Acronyms: assistance or annoyance?

It’s hard to imagine publishing an engineering book without abbreviating things. If we wrote out every adjustable-frequency drive, direct digital control, and variable air volume mention, it would take you longer to read an issue. Articles on unavoidably verbose or complex topics would get a little moreso. And we would need larger budgets for paper and ink.

However, estimating what terms are sufficiently common knowledge to abbreviate can be a tricky proposition. People have different types and levels of experience, and we strive to enlighten, not confuse. We do hear from an occasional reader who hasn’t seen a particular acronym, or a reader who thinks we have way too many of them, period.

We remind people that everything we abbreviate is defined in our glossary, but as of this month, we are moving the glossary online exclusively. This frees up print space for articles, or another product release, and you can still look something up anytime you’d like. But it means we need to do a really good job of deciding what to shorten and what to leave alone.

Which brings us to the questions: Have acronyms we use given you pause? Or are there acronyms you use in your everyday work that we don’t use here yet? Send me an example or two in either direction at A snapshot of actual reader use would be great as we try to keep abbreviations useful and avoid acronym acrimony.

Nobody Beats The Wiz

I want to publicly thank Lindsay Audin, CEM, CEP, LEED® AP for seven exceptional years as our “Energy Wiz” columnist. Over nearly 100 columns, Lindsay focused a trained eye on the lay of the land for facility and energy managers, offering a wide array of valuable advice on topics ranging from evaluating large-scale utility special programs to lighting retrofits.

Lindsay’s last “Energy Wiz” column ran in June, but we have one more Web-exclusive piece scheduled for September, to go along with the issue’s mission critical theme. You may see his name around here again in the future if the stars align, but in the meantime, we thank him for all of his insightful contributions and wish him continued success as the president of Energywiz, Inc.

Awards Await ...

This might be the last issue you see before our ES Engineering Awards deadline on August 15. The investment is minimal - a few paragraphs about some recent great work of yours, submitted at - but the potential upside is great. The winning project will receive the spotlight feature article in our October issue, a free “Back2Basics” library (which is quite a value right there), and untold amounts of admiration and respect from peers, superiors, and clients.

... And Dallas Does, Too

July is also the last month to get the early-bird registration rate for our Green Sustainable Building Controls conference. We’re teaming up with BACnet® International to host another informative event, held September 22-24 in Dallas. The attendee package includes full access to seminars and events on all three days, full conference proceedings on CD-ROM, conference meals, networking receptions, an attendee handbook, and more.

Of course, that’s all beyond the first-rate content on using integrated, flexible controls to further your own sustainability goals. Whether it’s discussing your local challenges or seeing how building intelligence is catching on in Dallas, opportunity and networking is yours for the taking. Get details and register to join us at ES