Make Do and Mend

The Colossi of Memnon Photo Credit: Julie Mazur

“Make Do and mend” is the title of a British booklet published during World War II; it encouraged people to repair their clothing so the military could use the country’s fabric for uniforms. Making such an effort may sound strange during this time of plenty, but renewing and recycling is a virtue today.

In Electrical Contractor’s Renovation and Retrofit issue, we bring you several examples of how to get ahead without starting from scratch. The picture of the Colossi of Memnon above, taken by Julie when she lived in Egypt, is a solid reminder that this pursuit is not new. In “Teaching an Old Building New Tricks,” Jeff Gavin writes about installing smart technology in retrofits, a complicated endeavor especially in historic structures such as Westminster Abbey.

In "Protecting Treasures," Claire Swedberg explains how electrical contractors can get involved with behind-the-scenes necessities to preserve art, artifacts and rare books. Claire also covers the renovation of the Times Theatre in Seaside, Ore. Unused for decades, Inland Electric has helped give it a new life as an Art Deco-style theater and brewery-restaurant. Read "The Show Goes On" here.

Katie Keuhner-Hebert, whose name you know from the Industry Watch section, brings you her first feature for us on how to safely employ reconditioned electrical equipment rather than buying new. Reasons for doing so range from saving money to an inability to find a modern equivalent part. Read “Renew and Reuse” here.

Chuck Ross investigates whether we still need 200-ampere residential service with today’s energy-efficient equipment and appliances in “This Just In: Energy-efficiency standards are working.”

You get a double dose of Fred Sargent and Andrew McCoy this month. In the first of a three-part Your Business series on moving from foreman to project manager, Fred and Andrew address hurdles you might face making the switch. Read “Four Obvious Hurdles” here. And their Service/Maintenance column is about three apprentices from the Flint/Saginaw Electrical JATC who have created a realistic plan for their own electrical contracting business.

In the Integrated Systems section, Claire Swedberg writes about emergency alert systems used in schools for the deaf and hard of hearing. Strobes may not be enough anymore, so read “Safety Without Sound.” Also in that section, Deborah O’Mara explains some of the new regulations, standards and laws pertaining to the critical infrastructure landscape. Read “Change of Plans” here.

We love history. Looking back at all of the things humanity has accomplished, we sometimes find ourselves in awe at our own potential. Some of the most powerful examples of our capability to create are all around us and remain standing today because people with valuable skills like you not only put it there but helped ensure it stayed there.

In this light, renovation and retrofit work is more than a practicality. It’s preservation.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


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

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