Trade Journals

ISO Focus | Journal of the International Organization for Standardization

Education Enterprise | Pages 32-37 | January 2015

Education is big business in the US. It is not only logical but imperative that higher education get off the sidelines and into the competition. Two leaders of the education facilities industry, Mike Anthony and Rich Robben, explain the importance of standards in the education sector, and why assertive engagement in global standards development has become a necessity...

...Our industry is in the middle of a complicated price journey. Assertive engagement in global standards development is paramount in heavily regulated sectors like education with its multidimensional requirements for consensus. We have everything to gain from linking the ideals of the academy with practical business sense. We even have the success of consumer products such as automobiles and computers to draw on for insights into the reciprocal dynamics of standardization and innovation. Which begs the question: To what degree can public sector infrastructure benefit from the engagement in standards development? And to what degree do we fail in our mission if we do not try?

Co-author: Richard W. Robben

Journal for the Society of College and University Planning

The stewards of campus facilities inherit a long conversation about striking the optimal solution among the competing requirements of safety, economy, and sustainability. In this article, we address the campus electrical power problem by bringing to light technical and financial considerations that we hope will contribute to national emissions-reductions ambitions. The University of Michigan-led consortia of U.S. colleges and universities engaged in assertive advocacy in the United States and the development of international infrastructure standards will support our industry’s claim to excellence and contribute mightily to the innovation necessary in the future.

...Campus planners should make electrical engineers work a little harder before they approve another on-site generator. The familiar “one-generator-per-building” model for backup power needs to be revisited—not only in light of grim construction budgets and available space concerns but also because of fortuitous movement and new subtleties in the technical standards that govern backup power. A solution that nets an increase in overall backup power availability at a lower total cost of ownership and with less pollution is possible using approaches that more fully integrate district energy with independent perimeter utility sources, improved switching architectures, longer feeder runouts in “regional” backup power regimes, and loading generators.

...While the study unit for this article was electrical power only, we have had success like this in several other infrastructure technologies. We have the success of the railroad industry in standardizing railway widths and the failure of the cell phone industry to standardize on chargers as object lessons in the significance of technical standards. To what degree can safety and sustainable infrastructure benefit from standards advocacy by the public non-profit User interest on the same scale as the private for-profit Producer interest? To what degree does it fail in its mission if it does not try?

Electroindustry | Journal of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association

Electrotechnology developments in U.S. manufacturing and the energy industry are impressive. Equally impressive is the evolution of electrotechnology on campuses—the “cities-within-cities” that are a vital part of the identity and economy of their host communities.

...Approximately $60 billion is spent every year on electrical energy, construction, operation, and maintenance of electrical systems in the $300 billion education facilities industry in the US. After home-building and road-building, the education industry overall—representing eight percent of the U.S. economy—spends the most on new, non-defense construction.  

Competing requirements of electrical safety and economy will edge closer to optimal resolution in a change to the 2014 revision to the National Electrical Code (NEC).1 Contingent upon the presence of an energy management system that controls lighting load—a feature that is common in many commercial buildings—engineers may reduce power chain capacity to follow the lower lighting power densities mandated by energy codes. 

...Take the lighting for a typical 50,000 square foot office building: Per the current NEC, Table 220.12, that building requires a calculation of 3.5VA/square foot for general purpose lighting, for a total calculated lighting load of 175,000VA. Under the energy code, that exact same building, at a maximum installed general lighting density of .90VA/square foot, totals 45,500VA. No matter how you distribute it, the number is significant. Now apply that discrepancy to the millions of square feet of office space being built every year and the savings are staggering.  

Co-author: Joe Andre

Electrical Construction & Maintenance

The harsh winter in the US this year has raised the level of debate about power security.  This 2007 article is one of a series written since the first appearance of NEC Article 708 that explores the subtleties between availability and reliability; and how to discuss capitalization of the primary, utility supply versus investment in the US personal transportation system (where 90 percent of US energy is stored in our gas tanks) and transform it into a backup power system; now called Vehicle-to-Home electrical power technology.  

…“AVAILABILITY AND RELIABILITY  Risk assessments should be considered from two perspectives: basic reliability and mission reliability. Basic reliability is an all-series model correlated with a single component or part. Mission reliability can be a series, parallel, standby redundant, or complex network. Both are separate but companion products that are essential to quantify the reliability of a system adequately. The incorporation of redundancies and alternate modes of operation to improve mission availability invariably decreases basic reliability because it increases the demand for maintenance and support.  This is a subtle idea that would be brought to light with further analysis. You can see the basic idea here by looking at how two systems can be identically available but anything but identical”….  

Co-author: Robert G. Arno

Electrical professionals have long observed the “underloading” of customer-owned transformers, which, in part, is brought about by National Electrical Code (NEC) Chapter 2 design demand rules. This practice can be traced back to more than 50 years ago — when the economy was growing close to 10% compared to the 1% we see today. This was also a time when customers could visit the local electric utility store to get an incandescent light bulb replaced for free.

International City-County Management Association

Public servants inherit a long conversation about national security and the “failure of imagination” associated with 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Much of the conversation about the electric power aspect of national security involves energy supply at the transmission level. The United States has the largest transmission system in the world, extending across almost 200,000 miles. In most countries, transmission ownership is consolidated. In the United States, it is highly disaggregated, with more than 500 owners. There is great variety in the business models of these owners, a fact that greatly complicates grid planning, investment, and operation under normal conditions. During an emergency, disaggregated ownership is both a strength and a weakness.

In the various “lessons learned” white papers submitted to state and federal agencies recounting how emergency management teams responded to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the August 14, 2003, electrical blackout in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, one theme has been repeated: more preparation is needed to assure backup power supplies to emergency management agencies.1 Regulatory professionals spotted gaps in the national standards that assert leading practices for the design, construction, and maintenance of emergency power facilities.

...Article 708 was drafted for the purpose of meeting the needs of the public for a reliable emergency response from government institutions. Such standards as those produced by NFPA serve the core building safety and emergency management mission of most U.S. cities and counties, but practical implementation of these standards creates real-life issues for local government. Money, time, and other resources are called upon to meet a diverse set of needs. Because these resources are scarce, planning and risk analysis become vital.

Innovation in many industries depends on releasing products that are not fully developed, a process sometimes called “open innovation.” Thus, an imperfect article 708 now is better than a perfect one later. In its crafting of Article 708, NFPA has provided a large-scale platform for collaboration and has identified leading power security practices from which all will benefit.

Co-author: Richard Aaron

Consulting-Specifying Engineer | Control Engineering

One out of every six dollars spent on power system equipment is spent on alternate power systems that back up primary systems.

 Power security is neither a purely technical problem nor one that can be solved by financing individual point solutions. But the dots are connecting:

  •  In March, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued “Order No. 693, Mandatory Reliability Standards for the Bulk-Power System” and departed from the electric utility industry's voluntary compliance with reliability standards developed by industry organizations such as the North American Electric Reliability Council. Recommendations about load-generation balance that were once gentlemen's agreements among control areas within FERC's jurisdiction are now binding.
  • The National Assn. of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, at its annual convention in December, gave permanent status to its Ad Hoc Committee on Critical Infrastructure. The committee gives state regulators a permanent forum to propose solutions to utility infrastructure concerns.
  • At the January technical committee meetings on the 2008 National Electric Code, a new technical panel (CMP-20) made final revisions to a new article titled, “Article 708: Critical Operations Power Systems,” (COPS) to take a place among the other alternate power systems covered in special systems Chapter 7.

COPS are not the Section 517.33 critical branch subsystems of healthcare facilities. COPS are distinct from the emergency, legally required and standby power systems covered in other Chapter 7 articles. With emphasis on the word “operations,” COPS ensure first responders and other emergency personnel have power at facilities where they assemble and communicate to carry out the rescue and recovery functions of government. This facility is identified as the designated critical operations area (DCOA). In many municipalities, the DCOA is at the police or fire department; in counties, it is the emergency operations center. At universities, it may be the plant operations facility.

Plant Engineering

Engineers are asking many questions about the new Article 708, Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS), in the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC). For example: How do we comply with the documented risk assessment required in Section 708.4? Unlike the other special systems of Chapter 7, there is subtext to the new article that may depend upon mandates from state or federal authorities.

Facilities Manager | APPA Leadership in Education

(1) Global Value Chains (Unpublished) | Jul-Aug 2013

Standards are one of the hallmarks of an industrial society. As the society becomes increasingly complex and its industrial base begins to emerge, it becomes necessary for the products, processes, and procedures of the society to fit together and to interoperate. This interoperation provides the basis for greater integration of the elements of society, which in turn causes increased social interdependency and complexity. 

The International Safety Equipment Association’s “ANSI Standard for Eyewash and Emergency Showers Z358” is among its suite of voluntary consensus standards undergoing a five-year revision of its requirements for installation, performance, operations, maintenance, and testing. APPA’s Standards and Codes Council is engaged the development of the 2014 revision, because Z358 will affect total owning cost of classrooms, laboratories, hospitals, skilled trade shops, custodial closets, and other locations. Estimates of the number of these installations in our industry are on the order of 1 to 10 million—some plumbed, some self-contained (See Figure 1.) They must be within 10 seconds travel distance, and provide water within 1 second that is between 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes...

Co-author: Clint Lord (University of Arizona)

While much of the educational industry engages in marquee sustainability projects like solar panels and wind turbines, a rather unflashy code change driven by APPA’s Standards and Codes Council (ASCC) will exceed the benefits of them all. When fully realized, the changes driven into the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC) by the ASCC to “rightsize” electrical switchgear (according to actual load) will save our industry $1 billion to $10 billion annually—with each APPA member institution sharing in the benefit proportionately. Here’s why...

...These upgraded, smaller services might release some enterprise space—or at least make non-compliant installations compliant with NEC workspace safety rules. The money saved in the ASCC’s authentic “green” achievement might be used to help pay for some of the headline-grabbing energy conservation projects that will never pay for themselves by any benchmark of classical energy economics. 

Co-author: Paul Kempf (University of Notre Dame)

When standards are absent, we soon notice.  We care when products turn out to be of poor quality, are unreliable, or dangerous because of counterfeiting. When we place phone calls seamlessly across latitudes and time zones, it is because the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), formed in 1865, established transnational communication protocols still in use today. When a computer can be powered at either 120V or 220V outlets at either of 60 or 50 hertz, it is because the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), founded in 1906, established agreement among manufacturers of power supplies. More recently, in June 2011, the International Standards Organization (ISO) produced ISO 50001: Energy Management Systems to establish a framework that will likely influence up to 60 percent of the world’s energy use.

Co-authors: Derry Caleb, (Surrey University, UK) & Stanley G. Mitchell (Key FM)

APPA members and higher education leaders should be aware of two NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) documents regarding campus security: one is a “guide” and the other is a “standard.” For the education facilities industry, the differences are important. The standard, NFPA 731, is written in code language, and may be adopted by states and local jurisdictions as such. It is also prescriptive and is essentially a “how to” document. However, the guide, NFPA 730, may be the more important of the two because it may affect campus construction details, management planning, and campus liability if it becomes the de-facto leading practice document for campus security. It is the document that explains the scope of security planning, or the “what to” do. Together they are important for the following reasons:

• They may become enforceable law if they are adopted by state and local government.

• States may reference them in school design guidelines.

• They may be adopted by insurance companies or risk managers as property loss prevention programs.

• They may be used by plaintiff’s counsel as a standard of care, thereby establishing a duty owed by colleges and university to victims of crime in actions by the victims against the university or college.

• They may compete with specialized real estate or building security interest groups who want the document they produce to be the leading practice document for our industry.

With some estimates placing the award for verdicts and settlements in excess of $1.2 million1 , APPA’s Code Advocacy Task Force would like to help campuses reduce and manage risks in an environment of appropriate codes and standards….

Co-author: Richard Davis (The Evergreen State College)

Innovation and regulation are facets of the same overall process of technical change. It is important to understand them together as well as separately. Risk regulation literature offers cautionary messages about unthinking legal compliance. Danger lies in simplification and encapsulation of leading practices in quantitative or one-sizefits-all practices. Perfect compliance with regulations can have perverse consequences; just as non-compliance will land you in court. Regulatory advocacy provides APPA with a real-time partnership with regulatory agencies to calibrate risk, and provides a growth platform for innovation...

Co-author: Jim Vibbart (University of Michigan)

(7) Citation: Fire Pumps: Time to Change NFPA 25 Weekly Churn Testing | March/April 2010

APPA, through its Code Advocacy Task Force (CATF), is active with code organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This article reviews some of the recent work on NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, by the CATF and some members of the NFPA 25 Technical Committee. The current (2008) NFPA 25 requires weekly tests of fire pump assemblies to be conducted without flowing water, sometimes referred to as a "churn test." During the current review cycle of NFPA 25 the authors submitted several proposals to decrease the "no-flow" test frequency for all fire pumps from weekly to monthly, and one proposal to decrease the churn test frequency for electric motor driven fire pumps. As of this writing, the latter proposal has made it through several processes to final balloting, although the authors remain unsure of the final outcome of the proceedings. This CATF work continued an effort begun by Mike Anthony, a senior electrical engineer at the University of Michigan, whose goal is reducing testing cost without compromising safety. The authors believe that weekly testing is an undue burden while providing no appreciable benefit. Indeed, weekly testing might be so frequent as to cause a decrease in system reliability. It should be abandoned for the reasons discussed in this article….

Authors: John F Saidi (Stanford University), Richard J. Davis (The Evergreen State College)

APPA’s equity stake in the international safety standards landscape will yield dividends in the 2010 version of NFPA 72 - National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code©. A proposal described in the November/December 2008 Code Talkers column resulted in the change that APPA’s Code Advocacy Task Force was seeking on behalf of the education facilities industry. The change does not present a new or costly technical requirement, but rather it is a clarification of an existing requirement that is overlooked when interconnecting multiple fire alarm control units (FACUs). The actual text of the fire alarm code technical committee’s action is shown in the sidebar...

Co-authors: Kevin Folsom (Dallas Theological Seminary), Carl Willms

Perplexed by the proliferation of codes and standards with slow gains in funding to meet their objectives? Higher education and other enterprises in highly regulated sectors face a common problem in figuring out how to capture, assess, and calibrate risk in code and standards compliance. Complicating typical out-of-step conditions among standards that update every 3-5 years is the federal-state-local alignment that enforces them. The federal government gives states the power to make decisions about matters not specifically assigned to the federal government. But in some states, municipalities have authority only when it is granted to them by the state. The determination of who has authority in which circumstance is not enshrined in a single state policy; rather, it is delegated by individual laws passed by the state legislature that assign authority to various entities in particular situations. The state legislature creates local municipalities and decides what powers they should have. State agencies typically try to comply with local ordinances— even when not required to—unless they have a compelling reason not to do so....

Co-author: Richard Aaron (Dykema)

The subject of electric power security opens onto a minefield of sensitivities about boundaries and budgets, risk, and civil readiness. Some see power security as a business investment; others see it as an expense. Everyone agrees that power security is a classic public good that challenges traditional payback methods. But what role does government have in determining how much we should pay for power security, and who should pay for it? If one out of every six dollars spent on power equipment is spent on the secondary, backup systems , doesn’t a more attractive alternative lie in allocating scarce capital to make the primary system more reliable? It is onto this minefield where new requirements for “critical operations power systems” (COPS) will appear in the 2008 National Electric Code.... 

(11) APPA'S Influence on the 2008 National Electrical Code | Jul-Aug 2006

APPA's "wait and see" approach on a controversial electrical safety issue (flash hazards) has forestalled at least $250 million in regulatory conformity costs. Covers the history of the code cycle and his participation as APPA's representation on the National Electric Code.  A sidebar details the cost of putting incident energy numbers on the labels of every piece of accessible electrical equipment in every building at every U.S. college and university.  Recommends how facility members should "spend" the savings.

(12) National Electric Code Update—Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters | Sep-Oct 2005

The competing requirements of safety and economy have manifested themselves again in a relatively new NEC requirement for arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). These are a new type of protection device that detects hazards in frayed extension cords, for example, before a fire begins. The operating principle has been used in the protection of areas near fallen utility lines for many years but was scaled down and presented to the technical committees of the National Electric Code. AFCI in dwelling unit bedrooms became mandatory in Section 210-12 on January 1, 2002. I know that facility managers look forward to changes in the NEC as much as we all look forward to changes in the tax code.

The requirement for the application of AFCIs in the bedrooms of all dwelling units presents our industry with application decisions with respect to dormitory design. It makes sense that NEC code writers selected bedrooms as the first application point for AFCI; bedrooms are, after all, where most people spend one-third of their lives. Sleep-deprived students, making up a week’s worth of lost sleep, can be rendered unable to respond to fire alarms or even a cold steady flow of water from a sprinkler head. The ratio of the bedroom space to the total area of living space is relatively large as compared to the ratio of the number of bedroom circuits to the total number of circuits. Thus, you get the most protection for the cost.

The crux of the application problem for higher education lies in how the NEC defines “dwelling unit.” Article 100 of the NEC defines a dwelling unit as an occupancy with permanent cooking facilities. Arguably, any dormitory room that does not have permanent cooking facilities is not required to have AFCIs. Knowledgeable facility executives know, however, that dormitory rooms are filled with surprises. The safest thing to do is make arc fault circuit interrupters mandatory in all dormitory sleeping quarters whether or not there is a defined kitchenette in the dormitory. For all practical purposes, any space within a dormitory room can turn into a kitchenette with a refrigerator, a hot plate, a coffee-maker, a popcorn popper, and a microwave....

The skies are filling with friends of National Electric Code (NEC) now that the 2005 NEC  Handbook has been published by the National Fire Protection Association. A new “ Flash Protection” industry has been spawned around a single paragraph in Article 110.16, and an up-to-the moment cadre of experts is ready to come to your campus. Electrical professionals throughout higher education may ask for money to meet the flash protection requirement so facility executives should know the basics.

The key idea is that people need to be protected from the hazards of electricity that arise even when you do not touch a live part. A common example of a flash hazard would be plugging in a space heater when the control dial is “ON.” This would cause a flash at the outlet site. Most electrical injuries occur because of flash (an instantaneous ionization of the air around a conducting surface) and not from accidental contact...

(14) Update on the National Electrical Code | Jul-Aug 2004

When the 2005 edition of the National Electric Code is released later this year, it will be the first edition since the tragic and catastrophic events that occurred on September 11, 2001. It will also be the first update since August 14, 2003, when many colleges, universities, schools, and communities were affected by the worst power outage in U.S. history. The "lessons learned" from both events were on the mind of the technical committees that met over the past year in order to update the NEC.  

Building Operation Management

NEC Digest | Journal of the National Fire Protection Association

..."The concept of a separately derived service will have to be expanded to include optional, open-transition standby power that originates from hybrid vehicles....With services thus reconfigured our profligate personal transportation system can morph into a standby power system"...

..."When a policy maker asks: “What does an electrical installation safety code have to do with energy policy?” it is a manifestation of the problem that divides technical experts from policy makers. Policy makers lack the knowledge they need to do their job and electrical professionals with this knowledge have little influence. Each side blames the other for inaccessibility. Both groups work hard, both take decades to really know what they’re doing--and both are convinced that they do the important work while the other group debates the details"...

...."History does not repeat itself; but it sometimes rhymes. When presented with a new idea people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done. Then they begin to hope it can be done. Then they see it can be done. Then it is done and the same skeptics wonder why it was not done centuries ago"... 

...."Fragments of an energy web are already emerging with the momentum of an inevitable idea, straining against the habits of mind that hold it back. Electrical professionals need to be at the table where it can be made into a coherent whole. 
Five NEC update cycles from now we may look back to see ourselves at the beginning of a new paradigm for convergence between power and telecommunications bandwidth, between stationary and rolling sources. Imagine a consortium of universities and businesses who declared in 1960 that the future was in personal computers, broadband wireless, and the Internet. Friends of the NEC need to make our voice heard--at project planning meetings and in City Hall—to connect the dots 
between speculative hype and a practical energy web"... 


In a 2003 report, the cost of downtime to various industries was estimated as shown in Table 1. Business-continuity applications (web-hosting, database shadowing/mirroring, content-distribution networks, etc.) developed quickly around these numbers.  The cost of high-nine availability is now an assumed part of business. Even before the impetus from Y2K, Hurricane Katrina, and the August 2003 North American power outage, business-continuity practice had all the indications of a professional discipline...
Co-authors: Robert G. Arno (Harris Corporation), Evangelos Stoyas (US Army Corps of Engineers)


Put reliability underground

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Building the case for more underground electric power delivery

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