supply and demand must be capable of being measured and then communicated to the consumer and the provider. Wakefield and McGranaghan define the smart grid as “… one that incorporates information and communications technology into every aspect of electricity generation, delivery and consumption in order to: minimize environmental impact; enhance markets; improve service; reduce costs and improve efficiency.”

One piece of this system is net metering, which enables customers’ electric meters to turn backward when they generate more electricity than they use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But net metering alone cannot integrate distributed generation into the grid. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which provides the means for the meter to send and receive information from the utility, is a needed addition. According to Wakefield and McGranaghan, the problem with AMI is that there is no commonly accepted standard for data transmitted between the metering point and the utility. In order to integrate a system for transmitting and receiving the necessary information, there has to be a universally accepted communications standard. Ideally, the AMI communication should be compatible with the whole range of building control and information networks.

The type of communication and control data that must be exchanged includes transmitting whether the remote generator is drawing power from the grid or adding power to it. But that is only one piece. For wind, weather forecasting is important, so the utility can predict in advance the availability of wind-supplied power.

Part three of this series will describe where we are today in terms of our technical ability to produce electrical energy by some of these alternative means.

BROWN is an electrical engineer, technical writer and editor. He serves as managing editor for Security + Life Safety Systems magazine. For many years, he designed high-power electronics systems for industry, research laboratories and government. Reach him at


Talk to DALI ; A lighting system that communicates

BY edward brown

Internet protocol (IP), the hottest trend in integrated building systems, is attracting interest because any computer with an Internet connection can talk to any building system that runs a digital addressable IP network.

How can that be applied to building systems? Since the 1990s, a digital addressable lighting interface (DALI) protocol has allowed manufacturers to produce a lighting system in which every fluorescent ballast has a unique digital address.

What could be more natural than to hook up DALI systems to an IP-based building control system based on the same type of architecture? Not surprisingly, manufacturers are producing hardware and software to make just such a match.

ZVEI, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, established the DALI-AG trade association to draft and publicize the protocol. In 2004, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) created the 243-2004 DALI Standard for the U.S. market. Manufacturers who adopt DALI agree that their ballasts will be usable in any DALI control system regardless of who manufactured the ballast.

The beauty is that the grouping of luminaires doesn’t need to be hardwired at installation but can be established through software after the luminaires have been installed. Each DALI ballast requires five wires, three for power and a pair of low-voltage signal wires. The polarity of the signal doesn’t matter.

According to the DALI-AG Handbook, ballasts can be connected in linear, star or tree configurations. Also, since DALI is designed only for lighting, it uses a low data transmission rate, so there is little chance for electrical interference. So the signal wires can be run in the same conduit as the power supply cables without fear of losing signal quality. This is acceptable according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) as it meets the requirements for a Class 1 circuit, as defined in Section 725.41(A) of the 2007 edition. According to Section 725.48(B)(1), “Class 1 circuits and power-supply circuits shall be permitted to occupy the same cable, enclosure, or raceway only where the equipment powered is functionally associated.”

Running the signal and power supply cables in the same conduit simplifies installation. The five wires can be pulled together and attached identically to every DALI ballast, without worrying about the polarity of the signal.

Rick Miller, a DALI system designer based in San Francisco, said although electrical contractors tend to resist running the signal and power wires in the same conduit, it makes pulling the wires much easier. It’s worth the effort to urge them to go to the NEC and check it out.

It’s important to use a DALI power supply for the signal source, since it will limit the current to a maximum of 250 mA, as required by the standard. (Each DALI device draws 2 mA at a nominal 16 volts.)

Features, advantages and drawbacks

Each of the 64 devices can be programmed with up to 16 different scenes by being assigned to one of 16 different groups, extending the flexibility of the system. One of the most important features of a DALI ballast, Miller said, is that it can be queried to respond and send back signals, indicating if the lamps or ballasts are functioning correctly; the lights are on or off; and if the lights are at, above or below their dimming set point. Although there is a limit of 64 devices per system, multiple systems can communicate through gateways connecting DALI systems to building management systems based on standards, such as LonWorks.

There are some important advantages to DALI in addition to the ease of wiring and setting up scenes. These are a few:

The ballasts can turn off the lamp, eliminating the need for a separate on/off switch.

The dimming range is from 1 to 100 percent and follows a logarithmic curve; that’s the way the human eye responds to light.

Lamps are gradually ramped on with a “soft start” to prolong their life, which is especially important when they are subjected to frequent on and off cycles if, for example, controlled by an occupancy sensor.

Switches and sensors can be added to the system by connecting to the DALI signal leads anywhere. They need not be physically wired to the device they are controlling; the connection is programmed rather than wired.

If the system is in a building where tenants often change, it can be reprogrammed to suit the needs of the new tenant without any rewiring.

A major drawback is that only manufacturers of DALI ballasts are required to make their devices interoperable with those of other companies. To put together a system including all of the controllers and peripherals, the designer is forced to go to a single manufacturer for everything, aside from the ballasts. Miller said NEMA is working on an enhanced standard, which promises interchangeability of all required system elements. Some predict that will spark exponential growth for this system.

There is a wealth of practical information, including a list of sources for the whole range of DALI devices, on Rick Miller’s Web site:         

BROWN is an electrical engineer, technical writer and editor. He serves as managing editor for Security + Life Safety Systems magazine. For many years, he designed high-power electronics systems for industry, research laboratories and government. Reach him at


NECA And Member Contractors Help Secure EC-Friendly Provisions In Stimulus Package; Let The Rebuilding Begin!

We didn’t get everything we want, but, for electrical contractors and electrical workers, there’s still a lot to like about the economic stimulus legislation signed into law last month. NECA is pleased with the success of our efforts to have provisions included in it to create new work opportunities for our industry and to help provide for energy independence and long-term economic stability and prosperity for our nation.

As of the press deadline for this magazine, President Obama had just applied his signature to the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” and we were still studying the massive stimulus package. As we complete this analysis, additional information will be provided in upcoming NECA publications and online.

But, we can tell you this: About a third of the $787.2 billion package is devoted to tax cuts for businesses and individuals. Government spending accounts for the balance.  The electrical contracting industry can benefit from both.

Tax Provisions Of Interest To Contractors

The stimulus includes an extension of “bonus depreciation” allowing 50% of the cost of new equipment and other capital assets to be deducted in the year of purchase. It also extends the small-business expensing election that is available per Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code and applies to both new and used equipment. In addition, there is a five-year extension of a business’s ability to carry back net operating losses. (All three of these pro- visions are hold-overs from the economic stimulus bill passed in February 2008.)

What may be more significant is that the 2009 package includes nearly $20 billion in tax incentives specific to renewable energy, another $6.3 billion to induce property owners to invest in energy efficiency for multifamily housing getting federal assistance, and $5 billion in tax credits for “modest income” families who weatherize their homes. Those are the types of incentives that prompt building owners to seek out qualified contractors!

Here’s an example of not getting everything we sought: The version of the stimulus bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives would have repealed the law set to take effect in 2011 and require federal, state, and local government agencies to withhold 3% from payments for goods and services. With Republicans protesting the overall cost of the stimulus, that provision was cut back in the final legislation to provide for a mere one-year delay (to 2012) in the implementation of 3% withholding. Looking on the bright side, that gives us more time to work for the permanent repeal of this bad law.

Spending Should Finance Opportunities For ECs

Spending in the package includes about $120 billion for infrastructure — new projects repairing bridges, roads, government buildings and the like — and an additional $30 billion on energy-related projects which President Obama says will create "green jobs."

Among other things, the stimulus also includes $7.2 billion in order to help deploy broadband within rural counties and other unserved areas, $11 billion to update the nation's electricity grid by hooking it up to the Internet (the so-called “smart grid”), and $4.5 billion to make federal office buildings more energy-efficient.

And, during the last three weeks preceding the final vote on the stimulus bill, NECA worked with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to ensure the inclusion of expanded qualified energy bonds in the legislation. These bonds are used as zero-interest financing tools to construct and retrofit buildings, so, like the tax incentives, they should help lead to more customers for contractors.

NECA worked hard to get building construction projects, incentives for investing in renewable and efficient energy solutions, and billions in qualified energy bonds included in the stimulus. Now, we are scrutinizing all these provisions to determine how we can best influence the federal appropriations process for projects benefitting electrical contractors and furthering America’s economic goals.

NECA Always Ready To Support Our Industry

As reported in last month’s edition of “NECA Notes,” our association didn’t wait for the new president and the 111th Congress to be seated before we starting working with incoming administration officials and new and returning legislators to promote electrical contractors’ interests in rebuilding the economy. However, association members and staff specialists were particularly active in the weeks before the stimulus passed.

In this regard, one of the last major events in which NECA participated was a standing-room-only press conference at the U.S. Capitol where key business leaders gathered to urge passage of the stimulus legislation. Our industry was represented by NECA Director of Legislative Affairs Terry Hatch. The press event, which was sponsored by Americans United for Change, was covered by C-SPAN and other national media.

“The electrical construction industry is where renewable energy, energy conservation and job creation all come together,” Hatch told the legislators. “NECA, in partnership with IBEW, has invested millions of dollars annually for well over 70 years to recruit and train the next generation of skilled electricians. Today, these workers are ready to work with new green technologies. The business demand is clear and our work force is hard-wired. What we need now is leadership from Congress to make energy efficient projects a reality in communities across the U.S.”

Hatch had met directly with President Obama during the first days of his presidency. The president acknowledged the role electrical contractors will play in rebuilding America and said he looked forward to working with us to get the stimulus legislation passed and to get the economy moving again.

At NECA’s urging, a coalition of construction trade associations also met in December to discuss the role the construction industry as a whole will have in spurring economic growth through the proposed economic stimulus legislation. Representatives of this coalition, as well as NECA-member contractors subsequently took the message directly to their own elected representatives.

And, as we reported last month, after several meetings with congressional leaders and officials with the Obama administration, NECA testified on January 14 before the House Small Business Committee regarding the draft stimulus bill and measures that would promote a new energy economy and spur small business growth. Our testimony was presented by Tim Ehmann, senior project manager with Rochester Solar Technologies, a division of NECA-member firm O’Connell Electric of Victor, New York.

“No other industry has suffered the job losses that construction has during this economic decline,” according to NECA’s Chief Executive Officer John M. Grau. “However, no other industry has more potential to restore and rebuild America like construction.”


Spotlight On Training For “Green Electrical Workers,” Co-sponsored By NECA, With Coverage On National Public Radio And

“The stimulus package is designed to shock the economy back to life but that won't happen without a big jolt of electricity.”

So began Bruce Gellerman’s interview of National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) Executive Director Michael I. Callanan on the National Public Radio program “Living on Earth.” The NJATC is jointly funded by NECA and our labor partners in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Callanan was quick to point out that thousands of electrical workers are being trained right now to deliver that needed jolt.

In fact, the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for workers to be successful in “green jobs” are the same knowledge, skills and abilities that the NJATC, NECA and the IBEW have been teaching for decades. Thus, the current focus — in both apprenticeship training and in upgrade training for journeymen who been in the trade for a number of years — is on specific ways to increase their productivity and build the skills needed for the particular green technologies they'll be working on.

“And then we'll be working on the building efficiencies,” Callanan said. “I think that should be our primary concern. Forty percent of the total energy consumed within the United States is consumed by the buildings themselves. And so it makes sense to me that we should be focusing on things like building automation, lighting controls, energy efficiency in our ballast in our lamps, those types of projects.”

When asked about the opportunities he saw for the electrical industry in the stimulus package, Callanan responded, “One of the greatest provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the stimulus package is the allocation of approximately $11 billion dollars in grid investment, and one of the key components of that is going to be new transmission lines and the development of the transmission grid. The stimulus package calls for over 3000 miles of new transmission line development. To put that in context, since 2000, there's only been 688 miles of interstate transmission lines developed. So this is going to be a huge challenge for us to be able to get the renewable energy back to where we can use it.”

The complete interview can be downloaded from the Living on Earth website, The interview was conducted on February 6 and can be found in the “Archives” as a printed transcript and as an mp3 audio recording.

Online Broadcast Looks At Training And More

The largest, most comprehensive training program for “green” electrical workers in America — and probably on earth — is also examined online, in the latest edition of A joint production of NECA and the IBEW, is the only web TV program dedicated to reporting the latest developments in the electrical construction and information systems industries.

As the United States pushes forward with developing such green energy sources as wind and solar power to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, the equally pressing need arises for a workforce capable of building those alternative power systems. Working through the NJATC, NECA and the IBEW have been training electrical workers for 60 years through our nationwide network of more than 300 start-of-the-art facilities and up-to-the-minute instructors. And, for more than a quarter-century, that training has included teaching vital green skills to apprentices and journeymen.

The NJATC, the developer of the first solar PV textbook, is also delivering training on wind generation, fuel cells, biomass, and other new and emerging energy sources.

As Callanan notes, “Our training is unique because it pro- vides the opportunity not only to understand the theory behind the work, but how to apply that knowledge every day, on the job.” En route to becoming a journey-level electrician, each apprentice is required to undergo 1000 hours of classroom instruction and 8000 hours of on-the- job training. The result is the manpower required to meet the nation’s growing green demands — and the assurance of productive, cost-effective installations.

Also on this edition of is a virtual worksite tour that helps building owners be more proactive in identifying job hazards; a segment on how the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is cutting energy costs in half by turning to LED lighting; and a spotlight on the many advantages a design/build electrical contractor brings to a construction project. View it at

For more information on training, go to


Foundation Commissions More Projects For Active Research

Five research studies were PICKED for 2009 funding totaling $515,000 when the ELECTRI Council of ELECTRI International-The Foundation for Electrical Construction, Inc. met recently in San Diego. Researchers from major universities and research institutions had submitted proposals for consideration and those whose proposals were selected were notified promptly so that their work could begin without delay.

The ELECTRI Council is a premiere group of Foundation supporters including contractors and representatives of companies and industry organizations. They analyze industry trends, review project proposals, and ensure that the selected initiatives are of the highest quality, with the results made available to every member of the electrical contracting industry. The research commissioned for 2009 includes the following projects:

Facilities Energy Audit Education Program is designed to position electrical contractors at the forefront of the rapidly expanding green energy business sector. Through an education and training program, electrical contractors and electricians will learn the most effective techniques to conduct comprehensive energy audits. Principal investigator: Bernie Kotlier,  Director, Green Energy Solutions, Labor-Management Cooperation Committee California.

•  Attracting College Graduates into the Electrical Industry aims to determine methods for attracting new employees to the electrical contracting industry from university Electrical Engineering and Construction Management programs. Principal investigators: Dr. Thomas Korman, P.E., and Lonny Simonian, P.E., P.M.P. California Polytechnic State University.

•  Energy Roadmap Guiding Electrical Contractor Energy Independence Opportunities addresses the national energy policy that the Obama administration and Congress will put into place to guide the U.S. towards energy independence. The study will examine the opportunities this policy presents for electrical contractors and present practical guidance. Principal investigator: Dr. Thomas Glavinich, D.E., P.E., University of Kansas.

•  Strategic Guide for Renewable Energy & Distributed Generation provides a comprehensive review and describes the impact of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Security Act of 2007. This study will focus on renewable energy generation, the national electrical grid, the electricity market and the effect on the electrical contracting market. Principal investigator: Dr. P.K. Sen, P.E. Colorado School of Mines.

•  Using the Cost of Capital to Improve Decision-Making develops a method for estimating the cost of capital for electrical contracting firms and determines how the cost of capital can be used to improve strategic and tactical decision-making. Principal investigator: Dr. Thomas Glavinich, D.E., P.E., University of Kansas.

About the Foundation: ELECTRI International-The Foundation for Electrical Construction, Inc. was established in 1989 by NECA, the voice of the $130 billion industry responsible for lighting, power, and communication systems in buildings and communities all across the U.S. In partnership with NECA, ELECTRI International sponsors research and facilitates management education to help electrical contractors meet today’s demands and tomorrow’s challenges. For additional information about ELECTRI International and its ongoing research, go to

NECA members may download free PDF copies of all completed ELECTRI International research online at Non-members can purchase report PDFs for $10 each. Additional copies of all Foundation publications may be purchased through NECA’s Order Desk (phone: 301-215-4504; fax: 301-215-4500; e-mail:


Communication Systems and the National Electrical Code
By David Herres
This is the first of a four-part series dealing with National Electrical Code (NEC), Chapter 8,
Communications Systems. Each piece will examine one of the four articles within that chapter: Article 800, Communications Circuits, Article 810, Radio and Television Equipment, Article 820, Community Antenna Television and Radio Distribution Systems and Article 830, Network-Powered Broadband Communication Systems. Also note: Article 800, Communications Circuits, is the longest Article in NEC Chapter 8, Communications Systems, and provides groundwork and an overview of the rest of the chapter.

The National Electrical Code (NEC), currently revised and re-issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) every three years, has no legal standing on its own, but is made available to states, municipalities and countries so that they can enact it into law, if they desire. It has acquired almost universal acceptance in the United States and increasing influence worldwide. Many professionals believe it is not applicable under certain voltage or power limitations, but that is not the case. Even non-composite optical fiber, which carries no electrical current, can present a fire hazard when installed improperly, as when firewalls are drilled and not sealed correctly or when the sheathing material adds to fire loading, propagation and smoke generation.

In regard to Communications Systems, voltage and power levels tend to be lower than power and light wiring, but that is not always true. Radio and television transmitters, for example, can involve voltages over 350 between conductors. Article 800, Communications Circuits, begins like other NEC articles with a statement of scope followed by definitions specific to the article. These definitions are in addition to those found in NEC Article 100, which is applicable to the entire Code. As for scope, Article 800 covers communications circuits and equipment. It does not deal with internal wiring in factory-made equipment, such as a television set, nor does it cover utility-owned equipment upstream from a utility-designated point of connection.

Certain communications’ related aspects are covered outside this article. Installation requirements for information technology equipment and systems in a telecom equipment room are in Article 645, which, where the installation qualifies, offers less stringent requirements.

As previously mentioned, Remote Control, Signaling and Power-Limited circuits are covered in Article 725. Some of these requirements are tighter as in circuits whose failure could present a safety concern, and some are less stringent as when lower voltage and power levels are involved. Also outside the Communications Circuits article are Fire Alarm Systems, covered in Article 760, installation requirements for optical fiber and raceways, covered in Article 770 and Network-Powered Broadband Communications Circuits, covered in Article 830. Everything else that has to do with communications circuits and equipment will be found in this nine-page article and in the other Chapter 8 articles.

Abandoned Cable

Eleven definitions constitute the rest of the prologue to this article, and the first of these opens up what is becoming an enormous issue in the lives of cabling professionals. Abandoned communications cable is defined as “installed communications cable that is not terminated at both ends at a connector or other equipment and not identified for future use with a tag.” This definition seems innocuous, but later in the article, like the resolution of a theme in a classical symphony, comes the climactic element: The accessible portion of abandoned communications cables shall be removed.

The reason behind this enormously labor-intensive requirement is clear. Consider a commercial occupancy where there may be frequent tenant turnovers. Workstations with varying connectivity requirements are shifted in the course of remodeling and new Ethernet, telephone, video and other cabling is put in place. Fire loading increases to the point where even a small quickly contained fire can generate huge amounts of toxic smoke. For this reason among others, it is crucial to remove abandoned communications wiring in a timely fashion.

Parallel requirements are in place for other types of abandoned low-voltage cabling such as optical fiber, fire alarm, coaxial cable. Interestingly, there is no parallel requirement for power and light wiring with certain limited exceptions, notably line wiring in cellular metal floors, underfloor raceways, information technology equipment not in metal raceway and temporary wiring.

Notice that only accessible cabling has to be removed. If it is in metal raceway, it is not accessible and can stay. Cable within a raceway can be more easily removed and can, in fact, at a future upgrade be used as a pull rope to install UTP cable with a higher Category number or even optical fiber. The fact is, however, that much abandoned communication cable has been installed outside of raceway. The job of removing it can be costly, largely because it has to be traced and determined not to be active. The risk of taking down a working system is always present. In view of this Code requirement, cabling designers and installers need to ascertain the scope of the job when doing new work and come to an agreement with tenants and building owners in regard to who is going to finance the Code mandate.
Firewall Openings

Another important Article 800 installation issue is that firewall openings must be fire stopped to maintain the fire resistance rating. Wall boxes on either side of a firewall must not be directly opposite. Local regulations will mandate a horizontal separation, typically 24 inches. Section II of Article 800 deals with outside wires and cables including where they enter a building. Before engaging in this type of work it is necessary to review the relevant Code sections so that the final installation is fully compliant. There are requirements regarding separation from power and lighting conductors, provisions regarding climbing space and roof clearances, which vary according to roof slope and other conditions.

Besides the National Electrical Code, ANSI C 2-2007, National Electric Safety Code, contains safety rules for overhead lines.

Similarly, there are Code mandates for underground work. Raceways, hand-hole enclosures and manholes containing power and light, Class 1, or non power-limited fire alarm circuit conductors must be meticulously designed and constructed so that these higher voltage and power levels do not energize your low-voltage cabling.
Section III of Article 800 covers the large area of circuit protection, which is accomplished largely by means of primary and secondary protectors.
A listed primary protector mitigates two dangerous conditions: accidental contact with higher voltage and power levels in electric power and light wiring, and exposure to lightning. (An actual strike is not the only hazard. Lightning activity some distance away can induce dangerous voltage transients in communications cabling.) These dangers are largely countered by the installation of a primary protector. It should be located in, on or immediately adjacent to the building close to the point of entrance. It cannot be within a hazardous (classified) location or near easily ignited material.
Part IV of Article 800 deals with the important topic of grounding. The NEC has a lengthy Article (250) on grounding, which is complex but central to all installations. Cabling technicians should invest significant time in delving into this subject to the extent required by the type of work being contemplated. The section on grounding within the Communications Circuits Articles is only about one page long, but it makes extensive reference to the 30-page Article 250 and pre-supposes knowledge of it.
Grounding Communications Circuits

 What has to be grounded? The primary protector and any metallic members of the outer sheath, as in coaxial cable, must be grounded. It is the responsibility of the cabling technicians that this grounding occurs. Naturally any metallic raceways or enclosures must be grounded in accordance with general Code practice. AC powered equipment in metal enclosures will be bonded back to the building’s electrical service equipment by means of the equipment grounding conductor which is connected to the main bonding jumper at the service main disconnect, usually within the entrance panel.

The building electricians will have provided a fully compliant grounding system which cabling technicians should verify. The most recent Code cycle enacted that at the time of electrical service construction, the electricians create an intersystem bonding termination so that other trades can connect their grounding conductors to it. This apparatus, which is not found in older buildings, can take various forms, such as a specialized terminal mounted on the outside of the building near where the service conductors enter, or a short copper wire emerging from the meter socket enclosure.

This introduces another key concept, which is that all ground systems must be interconnected and also bonded to any metallic water pipe and other large conductive non-current carrying bodies, which could become energized. This idea sometimes astonishes the homeowner who envisions lightning “spreading” to various parts of the building. Actually the interconnection functions to limit voltage differences and to effectively eliminate voltage rise and current flow where it is not wanted.

Accordingly, it is important that cabling installers, in grounding their work, do not create a “floating ground” which could initiate voltage potential difference, resulting in flashover and fire.

Certain other Article 800 grounding requirements are often not observed in the field. The grounding conductor must be insulated (not bare as permitted for a service grounding conductor), not smaller than 14 AWG and as short a practicable. In one- and two-family dwellings, it is not to exceed 20 feet. If the distance to the intersystem bonding terminal or other acceptable grounding connection point is more than 20 feet away, it is necessary to drive a communication ground rod at the primary protector location and then bond to the electrical service ground with 6 AWG copper, bare or insulated, solid or stranded.
Installation Requirements and NEC

Part V of Article 800 concerns Installation Methods Within Buildings. It is here and in Part VI that we find a number of installation requirements. It is important to comply with all of these from the point of view of safety and also to avoid rejection by an electrical inspector and subsequent costly rework. The good news is that these requirements are quite straightforward and confined to about four pages. A central concept in this area is cable hierarchy.

In the event of fire, a major cause of injury and loss of life is smoke inhalation. There are various environments within a building and some are more sensitive than others. The most sensitive in regard to fire propagation and smoke generation is the plenum, which includes ducts, plenums and other spaces used for environmental air. Type CMP, communications plenum cable, is listed as suitable for use in these areas. It has to do with the composition of insulation and outer jacket. There are definite protocols governing how tests are to be performed by listing laboratories.

The second most sensitive application is riser, which is where the cable is listed as suitable for use in a vertical shaft or from floor to floor. Riser cable (CMR) has good fire propagation and smoke generation properties, but not as good a plenum cable. Riser cable is also considerably less expensive than plenum cable.

Plenum cable may be substituted for riser cable. There is a hierarchy of cable types with plenum at the top of the list and CMX, Limited Use Communication cable, at the bottom, restricted to non-riser and non-plenum use in residential buildings only. Any given cable can be substituted for one that is lower on the list, but not for one that is higher.

 f you were doing a very limited amount of cable installation, you could stock only plenum-rated communication cable and use it for all communications work. The complete hierarchy with permitted substitutions is found in Article 800 and in other low-voltage Articles where parallel requirements are found.
Next: The second part of this series will deal with Article 810, Radio and Television Equipment.
David Herres is a technical writer specializing in electrical topics. He is a licensed master electrician in New Hampshire where he has been doing electrical work for many years. David has published in numerous industry magazines and can be reached at or go to



2009 Is All Online!

We've gone Global! Join us as we kick off Spring with the launch of Cabling Business Magazine online! We'll still have all the same features, departments and new product information you have come to rely on for the past 16 years - but now you'll have it accessible from your desktop - anytime, anywhere! Due to the economic crises and rising printing costs - it's time to make a change. CBM also cares for the environment and viewing Cabling Business online saves us some green and saves the planet some green, too. Cabling Business is focused on bringing you the latest, up-to-the-minute industry information and now we can give it to you faster than ever before! It’s so easy! Just go to and click on Digital Edition. Every month you’ll receive an email indicating your digital issue is ready to look at, print out, email around or share!

We hope you'll join us and take a look at our digital magazine - and we also want to say thanks to all our loyal readers for sticking with us through the years! There's still more to come and we'll keep you posted as we get closer to the launch. Questions, comments, suggestions? Please call us at 214-328-1717 and let us know what's on your mind!


Communication News Magazine

CommunicationsNews Magazine delivers all the news that you can use

 Enterprise Network Solutions since 1964

CommunicationsNews Magazine understand the business and IT issues that face enterprise organizations today — concerns about security and access control, as well as the specific networking challenges affecting the campus, branch, and data center. And they find the engineered solutions to address these issues.

CommunicationsNews Magazine never stops working to bring the full spectrum of current challenges and answers that really work. America’s leading publication for Enterprise Network Solutions since 1964. We had the opportunity to meet with Ken Anderberg, Publisher and Editor at the recent BICSI annual conference in Orlando, Florida. He is always busy digging out volumes of information on new products and applications for the readers. CommunicationsNews Magazine stays on top because they make the investment in researching the trends of the infrastructure and Enterprise Network Solutions industry and the business opportunities for the readership – in print and on-line.

Ken Anderberg, Publisher and Editor said “These are challenging times. People and business need help. CommunicationsNews Magazine is committed to covering technical advances in the cabling, networking and telecom sectors that will allow both to improve their bottom-line.”

Ken Anderberg, told us to keep an eye on their website as many enhancements are added all the time. There will be many web-exclusive items with information to help the infrastructure and Enterprise Network Solutions industry. These are veterans that you can count on. Comnews has been with the industry since IT was spelled “it”.


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