Graybar Canada Blog

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Shedding Light on Lighting Myths

Posted on September 11, 2019

3 Things Business Owners Should Know about Lighting

A lighting retrofit can be a tedious and costly process. Oftentimes, consumers become overwhelmed by the smoke and mirrors around rebates and incentive programs. That’s where choosing a distributor with dedicated lighting specialists can help. Graybar Canada’s lighting group is trained to guide you through the unknowns and offer a long-term solution for your business.


Let’s talk lighting. These are the three terms you need to know when discussing lighting:

Lumens: Light output at the source.

Foot-candles: Light at the surface of an object.

Kelvins: Colour temperature of the light. Varies from warmer to cooler tones.

Long before LED lighting became all the rage, lamps needed reflectors to direct the light. “Large reflectors aren’t extremely efficient at directing light. Some light gets trapped and turns to heat or goes where it isn’t needed,” explains Graybar Canada Lighting Specialist Mark Vaughan.

Graybar Canada Atlantic Lighting Manager Sean Dixon says, “The beauty of LED is that you can put the light exactly where you need it.”


In some cases, the cost of labour for installation and staging are not considered when planning a lighting retrofit. Lower-end fixtures may cost less upfront but can be more expensive in the long-term. It’s important to recognize the function of the lighting – think about what employees will be doing in the space. Safety needs to be a priority when considering your lighting options. Some areas require hazardous or water-resistant fixtures while others may need protection from chemicals.

“Customers need to understand the importance of the cost of maintenance. Do it right the first time.”
– Mark Vaughan, Lighting Specialist at Graybar Canada.

Not only can lighting specialists help calculate your energy savings, but they can predict your estimated maintenance savings too. “The safety standards have changed in many industries – you can’t just go up on a ladder and change the lightbulb. You have to have multiple points of contact, safety harnesses, or you need to do staging,” Dixon says. Specialists can help determine the hidden costs you should account for when budgeting for installation and maintenance.


Lighting technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. The number of lighting manufacturers has increased greatly – but not every vendor is created equal. “One of the most important things to know is that every fixture is not built the same,” Dixon explains.

A complete lighting retrofit isn’t as simple as replacing the old bulbs with new ones. Dixon stresses that “customers should consult a lighting specialist about whether it makes sense to either replace the lamp or entire fixture with an LED upgrade.”

With LED technology, you can strategically plan your layout in a way that maximizes energy savings and creates the optimal light levels for the space. Vaughan explains that “in some cases, the lighting may be overkill. When replacing fixture for fixture, the replacements may put out too much light and you’re missing out on energy savings that could’ve been achieved by simply lowering the number of fixtures.” In some cases, the standards have dropped. For instance, the standard lighting levels in the 1980s in an office setting were much higher than today. Consulting a lighting specialist will help you find the optimal light levels for the environment.

If you’re looking to optimize the lighting in your business and save money on energy and maintenance, contact Graybar Canada’s lighting team today!

What You Need to Know About Smart Thermostats

Posted on August 2, 2019

Did you know that heating and cooling accounts for almost half of your power bill, costing the average family $900 annually? If you’re looking to save some extra cash, a smart thermostat may be
right for you.

To learn how a smart thermostat can help manage your energy use, we caught up with Graybar Canada’s Security and Home Automation Specialist, Rita Murphy.

Cost effective

Let’s get right to it. It’s been reported that smart thermostats can save you about 15 per cent on your power bill. When it comes to purchasing digital devices, we often think they’re more expensive, but that’s not necessarily the case with smart thermostats. “You’re probably looking at spending a couple of hundred dollars,” says Rita. “When you put that against your energy savings it can pay for itself in less than a year.”

Smart thermostats can also monitor how and when you use the most energy. “The beauty of these devices is their ability to give you a whole breakdown of how you’re consuming energy – by hour, by day and by month.” This is valuable information because it allows you to adjust your behaviours and see if you’re wasting energy during certain times of the day.

Remote controlled and self-adjusting

How many times have you left the house for work or vacation before remembering to adjust the thermostat? We’ve all been there but a smart thermostat easily solves this problem. “The most basic function is that you can adjust your thermostat settings from anywhere, anytime,” explains Rita. “You can remotely change the temperature and set up schedules. If you leave for work every day at 8 a.m. and come home at 6 p.m., you can adjust the thermostat so it automatically kicks-in, or you can do it remotely from your phone.”

Not only can smart thermostats be controlled remotely, but they’re actually smart enough to adjust the temperature without “being told”. “They have a built-in feature to automatically change the temperature on extremely hot and cold days,” Rita says. “They offer a lot of peace of mind—especially for those who have cottages or properties they can’t travel to quickly.” They work by sensing the temperature and adjusting accordingly so you don’t arrive home to a sauna in the summer or worry about your pipes freezing in the winter.

Easy to install in any space

One of the best features of a smart thermostat is that there’s one for everyone. “We offer thermostats that work with any heating and cooling system,” says Rita. “Our Stelpro line can work with electric baseboard heating, while our products work well with all other types of systems.”

The biggest question Rita gets asked about smart thermostats is the installation process. “My recommendation is to have a professional install your system,” she explains. “There are many “DIY” retail products on the market, but consumers can sometimes run into challenges with the installation. Graybar works with many qualified, experienced dealers across Canada and we would be happy to recommend one in your immediate area. Keep in mind that no matter if you have a 1920’s home with old stone walls or a brand-new house, they can offer you aesthetically pleasing options that allow you to easily swap out the old thermostat for the new smarter version.

Whether you’re a business, contractor, security dealer or home owner, contact us today to learn more about smart thermostats. Graybar Canada’s specialists are trained to find you the best solution for your project.

Cory Morris Awarded tED Magazine’s 30 Under 35 Award

Posted on June 3, 2019

It’s a busy Thursday morning in Graybar Canada’s Atlantic Automation department headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

An Arc Flash course is just getting started in the training room while the sales team respond to customer emails and phone calls. In the glass corner office, appropriately labelled “the fishbowl”, Automation Manager, Cory Morris is gearing up to be interviewed by Graybar Canada’s marketing group. He’s been recognized by tED Magazine as one of the rising stars of the electrical industry.

When Cory first started with Graybar Canada 11 and a half years ago, he didn’t know where his path was going to take him. “I started off in the marketing department as a co-op student,” he says. “After several years, I had the opportunity to take the Manager in Development program where I cycled through everything from warehouse to counter to corporate finance and everything in between— all within three years.” Cory then moved on to the automation group where he became a Services Specialist before earning his stripes as Automation Manager.

When asked what tED Magazine’s “30 Under 35” Award means to him, Cory believes it’s all about investing in today’s youth. “Our industry needs more talented young people. I think a lot of graduates coming out of school don’t see the electrical industry as a viable option because they don’t know much about it. The award is important to me because it sheds light on the industry and the young people within it.

Cory recognizes his journey to success wasn’t a solo one. The 32-year-old had many people help him get to where he is today. “I’ve had a lot of mentors throughout my career,” he says. “Not only have they provided me with training and best practices, but they’ve also given me a line of sight to see where I could go within the company.”

Cory also owes a great deal of his achievements to the diverse backgrounds and skill sets of his co-workers. “I have dedicated and passionate team members who are vital to our success,” he comments. “In our division, we have people under the age of 25 and people with more than 25 years of experience. The variety of perspectives blend well together to offer the right solution to our customers.”

“I’m incredibly proud of our automation team,” says Cory. “Without them, I wouldn’t be nominated for this award today. I think it’s important to share these types of achievements because I consider Graybar Canada as a sort of extended family; and when someone within the family does something exciting, I think you should celebrate that.”

As for his future, Cory’s looking forward to building his career and giving back what he’s learned along the way. “In 20 years, I hope I’m still working with my friends here at Graybar Canada. I really want to grow with the company and hold a position where I can effect change. I think the next 100 years are going to be the best as we embrace technology, become more inclusive and invest in the next generation of youth.”

The 2019 “30 Under 35” Awards will be presented at the NAED Leadership Enhancement and Development Conference between July 17 – 19 in Nashville, Tennessee.

By: Julie Darnbrough, Marketing & Communications Developer

Stay Safe this Construction Season

Posted on May 1, 2019

May 6th marks the beginning of Safety Week in Canada and the US, an annual event to celebrate best safety practices in the construction industry. As the kick-off to construction season begins, it’s important to be aware of potential workplace hazards. In 2017, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada reported 951 workplace related fatalities.[1] To give everyone a fresh reminder, we sat down with Graybar Canada’s Health and Safety Coordinator, Scott McPherson, for a lesson in workplace safety.

“Every week should be safety week,” says Scott, citing safety practices shouldn’t only be discussed once a year. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to stay informed about your organization’s safety guidelines. Fluid communication between management and staff is the foundation for a safe working environment.”

With a background in carpentry and almost 10 years of combined safety training and experience, Scott is no stranger to educating staff about the benefits of following proper safety policies and procedures. “When you have a list of guidelines, you’re able to save on operational expenses including time and management intervention,” explains Scott. “To stay updated about health and safety standards, employers can access their province’s Workers’ Compensation division or visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website.”

To cut down on the number of safety incidents, Scott has a few suggestions to make your work day run smoother. “Avoid unnecessary repetitive tasks and over exertion,” he says. “If you’re moving heavy objects, remember that pulling is easier than carrying, and pushing is easier than pulling. You should also plan your workflow so you’re not moving the same item multiple times.”

With warmer weather on the way and construction sites gearing up for their busy season, employers should be reviewing their heat stress policies with staff. “Always stay hydrated,” says Scott. “Keep an eye on the humidex and avoid doing strenuous activities in the heat. Try to work in cooler areas or plan to do laborious jobs earlier in the day.”

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Before construction season goes into full swing, make sure to review safety policies and procedures with your staff. With clear communication and guidelines, you can help ensure everyone has a healthy and safe summer.



How we help rural communities connect to broadband

Posted on April 4, 2019

Bringing high-speed Internet to Canadian rural communities has been a hot topic over the past few years. In 2016, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) estimated 18 per cent of Canadian households did not have access to basic broadband speeds.[i] Declared as an “essential service”, the CRTC along with the federal government’s “Connect to Innovate” program collectively invested over $1 billion to help bring better Internet access to remote areas.[ii] With funding now being distributed, many of these communities are wondering how to get started – that’s where Graybar Canada can help.

As a long-standing distributor of quality electrical and communication/data products, Graybar Canada has the knowledge to help businesses and communities upgrade their Internet services. With over 20 years of industry experience, Shawn Foote, national market manager at Graybar Canada, has assisted countless customers with the right products and network solutions. “Where Graybar Canada can help is on the education side,” says Shawn. “Once the communities and municipalities receive funding it’s time to think about the design process – what’s needed for electrical and infrastructure. We can talk to them about the type of network they need to meet their requirements.”

When faced with upgrading Internet services, some of the questions Shawn recommends asking are:

  • What do you want your end-user to be able to do?
  • Depending on the geography, does wireless or a landline make sense?
  • Do you have existing infrastructure?
  • Who are you thinking about partnering with for installation and products?

This is where Graybar Canada can provide options depending on your network goals and budget. “We work with our vendors to select the right networking products.”

With 30 branch locations across Canada, Graybar Canada can provide products and resources from start to finish. “Along with educating our customers, we’re also able to help project manage and stock inventory in our warehouses,” says Shawn. “If you can only buy a portion of the material we can stock the remainder at a local branch.”

By 2021, it’s expected that 300 rural and remote communities across Canada will have access to high-speed broadband.[iii] If you’re a community or business looking to make Internet upgrades but facing a crossroads, reach out to Graybar Canada today. Shawn Foote and his team of specialists can help kick-start your project with the right networking products and solutions to meet your needs.

Contact us today: [email protected]





How Can Rooftop Solar Work for You?

Posted on March 4, 2019

Imagine if your business produced enough energy to run your facility’s operations. Not only would you be making a positive impact on the environment, but you’d also be saving a significant amount of operational expenses. In their journey to become 100 per cent renewable by 2020, a large furniture retailer in Canada is doing just that by investing in on-site renewable energy solutions.

With Graybar Energy supplying the components to RESCo Energy’s turnkey solution, this large furniture retailer’s Calgary and Edmonton stores recently installed over 5,100 rooftop solar panels.

“The end user is a large multi-national furniture retailer and has a reputation for making their stores as sustainable as possible,” says Graybar Energy’s national sales manager. “As a long-standing supplier to RESCo, our team was able to supply the project with the balance of system (BOS) components including wire, cable and electrical distribution equipment.”

Producing 1180 megawatts (MWh) of energy per year, the Edmonton store installed 2,905 solar panels making it one of the largest rooftop solar systems in the city. The Calgary location installed 2,240 panels with an expected production of 1000 MWh of energy per year. Together, these rooftop solar systems will eliminate 1622 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and reduce their annual energy use by 25 per centꟷ now that’s a serious savings! Just think what you could do with that extra money in your pocket…

Still not sure if you’re ready to take the step towards solar?  We recommend looking into it “if your rooftop is in good condition then solar and/or energy storage may be the answer to your power needs. Depending on the province, rooftop solar systems can have a simple payback of approximately 8 to 11 years, making it a sensible investment if you’re planning to stay in a facility long-term.” Along with provincial rebates and energy incentive programs in some jurisdictions, there’s a huge opportunity to turn your OPEX (operation expenditure) into CAPEX (capital expenditure).

To see if your facility meets the requirements for a solar panel system, an assessment first needs to be made by a solar technology expert. “RESCo Energy, a leader in commercial and industrial rooftop solar, can evaluate your energy bills, building layout and roof to assess the solar opportunity.”

“With local branches across Canada, Graybar Energy can support a variety of renewable energy projects. By supplying a trusted company like RESCo, we’re able to cater our capabilities to meet our customers’ needs.”

Graybar Canada to open new branch in Vaughan, Ontario!

Posted on October 1, 2018

Graybar Canada is pleased to announce the opening of a new branch in Vaughan, Ontario, beginning this fall. Located near Highway 427 and 407, the new 90,000 sq./ft facility will be a consolidation of the existing Markham and Mississauga branches. As Graybar Canada’s biggest branch to date, Vaughan will be an electrical, comm/data, automation and wire warehouse hub for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). To service our current and local customers in Mississauga, Graybar Canada will be opening a counter pick-up locationaround the corner at 160 Brunel Road.

“For several years we’ve been looking at ways to grow business and better serve our customers in the GTA,” says Brian Thomas, executive vice president and general manager of Graybar Canada. “With more and more customers taking advantage of our full lines of business, it makes sense for us to position ourselves in a central location.

The Vaughan branch will be modern, sized for growth and feature a wire paralleling machine. “With a significantly larger warehouse, we’ll be able to stock more inventory and provide more efficient wire cutting services,” says Thomas. The new facility will also include energy saving LED lighting and controls plus a larger training room to accommodate staff and customers on-site.

“As we move towards a unified and cohesive enterprise, providing our full line of solutions will ensure Graybar Canada remains the distributor of choice,” says Thomas. With the Vaughan branch scheduled to open later this fall, we welcome customers and industry experts from all over the GTA to “Venture In to Vaughan.

Click for more information

Watch the Vaughan teaser video


3 Things You Need to Know about Electrical Boxes

Posted on September 4, 2018

If you work in the electrical industry, then you know your way around electrical enclosures – those protective boxes that surround electrical equipment and prevent you from getting the shock of your life. But did you know sales of these cabinets are on the rise and expected to reach $7.23BN by 2023? That’s a whole lot of electrical enclosures and it’s all thanks to our industries becoming more automated.

Electrical enclosures are on the rise

With industrial facilities making the switch to computerized systems, the electrical enclosure market is forecast to increase by almost six per cent between 2016 – 2023.

“Where it used to be people moving products, it’s now machines,” explains Steve Schell, Kitchener Branch Manager at Graybar Canada. “We’re seeing this all over – not just automation products but data and networking products, too. The machines are now talking to each other, facilities are talking to each other. All that equipment needs to be protected and that’s where we’re seeing a lot more enclosures being used in the field.”

How do you know which “box” is right for you?

Like most equipment in our industry, the selection of electrical enclosures can be overwhelming. Steve recommends starting with the type of environment the enclosure will be exposed to. This will help determine the NEMA rating – the level of protection your enclosure needs to meet. “For a standard indoor application where water and oils aren’t present, you can use a Type 1 NEMA rated box. If your box will be exposed in wash down, heavy oils or outdoor applications, then you’ll need a NEMA 3R or 4X rated enclosure.” Accessories and add-ons are also available for the boxes such as literature inserts, drain plugs, handles and feet to raise the enclosure off the ground. “Once we find out what is needed, we can customize the box to suit our customers’ needs,” says Steve.

Four types of enclosures:

  • Electrical Enclosures – protects equipment
  • Disconnect Enclosures – protects equipment but gives you the flexibility to shut off the power
  • Networking Enclosures – isolates and protects data and networking devices
  • Cable Management Enclosure – protects cables running from devices to the enclosure

Graybar Canada offers a variety of electrical enclosures including the CSD and ProLine Series from Hoffman. Contact your local Graybar Canada representative today so you don’t forget the box for your next big project!

Have You Heard? Graybar Canada has Audio/Visual Solutions

Posted on August 1, 2018

With technology changing every single day, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. The A/V world is no exception with the rise of on-demand streaming services, multi-room audio solutions and more. But what does this mean for your home or business? Getting in touch with a professional like Travis Bothman can be the first step in finding out what audio solutions are right for you.

Travis Bothman, an Audio Specialist at Graybar Canada, has been selling speakers and audio products pretty much his entire life. “It all started with liking music,” he says.

Travis started his audio/visual career in high school by working in an electronics store selling speakers and portable Walkmans. Remember those?  His years of experience and knowledge make him the go-to source for anything A/V related.

Trends in the market

“Most recently we’ve been seeing more portable streaming devices,” explains Travis. “Having a different amplifier in each room with integrated streamers allows you to stream from your phone or home network. Being able to stream updates through your phone is a big thing people are looking for now.”

Multiroom audio has been on the rise with integrated amplifiers being the latest trend in the market. An integrated amplifier in the speaker allows you “to plug and play from each room locally rather than running everything to a centralized location,” says Travis. Implementing this has a lot of benefits including better amplification and lower distortion levels.

Where do I start?

When determining which speakers you need “the big thing is making sure you have enough power coming from the speaker system for the size of the room,” Travis explains. “If you’re talking commercial applications, we have line array speakers which are used in conference and house of worship settings. With these systems, you can actually pinpoint the exact locations where the speakers will best be heard. You can have the sound carry around the rows of people and control where it travels.”

Common problems people run into

Both residential and commercial setups have their own challenges resulting in potentially poor audio setups. “Most of the time with home theatre arrangements, people aren’t taking the time to measure decibel levels per speaker from the sitting area. Sometimes you’ll have one speaker overpowering another when it’s not properly set up,” Travis explains. “In commercial, I’ve run into people with mics set up too close to speakers resulting in feedback, but there are things you can do to fix that. There’s electronic equipment that can eliminate the feedback if you’re having issues with your microphone.”

Whatever your project size, Graybar Canada has the expertise and solutions for you. “We have everything,” Travis says. “We can do full commercial and we can do residential.”

If you have any questions or are looking for more audio information, feel free to reach out to Travis Bothman at [email protected]

Congratulations Graybar Canada Kitchener and Graybar Energy for Receiving Your ISO 9001:2015 Certification!

Posted on July 27, 2018

I want to congratulate Graybar Canada’s Kitchener branch and Graybar Energy (a subsidiary of Graybar Canada operating in Ontario) for successfully registering to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard in June.

The Graybar Canada Kitchener and Graybar Energy teams began their journey to the new standard in the fall of 2017. Working directly with them myself since March, I saw first-hand their commitment to achieving this goal.

The ISO 9001 standard provides guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customers’ requirements and that quality is continuously improved. The decision to pursue this certification demonstrates their pledge to providing quality customer service.

Graybar Canada’s internal Quality Management System is based on seven quality management principles, involves all stakeholders (customers, employees and suppliers), and is managed digitally on our employee intranet (MyGraybar).

I am very proud to say we meet the requirements and have been certified to the International Organization for Standardization.

Judi Clark
Quality Specialist at Graybar Canada