Green Facts and Figures

EV Revolution Begins

Energy Solutions blogs from Greenbuild
(see 11/29 + 12/13 + 12/17 items)

‘Solar Generation USA’ – 4 videos

Wind Farm Retrofit To Save Birds + Bats

Lighting Highlights

Designer Howard Brandston on ‘Learning To See’

LED news + ideas from DoE

Lighting Efficiency Laws – GE’s Take
Senior Citizens + Lighting

3 Big Lighting Players at Greenbuild

UN report urges lighting revolution

Construction + Technology


AEC Exhibitors at Autodesk University 2010

BIM for Existing Buildings
Infrared Cameras As Competitive Weapon

Project Managers Go Mobile

RFID Tags Work Better in Building Ducts

Software Reviews: Share BIM Models

‘The GE Mood Cam’

Updated Software From DoE

Training Dates

Standard training classes set for our Chandler, AZ offices are scheduled for Feb. 9-11 and March 10-11. The next scheduled Advanced class in AZ  is set for January 27-28, 2011.

BY-HAND ESTIMATING: AZ classes are scheduled for March 10-11 and May 12-13.

Standard and Advanced pre-conference classes (see above) are set for Mon. & Tues., March 28 & 29, in Scottsdale AZ

An On-Screen Estimating and On-Screen Take-off class is set for Tues. March 29 in Scottsdale AZ.


Standard class dates for Columbia, MD is February 23rd - 25th.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming training classes 2010 training dates

Training can be "suit-cased" to your facility. We can tailor our training to your needs. Ask us about customized training at your site!

Call to register for any of the above classes, including those in Maryland: 1-800-444-4890.

We've posted training dates, directions to our training facilities, and registration forms on our Web page. Click the "Education" button on our home page, or go directly to this link: Education


Visit the McCormick Website
‘Free Software’ For You On Tap
At 2011 User’s Conference

Conference 2010 Attendees

It’s not too often that a capitalist enterprise (such as McCormick Systems) makes a “free” offer – promising valuable, useful, productivity-enhancing gains for each and every attendee at a given meeting. But that’s what is being offered to attendees of the coming User’s Conference, to be held March 30-April 2 in Scottsdale AZ.

Interested? See our website ( for more info, to register for the event, and to get your room(s) at the Hilton hotel. Or call 800-444-4890.


About the free software offer

Our company prides itself on staying close to the electrical contracting companies that use McCormick software – to the contractors and their estimators. We know how important productivity-enhancing software can be; not long ago (1979), we got our start from the thinking of an electrical contractor, Jack McCormick.

One of the things we’ve learned, and re-learn, is that while we include numerous useful functions and essential operations in our electrical and ABS software for contractors, most users do not make use of most of it.

You’ve paid for it; it’s inside the computer on your desk. Using it won’t cost you one cent more. But TIME has been your enemy – you’ve not set aside minutes or hours to learn one or another of the functions (or maybe more than one).

In the past, we’ve covered the topic of “what you already have on your computer” in the annual User’s Conference. It’s never previously been a focus of the event; it’s always been “included,” with some time spent on that topic . . . but there were always other things on which we tried to focus.

And there will be more than just this at the 2011 User’s Conference.

However, we have listened, we are still doing that, and we will always make it Priority #1 to hear what you, the customer, are saying. Here’s a selection (among other things) of contractor/estimator comments that have floated to the top of our minds:

  • “I still can’t figure out how to do X.”
  • “I want to do Y. When are you going to include Y in your software? . . . what do you mean, it’s already in there?”
  • “If I want to accomplish Specific Task B. Can your software enable me to do it? Or do I have to buy something else from you – or someone else?”
  • “I was at a User’s Conference a few years ago, and I could swear that a few of us asked you for Z. When are you going to add it? You did? When? Where is it?
  • “That enhancement you told us about in Version 9.2 . . . I know it was important, but I’ve forgotten all about it. Could you go over it again, please?”

Hands-on learning – and your questions answered

At 2011’s User’s Conference, you’ll hear all about the material we’ve added to the program in recent years – functions and easy-to-use enhancements. There’s no charge. There’s no extra charge. You’ve already paid for this stuff.

Our plan is to cover all of it. You’ll certainly leave knowing more about the estimating tool you have inside your computer. And – this does not seem like an idle promise to us – you will feel as if we presented you with “free software.”

This will be information and material that:

  • You might have heard about, and forgotten.
  • You might not have had time to absorb when we sent info out to you (and then you had to move on to other things).
  • You used a few times, you liked, and then you neglected to make using it routine. After all, with any muscle group – it’s “use it or lose it.”
  • Perhaps we didn’t do a good job of communicating everything that was in V9.2 of the program. Or maybe what we say about V9.3 will come to you at an inopportune time for you to absorb it.  
  • We upgraded, we enhanced, you got it for free . . . and you don’t really know about it. You’re not using it. Essentially, for you (and for us) – these neat functions, enhancements, programs, and upgrades actually DO NOT EXIST!


That can’t be allowed to continue. Sure, it’s bad for McCormick Systems. But it’s a lot worse for your company which, given the construction industry’s conditions these days, probably needs to put every tool to its best use. Now!

“We get a lot of requests from our estimators and contractors, on the phone or at past User’s Conferences,” said President Todd McCormick. “We’ve responded to most of them. We’ve added features and tricks, shortcuts and items that will speed an estimator’s productivity."

“But later, we learn that people just don’t know that these things are in the system. Our customers don’t know what’s available, or they’re not sure how to use what they have. "

“Examples that come quickly to mind are the graph program we have in there, and the help the system provides for those writing proposals. The contractors have asked us for changes to the labels extension, and we’ve done that. We’ve added the ability to export info to our PowerLink partners; we’ve added a hotlink with TraSer. There’s a lot more, actually. "

“Maybe it’s our fault. Maybe we didn’t do a great job of telling our customers what they have. Maybe they heard about something new, and thought there was some kind of extra charge?"

“Actually, the WHY of this situation does not matter. For me, the bottom line is: If you don’t know it’s there . . . basically, it’s not there. We earmarked this Conference to help our users figure out everything that they have, and then to figure out what each function or special program is about.”


Take-aways which you will value

“By the time they leave Scottsdale,” McCormick continued, “they will know, for each of these items we’ve added, what it does, when they would make best use of it, and when they would not."

“And we’ll help them learn how to actually use it.”

And, as usual at the User’s Conference, the learning will be hands-on. McCormick will equip a full on-site Learning Lab at the User’s Conference site, with at least 20 workstations. Attendees can look at specific items they heard about in the conference sessions -- in the Lab during a break, before or after a session, before/after lunch, or on Saturday April 2nd (when the Lab will be open until Noon).

McCormick staffers will be in the Lab with you. They’ll be there to answer your questions and help you “gear up” to learn how to use whichever of these features on which you want to focus.

In that way, you will be sure to take home exactly the helpful, specific knowledge that you need to make full use of the McCormick Systems estimating package for which you have already paid!


Also at the 29th User’s Conference

NOTE: There is an Early Bird discount available to those registering before January 21. If you didn’t get our 8-page info/registration PDF, call us immediately at 800-444-4890 or e-mail

Also on the agenda:

Digital Drawings – info on BIM, our CAD Estimating software, and On-Screen Takeoff.

Special speakers – we’ve not yet finalized the speaker roster, but we’ll have representatives from Trade Service, ProjectDocControl, and NetPricer, talking about their newest ideas and how they interface with your McCormick estimating software.

V9.2 & V9.3 – a review of what was added in Version 9.2 of the software is planned, as is a look at the many enhancements (Label Groups, Auto-Logoff, toolbars, and more) that will be included in Version 9.3.

Pre-conference classes – see note below on the Standard and Advanced classes on our estimating software, as well as the special one-day event on On-Screen estimating and On-Screen Takeoff.

AND MORE – yes, we’ll have the McCormick Masters Golf Tournament, the opening reception, the Friday evening dinner, and other opportunities for you to network with other estimators and contractors from around the country. And we will include time for you to help us target future development of the estimating system – a chance for you to “sound off” on what enhancements and upgrades you’d like to see in the future.



Monday, March 28
7AM                Classes begin on Standard & Advanced Windows Training
                        (each runs two-days). End time: 4PM.

Tuesday, March 29
7AM                2nd day of 2-day Standard & Advanced Windows Training classes.
                        End time: 4PM

7AM                Special new requested class on On-Screen Estimating.
                        End time: 4PM

Wednesday, March 30
7:30AM          Tee-off time for McCormick Masters Golf Tournament


Wednesday, March 30
7PM                Welcoming Reception begins. End time: 8:30PM

Thursday March 31
7:30AM          Registration for User’s Conference opens.
8:00AM          Opening remarks
8:30AM          Conference sessions begin. End time: 5PM

Friday April 1
7:00AM          Conference sessions begin. End time: 4PM
6:00PM          Conference dinner (location to be announced)


Thurs. March 31       8:30AM to 5PM
Fri. April 1                  8:30AM to 4PM
Sat. April 2                 7:30AM to 12NOON


Pre-Conference Education –First Come, First Served!

A limited number of spaces are available for special pre-conference education classes, to be held Monday & Tuesday, March 28 & 29, in Scottsdale AZ

NOTE: There is a NEW offering this year – a class requested by you, our customers, on On-Screen estimating and On-Screen Take-off. It’s set for Tuesday the 29th in Scottsdale, running 7AM to 4PM.


Standard Windows Training Class – runs Mon. & Tues., 7AM to 4PM each day.

Advanced Windows Training Class – ditto.

Contact us at 800-444-4890 for more information or to register.

This years McCormick user's conference will be the 29th in McCormick Systems long history of producing quality user-driven Electrical Estimating software.

McCormick offers users a chance to meet with the developers of the software, fine tune your estimating skills, network with other users in a non-competative environment, meet with McCormick Staff and share tips and tricks that will enhance your estimating process.

We value the input and suggestions of our users and are known throughout the industry as the company that listens to our users and actually implements their suggestions.

Booking your room has never been easier!

Click on this link to book your room

Group Name:

McCormick Systems Users Conference





Hotel Name:

Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas

Hotel Address:

6333 North Scottsdale Road

Scottsdale, Arizona


Phone Number:

(480) 948-7750







By Hand Estimating Course

We have scheduled an Estimating by Hand class for Arizona for March 10-11th.

. . . see you there!



For Your 2011 Calendar



Visit the McCormick Systems booth #901 at the BICSI Winter Conference & Exhibition, Jan. 16-20, Orlando FL

                See for more info.

See us in Booth #408 of the Electric West trade show + exhibit, Feb. 23-24 in Long Beach, CA

See for more info.


The 2011 User's Conference is set for March 30-April 2, in Scottsdale, AZ.

See for details!

Items posted in to

11 Things You Need To Know About Copper

Lots of news here, on the main metal of interest to electrical people. Here’s a quick summary of a really hairy week:

1. Copper closed on the London Metal Exchange at an unofficial $4.22 per pound. The spot price in the U.S. was more like $4.25 when 12/23 ended. The all-time record, according to an Indie Research squib posted to Yahoo! Finance, was $4.2705/pound.

2. The word was that “one trader” owns at least 80% of the copper that is warehoused at the London Metal Exchange. The rumor goes on to say that this trade may or may not be JP Morgan. This may or may not be baloney; it was reported in The Wall Street Journal.

3. — whoever the “one trader” might be, it holds copper that may be worth $3 billion!!! . . . or . . . maybe not . . .

4. According to another report (that Indie Research item noted above), “Reuters reported that the most recent exchange data shows that position has been reduced to 50%-80%.” Here’s the Reuters item. It seems to say that the as-much-as-90% of the LME’s warehouse copper that was under control of one trader could now be as little as 50% of what’s in that warehouse.

5. The Telegraph (of the U.K.) in this 12/4/10 article fingers JP Morgan as the party that bought $1.5 billion worth of copper.

6. Goldman Sachs reportedly predicts that copper’s price will hit roughly $5 per pound by Q4 2011.

7. It’s noteworthy that puts the 12/23 spot price of a barrel of crude oil at $91.41 yesterday. Yes, yes, there is no inflation . . . just rising prices (skyrocketing, really) for really important stuff.

8. A article quoted Catherine Virga, research dir. at CPM Group, saying “China’s economy consumes around 35% to 40% of the world’s annual copper output.”

9. A article on copper claimed China’s November imports of copper were up 37% from October. But October was “a one-year low.”

10. More copper is likely to be taken away from the consumption markets. Why is that? Some copper ETFs (exchange-traded funds) already exist. reported that three firms (BlackRock, Chase & Co., and JP Morgan) “said in October than planned to introduce copper ETFs next year.”
            You have to read the documents for each ETF to figure out what’s going on. But some of them exist to buy the metals which they cover, and put them in warehouses. Others speculate in futures. SO: It’s not clear what these 3 new ETFs, if they are introduced, will actually DO!

11. Where’s all of the copper that’s ending up in China GOING? The Financial Times (here) seems to indicate that it could be going to warehouses. The article includes the info that as much as 300,000 metric tons (330,000 tons) of copper was, as of early December, sitting around in warehouses in Shanghai.


Green Building Market + Impact Report, 2010


I finally got around to browsing through the (FREE) Green Building Market + Impact Report, 2010, from the people at

It’s 45 pages (PDF). You can download it by going here, clicking the download type & filling in a short form.

WHY SHOULD YOU? The folks at GreenBiz spent their time focusing on the green markets. I’m not sure they are smarter than anyone else, but if you spent 100% of your time on one thing, you might well know more about that thing than other people.

WHAT I LIKE (so far) ABOUT THE THING: It’s opinionated. There are indications of some rethinking in there. Here are 2 samples, from page 4 –

* * * * *

WATER: The GreenBiz folks lowered their estimate of how much water the LEED program will save by the year 2030. This year, they reduced “total predicted LEED floor area in 2030 . . . by about 60%” compared with the ’09 estimate.

Obviously, a big drop in 2030 LEED floor area means a big drop in whatever numbers you came up with last time.

THAT is what interests me more, of course, than the water thing. The 60% re-think. I’ll spend more time reading thru the thing . . . maybe post more about that later.

* * * * *

ENERGY: Here’s the key paragraph from the thing. It was all one long paragraph, so I broke it up . . . keeping the first paragraph, altho it’s the SOS.
………to help you cut to the chase, I boldfaced two phrases:

Buildings use more energy than any other human activity, and the building sector’s share of global energy use continues to grow. It will not be possible to effectively address carbon pollution and climate change without an aggressive, concerted effort to reduce energy consumption in buildings.

LEED is doing OK at making a difference, but much more needs to be done, both within LEED and complementary activities such as increased mandatory standards.

We estimate that the current annual CO2 savings from LEED buildings is approximately 8 million tons from energy efficiency and renewables. This figure grows to 64 million tons per year by 2020 and almost 170 million tons annually by 2030, which is about 3 percent of our current annual CO2 footprint.

While the fact that these savings show up at all is impressive, given our massive carbon budget. But comparing a 3 percent reduction in 2030 to the needed 80 percent in 2050 seems pretty daunting.



Why Things Are More Decrepit Now

I noticed the chart above in a blog from Paul Krugman of the NY Times. But he got it (and credited) Michael Mandel, who wrote a note about it here (and included a table, which you might want to see).

From Mandel: “If things feel more decrepit and worn-out these days, it’s because they are.”

Modular Buildings - And Architects (!?!?!!!???)


During this time of severe contraction of much of the construction industry, an opportunity presents itself for architects to learn the promise and limitations of the construction and transportation techniques of the modular industry, and to design with those in mind rather than to assemble each new building from the parts that come out of catalogs. Incorporating sustainable features into the building modules is no different from incorporating them into a conventional building.

But for that, the architectural profession needs to learn about – and learn to use – the modular building delivery techniques of this reputable and well-established industry.

from a piece posted in November to

Green Consulting

Pursuing some recent reading, I came across 2 “green” consulting companies. — “an energy-efficiency consulting firm as well as an Internet-based clearinghouse for the latest data on energy-saving strategies and products,” according to the 12/14/10 Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Apartment Energy Consultants — I can’t recall how I came across this one, but here’s what it says in Big Type, above the “fold,” on the company website:

We will physically survey your property, provide you with the GREEN products you need to raise your property value, and certify your complex National Green Apartment Certified!

* * * * *

EleBlog take:

I have no idea whether these sites & the companies behind them are successful.

However, based on what I’ve seen and heard over the past 3 decades, I think most electrical contractors already have most of the knowledge that it would take to start such a consulting firm.


149 W Boston
Chandler, AZ 85225
Toll Free (800) 444-4890
Phone (480) 831-8914   Fax (480) 820-2422