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Month: November 2009

Fun with Numbers

Fun with Numbers

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, it’s a good time to take a step back from the ups and downs of the economy. A timely Wall Street Journal article suggests oft-repeated data on how many turkeys will be eaten and the ranking of Thanksgiving air and road travel are overhyped and probably inaccurate. On a positive note, the article points out an industry that can lay claim to experiencing its strongest day of business on the day after Thanksgiving. Most would guess retailers, but over the years they Read more [...]
Energy Star makes a U-turn on programmable thermostats

Energy Star makes a U-turn on programmable thermostats

Last week EPA held a webinar on a revised Energy Star specification for programmable thermostats.  This reverses EPA’s previous announcement that it would suspend the Energy Star labeling of thermostats by the beginning of 2010.  Nearly 100 stakeholders, including NEMA Staff and members, participated in the meeting. While the existing specification was out of date, suspending the labeling would not have been in the best interests of consumers.  NEMA and its members were able Read more [...]
Housing Blues, Part Deux

Housing Blues, Part Deux

Just when it seemed everyone thought the housing market was beginning to see some silver lining start to show, the MBA’s quarterly report on mortgage loan delinquencies and foreclosures offered a fresh reminder of how tenuous the situation remains for housing. Indeed, the report showed that 14.4 percent of mortgages were in some sort of trouble (either delinquent or entering foreclosure) during the third quarter, breaking the record high set only one quarter prior. The scope of the labor Read more [...]
Storing the Energy of the Future

Storing the Energy of the Future

Today, DOE announced $104.7 million in funding for projects at seven DOE National Laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. One of the project types is for Advanced Battery Prototype Fabrication and Testing Facilities. In the press release, energy storage technologies are described as “critical enabling technologies for developing advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles and meeting the administration’s goal of putting one Read more [...]
The Politics and Policy of Job Creation

The Politics and Policy of Job Creation

This week House and Senate leaders announced that Congress will do something to respond to rising unemployment before they adjourn for the year.  I don't know any economist -- or anyone else, for that matter -- who would argue that the current 10.2% unemployment rate and lack of job creation in this economic recovery is NOT a problem.  Quite the contrary - workers and their families are very concerned about the availability of jobs, and employers are concerned not Read more [...]
A Small Problem?

A Small Problem?

The devastating consequences created by the residential mortgage market’s blow-up have been well documented. Now concerns over the broader impact of souring commercial real estate (CRE) loans are on the rise. The value of CRE loans outstanding is significantly smaller than residential loans ($3.5 trillion vs. $11.1 trillion); however, the size of the potential losses is not as much of a problem as it is the size of the institutions that hold these loans. Smaller regional and community Read more [...]
Green in color only, sometimes. Concerns over advertising claims for Photoluminescent exit signage

Green in color only, sometimes. Concerns over advertising claims for Photoluminescent exit signage

Caveat Emptor, and Carry a Flashlight? Photoluminescent (PL) exit signs can be an excellent addition to the life safety outfitting of many facilities.  Their ease of application and use lend them to be favored by many building operators and sometimes even required by life safety codes.  However, PL signage must be applied and maintained properly and has its limitations.  Too often advertising claims gloss over or ignore some very critical points that anyone considering Read more [...]
Florida Dunks Residential Swimming Pool Safety

Florida Dunks Residential Swimming Pool Safety

On June 9, 2009, the Florida Building Commission voted down a motion to reverse a previous decision exempting the requirement for GFCIs on residential swimming pools.  NEMA supported by a local electrical contractor provided testimony to support the reversal of the earlier decision.  But representatives from the Florida Swimming Pool Association were able to rebut this testimony citing increased costs to consumers and claiming no additional benefit.  Further, they provided erroneous Read more [...]
Veterans’ Day

Veterans’ Day

The difference between Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day  I have noticed that many (even within the media) confuse the meaning and are not aware of the difference between the Veterans' and Memorial Day Holidays.  Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. While deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans’ Day, it is the day set aside to thank and honor the 24.9 million veterans presently Read more [...]
WHY HARMONIZE?

WHY HARMONIZE?

Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way The time intervals between the initiation of harmonization projects and the publication of the developed standards as well as their adherence to a realistic maintenance cycle are cause for concerns by industry given the state of today’s economy.  While global trade and manufacturing require timely development of standards containing common requirements, some National processes remain transfixed in methods that predate the WTO mandate for technical Read more [...]