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3 product features that reduce commissioning in lighting project planning

The commissioning process is meant to ensure that lighting control systems meet applicable energy codes as well as space owner and occupant needs. But commissioning is often one of the most challenging, time-consuming and costly aspects of completing a project. The difficulty and aggravation that have become commonplace during the commissioning phase have left busy contractors looking for ways to avoid commissioning, and its misery, altogether.

Over the last decade, energy codes have progressively required greater degrees of lighting control to minimize energy waste. While this has improved energy efficiency, it has also resulted in increasingly complex lighting control systems that are more challenging to install and commission.

Today, the commissioning process is so nuanced that lighting control systems often require specialized commissioning technicians with challenging schedules, which causes additional project delays and increases costs. In fact, commissioning costs of the latest addressable lighting control systems can now represent up to 35 percent of a project’s material costs. Troubleshooting the communications wiring errors that occur during the installation of these more complicated systems can represent 10 to 30 percent of the total time spent commissioning a project.

Contractors are facing pressure to finish projects more quickly with fewer errors despite working with a shallow pool of experienced journeymen and energy codes that continue to up the ante in lighting controls. As a result, many now want solutions that simplify system commissioning requirements.

Revolutionary new systems are meeting this demand by eliminating the commissioning phase from a project timeline. These systems:

  • Reduce on-site programming
  • Prevent potential wiring errors
  • Enable teams to configure the lighting system during installation, without a third-party commissioning technician

Three product features can significantly cut the commissioning efforts necessary to bring a code-compliant lighting control system from installed to operational.

1. Out-of-the-box functionality

Minimize the need to program the code-compliant functionality of a system on-site by selecting products that arrive pre-programmed and ready to work as soon as they are powered. Out-of-the-box functionality dramatically reduces the commissioning required by the system. In fact, much of the latest code-required lighting control performance is now incorporated into these systems in such a way that the systems can offer out-of-the-box vacancy-based control (manual on/automatic off), out-of-the-box occupancy-based plug load control, and out-of-the-box daylight-responsive control.

2. Pre-terminated connections

Pre-terminated cables ensure that a quality connection is made at every lighting fixture, sensor, wall station, receptacle and low-voltage power module in the system. This quality assurance feature saves a tremendous amount of time and money on a project by eliminating wiring errors and the troubleshooting that can be required to repair a shoddy installation.

3. System configuration during installation with simple devices

Further eliminate the need for a separate commissioning phase by streamlining system configuration into the installation phase of the project. Configuring the various components of the lighting system and grouping fixtures together to perform as desired are tasks that often require complicated commissioning software, and commissioning technicians, to complete.

But some lighting systems can now be configured during installation with the use of simple DIP switches and handheld remotes. Installers assign fixtures into up to three zones by setting switches located on the fixture or by using a handheld remote. The handheld remote can also define daylighting parameters for the fixtures in a space in a few short minutes and set time delays for occupancy sensors with the press of a button.

Lighting system that offers out-of-the-box functionality, pre-terminated connections and simpler system configuration enables contractors to remove commissioning from their project vocabulary and replace it with a different four-letter word: done.