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

Life Safety Maintenance Should Not Be Deferred

It is a sign of tight budgets when facility directors at most K–12 and higher education institutions receive mandates to defer maintenance on their existing building inventory to allow for budget dollar application elsewhere.

Redefining Intrusion Detection

Motion sensors are now a mainstay of intrusion detection, but, back in the day, traditional devices were obtrusive, prone to false triggering and difficult to program.

Bringing Coverage Everywhere

Another year has passed, and we have nothing revolutionary to report about fiber optic technology—no instant-on connectors, dirt-cheap lasers or simple solutions to installation problems.

Code-Compliant Systems Design

When a potential client calls on you to provide a fire alarm system, do you assume the design responsibility? If so, what resources do you use?

Gains In The Security Sector

Never before in the electronic security industry has change been so profound. As hardware and boxes moved onto the network, they have morphed into intelligent, connected products.

Put Down The Pencil

Contractors that are still putting estimates together using pencil and paper are not only wasting time and money, but they also are losing business. Contractors who think they can’t afford estimating software are just plain wrong.

At The Plug

Plug loads, according to a pilot study performed by New York-based green technology company ThinkEco Inc., make up the fastest growing end-use of electricity in the commercial sector. As the amount of electricity used by plug loads grows, it becomes increasingly important to manage it.