Integrated electrical and low-voltage systems of all types—inside and outside a building—encompass the range of work that electrical contractors do. The articles in this section highlight different types of work, from security, fire and life safety, to traditional electrical power and distribution, to lighting, cabling and more. 

As renewable power increases its market share, energy storage assumes a larger role. Recognizing the importance of government benchmarks, California lawmakers have taken steps to raise the state’s energy-storage standard.

J.M. Electrical Co., a Lynnfield, Mass., contractor with a specialty in advanced automation building system installations, recently completed project operations at the 85,000-square-foot Hanscom Air Force Base Middle School in Bedford, Mass., which holds 312 students.

This summer, New York-based Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) spent $1.6 billion to upgrade its delivery system, including 12 network transformers, 70 overhead transformers, 16 underground feeder sections, 37 overhead sections of power lines and reinforcement of 25 electric feeders.

Last month, I wrote about measurement uncertainty and metrology, the science of measurements. This month, I get more specific and cover the uncertainty of some basic fiber optic measurements, starting with optical power.

More on Systems

Pitfalls to Avoid

In most fire alarm system installations, electrical contractors simply follow the specifications and drawings developed by an engineer.

Planning Ahead

Recently, we received a phone call from a fiber optic instructor we know asking an unusual question. Can you run single-mode fiber to the desktop? Of course, we told him, why not?

Remote Monitors

While wandering the aisles at a trade show for consumer electronics, I was surprised to find several vendors selling fiber optic cables.

Don't Cut the Landline

It is no secret that voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) has had problems regarding emergency service. Users’ exact locations are not always known, causing 911 calls to be transferred to the incorrect dispatcher. Many users were unaware that when they dialed 911, it would not always work.

Seeing (and Hearing) Is Believing

Over the last few years, there has been confusion over which laws or codes apply to the audible and visible notification appliances.

Ghost Busters

The optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) has been an important tool for fiber optic testing and troubleshooting since its invention 25 years ago. We have discussed this several times in this column and in other Electrical Contractor articles, so I hope you are already familiar with them.

Residential-Specific LEED

Although the construction industry has been dealing with green buildings and sustainable design for quite some time, there is a new entry into this residential market arena: LEED for Homes (LEED-H).