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. 

A local microgrid in Sendai, Japan

One of the byproducts of the surge in renewable power and smart technology has been the expansion of microgrids. According to recent reports, the systems are expanding nationwide.

Aquila in position prior to takeoff. (From left: Kathryn Cook, technical program manager for Aquila; Yael Maguire, head of Connectivity Lab; Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO; Jay Parikh, global head of engineering and infrastructure)

On June 28th, Facebook launched Aquila, a high-altitude, unmanned solar-powered airplane, for its first flight at Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz. Although the team has been running tests and practice flights for months, until this point, only a 1/5th scale airplane had been tested.

Once a technician has spliced a fiber optic cable, he or she must test the splice to verify it is strong and has low loss. The technician must add the test data to the documentation for future reference and present it to the cable plant owner to verify the installation has been done correctly.

Tenant space in Denver’s Alliance Center is designed for solar DC-to-DC power.

The future of energy efficiency may be more than saving energy. It may also be efficient energy capture, storage and delivery. Technologists, engineers and some forward-thinking manufacturers are working to set a bigger table for direct current (DC), and one effort may be all-encompassing.

More on Systems

Go With The Flow

Workflow-management tools are designed to orchestrate everyday business processes. For example, a contractor may implement a process for submitting, reviewing and approving expense reports.

A Model System: Energy Modeling

While the electric power industry rapidly changes, utilities and building owners will need to accurately model the engineering and economic operations of the power system to make informed decisions, so they require sophisticated modeling-software tools.

24/7 Connectivity Required

Power is everything. Consumers demand connectivity to home, business, people and places 24 hours a day. In this uber-integrated information society, staying in touch through Wi-Fi, Ethernet, cellular and other networks is the expectation.

New Code, Old Tricks

Design/build means different things to different people. Regardless, you should know that it places more responsibility on your shoulders as the electrical professional. It means you need to stay abreast of the codes that affect your installations.

Manage The Data Overload

Building automation systems (BASs) offer new opportunities for system maintenance, data management and cyber security.

New Opportunities In Access Control

Contractors and their customers­­ are looking at the specification possibilities for long-range transmission-reading technologies as a standalone solution or piggybacked on proximity (hands-free) and smart card access control.

Design Interventions

Where do you begin? The technician inside all of us wants to immediately lay out the design on the plans, but that should not be your first move. Instead, determine what goals the owner and other relevant stakeholders want the building’s fire protection system to do.