Exploring retail, restaurant, and mixed-use facilities: Codes and standards and electrical, power, and lighting

Consumers increasingly want a great experience and a good value when they’re dining out or shopping—and that desire is reflected in the demands of engineers assigned to design electrical, power, lighting and to comply with codes and standards in retail, restaurant, and mixed-use projects.


Top row: Dale Adney, Juan L. Castro, Eric Graettinger. Bottom row: Robert A. Kamm, Bradley D. Williams. Courtesy: RTM Engineering, Thorson • Baker + Associates, Peter Basso, KAMM Consulting, Bala Consulting EngineersRespondents



CSE: Please explain some of the codes, standards, and guidelines you commonly use during the project's design process. Which codes/standards should engineers be most aware of?

Adney: The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2015) has the biggest impact on how heating, cooling, and ventilation is done.

CSE: How are codes, standards, or guidelines for energy efficiency impacting the design of such buildings?

Adney: They're limiting the types of refrigerants that can be used, increasing the amount of automation in the HVAC system (for variable air volume systems, specifically), and reducing ventilation based on carbon dioxide levels in the space.

CSE: Give an example of a project that conflicted with what the building owner wanted and certain codes and standards. How was this situation resolved?

Corbin’s Corner in West Hartford, Conn., was a 3-level Sears and two-level auto center and it was redeveloped into a multitenant shopping destination. Courtesy: Thorson • Baker + AssociatesKamm: Owners do not like DOAS. However, DOAS are required to keep buildings dry in Florida. I had an owner that refused to pay for a DOA and wanted it removed from the drawings. We refused and the owner went ballistic when we asked him to sign a "Hold Harmless Agreement." Ultimately, the DOA was installed.

CSE: What are some key differences in electrical, lighting, and power systems you might incorporate in a restaurant, retail, or mixed-use facility as compared with other projects?

Graettinger: The lighting control systems in a restaurant need to be automatic, but also manually adjustable. In our recent restaurant project at Lumen, we used close to 30 zones of lighting controls between the dining room and bar. However, presets were limited to cleaning, daytime, nighttime, and closing adjustments. Most presets are automatic, based on an astronomic time clock. Fortunately, all transitions happen very slowly-over the course of at least 5 minutes-so that patrons don't notice the lighting levels are changing.

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