Critical power: Backup, standby, and emergency power in mission critical facilities

Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET
1 AIA CES accredited LU credit available for attendees

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When utility power is interrupted, standby power system failure is not an option for mission critical facilities. Mission critical facilities, such as hospitals, data centers, and other highly critical buildings, must remain operational. Vital mission critical power system characteristics include availability, reliability, survivability, security, and efficiency. Designing reliable and efficient standby power for mission critical facilities poses unique challenges, such as determining the size of standby generators, determining level of redundancy, calculating the amount of onsite fuel, and anticipating every possible scenario that can affect system performance.

Requirements of mission critical standby power systems exceed those of standard commercial projects, which are typically designed to merely comply with applicable building codes. Many times, high expectations of systems for mission critical facilities are influenced by the desire for increased levels of reliability and efficiency.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the applicable codes and standards including NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC), specifically Article 708 as it applies to mission critical facilities; and NFPA 110: Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems.
  • Consider the criteria for designating a facility as “mission critical.”
  • Identify challenges unique to mission critical standby power systems.
  • Outline backup, standby, and emergency power systems for mission critical facilities versus other building types.  


  • Kenneth Kutsmeda, PE, LEED AP, engineering design principal, Jacobs, Philadelphia
  • Scott Kesler, PE, LEED AP, principal, CannonDesign, Chicago 

Moderator: Jack Smith, Content Manager, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Pure Power, CFE Media

Sponsors: ASCO, Cummins

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