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

Lighting Up Dark Fiber

Last month, we looked at how dark fiber is tested to determine its capability of supporting newer, faster transmission networks. Once dark fiber has been tested and its usability confirmed, communications systems can be connected.

Alleviating The Fear Of Fiber

Some cabling industry stakeholders predict the imminent death of copper cabling, while others disagree. However, most agree that fiber optical networks are taking a large bite out of the new network market.

The Passing Of Our Industry's Father

This month, we honor perhaps the most notable person in the history of the power quality (PQ) industry, often called the father of PQ monitoring: Abraham I. Dranetz. Some of us knew him as Abe, and others knew him as Mr. Dranetz.

Where Will You Be In 10 Years?

“Where will you be 10 years from now if you keep on going the way you are going?” Napoleon Hill, one of the great writers on success, famously asked this question. When you apply it to the fire alarm and signaling business, it should give you pause.

Got IP Cameras?

For electrical contractors installing video surveillance and networked Internet protocol (IP) cameras, now is a great time to think outside of the proverbial box and look beyond the typical security applications of viewing and recording images of people, places and things.

My System is Survivable (I Think)

Designers, contractors and authorities having jurisdiction often misunderstand the term “survivable.” They presume it means the installer has chosen to use either a Class A wiring scheme or has placed the circuits in metal raceway.

Test Before Use

Last month, we discussed “dark fiber” and how most outside plant installations include more fibers than are needed at the time of installation. Later, those fibers will be used for expanding service capacity or leased out to provide income.