As I write this, the election is still a couple of weeks away, so I’m not talking here about any actual event this year. Yet, reports always start popping up about the trouble some states have with their paper ballots, or with their voting machines, or with misplacing a bag of ballots somewhere, and so forth.

So what happens? Everyone laments such a pitiful circumstance, a few columnists write columns about it, and everyone forgets and moves on. That’s human nature, especially when it comes to something that only happens every four years. However, this lack of consistent competence is an invitation for disaster one of these Tuesdays. We are rolling the dice with this setup (much like a system that puts the electoral college ahead of the popular vote, and even has a gap in its armor that could see the Presidency decided by state delegations in the House of Representatives).

If you were a HVAC manufacturer, and you had 50 manufacturing facilities, would you allow this lack of uniformity in process, tools, level of training and workmanship, and quality control? Of course not, because sooner or later, you know what would happen. If individual states want to receive and count their own votes using whatever iffy procedure they deem fit, I guess that’s their prerogative. But for national elections, how they handle their electoral business in <name of traditionally troublesome state redacted> could have direct impact on you and your state, too.

If readers have learned anything in this magazine over the last 15 years or so, it’s that no decision early in a project’s life can save money, headaches, and reputations like an investment in commissioning. Would some level of what works for creating an office building be so unreasonable for conducting a democracy?



If you live in a swing state like I do, you reached your limit and then some when it comes to ads and polls. Ironically, we’ve just started up with our own web polls. In October, we gauged your interest level in access to archived presentations from our High-Performance Buildings conferences, if they were reasonably priced and presented online. By a 2:1 margin, the answer was “yes,” so thanks for that.

This month, I want to move back to the print issue to get your opinion on more of an old-school question:


What type of feature article to you

typically find most useful?

•An in-depth technical article (may or may not include brief references to real-life projects)

•A feature that focuses on a single case study in the field and its challenges/solutions


Personally, I feel like the technical articles may allow for a more comprehensive look at an equipment topic, or may allow for more discussion of an emerging technology. At the same time, my hunch is that the real-life successes may provide more ammo for engineers looking to make the case to try something a little out of the previous routine when it might benefit a current or future project. Of course, we will continue to provide both in these pages, but I’d really like to know if you tend to have a preference. As usual, the survey is down the right side of the homepage at We do aim to please, so let us know. ES