Powering America Tackles New Milwaukee Skyscraper
THE POWERING AMERICA TEAM IS
helping transform the Milwaukee skyline.
With the new Northwestern Mutual
Tower and Commons, comparisons are
being drawn to another nearby metropolis
more well-known for its tall buildings.
While one skyscraper will not turn
Milwaukee into Chicago, the project
is impressive by any measure. When
completed, the tower and commons will
have approximately 1. 1 million square
feet of office space. The tower itself will
stretch 32 stories, or 550 feet into the
Milwaukee skyline. It will be the second
tallest building in the state and the largest
in terms of square footage. The adjoining
commons will include 4. 5 acres of public
park space, public dining and company
Launched in summer 2014, the
project is scheduled for completion
this year. In the process, the insurance
company said it will have created
1,000 construction jobs and invested
more than $450 million in design and
construction. Northwestern Mutual
deconstructed its East Building to make
way for the new complex.
Electrical work on the project—
including HVAC controls, cable
installation, underground wiring,
and lighting control systems—is
being done by the Powering America
IBEW Local No. 494, along with
Wisconsin electrical contractors Staff
Electric Co., Madison; Hurt Electric,
Menomonee Falls; and Dairyland Energy
Solutions, Butler; are all collaborating on
the electrical work.
Anchorage Goes All-In on New LED Technology
WHILE MORE CITIES AND TOWNS are making the
move to LED streetlights, Anchorage, Alaska, is
going even further. As part of a pilot project in
2008, the city, under then-mayor Mark Begich,
converted about 4,000 of its roughly 16,000
streetlights from sodium vapor to LED, making
the city one of the first in the nation to move in
There were two main reasons behind the decision to
shift to LED lighting. One, of course, was cost savings, which
is something that every city views as a benefit. Savings occur
from reduced energy costs and from the reduced frequency with
which LED lamps need to be replaced.
The other reason is related to light pollution, which is a
topic of major importance to the people of Anchorage. The
LED installations are designed to preserve the Alaskan night
sky, complying with International Dark-Sky Association and
Illuminating Engineering Society of North America standards.
“This initiative will not only result in lower energy bills
but will contribute to the preservation of our unique Alaskan
ecologies,” Begich said.
In December 2016, the city decided to move ahead with
replacing additional streetlights in and around the city with
LEDs and to introduce a new wireless system, called
LightGrid, to the lamp posts that can remotely control
the LED lamps, dimming or brightening them as
needed. It also provides information on burned-out
lamps using a system that will have each lamp check
in every 15 minutes to make sure it is still functional.
In an interview with Alaska Dispatch News, city
spokesperson Jim Jager likened the technology to using a
smartphone to unlock a house door or turn on a smoke detector.
During a recent international conference presentation,
Anchorage’s current mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, said that the new
lamps, besides cutting down on light pollution, will also save
money for the city.
“Here in Anchorage, our ambition is to be one of the world’s
most efficient cities,” he said.
The next phase under consideration—even though funding
hasn’t yet been authorized—will be to set the poles up in such a
way that they can become video and audio data sensors that will
be able to monitor traffic, measure air quality and automatically
direct emergency response vehicles to specific locations when
needed, such as by providing information on the general location
of a gunshot.