Technology Definitions For Multi-Tenant Light Commercial Buildings Market Survey

Publication Date: 

CLTC is conducting research into developing technological and market-based approaches that will help increase deployment of energy-efficient technologies in existing multi-tenant light commercial (MTLC) buildings in California. MTLC buildings are single-story commercial buildings with between two and 25 tenants,  less than 150,000 square feet in size, and a power load less than 499 kilowatts.

The results from the market survey will help CLTC researchers identify which technologies and strategies to focus on in developing incentive programs to encourage their adoption.


Awnings:  Awnings are physical structures mounted to the exterior wall of a building to provide shade for a window, wall, door or sidewalk. Some consist of fabric stretched over a frame and others use solid sheets of metal or other material. Awnings provide shade by blocking sunlight from contacting or entering the building.

Energy-efficient window glass: Single-pane and unglazed windows are good candidates for whole window replacement. Traditional windows are available in many options ranging from basic, single-pane, clear glass to triple glazed, argon-filled, low-E glass. Traditional windows are a static technology because they are not operable and their performance cannot be controlled over time.

There is also dynamic window technology such as electrochromic glass, which allows for a change in some window glass properties based on environmental conditions or user needs. This could translate to decreasing a window’s visible transmittance as the sun sets to minimize glare from direct sunlight or increasing visible transmittance to allow daylight into the building during the day.

Skylights paired with photocontrols:  Skylights are openings in the building roof that allow daylight and solar heat to enter the space. This survey focuses on the combination of skylights with controls that will reduce lighting power in response to available daylight.

Tubular daylighting devices paired with photocontrols: Tubular daylighting devices allow light into the space through the building roof. These devices use highly reflective tubes that run from the roof opening to the desired location in the space below. The portion of the device that delivers the light can be mounted in a drop ceiling or traditional ceiling and are controllable to block the light when it is not needed. These devices can be paired with photocontrols to reduce electric lighting power when there is ample daylight. Sometimes referred to as Solatubes, tubular daylighting device is the brand-neutral name for this product category.

Window films: Films can be applied to a window or skylight to decrease the amount of daylight and heat that enters the space. The window film can be applied directly to the glass, installed as an insert to the window or skylight frame, or be mounted on a roller shade. Films applied directly to the window or installed as window inserts are static systems. Films mounted on a roller shade can be deployed in the same ways that typical roller shade is deployed, with manual or automatic controls.



LED replacement lamps (screw or pin-based): Directional lamps use internal reflectors to provide various light distribution patterns. Products range from narrow-beam-angle spotlights to wide-beam-angle floodlights. Some of the most common directional lamps are: parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR); bulged reflector (BR); and multifaceted reflector (MR). This survey focuses on lamps with an E26 screw-base.

LED parking and area lighting (outdoor):  LED luminaires and retrofit kits offer an energy-efficient replacement option for traditional high-intensity discharge outdoor lighting. For multi-tenant, light commercial spaces, parking lot lighting, perimeter building lighting (including wall packs), pathway lighting and signage are excellent candidates for LED lighting retrofits. Occupancy-based controls in addition to photocontrols should be considered.

LED retrofit kits for existing fixtures: Implementing LED technology as part of a luminaire retrofit can be done in two ways: replacing the luminaire or installing an LED retrofit kit. These kits include a light source replacement, related electrical components, lenses and in some cases, reflectors in a single package. Since necessary electrical components are included, the kit will work as long as it is the right size for the existing troffer or fixture. Luminaires with atypical dimensions may not support all retrofit kits. Test samples with the existing fixture and/or space to ensure compatibility and a successful retrofit. If the linear fluorescent lamp is the only component replaced and the ballast is left in the system, it is not classified as a retrofit kit.

Occupancy sensors: Motion detecting sensors are used to automatically dim or turn lights off after an area is vacated. Occupancy sensors can often be programmed to turn only a portion of the controlled lights on or off. Motion detection uses various technologies, including image recognition, ultrasonic, audio, and passive infrared detection.

Tubular LED (TLED) lamps: TLEDs are available to replace common linear fluorescent light sources such as 2' and 4' T8 lamps. TLEDs utilize an array of LEDs distributed along the length of the lamp tube to deliver the same form factor as a linear fluorescent lamp. TLEDs are often marketed as a one-to-one replacement for fluorescent lamps, but a large majority of tubular LED replacement lamps require a different electrical system.