Each of this trio of Washington, D.C. landmarks has a lightning protection system. Air terminals (lightning rods) are visible on top of decorative finials on the Smithsonian Institution Building — known affectionately as “The Castle” — on the right and Smithsonian Institution Arts and Industry Building on the left. Between them, in the distance, is the Washington Monument, administered by the National Park Service.
The Smithsonian and the Park Service require a lightning protection risk assessment as part of their building programs:
- Smithsonian Institution’s Facilities Design Standards, October 2021 requires: “perform a lightning risk assessment and provide a lightning protection system in accordance with NFPA 780…”
- National Park Service’s requirements for “Design-Bid-Build Construction Documents (CD), Design Deliverables” states, “Lightning Risk Assessment: Calculations shall be provided per NFPA 78, Annex L.”
Clearly, a lightning protection system is a capital idea that should be used on all types of buildings — not just the Capitol.