Commissioning

Case study: Ongoing commissioning at a park recreation center

The Wyandot Lodge, a net zero energy building in Columbus, Ohio, found ways to correct its lighting problems through ongoing commissioning
By Michael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Metro CD Engineering, Columbus, Ohio November 14, 2019
Figure 1: The City of Columbus (Ohio) Recreation and Parks Department McKnight Outdoor Education Center net zero energy building faces south and has 80 monocrystalline solar panels rated at 285 watts each. Courtesy: Metro CD Engineering LLC

A new lodge and educational center was built in 2018 for the City of Columbus, Ohio, McKnight Outdoor Education Center, located along the west riverbank of the Scioto River. Featuring a multipurpose space, the lodge is used for camps as well as rented for events. The facility also features a science room, activity room, offices, kitchen, quiet room and restrooms.  

The project is designed to net zero energy, meaning it is designed to generate as much energy as the building uses over the course of a year. The lighting design includes limiting the electricity consumption including all LED lighting, advanced metering, daylighting harvesting and lighting controls. This project achieved U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC v4 Silver certification and received all possible points in the Optimize Energy credit. The project also is listed as a Zero Energy Emerging building with the New Buildings Institute. 

Through the ongoing commissioning process, it was found that the luminaires in two rooms were staying on all the time six months after the project was completed. The lighting designer, the architect, the Commissioning Authority/Agent, the lighting controller’s authorized service technician and the owner’s representatives met on-site to assess the problem. There were many theories before the site visit, one of which was the reptiles in the cages and tanks were triggering the occupancy sensor to keep the luminaries on during the night. 

The lighting controller was found to have jumper wires installed to keep these two rooms luminaries on all the time, thus bypassing the programmed lighting control of end-of-day shut-off. It was not known why these jumper wires were installed, but upon removal and functional testing, the lighting control was fixed and the luminaires turned off at the end of the day as programmed. 


Michael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Metro CD Engineering, Columbus, Ohio
Author Bio: Michael Chow is the founder and President of Metro CD Engineering. He holds a BSEE from Ohio Northern University and is the current Chair of the university’s Engineering Advisory Board, a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advisory board and a 2009 40 Under 40 winner.