Complying with NFPA 110 in mission critical facilities

For those who might not be familiar with it, or just need a quick refresher, NFPA 110 is the standard established by the National Fire Protection Association to cover performance requirements for emergency and standby power systems generators providing an alternate source of electrical power in buildings and facilities in the event that the normal electrical power source or electric utility fails. While this is certainly important for just about any retail, commercial, industrial, or governmental building, it is especially important for mission-critical facilities that can have an impact of public health, safety, and welfare. In this post, we’re going to look at the major issues that may be involved when it comes to complying with NFPA 110 in mission-critical facilities.

Safety, maintainability, code compliance, and even economics all play crucial roles in determining the topology of a backup system for a facility such as a hospital, emergency management center, water & sewer utilities or a datacenter. In large facilities where an electrical failure can result in significant economic loss, facilities owners will typically employ a backup power system that they can ideally use to support their emergency, legally-required standby loads and owner optional standby.  In this case, the design engineer must take into account the effects of combining emergency, legally-required, and optional standby systems  to meet the requirements of NFPA 110-2013: Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems and NFPA 70-2014: National Electrical Code (NEC). The engineer also needs to consider code compliance while keeping maintainability and economics in mind. Engineers may also have to balance onsite solar and their effects and control.

Some of the challenges design engineers can face with NFP-110 compliance include:

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Revised Energy Codes

Despite all the technological advances in energy efficiency over the last few decades, as a nation, we are still consuming and wasting too much energy. Commercial and residential buildings account for almost 40 percent of the total primary energy (that’s all forms of energy) in the United States. Buildings alone consume 70 percent of the country’s electricity. As recently as 2007, lighting, heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration, water heating and other building services produced 39 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the US and 8 percent worldwide.

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What’s our government doing for LED lighting?

Quite a bit, as it turns out. Starting with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), the federal government has embarked on a policy designed to move our country toward increased lighting efficiency to lower the greenhouse gas emissions and high energy use that come with using inefficient incandescent lighting.

EISA set new performance levels for various common light bulbs to make them more efficient and to pave the way for new lighting technologies. While Congress defunded the enforcement of these EISA efficiency requirements in the 2012 federal budget, the lighting industry had already embraced the new policies and had, in large part, retooled production lines to make other bulbs, including LEDs, thanks to federal government initiatives.

In the meantime, the US Department of Energy has ramped up its efforts to distribute grants to municipalities and private ventures throughout the country to help replace wasteful incandescent bulbs with much more energy-efficient LEDs. One such grant in Wisconsin provided $500,000 for a casino project in conjunction with a private financing package that’s expected to save the casino almost a quarter million dollars annually.

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LED Lighting

Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is perhaps the most popular solid state lighting (SSL) technology today, making enormous gains in virtually every facet of the consumer, commercial, and industrial lighting markets. Their rugged design and outstanding performance characteristics make them ideal for a wide range of applications and uses, particularly in directional lighting situations in which the maximum amount of light is required to shine in a particular area.

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Good luck Natasha!

CO_OP Natasha Kuegler returns to University of Newhaven. Natasha Kuegler is studying as a chemist/forensic scientist as an undergraduate. We wish her luck and will see her next summer.

Summer Hire!

Kuegler Associates has hired Craig Robertson, attending Middlesex Community College, as an intern.