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Monday, September 20, 2010
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Building Codes for Bathroom Lighting Fixtures

The National Electrical Code (NEC) addresses the proper installation, arrangement, and type of lighting fixtures for bathrooms.
The National Electrical Code (NEC), published and maintained by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), provides the basis for most local, state, and federal construction laws throughout the United States. With regard to lighting fixtures in bathrooms, the NEC outlines safe and responsible guidelines for installation. Before engaging in any electrical work or repair, seek professional help to ensure safety and complete compliance with any laws beyond the scope of the NEC.

Shower and Bath Zones

The NEC requires that all bathroom lighting fixtures be kept outside a set perimeter surrounding any bath or showers. Lighting fixtures include any chain-suspended, cable-suspended, cord-suspended, or track lighting systems as well as ceiling paddle fans. None of these devices may be placed within three feet horizontally from the exterior edge of the bath or shower. Likewise, they cannot be placed less than eight feet vertically from the uppermost edge of the bath or the threshold of the shower stall. For lighting directly above or adjacent to a shower or bath, the code does permit certain kinds of lighting fixtures. Fixtures must be marked for damp or wet locations and all electrical wiring must be completely concealed inside junction boxes.

GFCI Protection

The NEC mandates use of GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupters, in all bathrooms. As it's common to use a number of high-current devices in the bathroom, the room does not share a circuit with the kitchen or garage as it did in the past. Bathrooms must have at least one 20 ampere rated electrical outlet, which is used exclusively for items in the bathroom. A plug-in nightlight or lamp, for example, would use such an outlet. If you use several light fixtures or heat lamps, a secondary circuit may be necessary, depending on the precise calibration of the equipment load. This GFCI-protected outlet must be located somewhere within 30 inches of the bathroom basin. When replacing an old non-GFCI receptacle, you must use a GFCI-protected device in its place. Light fixtures placed within the shower or bathtub zone are not required by code to be on a GFCI protected circuit, though it is strongly recommended and may be mandated by local laws.

Receptacles for Lighting

The NEC's definition of damp and wet locations includes outdoor use in addition to bath and shower areas. Receptacles may also be designated for damp or wet locations. In such cases, they must be marked as such and comply with specific dimensions outlined by NEMA. While these devices are approved for damp and wet locations, the NEC categorically prohibits installing any receptacles within shower or tub zones. (See National Electrical Code, 2008, 406.8(A) and (B))

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Hot Topics

MITA Expresses Concerns About FDA Communication and Performance
At a public meeting hosted today by the Food and Drug Administration, Dave Fisher, executive director of the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), provides an evaluation of the medical device user fee program. The FDA convened the meeting as part of the reauthorization of the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act (MDUFMA).

NREL Releases Estimate of National Offshore Wind Energy Potential
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announces the release of a new report that assesses the electricity generating potential of offshore wind resources in the United States.

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On the Hill/Around the Nation

Transmission Corridor Siting: As Congress returns to consider pending issues, NEMA is pushing for legislative action on a national siting policy as essential to our nation’s goals of connecting renewable sources to the grid and delivering power to where it is needed. To illustrate the challenges and opportunities of transmission siting, NEMA sent to Congress, federal agencies, and governors an adaptation of the "Chutes and Ladders" game. The issue is further highlighted by DOE’s September 13 announcement of $5 million in funding for wind energy development. Legislation (S1492) pending in the Senate would streamline the current procedures and provide for federal eminent domain authority. NEMA is a proponent of a national transmission siting policy.

EPA Promulgates Rules to Implement Greenhouse Gas Tailoring / Title V Permitting for Power Plants, Large Stationary Sources: As part of its efforts to implement the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) / Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule that was finalized in May 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently promulgated two rules to ensure that businesses planning to build new, large facilities or undertake major expansions of existing ones will be able to obtain Clean Air Act (CAA) permits that address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The first rule proposes requiring permitting programs in 13 states to make changes to their state implementation plans (SIPs) to guarantee GHG emissions will be covered in permits for large stationary sources and power plants. The second rule would create a federal implementation plan to allow EPA to issue permits for large GHG emitters in states that are unable to develop/submit revisions to their SIPs prior to the Tailoring Rule taking effect in January 2011. NEMA, along with other industry partners, continues to question EPA’s decision to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act and believes that climate change would be better addressed through legislation, not regulation.

Smart Grid Program Slow To Start In Central Massachusetts
Last October, a National Grid official announced that the company’s ambitious Smart Grid pilot would be rolled out in the first quarter of 2010. About 11 months later, the company’s program, which aims to reduce energy consumption during peak usage times, has still not yet even been fully approved by state regulators.

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International News

Hemispheric Growth Through Innovation and Trade
Atlanta, Georgia
Date: November 14–16, 2010
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will host the fourth Americas Competiveness Forum (ACF), held November 14–16, 2010, in Atlanta, GA. The ACF has become the Western Hemisphere’s event for leaders to discuss innovative methods to achieve economic competitiveness and for businesses to learn about trade and investment opportunities in the Americas. ACF enables private and public sector representatives to take advantage of creative opportunities to explore new business models and expand their businesses. Benefits for U.S. companies attending the ACF include business-to-government meetings, export counseling sessions, regional market opportunities seminars, and networking events with the 1,000 public and private sector attendees. The 2010 ACF themes will include innovation and green technologies; education and workforce development; entrepreneurship and small business development; and trade facilitation, border clearance, and supply chain logistics.

2012 International Buyer Program Annual Application Period is Now Open
The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service are now accepting applications for the International Buyer Program (IBP) for 2012 trade shows. The IBP recruits thousands of qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives, and business partners to select U.S. trade shows each year, giving trade show exhibitors' excellent opportunities to expand business globally.

The deadline for applying to the International Buyer Program for 2012 events is November 1, 2010. Applications and filing instructions are available at the website or by contacting Blanche.Ziv@trade.gov or IBP2012@trade.gov.

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NEMAcast focuses on news, information, and opportunities in the electroindustry. Listen online at podcast.nema.org. NEMAcast has several channels, each with a special focus on different parts of the electroindustry. Listen to this podcast on "NEMA Publishes the DICOS Standard for Airport Security and Baggage."


Industry News


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Mergers & Acquisitions


  • General Cable Announces Board of Directors Appointments
    General Cable Corporation announced that its Board of Directors appointed Charles "Chip" G. McClure Jr. and Patrick M. Prevost to serve as independent directors of the company until they stand for election at the next annual meeting of stockholders in 2011. 09/16/10

  • Legrand North America Appoints New Vice President
    Legrand announced the appointment of Susan Rochford as vice president, energy efficiency, sustainability, and public policy for Legrand North America. 09/14/10

[ Industry News Archives ]


  • NAM Announces Affordable Energy Media Campaign
    As Congress returns from its summer recess next week, high on its agenda will be proposals from President Obama and congressional leadership to raise taxes on America’s energy sector. 09/08/10

Standardizations Trends

[ NEMA News Archives ]

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2010 National Electrical Manufacturers Association. eiXtra is a biweekly e-newsletter for electroindustry professionals summarizing key manufacturer, standardization, and regulatory news. NEMA does not sell or release subscriber's personal information and will never willfully disclose individually identifiable information to any third party without first receiving your permission. Privacy policy.
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