For many, the New Year is a time of change. This year in particular, designers working in the electrical engineering field are experiencing those changes as they adhere to new standards.

As of January 2017, the OBC Supplementary Standard SB-10, Energy Efficiency Requirements now require electrical designers to comply with American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE standard 90.1) standards for most projects, with very few exceptions.

This new requirement comes as a change to the previous OBC SB-10 requirement that allowed electrical engineers to comply with the National Energy Code (NEC).

So what is the difference between complying with ASHRAE standards and complying with the NEC? Typically, ASHRAE is much more strict when it comes to lighting controls. By being required to follow ASHRAE standards, electrical designers may have to add more lighting controls to areas that had not previously required them.

Changes to Expect

Automatic daylight dimming is one area that will see change under the new requirement to comply with ASHRAE standards. While there has always been a requirement to dim lighting to specific levels in areas that have plenty of daylight either from windows, skylights or exterior doors, the amount of daylight required before needing daylight dimming has decreased significantly. As a result, daylight dimming will be required in areas that would not have needed it if designed prior to January 2017. Other changes include multi-level switching control for interior spaces and specific time of day scheduling control for exterior lighting application such as building facade, landscape lighting and advertising signage.

Communicate Early On

With the new changes, architects, owners and builders need to communicate any special electrical elements (signage, façade lighting, accent lighting, automatic window blinds etc.), to the electrical designer early in the design stage so consideration can be made for the lighting controls. Electrical designers will also need to know accurate locations, sizing and mounting heights for all windows, doors and skylights in order to calculate the day lit areas.

Verification certificates of lighting control need to be provided to electrical designers prior to final professional sign-off of the building. Lighting manufacture sales representatives can perform this upon request.

The Effects

Added mandatory controls can also mean added upfront costs, however, these controls usually provide extra energy efficiency, which can be an operating cost saving on your hydro bill.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments, feel free to contact one of our electrical designers at Callidus Engineering.