Your questions answered: Lighting controls

The Aug. 16, 2018, lighting controls webcast presenters addressed questions not covered during the live event.


Sara Lappano, Integral GroupCodes and standards require lighting engineers to include power allowances, daylighting controls, functional testing, and commissioning in lighting designs to verify lighting controls. Requirements for lighting controls become more complex with each edition of the energy-conservation codes. Codes and standards include ASHRAE Standard 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and California Title 24. This webcast summarizes the codes and standards that apply to lighting systems, controls, and commissioning. It also reviews the different approaches to the controls that meet energy-efficiency requirements.


Presenters Sara Lappano, PE, LC, LEED AP, Integral Group, Washington, D.C.; and Michael Chow, PE, CEM, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Columbus, Ohio, responded to questions not answered during the live Lighting controls webcast on Aug. 16, 2018.


Question: What type of drivers are used for 100 W T8 equivalent LED lamps?


Sara Lappano: Generally, LED lamp manufacturers can provide feedback on specific LED drivers that are compatible with their lamps. Note that not all drivers are capable of dimming. Some are only able to do on/off switching.


Q: Please discuss integration of lighting controls into a building automation system and lighting controls working in conjunction with light harvesting strategies.


Michael Chow, Metro CD EngineeringMichael Chow: Please refer to the presentation case study for the University of Toledo Larimer Athletic Complex remodel. In this case study, the yellow highlighted area has lots of windows with daylighting harvest sensors to dim the LED lighting fixtures in this area. The low-voltage relay panel lighting controller/building automation system (BAS) will turn off the lighting fixtures in this area via a time-scheduled shutoff. There is a manual override (not shown) through the panel/BAS that will provide 30 minutes of lighting in the space after the shut-off period. The lighting fixtures will flash 5 minutes before the 30-minute period is up so the override button can be pushed to reset the timer to 30 minutes. The 30-minute period is governed by the lighting code that only allows a maximum 30-minute manual override.


Q: Can a time clock be used in place of occupancy sensors?


Lappano: The energy codes indicate space types where occupancy sensors are required. In these space types, occupancy sensors must be used and time clock control is not acceptable. In spaces that are not listed as requiring occupancy sensors, either a time clock or occupancy sensors can be used to meet the automatic control requirements.


Q: Please discuss recommended commissioning and pitfalls.


Chow: The biggest commissioning recommendation is involving the commissioning authority/agent at the onset of the project at the predesign level. The commissioning authority will be able to do design reviews and potentially catch something that may not be designed correctly. For example, a passive infrared (PIR) occupancy sensor in a large, multi-stall restroom would not work well due to the sensor not being able to “see” through or around the stall walls. A dual-technology sensor (PIR and ultrasonic) would be a better choice for this restroom.


Another recommendation is to include commissioning in the specifications and also in the contractor’s contract and scope of work. This will help avoid change orders for commissioning and the contractor may claim commissioning assistance and coordination were not in their contract.


During lighting commissioning, it is important to have the lighting designer, the commissioning authority, the electrical/lighting contractor, and the factory startup representative present for functional testing. This helps eliminate finger-pointing if one party is not present.


Another recommendation is to video record the training for lighting operations and maintenance for facility staff. This has been a big help in reducing the number of follow-up visits, problems, etc.


Q: How do I determine whether I’m required to follow the energy code for a project, either in terms of minimum square footage or level of renovation?


Lappano: This information sometimes can be difficult to find. Similar to the way that local jurisdictions adopt individual energy codes, it also is typical that local jurisdictions dictate what types of projects and renovations must follow certain energy codes. So, I recommend first checking the building code requirements of the jurisdiction you’re in because that often lists which codes must be followed for different types of projects. In addition, the IECC provides some guidance on this in Chapter 1, Scope and Administration, and Chapter 2, Definitions (where it defines what qualifies as a residential versus a commercial building). Chapter 5, Existing Buildings, provides some useful detail on the level of alterations that requires the IECC to be followed, including lighting alterations. ASHRAE 90.1, Chapter 2, Scope, provides some general guidance on when the code should be applied. Chapter 4, Administration and Enforcement, provides some additional details.


Q: Which is the big umbrella, IECC or ASHRAE?


Lappano: IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 are comparable because they provide requirements for similar aspects of buildings that affect energy usage (envelope, water heating, HVAC, lighting, etc.). IECC is more widely adopted than ASHRAE, but because IECC allows ASHRAE 90.1 to be used as an alternate compliance path, both the IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 are comparable in terms of their application.


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