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September-October 2008
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September-October 2008 CoverSeptember-October 2008


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Experimental Evaluation of the Corrosion Performance of Copper-Bonded and Galvanized Grounding Electrodes

by Franco D'Alessandro

A variety of different electrodes is used for providing effective and safe electrical grounding. The ability of these electrodes to resist corrosion determines their useful service life. Copper-bonded steel and galvanized steel electrodes have been used for decades yet there is still much debate regarding the relative corrosion performance of each type of coating for applications in varying soil types and conditions. This article presents the experimental method and results from a series of laboratory corrosion tests that were carried out under controlled conditions on a range of electrode samples with both coating types in order to simulate their corrosion in soil according to an international standard. Read more

Perspectives on PV

* Are We Grounded Yet?

by John Wiles

Photovoltaic (PV) systems will be producing hazardous voltages and currents for 50 years or more. Over that period of time, they may or may not be operational and they may or may not be maintained. Proper grounding of all exposed metal surfaces in the system that may be energized by internal faults, poor terminations or failing conductor insulation is one of the most important requirements in a code-compliant system. Even in a failing or failed system, maintaining all metal surfaces at ground (or earth) potential will minimize the possibility of electrical shocks. Read more

Licensure and Qualifications for Solar Energy System Installations

by James Dunlop, P.E.

Today, the solar industry and markets are experiencing record growth. Many states, utilities and the federal government are offering lucrative incentives for the installation of solar energy systems. Numerous companies and individuals are seeking to enter the business as manufacturers, financiers, distributors, integrators, marketers and installers. However, not all have the requisite training, experience and qualifications to safely and successfully install systems, nor the appropriate licenses to practice construction contracting according to the building codes and laws in their jurisdiction. Read more

Two Buildings – Common Service, Grounding Requirements

by Keith Lofland

A significant change occurred in the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) at Section 250.32(B) pertaining to the acceptable grounding methods at buildings or structures supplied by a feeder or branch circuits from a grounded service located at another building or structure supplied from a common service. In this article, we will take a closer look at these changes and investigate the remaining options for these distinctive grounding methods. Read more

Energy Codes at a Glance

by Pam Cole

Feeling dim from energy code confusion? Read on to give your inspections a charge. The U. S. Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program addresses hundreds of inquiries from the energy codes community every year. This article offers clarification for topics of confusion submitted to BECP Technical Support that are of interest to electrical inspectors, focusing on the residential and commercial energy code requirements based on the most recently published 2006 International Energy Conservation Code® and ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA1 Standard 90.1-2004. Read more

Lift Installations

by Darren Margerison

Energy Safe Victoria has identified segments of the industry for additional attention following audits of lift installations and discussions with companies and workers. Read more

Who’s Looking Out for Individual Investors?

by Jesse Abercrombie

If you’ve been investing for a while, you know that there are few guarantees in the investment world and that, in one way or another, you’re going to be taking some risks with your money. The construction industry already is a very risky business and trust is very important. I’ve always thought that sometimes the owners of construction businesses are so busy they never really know if their advisors have their best interests at heart. Read more

Wind Powered Electric Generation for Your Home or Business

by David Young

A little before the ’70s energy crisis, Peter, Paul and Mary suggested in their famous song, "The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.” Today we realize that wind is a valuable resource we cannot ignore, but wind energy is just one piece in the pie. To fix this energy crisis, we are going to need a lot of conservation plus every alternative energy source we can find. Read more



Moving Off First Base

by James W. Carpenter

Sometimes I get inspiration for this editorial from the sermon on Sunday morning. Today, as I prepared to work on this editorial, I got my inspiration from Tim Bradley, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Tim wrote an article for the North Carolina Council of Code Officials newsletter. His article titled, "You Can’t Steal Second With Your Foot On First,” brings out the point that playing safe means that the only way to advance is for someone else to force you along. Read more

Canadian Perspective

Requirements for Supply and Consumer’s Services – Inconsistencies in the CE Code

by Ark Tsisserev

Rules 6-102 and 6-104 of the CE Code, Part I specify provisions for a maximum number of service boxes permitted to be installed in a building and for a maximum number of services allowed to be run to a building. Inquisitive Code users wonder why these provisions appear to be different for supply services and for consumer’s services. Read more

Other Code

Safety Signs, Part 2

by David Young

Whether the hazard is electrical, toxic chemical or a slippery sidewalk, the best way to prevent injury, death, property damage and litigation is to eliminate the hazard. Since eliminating the hazard is often not possible, the second best method is to place physical barriers between the public and the hazard and to install effective safety signs to alert the public of the hazard. Read more

UL Question Corner

My jurisdiction recently adopted the 2008 NEC and I was wondering when UL is going to add the 2008 NEC to the Code Correlation database?

by Underwriters Laboratories

UL has completed the correlation of 2008 NEC to UL product categories and the information is now included in UL Code Correlation Database on the Regulators page of The database can be accessed at Read more

UL Question Corner

Why does the Listing limit these meter sockets for residential use only?

by Underwriters Laboratories

The "Residential Use Only” marking is permitted by UL 414, the Standard for Safety for Meter Sockets, for meter sockets that are intended for use on 120/240-volt, 3-wire, single-phase dwelling services in accordance with NEC 310.15(B)(6). This Code section provides a different ampacity table for "3-wire, single-phase dwelling services and feeders.” Read more

UL Question Corner

Does UL have a quick reference guide that I can carry around in my pocket that includes UL Mark information as well as UL policies and contact information?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Yes, recently UL developed a shirt pocket sized reference guide titled "Product Guide to Inspections.” The UL Product Guide to Inspections includes information on contacting UL, UL’s Certification Marks, UL’s Field Evaluation Services and Field Modification policy as well as information on CE Marking and UL’s Anti-Counterfeiting Programs. Read more

Focus on the Code

Is an additional bare copper bonding wire jumper required?

by Michael Johnston

Your question deals with use of the grounded conductor for grounding and bonding on the supply side of the service disconnecting means. Your understanding is correct. The grounding conductor is permitted to be used for grounding and bonding on the supply side of the service disconnecting means. The grounded (neutral) conductor is required to be routed between enclosures and bonded to both, and this is common practice. The supporting NEC references are 250.92(B)(1) and 250.142(A)(1). Read more

Focus on the Code

Size of bonding wire for 200-amp load center

by Michael Johnston

The question appears to deal with a voltage-drop situation, but information is missing. I will answer the question by inserting the minimum necessary information. The first item to clarify is the terminology. I presume you are referring to the size of the equipment grounding conductor with the feeder and not a bonding wire which is undefined by the NEC. The next bit of information needed is the size of the ungrounded phase conductors intended to be installed for this feeder. Read more

Focus on the Code

Sunlight, Conductors and Raceways on Rooftops

by John Stacey

Let’s take a closer look at the NEC. The issue here is 310.10 that states, "No conductor shall be used in such a manner that its operating temperature exceeds that designed for the type of insulated conductor involved. In no case shall conductors be associated together in such, with respect to the type of circuit, the wiring method employed, or the number of conductors, that the limiting temperature of any conductors, that the limiting temperature of any conductor is exceeded.” Read more

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