Cabling Installation Systems
Facilitate Environmental "Green" Building Construction

Communications cable has become an integral part of every commercial construction project, providing connections throughout the facility for network access, telephony, security systems, wireless communications, and more. Unfortunately, most of the cable being installed today is plenum cable, which is jacketed with polyvinyl chloride. Polyvinyl chloride includes lead stabilizers and plasticizers to help the jacket material maintain flexibility. Not only does the make up of the cable represent a risk to people, but it also complicates disposal. The EPA is close to classifying the jacketing material of plenum cable as a hazardous substance.

While skilled crews work hard to manage cable quantities, there is often not enough cable remaining in a box or on a spool to meet the distance needs of a subsequent cabling run. Most often, the remaining cable is discarded. Post-installation calculations show that most cabling installers end up with between 17% and 25% waste. Testing has shown the lead content in the cable jacket to range between 2 and 8 percent by weight, which equates to 1.5 pounds for every 1,000 feet of cable. Therefore on a construction job requiring one million feet of cable, waste can amount to more than 350 pounds of lead.

CIS facilitates the use of larger spools of cable, which drastically reduces this hazardous waste. Most cabling crews will waste approximately 100 feet of cable per spool, regardless of the size of the spool. Therefore, a crew using ten 1,000-foot spools will waste 1,000 feet of cable while crews using four 2,500-foot spools will only waste 400 feet. That's a 60% reduction in cable waste, which can be calculated towards total waste materials and quantities diverted from landfill disposal. CIS also calculates the length as cable is pulled off the spool, taking the guesswork out of tracking of how much cable has been used and how much remains for the next cable run. This reduces the tendency to discard unknown lengths of cable remaining on a spool. CIS provides additional waste savings by reducing the possibility for damaged and mislabeled cables during installation, which are also typically discarded.

In addition to reducing waste, a CIS can facilitate the removal of abandoned cable. Abandoned cable can add to increased toxins in the plenum air space and result in toxic gases during a fire. Traditional installation methods cause cables to be twisted in the plenum pathways, making reusing or removing them a costly time-consuming process. The hassle of removing the twisted cable, as well as end user concerns of damaging other cables in the pathway, often leads to cables simply being cut and left as abandoned.

A CIS reduces twisting cable during installation and maintains a natural separation of cables in the pathway, making it easier to identify and remove specific cables if needed. This eases the removal of abandoned cables, thereby reducing the tendency to leave them sitting in the plenum pathway where they can emit lead particles into the air and release deadly toxins during a fire.

Using a CIS can go a long way in helping reduce material waste and remove abandoned cable for environmental “green” compliance.