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Month: February 2010

A Turn for the Worse for Housing?

A Turn for the Worse for Housing?

We generally advocate not overanalyzing one-month fluctuations in economic data too much, given the inherent possibility of weird seasonal adjustments, bad weather, etc. Unfortunately, while we don’t suggest hitting the panic button just yet, lousy readings on new and existing home sales suggest it might be time to at least be concerned about the housing market’s future recovery prospects. New home sales slid to a new all-time low of 309,000 (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during January—also Read more [...]
To NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Means of Egress Panel: Listen up!

To NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Means of Egress Panel: Listen up!

When it comes to the illuminance requirements for exit signs, all exit signs need to be evaluated on a level playing field.  It's not as though smoke or fire near a doorway will choose to ease up because the exit sign above the door won't be bright enough for people to see.  Not to mention, ambient lighting has an adverse effect on exit sign visibility, especially in smoke. Every exit sign needs to meet the illuminance requirements in UL 924! So why does the NFPA Read more [...]
Small Manufacturers and the Lending Crisis

Small Manufacturers and the Lending Crisis

Yesterday's front-page, above the fold WSJ headline jumped off the page: "Lending Falls at Epic Pace."  Epic, as in the "biggest full-year decline in total loans outstanding in 67 years."  It's a critical challenge -- for some companies, nothing short of a crisis -- that NEMA's smaller members have faced for awhile now. The answer is simple enough (you'd think): The feds gave banks billions of dollars to increase lending and stimulate Read more [...]
News Roundup

News Roundup

Reading news is one of my favorite hobbies (it even probably ranks higher than watching TV). Below are some recent items related to the electrical industry that I found interesting. Captain Planet would approve: USA Today says that Oregon is getting the first U.S. commercial wave energy farm. I was surprised by the size of the buoys; the first one will be 150’ x 40’ and 200 tons. The expectation is that it will harness enough power for 400 homes. I’m curious to see the results Read more [...]
Congratulations to NEMA Cable Ties Section Members

Congratulations to NEMA Cable Ties Section Members

This Friday, UL, CSA and ANCE will publish a new North American standard for cable ties for electrical installations, based on IEC 62775 (same title).  Members of the NEMA Cable Ties Section and Technical Committee are to be congratulated for driving the development of this standard, an effort which began 3 years ago.  These members worked thoroughly and harmoniously to make sure that the standard aligned with the IEC requirements as closely as possible while taking into account essential Read more [...]
Fire Safety

Fire Safety

The Fire Marhal in Loudoun County, Virginia has seen a need for smoke alarm installation and maintenance in the County.  While the annual death rate of people from fires has fallen dramatically over the past 25 years, the percentage who died at home has remained high at approximately 75 - 80%.  The useage of smoke alarms increased during this time, but human indifference is thought to be a factor.  Smoke alarms tend to wear out after a decade and Read more [...]
Big Week for Obama and Congress

Big Week for Obama and Congress

With the 2010 congressional elections just 251 days away and polls showing that nearly 60% of Americans feel the country is on the “wrong track,” this week could be a critical test for the Obama Administration and Congress. First up: the Jobs for Main Street Act (H.R. 2847), which the Senate is expected to approve today. The $15 billion package provides a tax break for employers hiring unemployed workers in 2010 and extends the Highway Trust Fund and the authorization for surface transportation Read more [...]
Is This the Beginning of the End?

Is This the Beginning of the End?

Of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, that is. Maybe. Or perhaps it’s just the end of the beginning. According to data released today by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA), the percentage of mortgage loans delinquent by at least one payment or in foreclosure declined for the first time since the beginning of 2006. In addition, the share of loans at least 30 or 60 days delinquent have been tracking lower since the first quarter of 2009. These two measures remain extremely high by historical Read more [...]
NEMA Addresses SSL Dimming Challenges

NEMA Addresses SSL Dimming Challenges

The NEMA Lighting Controls and Solid State Lighting Sections have co-produced a white paper on the subject of dimming screw-base integrated ballast LED lamps. It is designated LSD-49 and is titled "Solid State Lighting for Incandescent Replacement—Best Practices for Dimming". NEMA and the SSL industry hope that by issuing guidance as early as possible on this subject, SSL technology can avoid the pitfalls associated with less than compatible self-ballasted CFL and Dimmer combinations. Read more [...]
CPSC – The Little Agency that Could

CPSC – The Little Agency that Could

This week I am attending the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) Annual Meeting and Training Symposium.  ICPHSO is an "organization dedicated to addressing health and safety issues related to consumer products marketed globally," and this conference brings together multiple stakeholders - including government, manufacturers, importers, retailers, certification/testing laboratories, law firms, academia, standards writing organizations, Read more [...]