Power Over Ethernet Lighting | Standards Michigan

Power Over Ethernet Lighting

Because the education facilities industry is the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States, and one that has aspirations for promoting sustainability, it would be a natural test bed for deployment of PoE lighting systems.  


Power Over Ethernet Lighting

January 15, 2019
No Comments

“Nighthawks” | Edward Hopper (1942)

The emergent #SmartCampus will include selected building lighting systems that receive power and control over the same pathways.  Power-over-ethernet (PoE) already exists in a limited degree in driving information and communication technology but its expansion into illumination systems that provide life safety and egress support needs to be tested before a minimum standard of care to which all market stakeholders can conform is established.

Technical and business experts writing the 2020 National Electrical Code are working on the fire safety specifics while the authors of IEEE 802.3 Standard for Ethernet are working through the details about how PoE will effect data transmission and wiring safety.  Keep in mind that the standard of care will be a reconciliation of two different cultures:

  • Building premise wiring fire safety experts who have written the electrical fire safety rules in Article 410 of the National Electrical Code discover and promulgate leading practice through NFPA’s consensus document process in which technology safety standards are developed by a due process that seeks a balance, openness and accountability.   At best it takes at least three years to change anything in writing; six to twelve years in the field.
  • Best practice for low voltage wiring that does not involve life safety is set in a less formal way; typically by ad hoc consortia of manufacturers moving quickly to meet a market need.   The IEEE Standards Association provides a platform and an ANSI-accredited due process for leading practice discovery.  The IEEE Computer Society and the IEEE Industrial Applications Society are most heavily engaged in discovering an promulgating leading practice.  In the IEEE Computer Society the conversation about PoE necessarily takes place at a faster pace until life safety considerations take precedent.  In other words, manufacturers of smart buildings are competing ferociously to set the standard.  This competition is normal and necessary for the campus electrotechnical transformation we keep pace with.

In other words, IEEE Computer Society deals with safety issues on the right side of the decimal point (fractions of volts and amperes) and the IEEE Industrial Applications Society deals with safety issues on the left side of the decimal point (hundreds and thousands of volts and amperes).

Simon Fraser University

The difference between the NFPA and IEEE electrical technology cultures informs a great deal of electrotechnology in the United States.  We see it in the difference at higher voltages as well; the somewhat divergent cultures of subject matter experts writing the National Electrical Code and the National Electrical Safety Code being the lead example.  Within the IEEE, the Industrial Applications Society studies power systems on the customer side of the service point and the IEEE Power and Energy Society studies power systems on the utility side of the service point.  While service point may be a legal artifice to identify a legal, political and economic demarcation point these two safety cultures within IEEE borrow heavily from each other.  In practice, the standard of care for education facilities — particularly large campus power distribution systems which are utility-size power systems on the loads side of the service point — is set by both.

University of Alberta

At the moment education facility managers will be required to conform to state level adoption of the National Electrical Code.   We have gathered many relevant documents in the link below and we will be following the balloting of CMP-3, the technical committee writing NEC Article 725 — Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 Remote Control, Signaling and Power-Limited Circuitsparticularly Sections 725.121 and Section 725.144.  Balloting on the Second Draft Report of the 2020 is now taking place and will be endorsed by the NFPA Standards Council at the NFPA Safety and Expo, July 17-20, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.   Usually by late summer/early fall 2019, state and local governments are free to incorporate it by reference into building safety legislation.

We are happy to inform education facility manager decision making on this technology any day at 11 AM Eastern time.   (Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page).  More specific standards action is determined by IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 18 (SCC-18); the IEEE committee charged with reconciling IEEE electrical concepts with NFPA fire safety concepts.   We also collaborate with the IEEE Education and Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets online twice on January 15th in European and American time zones and whose teleconferences are also open to the public.


Issue: [16-102] [16-130]

Category: Electrical, #SmartCampus, Telecommunications

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Chad Jones, William McCoy

Standards Texas


IEEE 802.3bt-2018 – IEEE Approved Draft Standard for Ethernet – Amendment 2: Power over Ethernet over 4 Pairs

SCC-18 Workspace

PoE Lighting System Energy Reporting Study Part 1

Standards Michigan Workspace (Send email to bella@standardsmichigan.com for access)

Ranchview High School | Irving Texas

Layout mode
Predefined Skins
Custom Colors
Choose your skin color
Patterns Background
Images Background