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Emergency and Standby Generator Application

Thomas Mason, P.E.

Course Outline

This two hour online course discusses the concepts, equipment selection, installation and graphic representation of typical emergency and standby generator systems for offices, schools, institutions and factories. The key principles are the basic requirements of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70-2002) Sections 700, 701 and 701 and NFPA 110-2002, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems. Complex multi-generator systems for mission-critical applications are not included. Generator power for a fire pump is not addressed (NFPA 72-2002).

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for professional engineers, architects and contractors. It will also be of value to persons with technical background who wish to extend their knowledge into new realms. It does not replace a PE license. Some topics are presented only in brief reference. Correct technical terms are used so that an internet search will produces many sources for further information.

Benefit to the Audience

Emergency and standby generators are installed to save cost and labor of maintaining battery systems and to permit continued operations during utility outages. A person who studies this material closely will be able to competently review a proposed emergency or standby generator design. He will be able to create a reasonable scheme to be detailed into a complete generator design. Further work by the detail designer will be required to coordinate the generator installation with the facility utilities and load requirements and select particular device part numbers. These tasks are not addressed in this course.

Course Introduction

Emergency and standby generators are installed to save cost and labor of maintaining battery systems and to permit continued operations during utility outages. For example, a Midwestern state has mandated that no battery-powered emergency egress lights be installed in new schools funded by the State. A generator must be provided for each school or campus.

Further examples include the widespread utility installation of generators since the extended August, 2003, Northeastern blackout. These include water utilities, waste water utilities, public offices and prisons. [Hospitals already had generators.]

Not specifically related to the large-scale blackout, high-rise buildings had been installing generators to protect medical supplies from heat and permit continued occupancy during natural disasters, as ice-storms, which interrupt the public utility.

Unfortunately, the persons authorizing the expenditures often do not appreciate the differences between emergency and standby operation and are not aware of the requirements for regular exercising and the problem of diesel fuel aging in only three years.

Course Content

The course content is in Emergency and Standby Generator Application (PDF File). You need to open or download any of these documents to study this course.

Course Summary

This course attempted to present Code-based information and guidance for design of emergency and standby generator systems. Focus was on strict compliance with regulations and overcoming real world complications.

Related Links

For additional technical information related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:

Major generator set manufacturers

Standards Organizations


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.