Tag Archives: Downconductor

How Climate Change is Affecting Lightning

Climate change has been a controversial topic for government, scientists and economistGlobal warmings globally. Whilst there is speculation on its existence, there is evidence that the world’s climate is changing. The more data we gather about a warming climate, we begin to see alarming changes in our earth that cannot be ignored:

  • Rising sea levels
  • Increase in global temperatures
  • Warming ocean temperatures
  • Regressing ice sheets

One major implication caused by climate change is the increased rate of lightning strikes. Scientific studies recently released suggest lightning strikes are anticipated to increase by at least 12% for every one degree Celsius rise in temperature.

What Does Increased Lightning Mean for Safety?

Cloud to ground lightning strikes are more common than most would think, with about 100 strikes occurring every single second worldwide. Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.

The annual global death toll is 6,000. According to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric), over the last 20 years. This puts lightning strikes in second place, just behind floods for the deadliest weather condition.

Engineers and asset owners must also consider facility protection to safeguard infrastructure and capital, such as building structures and valuable electronic equipment.

This natural anomaly causes many other concerns:

  • Company downtime
  • Damage to electrical and sensitive equipment
  • Loss in revenue and resources
  • Data and intellectual property loss

Facility Protection with an Integrated Approach

It’s recommended that engineers take an integrated and collaborative approach to lightning protection to ensure safety for personnel and assets. Pentair (formally Erico) have created the ERICO Six-Point Plan of Protection for facilities.

The six steps include:

  • Capture the lightning strike using an air terminal system.Shield
  • Convey the energy to the ground through a downconductor.
  • Dissipate energy into a low impedance grounding system.
  • Bond all ground points together to create an equipotential plane.
  • Protect incoming AC power feeders from surges and transients
  • Protect low voltage data / telecommunications circuits

Following the 6-step method above will protect your facility and personnel now and in the future from lightning strikes.

Did you know there are other several lightning protection methods that provide full facility protection? Click Here for more details

For more information on innovations and current lightning protection products, systems and design support click Here or please call (West Australian Power Protection) WAPP on (08) 9353 5300 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au

Need to Know Lightning Protection Systems

What is the Lightning Protection Systems LPS?

A Lighting Protection System (LPS) is the system that provides a means by which a LP1      lightning discharge may enter or leave earth without passing through and damaging personnel, electrical equipment, and structures such as buildings.

A Lightning Protection System does not prevent lightning from striking. It provides a means for controlling energy and prevents damage by providing a low resistance path for the lightning.

A reliable Lightning Protection System LPS must encompass both structural and transient overvoltage (Surge Protection) protection.

Optimal Lightning Protection System

The Six Point Plan of Protection is designed to minimize the risk of damage to facilities through:

  • Direct Strike Protection
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Surge and Over-voltage Transient Protection

The Six Point Plan of Protection from is designed by ERICO to:

  • Capture the lightning strike to a preferred attachment point
  • Convey this energy to ground via a downconductor.
  • Dissipate energy into a low impedance grounding system
  • Bond all ground points to eliminate ground loops and create an equipotential plane
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming power lines
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming telecommunications
Why Use the Lightning Protection Systems LPS?

Lightning protection is essential for the protection of humans, structures, and electrical equipment by controlling a variety of risks resulting from thermal, mechanical, and electrical hazards of the lightning flash current. These risks can be categorised as follows:

  1. Risk to persons,
    1. Direct flash,
    2. Step potential,
    3. Touch potential,
    4. Side flash.
  2. Risk to structures & internal equipment.
    1. Fire and/or explosion triggered by heat of lightning flash
    2. Fire and/or explosion triggered by ohmic heating of conductors
    3. Punctures of structure roofing due to lightning point of strike,
    4. Failure of internal electrical and electronic systems,
    5. Mechanical damage including dislodged materials at point of strike.
What is an Effective Lightning Protection System?

The effective lightning protection system which eliminates risks must be designed to:

  • Intercept lightning flash (i.e. create a preferred point of strike),
  • Conduct the strike to ground safely through purpose designed down conductors,
  • Dissipate the lightning energy into the ground with minimum rise in ground potential,
  • Eliminate ground loops and hazardous potential differentials
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming power lines
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming telecommunications
  • Not cause thermal or mechanical damage to the structure,
  • Not cause sparking which may cause fire or explosion,
  • Limit step and touch voltages to control the risk of injury to occupants.
Standards for Lightning Protection System

The lightning protection standard is usually developed by a technical committee comprising of academics, experts and industry practitioners who areLP2 knowledgeable in the field and are responsible for ensuring that the LPS to are scientifically validated and proven.

The existing lightning protection standard in:

  • Australia/NZ is the AS/NZS 1768,
  • International is the IEC-61024, BS6651 (United Kingdom),
  • NFPA780 (USA),
  • CP33 (Singapore).
Types of Lightning Protection Systems (LPS)

Lightning protection systems for buildings and installations may be divided into three principal types:

  1. LPS for Protection for buildings and installations against direct strike by lightning,
  2. LPS for Protection against overvoltage on incoming conductors and conductor systems,
  3. LPS for Protection against the electromagnetic pulse of the lightning.

Each system’s design requires:

  • The strike termination device must be positioned at the highest point on the structure.
  • The lightning protection system must be solidly and permanently grounded.
This type of Lightning Protection Systems can be divided into:LP3

Conventional lightning protection system (Also known as “Passive or Traditional)

  1. Franklin Rod LPS A lightning rod, air terminal or a single mast will help prevent lightning from striking in the immediate vicinity. The lightning rod is a metallic capture tip placed at the top of the building. It is earthed by one or more conductors.
  2. The lightning rod with taut wires These wires are stretched above the protectedLP4 structure. They are used to protect special structures: rocket launching areas, military applications and protection of high-voltage overhead lines
  3. Franklin/Faraday Cage LPS This protection involves placing numerous down LP5conductors/tapes symmetrically all around the building. This type of lightning protection system is used for highly exposed buildings housing very sensitive installations such as computer rooms.



Non-Conventional lightning protection system – All ERITECH Isolated Downconductor system components meet the requirements of IEC 62305 series and appropriate products are tested in compliance with EN50164-1 and EN 50164-2.

  1. Dynasphere S3000 insulated system The ERICO Dynasphere air terminal providesLP6 optimal lightning capture to a preferred point for lightning discharges which would otherwise strike and damage an unprotected structure and/or its contents. Also known as an active system as it has a Dynamic response to the approach of a lightning down-leader
  2. ISODC Communications insulated system The ERITECH isolated system providesLP7 a traditional air terminal fitted to an isolated fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) mast. The isolated downconductor internally connects to the air terminal inside the FRP. The FRP mast has natural isolation properties, high strength for windy sites and low weight to minimize mast loading.



There are various lightning protection systems fit for purpose that can offer:

  • More cost effective in supply and installation
  • Less variables of installation and ease of application
  • Greater protection and performance
  • Minimal effects on visual and structure

West Australian Power Protection (WAPP) are the industry experts in Lightning, Surge and Grounding Protection.

WAPP will provide you direction for the best performance and most cost-effective solution that suits your project requirements.

Call us on (08) 9451 2199 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au for a FREE no obligation consultation and quote.