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. 

If you buy a new car in 2040, there’s a better than 50/50 chance it will be powered by electricity rather than gas.

Electronic access control is one of the most proprietary technologies (beside fire alarms) with the largest installed base of legacy equipment in the physical security industry.

Since 1999, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code has required survivability for certain circuits that need to work during a fire. In truth, the code has always required speaker circuits serving emergency voice/alarm communications systems to meet a performance requirement for survivability. 

Figure 1: Special manual building evacuation station. Photo courtesy of Jensen Hughes Inc.

Recently, a number of inquiries were made to our office regarding the topic of delaying or preventing the activation of fire alarm notification appliances.

More on Systems

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2017: The Year For Infrastructure

With the new presidential administration coming into the White House, will this be the year of advancing infrastructure? Will there be a diversified trillion dollar infrastructure project to jumpstart the economy as well as fill your schedules and your wallets?

Supergrids: The Next Electric Grid Trend?

Much as been written about microgrids recently, suggesting that, more and more, the electric grid's distribution system will become more isolated and self-reliant.

Energy Storage Disrupting U.S. Transmission Infrastructure

Transformative technologies have almost become the new norm in the age of digital communications and renewable power. For example, consider the impact of cell phones, Wi-Fi, the internet, wind and solar power, and electric vehicles on the industries, markets and consumers that have adopted them.

Q&A: The Growing Relationship Between ECs and Controls

As seen in the 2016 Profile of the Electrical Contractor, available at, electrical contractors continue to get involved in controls work. This includes a significant increase in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) controls work.

Microgrids Could be Ideal for Military Bases

According to a report published by The Pew Charitable Trusts in January, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) could save hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and improve base security and reliability, by installing more microgrids and renewable power systems.

A True Turnkey Integrator

Ferndale Electric Co., Ferndale, Mich., which employs an average of 130 electricians, performs electrical work for automotive plants, power plants, bottling plants and other industrial facilities. It also renovates electrical systems for lift bridges and completes major projects for airports.

Open to Interpretation: The Accuracy of Optical Loss Measurement Data

Last month, I discussed making loss measurements with a light source and power meter—what we call optical insertion loss—and the causes of errors in those measurements.