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April 30, 2010 A Penton Media Publication Vol. IX, No. 8



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

Arc Flash Analysis

Architecture Billings Index Up in March

California Governor Trims Red Tape for Renewable Energy Projects

NSTAR Stimulus Plan Helps Businesses Looking to Save On Energy Costs

Reliant Energy and DOE Finalize $20 Million Stimulus Grant Agreement to Expand Rollout of Smart Energy Solutions to Texas Residents

Electrical Engineering Services in New York

Control System Upgrade in New York

Business Brief

Healthy Remodeling Rebound Forecast in 2010

DOE Launches National Collaboration on LED Street Lights

Plug-In Vehicle Charger Market to Reach $11.75 Billion by 2015

$10 Million Set Aside for Solar Energy Education for Local Governments

Austin, Texas, City Council Adopts New Energy Code Amendments

Rebirth of the Electrical Contractor

House Subcommittee Considers Proposals to Strengthen Protecting America's Workers Act

NFPA Conference & Expo

West Coast EMC


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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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    Coming Up in EC&M
    Arc Flash Analysis
    The IEEE and NFPA have joined forces on a collaborative research project "to identify, understand, and learn how to mitigate or protect employees in the workplace against the potential electrical arc flash hazards." The June EC&M cover story will focus on the work currently being conducted by these organizations, as well as others, to enhance protection of workers against the hazards of arc flash. If you are involved in research or studies that could potentially reduce the risk of arc flash in the workplace and would like to share your findings for possible inclusion in the article, contact Beck Ireland, staff writer, by phone at (913) 967-1806 or e-mail at beck.ireland@penton.com.


    Around the Circuit
    Architecture Billings Index Up in March
    On the heels of a more than two-point gain in February, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was up again in March. 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 March ABI rating was 46.1, up from a reading of 44.8 the previous month. Though this score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services — any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings — it is the highest score since August 2008. The new projects inquiry index was 58.5.

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


    California Governor Trims Red Tape for Renewable Energy Projects
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed a state law that he and federal officials say will speed approvals for large-scale solar and wind projects, improving chances that they will meet a deadline to qualify for federal stimulus dollars. The law allows energy developers to pay fees to compensate for wildlife habitat destroyed during construction, rather than having to acquire replacement land. State and federal agencies will use the fees to buy and protect land for wildlife or to restore or enhance habitat to bolster populations of plants and animals that are at risk of extinction.

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


    NSTAR Stimulus Plan Helps Businesses Looking to Save On Energy Costs
    To help local businesses afford projects that will cut their energy use and lower operating costs, NSTAR, Westwood, Mass., is offering a 50% increase in energy-efficiency incentive money for several qualified upgrade projects. The stimulus offer is available for projects approved by NSTAR before August 1 and completed by September 30, or until funding is depleted.

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


    Reliant Energy and DOE Finalize $20 Million Stimulus Grant Agreement to Expand Rollout of Smart Energy Solutions to Texas Residents
    Houston-based Reliant Energy has finalized its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for approximately $20 million in funding to develop and deliver innovative energy solutions for Texas electricity customers. Reliant is the only competitive electricity provider in Texas to have been selected to receive a grant through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

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


    Project Watch
    Electrical Engineering Services in New York
    The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), on behalf of the Division of School Facilities (DSF), is soliciting proposals from engineering consultant firms that are regularly engaged in consulting to private and public organizations for electrical engineering services. A pre-proposal conference is scheduled for May 6 at 10 a.m. EST. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on May 27. For more information, visit the NYCDOE Web site.


    Control System Upgrade in New York
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is soliciting sealed proposals for construction and maintenance contracts for the upgrade to its building automated monitoring and control system (BAMCS) at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. The work under these contracts consists of replacing the existing BAMCS with a direct digital control system to monitor and control existing air conditioning systems, chilled, condenser and hot water systems, and associated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems with capability of interconnection to third-party systems such as fire alarm and vertical transportation; installation of a dedicated fiber-optic cable as part of the BAMCS communication network and performance of related work; and maintenance of the BAMCS upgrade and services for the existing BAMCS. Proposals will be accepted until 2:30 p.m. EST on June 3. For more information, visit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Web site.


    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    San Jose, Calif.-based Rosendin Electric has completed its acquisition of KST Electric, Ltd., Manor, Texas. With this acquisition, Rosendin Electric gains immediate access to the burgeoning Texas construction market through KST Electric's headquarters near Austin and regional offices in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Harlingen.

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


    Healthy Remodeling Rebound Forecast in 2010
    Home improvement spending will recover this year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) recently released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. The LIRA suggests annual spending will accelerate, with nearly 5% growth in 2010.

    To read more about rebound in home remodeling, visit the EC&M Web site.


    DOE Launches National Collaboration on LED Street Lights
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that Seattle City Light, Seattle's publicly owned power utility, has been selected to lead a national effort to guide municipalities in evaluating light emitting diode (LED) street lights. The Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium will collect, analyze, and share information and lessons learned about LED street lighting demonstrations to facilitate the adoption of this energy-efficienct technology.

    To read more about the Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Plug-In Vehicle Charger Market to Reach $11.75 Billion by 2015
    A new market study from Oyster Bay, New York-based ABI Research, “Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructures,” projects a fast-growing market for charging station infrastructure, with worldwide revenues reaching $11.75 billion for the installation of 3 million charging stations by 2015, up from approximately 20,000 stations installed in 2010.

    For more information on the ABI Research report on plug-in vehicle infrastructures, visit the EC&M Web site.


    $10 Million Set Aside for Solar Energy Education for Local Governments
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced up to $10 million over five years for two organizations to help accelerate the adoption of solar energy among local governments. The selected organizations, the International City-County Management Association (ICMA), Boston, and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Washington, D.C., will conduct outreach to thousands of local governments across the nation, sharing best practices for increasing solar energy use in their communities.

    For more information on this funding for solar energy education, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Austin, Texas, City Council Adopts New Energy Code Amendments
    Energy code amendments recently approved by the Austin, Texas, City Council will increase the energy-efficiency of each newly constructed home starting this summer by 1,650kWh of electricity a year, saving $165 annually (based on a 2,300-sq-ft home). Combined with energy code amendments adopted three years ago, the efficiency of new homes will increase by 31% since 2007 and save each homeowner 3,630kWh of electricity and $363 annually.

    To read more about the recent amendments in Austin, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Rebirth of the Electrical Contractor
    Over the next two decades, the role of electrician will dramatically change, according to Houston Neal of Austin, Texas-based Software Advice, a free online resource that reviews software for electricians. In order to thrive in a green economy, Neal says electricians will have to become "energy contractors."

    To read more about Neal's ideas on the changing role of the electrician, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Eye on Safety
    House Subcommittee Considers Proposals to Strengthen Protecting America's Workers Act
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Jordan Barab recently testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections about the Protecting America's Workers Act. Barab testified regarding the issue of whistleblower protections and victims' rights in OSHA's enforcement process. Proposed change to the act would strengthen protections for workers who blow the whistle on dangerous workplace conditions and guarantee a voice for families of workers killed and those who are seriously injured or fall ill on the job.


    Shows & Events
    NFPA Conference & Expo
    The 2010 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference & Expo is scheduled for June 7-10 in Las Vegas. Topics for presentations at this year's event include proposed changes for the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC), using social media for safety education, fire protection engineering, and code-required testing of emergency power supply system equipment. For more information and to register, visit the NFPA Web site.






    West Coast EMC

    The West Coast Energy Management Congress (EMC) will be held June 15-16 in Seattle. Sessions include "Best Operational Practices for Energy Savings," "Live Long and Prosper: Where Do LEDs Make Sense in the Energy-Efficient Lighting World?" "Auditing the Audit: How to Minimize Inefficiencies in the Audit Process," and "Current Status of the Energy-Related Federal Legislation and Programs." For more information and to register, visit the event's Web site.

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