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April 16, 2010 A Penton Media Publication Vol. IX, No. 7



CONTENTS
Cast Your Vote for the EC&M Product of the Year!

Construction Spending Drops in February

NEMA and AIA Renew Call on Congress to Extend Commercial Building Tax Deduction

Modest Rebound in Architecture Billings Index

SBA Recovery Lending Extended Through April 30

Electrical Renovations in Texas

Electrical Distribution Upgrade in Minnesota

Business Brief

EBCI Rises for Third Straight Month; Highest Since May 2004

Electrical Industry Needs More from BIM

ESFI Celebrates National Electrical Safety Month in May

Solar 2010

2010 Windpower Conference & Exhibition


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    Editor's Note
    Cast Your Vote for the EC&M Product of the Year!
    Would you like to help pick the prestigious EC&M Product of the Year winner and qualify for a chance to win $100? If you're an EC&M subscriber, make your vote count by visiting the 2010 EC&M Product of the Year category winners list. To review the products, click on the links for each of the 33 category winners to read a brief description and view a photo. Once you're finished with your review, visit the polling page, enter your contact information, choose your favorite product from the drop-down menu, and click submit.

    Your selection will help us identify the 2010 EC&M Product of the Year Platinum, Gold, and Silver award winners. As an added incentive, three lucky voters will be randomly selected to receive a $100 gift check.

    The voting poll will remain open through 5 p.m. on June 18. Please, only one vote per EC&M subscriber. Any votes received from manufacturers, PR firms, or non-EC&M readers will be discarded.


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    Around the Circuit
    Construction Spending Drops in February
    Construction spending fell in February by $11.6 billion, or 1.3%, to $846 billion, a low last recorded in 2002, according to an analysis of new federal figures by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va. Declines occurred relative to both the month before and February 2009 in most categories of private residential and non-residential construction, as well as public construction, according to Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC. "Most of the economy seems to be improving, but construction is falling into an even deeper hole," says Simonson. "Bad weather may account for a small part of February's downturn, but most of the contraction reflects ongoing lack of demand, tight credit conditions, and shrinking state and local budgets."

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    NEMA and AIA Renew Call on Congress to Extend Commercial Building Tax Deduction
    Rosslyn, Va.-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently renewed its call on Congress to support increasing the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction from $1.80 per square foot to $3 per square foot in order to help stimulate immediate job creation. More than 80 organizations in the manufacturing, construction, and environmental arenas have now co-signed a letter to Congressional members asking for an increase in this particular tax deduction. This represents an increase of more than 40% in the number of signatures since December 2009.

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    Modest Rebound in Architecture Billings Index
    Following a drop of nearly three points, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) nudged up almost two points in February. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI rating was 44.8, up from a reading of 42.5 in January. This score indicates a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 52.0.

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    SBA Recovery Lending Extended Through April 30
    President Barack Obama recently signed legislation extending through April the U.S. Small Business Administration's ability to provide enhancements in its two largest small business loan programs. The enhancements, first made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), include a higher guarantee on some SBA-backed loans and fee relief. The SBA estimates the $40 million extension will support about $1.4 billion in small business lending.

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    Project Watch
    Electrical Renovations in Texas
    Arlington Independent School District, Arlington, Texas, is soliciting proposals for electrical renovations to Pope, Sherrod, and Short elementary schools. The deadline for bids is 2 p.m. CST on April 22. For more information, contact Betty Knox, director of purchasing, at (682) 867-7352.


    Electrical Distribution Upgrade in Minnesota
    Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU), St. Paul, Minn., are seeking bids for an electrical distribution upgrade at St. Cloud Technical College, St. Cloud, Minn. Scope of work includes replacing existing distribution panelboards throughout the entire campus; existing panelboard feeder conductors and conduits; existing 480V service transformer with a larger transformer; main service equipment for boiler plant, I-Wing, and AB-Wing services; and miscellaneous electrical feeders throughout the campus, as well as demolishing existing boiler plant 240V service transformer. A pre-bid meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on April 27. Bids will be received until 2 p.m. CST on May 6. For more information, visit the MNSCU Web site and click on "Advertisement for Bids (E-Plan Room)."


    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    Phoenix-based Alpha Energy recently was recognized by the Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Association for a 1MW elevated solar racking system at a major auto auction facility in northern New Jersey. During ABC's 19th Annual Merit Construction Awards of Excellence, the electrical contractor on the Alpha Energy project, the Tri-M Group, LLC, was named an Excellence Winner in the Best Specialty category (Electrical Under $1 Million). ABC recognized Tri-M and Alpha for the outstanding design, engineering, innovation, and workmanship that went into this facility

    For more Business Briefs, visit the EC&M Web site.


    EBCI Rises for Third Straight Month; Highest Since May 2004
    The business environment has improved markedly since December 2009, according to electrical equipment manufacturers polled in Rosslyn, Va.-based National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association’s (NEMA’s) most recent business confidence survey. The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions rose sharply in March 2010 for a third straight month, increasing 7.2 points to 71.7 — its highest level since May 2004.

    To read more about the jump in the EBCI, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Electrical Industry Needs More from BIM
    At a recent presentation to the Bethesda, Md.-based National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Janice Burse, coordination manager at Dynalectric, Dulles, Va., reviewed the current state of building information modeling (BIM) for the electrical industry, where she covered the working definition of BIM and its limitations for the electrical industry.

    To read more about Burse's comments on BIM's lack of electrical components, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Eye on Safety
    ESFI Celebrates National Electrical Safety Month in May
    May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), Arlington, Va., is launching a public awareness campaign to educate key audiences about the steps that can be taken to prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities in the home and the workplace. From May 23-29, the organization will focus on electrical safety in the field. Use ESFI's Never Assume electrical safety series to give you and your co-workers the right frame of mind when it comes to safety in the workplace. From job planning to arc flash awareness, this one-of-a-kind video program is a must for anyone working with or near electricity.In addition, to help promote electrical safety, ESFI has developed a campaign toolkit that is organized to align with the campaign itself. In this kit, you will find tools you can use to facilitate an effective electrical safety awareness campaign for your community, organization, customers, and workplace associates. This complimentary 2010 Campaign Toolkit can be downloaded on the foundation's Web site.


    Shows & Events
    Solar 2010
    The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Conference is scheduled for May 17-22 in Phoenix. Topics for conference sessions include careers in solar energy, education and training, and solar technology. In addition, Solar Success! start-up and pro track training courses are co-located with the conference. For more information, visit the ASES Web site.









    2010 Windpower Conference & Exhibition

    The 2010 Windpower Conference & Exhibition will take place from May 23-26 in Dallas. Conference sessions include "Critical Wind Power Issues for Electric Utilities," "Project Performance Using Reliable Turbines," "Worker Health & Safety," and "Wind Turbine Technology: Structures, Loads, and Control." For more information and to register, visit the 2010 Windpower Web site.


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