Milwaukee skyline By Dori/ CC BY-SA 3.0 us, from Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin Updates Commercial Building Code with Focus on Energy Efficiency

A new Wisconsin Commercial Building Code that will take effect tomorrow includes updated building codes on energy standards and lighting controls. Wisconsin Commercial Building Codes represent a significant change in energy standards for the state and will affect all building plans submitted on or after the effective date of May 1.

Harold Jepsen, vice president of Standards and Industry for Legrand’s Building Control Systems business, outlined the biggest changes in the upcoming code in an e-mail:

  • All commercial buildings, regardless of size, must now comply with automatic lighting shut off control. Either time-switch scheduled controls or occupancy sensors can be used to automatically shut off lighting throughout the buildings.
  • Dedicated, independent control, separate from the general lighting, is now required for special application lighting such as display, accent, case, under-shelf, and under-cabinet as well as lighting for sale or education purposes.
  • Hotel and motel guest room lights must now automatically turn off when the guests leave the room. This can be accomplished by either turning off the lighting within 20 minutes of occupants leaving the space or use of a captive key system.
  • Building façade and landscape lighting (used to illuminate the architectural features of the building and its grounds) must automatically shut off between dawn and dusk as well as shut off in sync with a facility’s opening and closing hours. It must also have independent controls from all other exterior lighting.
  • Other exterior lighting (used in parking lots, site, driveways, and walkways) must automatically turn off when adequate daylight is available. The controls must also reduce lighting output by at least 30 percent, either by time schedule or during any time when activity is not detected in the area.

The revised energy standard will continue to drive more energy efficient building construction through more energy efficient designs, construction, and products, Jepsen said.

Wisconsin Commercial Building Codes are uniformly adopted statewide for all local jurisdictions to follow. The state has jumped two model energy code cycles with the update and is welcoming the first commercial energy efficiency code update in more than six years.

Legrand has information about this and other building codes: www.legrand.us/codesolutions.

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