Keeping Current

Everything is getting so complicated. Computers without index fingers are flipping light switches. Data has broken the confines of the cable jacket and now flies freely through the air. Homeowners are not only cutting the cord from the cable company but also the electric utility.

We get it. Electrical construction has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. Though it may sometimes feel like it, you’re not in the upside down. We’re here to help. Two of our contributors have been making, monitoring and informing you about such changes for many years.

Congratulations go out to Mark C. Ode, who received the NFPA Special Achievement Award, recognizing his contributions to the development of NFPA Codes and Standards and his work on the NEC over the past 31 years. The first electrical Code recipient in the award’s history, Mark C. Ode is undoubtedly a Code expert—it’s in his name, after all. We are immensely fortunate to count him in our ranks. Read his Residential column and his Code Applications column.

In other Mark news, Code Insider contributor Mark Earley received the Richard G. Biermann Award at the NFPA’s 2019 conference in San Antonio in June. The award honors outstanding volunteer work dedicated to the NEC, and Mark, who has been NEC Secretary for 10 cycles and is retiring next month, is an incredibly deserving recipient. You can read his column about how to propose a change to the Code here.

This issue is about those smart buildings that are changing everything about power delivery, low voltage, energy efficiency and so much more.
Perhaps the best advice comes from Wayne Moore in his Fire Focus. In “The Three Musketeers of Integration,” he suggests an alternative to trying to be an expert on every technology and system: hire or consult with a specialist.

To give you the rundown on various finer points of smart building, we begin with “The More the Merrier,” by Jeff Gavin. Wireless is all but expected in the home these days, but it can be a challenge in multitenant buildings. Jeff walks you through the demands and some solutions.

Of course, with all of this wireless data transmission going on, a significant concern has arisen with cybersecurity, and it has reached lighting. For an overview of the problem and how to address it, check out “Defending the Light,” by Craig DiLouie.

Perhaps the greatest change taking place is evolving our world today like plastic did in the mid-20th century. Energy is a commodity, which makes energy efficiency money itself. In “Plugging In,” Chuck Ross covers the trend of homeowners choosing to install batteries and how you can get in on the action.

As efficiency goes, it can be applied to much more than electricity. In “Optimizing Space,” by Claire Swedberg, we learn about all the ways technology enabled by AI can help building owners be more efficient with the way spaces are used. Claire also writes about Chewning + Wilmer, an EC that helped build a new dorm at Virginia Commonwealth University. Read it here.

Learning everything this industry has expanded to may feel daunting. It is. We’re here for you.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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