Login / Sign Up

QUICK Sign-up

Membership Includes:

New Content and Magazine Article Updates
Educational Webcast Alerts
Building Products/Technology Notices
Complete Library of Reports, Webcasts, Salary and Exclusive Member Content

All fields are required.

click here for more member info.

« Facility Manager Cost Saving and Best Practice Quick Reads

RSS Feed

Lighting System Commissioning Benefits and Tips

January 10, 2014 - Lighting

Lighting system retrofits are often touted as one of the lowest hanging fruits in a facility in terms of potential energy savings. After a major retrofit of the lighting system at your facility, you may be tempted to just flip the switch and call it a day. But going through the additional step of commissioning the lighting system can yield unexpected savings, or at the very least make sure the system delivers the savings it promised.

At a recent trade show for lighting specifiers, James Donson, senior engineer with kW Engineering, detailed the benefits of commissioning lighting systems. For one, very few lighting projects have an owners project requirements document (OPR), which is different than programming documents. If an OPR is not already established, the information can be captured and verified during the commissioning process.

An OPR covers:
- Who the occupants are
- What kinds of tasks are undertaken in the space
- Minimizing lamp types
- Desired level of control
- Integration goals
- Documentation goals

Commissioning covers the gaps between design intent, physical installation and operational goals. For example, Donson gave an anecdote where a design specified PIR sensors but the contractor decided to swap them out for dual criteria sensors. What the contractor failed to understand was that the facility's white noise system would trigger the sensors, which then caused the lights to operate continuously.

Here are some common issues often discovered through commissioning: - Occupancy sensors: not put on drawings, don't have dwell schedules specified, are set to auto 100 percent on (which needlessly consumes energy as often occupants can get by on a lower setting as long as they have an option to increase levels as needed), improperly applied to space - Daylighting: zones not indicated, sensors not on drawings, no time clock or override schedule, no sweep schedule, mismatched models - Overly long overrides for maintenance/night cleaning

One tip Donson suggested was to request the prefunctional test results for a recent project when selecting lighting contractors. Seeing how many items failed will be the proof in the pudding for whether or not the contractor can deliver the services and systems as promised.


Read These Next

Commissioning Doesn't Have to Be Difficult, Expensive

In Boilers, Retrocommissioning Can Address Energy Inefficiency

Three Steps To Improve HVAC Performance: Audits, Retrocommissioning, Ongoing Commissioning

HVAC: Utility Rebate Programs Can Help Fund Audits, Commissioning