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Daylighting Control Systems

Use of daylighting and associated controls within buildings has been demonstrated as an energy conserving technique in commercial and institutional buildings. By sensing the amount of natural light available in a space and modulating the amount of electric light to complement the natural light, light levels can be maintained and electricity savings can be realized. To date, little has been done to transfer these automated energy savings to the residential environment, where lighting accounts for 11% of the average annual energy used by residences. As products trickle into the residential space, they will need to offer easy access and control by home owners, who have been shown to prefer different levels of lighting based on task and age.

Daylighting Control SystemsPhoto Source: Lighting Research Center

Off the shelf products are available for commercial applications, and research into the technology is on-going. Commercial R&D into daylighting control systems is currently being conducted by the California Lighting Technology Center and the Lighting Research Center among other organizations. Research by the Lighting Research Center has led to the development of a simplified and low-cost commercial daylighting controller called the DaySwitch, which can be surface mounted beside individual luminaires. Instead of integrating expensive dimming components, the device simply turns the luminaire off when natural lighting levels at the luminaire reach a pre-set limit. By reducing the run time of the light, energy savings can be realized. The best applications are those with abundant natural lighting resources.

Contacts

Lighting Research Center
21 Union Street
Troy, NY 12180
Web: www.lrc.rpi.edu/index.asp

California Lighting Technology Center
1554 Drew Ave
Davis, CA 95618
Phone: (530) 757-3444
Web: cltc.ucdavis.edu


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