The headquarters of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C., is a stunning structure with complex lighting needs. USIP’s mission is preventing, mitigating, and resolving violent conflicts worldwide without violence. To keep the institute properly lighted each day and to be as energy efficient as possible, two lighting control systems were installed when the structure was built. One manages office space and open areas in the atrium; the other is for the glass roof, where the lights illuminate upward.
"The systems do have to work together well, and you have to make sure once in a while that all the sequencing is correct," says Eddy Alvarado, chief engineer at USIP. "It’s complex because of the two systems and the fact that the lighting sensors react differently to the time of day and whether the building is open or closed."
Another challenge is the schedule of events held in the facility. "There are unique requirements for the events, and the lighting isn’t always the same for each of them," says Jennifer Kienel, senior facilities manager at USIP. "It’s helpful that when we have an event and the engineers are there, they can make the changes right here."
Alvarado, a certified commissioning agent, says USIP has ongoing lighting commissioning as part of its effort to be as energy efficient as possible and as part of its LEED certification. Ongoing commissioning ensures that the building’s lighting systems are functioning as intended.
As part of the contract, the manufacturer visits USIP three times a year for on-site training that includes updates, changes, and assurance that the engineering staff and the manufacturer are communicating efficiently about the lighting control systems. The visits also serve as a refresher, Alvarado says.
— Desiree Hanford
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