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Don't Wait to Figure It Out

What do you get when you put a general contractor, a half-dozen subcontractors and an owner on a construction site without anyone talking to each other? Delays and preventable expenses. We’re not laughing either, because it isn’t a joke.


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EC Helps Revitalize Buffalo's Medical Corridor

Once a crumbling urban area devoid of the manufacturing that had kept it alive for decades, Buffalo, N.Y., has staged a remarkable comeback over the last 10 years.


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DOE Joins With India To Invest In Electric Grid


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $7.5 million to improve the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid, according to a June press release.


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Tech Offerings Abound At 2017 NECA Show In Seattle, Oct. 7–10


For tech enthusiasts and early-adopters, the 2017 NECA Convention and Trade Show is an excellent opportunity to keep abreast of industry innovations. Nonmembers can attend the NECA Show, too.


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Stay Classy: Reclassifying a Class 2 or Class 3 Circuit

Those of us who use the National Electrical Code (NEC) on a regular basis and are familiar with the words as well as the intent of the text can often overlook the most obvious interpretations by the rest of the electrical industry.



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Caution, High Voltage: Grounding Systems of Greater Than 1,000V

Grounding methods and requirements for systems operating at more than 1,000 volts (V), such as 5- and 15-kilovolt (kV) systems, differ slightly from those for systems of 1,000V or less. Systems in these voltage ranges are commonly referred to as medium-voltage systems.


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Klein voltage tester with flashlight
Cool Tools: Circuit Detectors

One of the most basic tools every electrician carries is the noncontact voltage tester. Essential complementary tools include circuit breaker finders and tone probes for tracing wires. Scanning devices are able to see through walls and floors to identify wires, conduits and other objects.



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Fluke Networks' DSX-8000 cable analyzer and accessories
Cool Tools: Renting Testers

Structured wiring technicians carry their own tools for everyday work, but the companies that employ them often find it practical and economical to rent high-end network-testing equipment. Specialty rental companies carry broad selections of network and electrical testers.



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Reimagining Building Power

Traditionally, commercial electrical systems are based on alternating current (AC). The utility grid delivers AC power, which the building distributes. Low-voltage devices include a rectifier that converts AC to direct current (DC), with associated electrical losses.



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A Complex Problem: Fiber Optics Solve Alternative-Energy Challenges

As I discussed last month, one of the most complicated problems electrical utilities face is integrating alternative-energy sources into the traditional grid.


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What Goes Up: Aerial Lift Safety and Inspections

Every year, dozens of people are killed and many more are injured in accidents involving aerial lifts, including cranes, digger derricks, scissor lifts, and boom-­supported lifts, such as bucket trucks and cherry pickers.


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If I Own A Multimeter, Does That Make Me An Electrician?

Once again, I was inspired to write after reading a post in a LinkedIn construction group. The article, “If I Own a Drill, Does That Make Me a Dentist?” laments the belief that simply buying a tool makes one a skilled craftsperson.


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Capacitors that blew up from a power supply failure
Has This Ever Happened To You?

In my 40-plus years in the industry, I have analyzed customers’ power quality monitor data files and heard their stories about hundreds of things that have happened in their facilities or homes: some mysterious, some catastrophic, some even comical.


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Leading The Way: GMP and Tesla Bring Battery Power to Vermont

With only 265,000 customers, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power (GMP) is among the nation’s smaller investor-owned utilities, though you’d never guess this from its influence as a renewable-energy innovator.


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From left: Greg Cummins, Ed Schuler and Kevin Rickett
Smarter Material Management: Coffee Break With Schuler-Haas Electric Corp.

Smarter materials management is especially beneficial in electrical service work. Service electricians are constantly confronted with the challenge of obtaining materials while striving to minimize the amount of lost time, back-and-forth travel and rush charges that inevitably follow.



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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

A recent World Wildlife Fund survey found that almost half of Fortune 500 companies have at least one climate or clean-energy goal. It’s good business to be eco-friendly, and the construction industry has made great strides in going green without sacrificing profits.


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Manufacturing Energy Efficiency on the Rise

Efficiency has become the new objective for industries trying to save money and save the planet. According to recent data, manufacturing has become more efficient in the last four years.


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Office of Energy Invests in Grid Reliability Research

The rapidly changing nature of energy generation in the United States has raised many questions about grid reliability. Recognizing the importance of these questions, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in research.


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ULEBs can be found in several states and represent a range of building types in various climate conditions. Credit: ACEEE
Ultra-Low Energy Performance Retrofits Are Growing

According to the latest white paper from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, titled "Unlocking Ultra-Low Energy Performance in Existing Buildings," the United States is seeing a promising upward trend in ultra-low energy buildings (ULEBs).


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State Energy Efficiency Policies Moving Forward

According to an August 3 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of July 2017, 30 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted energy efficiency policies. These policies range from mandated requirements to voluntary goals, as well as pilot programs.


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