Aug. 31, 2005

Nevada governor signs bill mandating energy-efficient building standards

Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn recently signed into law Assembly Bill 3, which requires all state-funded projects to meet LEED-certified standards or their equivalent. In addition, at least two occupied public buildings financed by the state must reach a LEED Silver certification or higher every two years.

The new law also requires that state universities and colleges provide education in the basics of green building.

Aug. 30, 2005

NEMA Revises Conduit Standard

NEMA recently released a new standard, TC 7-2005, “Smooth-Wall Coilable Electrical Polyethylene Conduit.” The standard provides guidelines for concrete-encased or direct burial applications of electrical high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conduit: EPEC-A, EPEC-B, EPEC-40, and EPEC-80. The Plastic Pipe Institute assisted with the coordination of NEMA TC-7 with ASTM F2160, “Solid Wall HDPE Conduit Based on Controlled Outside Diameter.”

TC 7-2005 is available at the NEMA Web site for $47 or by contacting Global Engineering Documents at (800) 854-7179.

Aug. 29, 2005

We Energies signs with small wind farms

Milwaukee-based We Energies has signed contracts with private investors that are erecting single wind turbines in four towns in rural Wisconsin. The structures, expected to be built by 2007, measure 400 feet with a wingspan around 270 feet. Each unit can generate 1.65MW to 2.5MW, enough to meet the electricity needs of up to 1,000 homes. Each windmill costs about $2.5 million and has a life expectancy of up to 30 years.

A Wisconsin mandate insists that 2.2% of utilities’ portfolios be renewable by 2011. By that date, We Energies hopes to have 5% of its electricity supply come principally from wind power.

Aug. 26, 2005

Business Briefs for the week of August 22, 2005

  • Trovillion Construction & Development has chosen Winter Park, Fla.-based Palmer Electric Co. to provide site and building electrical contracting services for The Langford, a complex of 31 luxury condominiums ranging from 1,734 square feet to 4,000 square feet.
  • Littlefuse added to its electronic, automotive, and electrical business units with the acquisition of the Wickmann Group and its Wickmann, Efen, and Pudenz brand of circuit protection products, including the TR5 and TE5 subminiature fuses, from Heinrich Industrie, Essen, Germany.
  • Birmingham, Ala.-based Doster Construction Co. has broken ground on the $2.4 million addition to the Pinnacle Foods Group, Inc.’s food processing facility in Jackson, Tenn. Plans for the new construction include equipment mezzanines, six new truck docks, and employee parking.
  • Color Kinetics, Inc., Boston, Mass., has joined the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA), administered by NEMA. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the NGLIA seeks to promote solid-state lighting as an energy-conserving technology.
  • Two years after acquiring Kimsey Electrical Contracting, now Guarantee Electrical Contracting of Denver, the company that provided electrical maintenance at the Valero Oil Refinery in Wilmington, Calif., St. Louis-based Guarantee Electrical has opened its first office in California. The electrical contractors hopes the new branch, located in Benicia, will bring in revenue ranging from $3 to $5 million its first year.
  • Las Vegas-based manufacturer of soft start motor controllers, Power Efficiency Corp. received a boost in capital in the form of $2.43 million in equity financing. Under the offering’s terms, more than 12 million shares of common stock and 6 million warrants were recently issued to investors.

    Aug. 25, 2005

    Biogen Idec, Inc. plans distributed generation project

    Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Idec, Inc.’s sixth building at its Kendall Square campus, with its own power plant located in the basement, is scheduled to open this winter. The unit will convert gas into steam for all six buildings and generate up to 5,500kW of electricity, as well as power A/C systems.

    In accordance with new state rules, Biogen projects will pay electric utility Nstar $400,000 to $500,00 for a backup connection to the utility grid in case of emergency shutdown or maintenance, plus the cost of electricity it uses. Separate negotiations with the state’s utility companies last year established firm standards for safely connecting off-grid power projects and selling back surplus power.

    Aug. 24, 2005

    IEEE makes its articles easier to find online

    Researchers with subscriptions to IEEE Web content now have a new alternative for tracking down papers. A beta version of Yahoo Search Subscriptions, now allows Web surfers to search for publications without using IEEE Xplore, the institute’s access-restricted document-delivery platform.

    The new search engine provides one-stop access to several subscription-based Web sites, areas referred to as the “deep Web” because they can’t be reached with typical search engines. Users can choose from several online content providers like IEEE, The Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times, or search them all at once. Once they’ve found what they’re looking for, they can log in with their user ID and password to view articles in their entirety. Those without subscriptions have the option to purchase them.

    Aug. 23, 2005

    Amerlux relaunches its Web site

    Amerlux Lighting Solutions recently launched its new and improved Web site at www.amerlux.com, complete with a Product Selector page that allows visitors to search for items based on criteria in a drop-down menu. Each product has its own page with descriptions and downloadable spec sheets.

    The site also includes a photo gallery of lighting installations, a literature section, and contact information.

    Aug. 16, 2005

    U.S. Green Building Council files for ANSI accreditation, opens membership to professional and trade organizations

    The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has filed an application with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to become an ANSI-accredited national standards developer for standards related to green building practices. USBGC’s main program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a voluntary, consensus-based rating system that recognizes and rewards sustainable building practices.

    In addition to filing for ANSI accreditation, USGBC announced an amendment to its bylaws to expand its membership to include trade and professional associations.

    Aug. 15, 2005

    Lithonia Lighting to offer multi-volt ballasts across major product categories

    In what it says is intended to help distributors reduce inventory and transaction costs by eliminating voltage-specific SKUs, Lithonia Lighting recently began offering multi-volt ballasts as standard across all major product categories in which a multi-volt ballast is available.

    The conversion applies to more than 96% of the company’s total fluorescent product offerings and includes troffers, parabolics, wraps, strips, and several other product categories.

    Aug. 12, 2005

    Business briefs for the week of August 8, 2005

  • The Mexican government has issued a contract to install distributed generation systems at three office buildings in Mexico City. Capstone distributor Areche Ingenieros, S.A. de C.V. has been awarded the contract.
  • Graybar inked a deal with health-care group purchaser Premier Purchasing Partners. The deal is estimated to be worth $3 million.
  • After several years of establishing relationships in the financial, telecommunications, and federal government markets,Power Distribution, Inc. is getting a little recognition. This week Frost & Sullivan presented the company with its 2005 Customer Value Enhancement Award.
  • Decal and labeling manufacturer William Frick and Co. recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in business. The Libertyville, Ill.-based company operates out of an 80,000-square-foot building.

    Aug. 11, 2005

    Fluke launches predictive maintenance Web site

    Both predictive maintenance beginners and experienced professionals who run highly sophisticated programs have a new online resource for information on the subject. Fluke recently launched a new Web site at www.fluke.com/pdm that includes tools and educational material dedicated to PdM in a wide range of environments.

    The site focuses on business, technical, and application information on the company’s products designed for PdM applications, and it includes ROI calculators designed to help analyze the costs and benefits of deploying various preventive and predictive maintenance technologies.

    Visitors to the site who complete a survey will be entered in a drawing for a Fluke 189 data logging multimeter.

    Aug. 10, 2005

    NEMA applauds Congress for passage of federal energy bill

    The National Electrical Manufacturers Association recently came out in support of the federal energy bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush on Aug. 8. In particular, the association expressed approval of an energy efficient commercial buildings measure that provides a tax deduction of as much as $1.80 per square foot for new or renovated buildings that exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standard by 50%, with deductions for lighting and HVAC systems and building envelope. The provision is set to take effect Dec. 31.

    In addition, NEMA said it was pleased with a reduction in the tax depreciation period for electric transmission assets from 20 to 15 years.

    President Bush signed the bill on Monday at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.

    Aug. 9, 2005

    Siemens to upgrade systems at North Carolina municipality buildings

    Next month Siemens Building Technologies will begin a six-month, $2.7 million project to install HVAC, lighting, and control systems upgrades in government buildings in Pitt County, N.C. And through a performance contract, the project won’t cost the county anything upfront.

    The upgrade will be paid for through a 12-year performance contract that allows Pitt County to avoid upfront capital expenditures and pay for the project’s costs throughout the course of the contract using the savings achieved through increased energy and operational efficiency. Over that 12-year period, Siemens estimates the improvements could save the county $3.7 million in energy and building operations costs

    Aug. 8, 2005

    John Deere invests in rural wind harvesting projects

    Deere & Co. recently made equity investments in several wind energy projects in the rural United States. The company has also created a business unit to provide project development, debt financing, and other services to those interested in wind harvesting.

    The company has invested in projects in Minnesota and Texas and is considering projects in other parts of the United States. Industry experts predict the amount of electricity generated by wind power will greatly increase over the next 15 years.

    John Deere Credit will manage the company’s new business.

    Aug. 5, 2005

    Business briefs for the week of August 1, 2005

  • Day & Zimmerman NPS (DZNPS) was recently awarded a new three-year, system-wide contract with Westar Energy. As part of the new contract, DZNPS will perform primary boiler and auxiliary systems maintenance and construction services at Westar’s seven fossil-fired power plants in eastern Kansas.
  • Nashville, Tenn.-based engineering design and facility consulting firm Smith Seckman Reid recently opened a new branch office in Knoxville, Tenn. The company now has three offices in the state.
  • General Electric recently cut 150 jobs at its steam turbine and generator plant in Schenectady, N.Y., and temporarily laid off another 150 employees for three to six months. The company and union have been meeting for more than four months in an effort to reduce costs in the plant’s generator division.
  • The Electrical Apparatus Service Association recently honored Roland S. Boreham, Jr. as the 2005 recipient of its Exceptional Achievement and Service award. The honor recognizes an individual who has provided exceptional service to the electrical apparatus sales and service industry over a lifetime.
  • Southwire recently announced the three winners of its SIMpull Savings sweepstakes and rebate program. James Bozarth, Innovative Electric, Edmond, Okla.; James Campbell, the Electric Connection, Columbus, Ohio; and Phil Edwards, Jamar Electric, San Diego, Calif., all won 60-in. Philips widescreen, hi-definition televisions.
  • Hubbell Lighting recently broke ground for its new headquarters in Greenville, S.C. The 18,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2006.

    Aug. 4, 2005

    Philips Lighting and Advance Transformer join to pledge $250,000 to NAED

    Philips Lighting and Advance Transformer recently teamed up to donate $250,000 to the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Education and Research Foundation. The companies’ donation will become part of an endowment fund for the foundation, and the principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched while the interest will be used to commission future projects and research studies.

    For their contribution, the companies will be recognized at the guarantor level and have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

    Aug. 3, 2005

    Siemens Building Technologies partners with Mississippi Department of Corrections

    Siemens Building Technologies recently guaranteed the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) a savings of more than $6 million in energy and operational costs under the terms of a 15-year performance contract. The company will provide the MDOC with a comprehensive energy and water management program that guarantees energy and operational savings estimated at $430,000 per year at current energy prices.

    The program began in May and will take eight months to complete. It will entail upgrading existing lighting to higher-efficiency lighting in three state prisons, 17 community work centers, and three restitution centers. The program also includes the installation of an energy management control system that will improve the efficiency of heating, ventilation, and climate control equipment as well as an ozone re-circulating laundry system that’s estimated to provide significant reductions in both hot water and total water usage.

    This agreement made the MDOC is the first state agency in Mississippi to enter into this type of contract.

    Aug. 2, 2005

    Kuhlman Electric partners with Transformer Protection

    Kuhlman Electric and Transformer Protection recently announced that they’ve established a joint marketing agreement, in which Kuhlman will provide installation and services—new and retrofit—for the transformer protector in the United States. The agreement will provide utility customers with application, design, hardware, and installation support for retrofit applications from a single source.

    The system is a passive mechanical system that can be applied to all transformers from 0.1MVA and up. It allows users to depressurize the tank within seconds, avoid contact between oxygen and evacuated explosive gases, separate gases from oil, channel the gases away from the transformer environment, reduce explosive gases, and secure the transformer.

    Aug. 1, 2005

    Brooklyn, N.Y., builds new solar subway station

    Stillwell Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, N.Y., was recently reconstructed to become the city’s first solar-powered train terminal. RWE SCHOTT Solar manufactured the 76,000-square-foot solar roof, which is expected to contribute approximately 250,000kW hours a year to the station’s non-traction power needs.

    The arched solar roof consists of 2,730 glass laminate, building-integrated PV panels that are made of clear glass and strips of thin-film amorphous silicon materials. The panels cover the full width of the station and offer weather protection for travelers as well as the station facilities. The panels are the largest, thin-film panels in the world and require less framing, which reduces installation costs.