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Lighting Controls: Punch Lists & Commissioning

lighting, lighting controls, punch lists, commissioning

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is understanding the difference between punch lists and commissioning for lighting systems.

Many jurisdictions have added lighting-control requirements to energy codes to lessen waste associated with lights being on unnecessarily. But savings can only occur if maintenance and engineering managers ensure technicians maintain the systems properly.

Commissioning is one tool managers can use to make sure the savings occur, but what does commissioning entail, and when should it occur? Also, what is the difference between using a punch list and commissioning a lighting system, and who should perform the commissioning?

The purpose of a punch list is to verify that the contractor installed the right fixtures, lamps, ballasts, and control devices or systems; that they are in the right location; and that they work. Punch lists typically are the responsibility of the system designer.

Commissioning a system involves checking photocells, occupancy sensors, programmable ballasts and control systems. The commissioning agent should be someone other than the system designer, which ensures the agent's objectivity.

If the project is small and the systems are simple, such as photocells or motion sensors talking directly to a ballast, the commissioning should take place near the end of construction, around the same time as the punch list. For more complex systems with multiple devices, multiple control points, and a control system, commissioning starts in the design phase.

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