THE PROLIFERATION OF automatic lighting controls is creating demand for commissioning services, including functional testing. While commissioning—a quality assurance
process—is required in many new construction projects,
research suggests that applying elements of the commissioning process to existing installations can optimize
performance and energy savings. For the owner, this
means gaining full value for their investment in energy-saving lighting controls. For electrical contractors, it may
present a business opportunity.
First, let’s define commissioning. While lighting controls
are typically reliable, they are sensitive to application
error. In a perfect world, clients clearly communicate
their needs and desires, designers are united around a
concept and clearly express design intent, and installation and startup occur without error. The owner benefits
from a high-quality control system.
In the real world, anything can go wrong down the
line, resulting in unexpected performance and occupant
dissatisfaction. If occupants are unhappy with controls,
they may disable them, negating the investment in energy
savings. For this reason, commissioning is recommended
and often required for new lighting control installations.
If something goes wrong during the construction process,
there is assurance that the final product will satisfy the
design team’s intent and the owner’s controls needs.
“If products are not tested after they’re installed,
there’s a chance that they weren’t set up properly
regardless of the type of device,” said Charles Knuffke,
vice president of systems and evangelist, WattStopper.
“While few testing regimes will test every individual
device, testing even a few will help identify if there
was some systemic, repeated failure to properly set up
ASHRAE Guideline 0, The Commissioning Process,
defines a process for commissioning buildings. This doc-
ument formed the basis of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard
202, Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems.
In 2011, the Illuminating Engineering Society published
DG- 29, The Commissioning Process Applied to Light- IST
> FOCUS BY CRAIG DILOUIE
The next step
for lighting controls