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Methods Work In Buildings To Protect From Lightning Strike

Update:17 Jan 2019

There are various methods and techniques that will work […]

There are various methods and techniques that will work or are needed in all buildings to protect from lightning strike.


1. Grounding system


We have multiple methods to keep the power of lightning out of your building.


Lightning Rods are the most familiar grounding protection. Ben Franklin understood the theory of making a lightning target and directing the resultant strike harmlessly to the ground. Different designs work in different environments and meet different requirements. The wires over utility substations act as lightning rods, although we call them air terminals today. Other applications are definitely not suited for air terminals like the munitions dump in New Jersey or where electronics need to be protected within structures. A Faraday Cage is a good choice for those buildings. Down conductors, like lightning rods, direct current to ground to prevent lightning damage. Building steel may be used in place of downconductors where practical as a beneficial part of the earth electrode subsystem.


2. Transients and Surges


To a lightning bolt building wiring, fuses and circuit breakers are all the same. They’re all conductors. They’re also not capable of dealing with the extreme flow of current suddenly added to the system by lightning. These lightning-induced transients are controlled with Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TVSS) equipment. They’re our high tech answer to a switch that shuts off power as soon as any rise is identified. A TVSS shunts, filters, clamps or blocks energy from traveling down the wire. Getting the right combination of methods requires a partner who understands the equipment, codes and standards, the types of equipment in and around your campus and, of course, your application.


3. Detection


There is a lot of controversy about being able to detect lightning and then being able to detect it in time to avoid damage. One aim of detection is to be able to switch from AC line power to standby power. This way the system is not interrupted and the main AC power is not subject to lightning damage. We recommend a plan on what is to be protected, what is the cost and what is the level of confidence you need.


4. Remain Vigilant


Lightning is out there. Weather, time, changes to the building and maintenance can all have an effect on the resistance to lightning. An inspection of your lightning protection and a review of what’s now available could save you a lot of headaches, and perhaps save you from seeing stars.