Due to the proliferation of energy codes, advanced lighting controls are routinely specified and installed in commercial buildings. However, installation issues continue to be a deterrent to adoption and end-user satisfaction. To ensure proper setup and installation to produce fully functioning control systems, California introduced training and certification in 2010. This training is now available in a growing list of other states and is expected to be adopted across Canada. The Lighting Controls Association is a proud supporter and participant in this education.
The California program
The California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (CALCTP) was developed by organizations such as NECA, IBEW, California Energy Commission and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. It was founded to provide knowledge, skills and capabilities needed to expertly install, test, commission and maintain advanced lighting control systems. To date, more than 2,500 electrical contractors and workers have received CALCTP certification.
Effective July 1, 2014, California Title 24, the state’s energy code, required that all building projects employ an Acceptance Test Technician to certify that all installed lighting controls are properly installed and functional prior to occupancy. In preparation, in 2012, CALCTP expanded to train and certify these technicians under the CALCTP-AT certification. To date, more than 1,000 electrical contractors and workers have received CALCTP-AT certification.
The national program
The CALCTP training model has begun moving into other states under the National Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (NALCTP). Michigan, Illinois and Washington rolled out their programs in 2013, Ohio in 2014. In Canada, it’s expected to be adopted across the country in 2016, starting with British Columbia. As with CALCTP, the program is open to any community college and industry and utility training center.
Both CALCTP and NALCTP train and certify licensed electrical contractors and state-certified general electricians on installation, calibration, programming, commissioning and maintenance of advanced lighting control systems. Both are expanding to train building owners/operators, designers, engineers and architects.
How they work
The training contains online education, classroom education, hands-on training with equipment, and examinations.
The online education includes a prerequisite of approximately 10 hours of study at the Lighting Controls Association’s Education Express system. The applicable courses are:
• EE101A, which provides an introduction to lighting controls and lighting control strategies;
• EE102, covering occupancy sensor and time-based control technology and application;
• EE103, covering dimming controls and dimmable ballasts; and
• EE201, covering daylight harvesting control technology and application.
After taking each course, the student takes a short online quiz, with a passing grade of 70+% required. Upon passing, a CALCTP certificate may be downloaded. Although not required, students are encouraged to take all of the Education Express courses, which are free and available 24/7, to enhance their education. Education Express courses are not exclusive to NALCTP/CALCTP students.
Once all certificates are achieved, the student then qualifies for further education, starting with 10 hours of classroom lecture and moving into 40 hours of hands-on training at a local training center. Upon completion, the student will have an understanding of major lighting control strategies and their implementation from the basic to the advanced, including wiring and communication architectures. Education emphasizes how individual devices are combined and integrated from single luminaires to building-level systems.
Upon completion of all training, a final exam must be passed to earn certification.
Advanced lighting controls are commonly specified and installed in commercial buildings, demanding expertise in startup, installation, commissioning and maintenance. Electrical contractors can increase the quality of their work, competitiveness and overall value by becoming educated about these systems.