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. 

There is an old saying that liars figure and figures lie, which implies that the truth can be a challenge to discern from both people and data. At a recent standards-making conference, I encountered some examples of this concept that seemed worth sharing.

For electrical contractors with a low-voltage or security division—or for any company involved in physical security and surveillance—keeping pace with new technology is one of the greatest challenges.

When I entered the business, I “sold” fire alarm systems. Codes at the time had begun to require that such systems be installed in some occupancies.

In its paper, “Intelligent Efficiency: Innovations Reshaping the Energy Efficiency Market,” Greentech Media notes that efficiency is an untapped energy resource that is already embedded in every commercial building, manufacturing facility and corporate campus.

More on Systems

The Many Faces of Fire Protection

There are many types of financial institutions and numerous possible ways to protect these facilities against the threat of fire. There are banks and credit unions, as well as data centers that process the transactions and credit card purchases with large computer room facilities.

Biometrics for the Common Man

Biometrics has gone beyond the realm of space-age applications. Now, and in the future, biometrics is a perfect fit with nearly every user in every market.

Plastic Optical Fiber

Every year around Christmas, stores roll out artificial trees made with optical fibers. You know the ones—they glow and shine colored light out the ends of the branches. Who would think that these trees are made of a type of optical fiber that offers easy-to-install cheap communications links?

Have a Backup Plan

In the past, blackouts have led us to focus on preventing systemwide single component failures. But August’s blackout increased nationwide awareness for the need for backup power systems.

Derating Conductors in a Raceway and More

CODE CITATIONS Article 220 Branch-Circuit, Feeder and Service Calculations Article 230 Services Article 240 Overcurrent Protection Article 310 Conductors for General Wiring Article 312 Cabinets, Cutout Boxes and Meter Socket Enclosures Article 404 Switches Article 410 Luminaires (Lighting Fixtures)

TIA and You

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is an industry organization with paying members from the communications/telecom industry. They develop minimal performance standards for cabling and related hardware and installation standards for the users/designers.

Wireless: No Wonder

Russ Lambert has trained as a lawyer (with a legal degree), served as a project manager for an electrical contractor (in this case, Fischbach & Moore) and worked at a high level for a major electrical distributor (specifically, as director of e-Commerce for WESCO Distribution during the dot-com