IBEW-NECA Team: Supporting Alternative Energy Solutions
When it comes to new, more efficient technologies for meeting society’s ever-increasing demands for electrical energy, the industry’s top labor-management team – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association – is at the forefront. After all, though it requires the best scientists and engineers to come up with these ideas and design the machinery that will take the world into the 21st Century, workers with practical training and skills are needed to implement it all.
This is where the IBEW-NECA team comes into its own. It is not unusual for electrical workers to encounter situations in which a design that works well on paper just doesn’t quite work out as well when it’s time to actually install it. At such times, the installation and construction team has to come up with effective, practical solutions on the spot.
The GRIDStar Center
One case in point happened at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard, where the the Penn State University’s GRIDStar Center is carrying out an exciting new project to showcase the latest green energy technologies. One IBEW electrician commented that he and his team had to “adapt everything within our means and methods to install it for this particular installation.”
The Zero Net Energy Center
It’s why those behind such projects across the country call on the IBEW-NECA team first. These working arrangements benefit both designers and engineers as well as the workers and contractors, as frequently, such projects offer opportunities for the latter to learn new skills and techniques. On the other side of the country, IBEW-NECA has been heavily involved in the construction of the Zero Net Energy Center, a building that uses no more energy than is produced on the site. Not only has this project been a showcase for IBEW-NECA members’ skills and work ethic, it has provided a unique training opportunity for apprentices as well. As Victor Uno of IBEW Local 595 told Electric TV recently, “…we wanted to invest in our apprentices and journeymen to give them the new technologies and experiences that they will have in the renewable energy fields.”
And, as increasing numbers of people are discovering, these green energy projects are costing surprisingly less money upfront and are profitable in the long in the long run.