Lighting Controls
Last Update: November 1, 2011
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Commissioning & Acceptance Testing

Commissioning is a systematic quality process that ensures all components of the lighting and control system perform interactively and continuously according to the documented design intent and owner’s operational needs. As lighting designs and technology become increasingly sophisticated and precise, it is becoming increasingly important that the design intent for lighting and control systems be clearly articulated, and their proper installation and operation verified.

The Commissioning Process is defined in ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005; The Commissioning Process as applied to lighting and control systems is described in IES Design Guide 29. This document summarizes The Commissioning Process as defined by ASHRAE, identifies points of engagement between the Process and lighting professionals, and provides practical guidance for verifying installation and performance testing of common lighting and control systems.

This guidance comes at a good time, as commissioning is required not only in LEED projects (with advanced commissioning encouraged), but also in projects designed based on compliance with the ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2010 standard, which requires performance testing and turnover of a systems manual and sequence of operations for installed controls. The 2012 IECC is also expected to include commissioning requirements.

For more information about commissioning lighting and control systems, see Design Considerations/Commissioning.

Definition
The Ninth Edition of the IES Lighting Handbook defines commissioning as “a systematic process that ensures that all elements of the lighting control system perform interactively and continuously according to documented design intent and the needs of the building owner.”
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Responsibilities
In larger projects, third-party commissioning is recommended (an individual who is independent of the project’s design and construction management), as long as the commissioning authority is brought into the project in the early design stages...
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Design Intent
The owner should provide clearly expressed project requirements for each of the systems to be commissioned, including the lighting control system.
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System Activation
System activation involves startup and inspection of the lighting control system to make it ready for testing, a process that may include factory startup.
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Field Calibration
Calibration entails tuning the settings of sensors, such as occupancy sensors and photosensors, so that they operate properly within actual field conditions.
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Verification & Performance Testing
Also called field commissioning, this step involves ensuring the installed system as a whole meets the design intent under typical operating conditions.
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Owner Notification
At the conclusion of the commissioning process, tell the facility operators and occupants about the intent and functionality of the controls, including local control capability such as overrides and personal dimming, programming, etc.
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