Zap! —Protecting the Digital Gadgets in your (Almost) Smart Buildings

That’s the title of a session to be presented at the AEC-Next Conference in Anaheim, CA on June 5-7, 2018. The educational session, sponsored by East Coast Lightning Equipment, addresses the “Internet of Things’s” vulnerability to lightning. According to the announcement for the session.

“Advanced digital technologies are now used to monitor and control services and equipment that are essential to making buildings safe, comfortable, and efficient. Yet even the highest-grade electronic gadgets you specify cannot withstand the millions of volts and hundred-thousands of amps that surge through a building when lightning strikes.

“Designing a smart building without protecting it against lightning is just dumb. Lightning causes more than five billion dollars of damage in the US each year, a toll that is rising due to climate change. In addition to causing fire, structural damage, injuries, and death, lightning seems to delight in devastating digital devices.

“What might happen if those lightning-fried circuits are part of your security, communication, or energy-management systems? How well will your client cope when its intelligent appliances, electronic door hardware, LED lighting, machinery, and equipment — its internet-of-things — becomes toast?

“As a building design professional, you are responsible for health, safety, and welfare. Don’t count on your electrical engineer to provide lightning protection — it’s not part of the model electrical codes and most electrical contractors are not qualified to install lightning protection. Instead, professional standards of care require architects to conduct a lightning risk assessment on buildings they design.

“Fortunately, software has simplified risk assessment and design resources are readily available. New techniques also make it practical to integrate lightning protection into architectural designs without compromising safety or aesthetics.

“You will learn fundamentals of lightning protection and its role in creating high performance building envelopes. Case studies will demonstrate how lightning protection can be economically and attractively incorporated into a variety of projects. You will also learn how to get sustainable design credits with lightning protection systems, and how they make buildings and communities more resilient to disasters.

“The speaker, Michael Chusid, is an architect and an authority on building materials and and practices. He is certified by the Lightning Safety Association to present educational programs on lightning protection.”