Where do safety codes, particularly the NEC®, fit into the movement toward cleaner, greener, more reliable energy? A revision to a 2014 NEC requirement on lighting load calculations is a great example of how energy and safety codes can be made compatible when the right balance of interests is struck, says Jeffrey Sargent in his new column “Common Interests” in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.
Since the 1970s, proposals have been made to amend the NEC load requirements so that they align more closely with energy code requirements. However, members of the code-making panel were reluctant to accept these proposals because they believed that they would reduce the level of safety established by the NEC requirements. So how can you make the NEC more compatible with the energy codes? By developing a new exception to Section 220.12 in the 2014 NEC allowing the lighting load to be calculated based on the value prescribed by the “energy code adopted by the local authority.” This new exception offers a safe alternative and may also provide considerable cost savings in the electrical distribution infrastructure. It’s a win-win approach for everyone involved.