Class A office building system design: Electrical, power, and lighting

Class A office buildings are among the toughest projects an engineer can work on—complex structures, demanding clients, and advanced technology. Electrical engineers have their work cut out for them.

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer February 25, 2016


Daniel G. Dowell, VP Energy Performance Contracting Sales, ABM, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Kurt Karnatz, PE, CEM, HBDP, HFDP, LEED AP, President, ESD, Chicago

Lance Kempf, PE, Director of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, LEO A DALY, Minneapolis

Brian Michelson, PE, MEP Design Phase Manager, Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis

Joseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project Manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill. 

CSE: What types of renewable energy systems have you recently specified in a Class A office building project? This may include photovoltaics, ground-source heat pumps, etc.

Kempf: We have specified geothermal wells and photovoltaics.

CSE: What unique lighting or lighting control systems have you completed?

Kempf: We’ve used a combination of energy-efficient linear fluorescent and LED sources. We’ve specified LEDs for downlights, cove lighting, linear slots, and all exterior lighting. We’ve used a combination of occupancy sensors, daylight-harvesting methods, and full-building lighting control systems to meet energy codes and reduce energy consumption. On open-office plans, we’ve used three zones of lighting relative to the distance from windows—the closer to the windows, the more the lights are dimmed.