The California Energy Commission sponsors the development and demonstration of energy-efficient, environmentally safe building technologies. It does this, in part, through the State Partnership for Energy Efficient Demonstrations (SPEED), a program that demonstrates innovative lighting and HVAC technologies. The SPEED program is managed by the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), which is a branch of the University of California. The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) is subcontracted by CIEE to develop and implement lighting technology demonstrations.
Ubiquitous Communication by Light (UC-Light) is an emerging technology that uses visible light to perform wireless machine-to-machine communication. The mechanism at work with UC-Light is similar to the infrared technology used in TV remote controls, but UC-Light uses visible white light from modulated light emitting diodes (LEDs). Visible light communication (VLC) is potentially cheaper than conventional wireless communications because VLC can use pre-existing LED luminaires for communication purposes.
With support from a CITRIS seed grant, researchers at CLTC and UC Berkeley are working together to develop advanced lighting control algorithms that make use of multiple data streams, both local and remote, to improve lighting and energy management in buildings. Applications include electrical lighting systems in commercial spaces with windows and/or skylights.
CLTC has partnered with CIEE to develop and demonstrate adaptive lighting systems for retail and agricultural buildings. These lighting systems will ensure lights are off or dimmed when no occupants are present or when daylight is available.
CLTC collaborated with the California Energy Commission and the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) to develop adaptive envelope technologies for retail and agricultural buildings. The objective was to develop systems that optimize both lighting and thermal efficiency in these facilities, using advanced fenestration materials, daylighting technologies and lighting controls.
CLTC has collaborated with the City of Davis to field-test a network-controlled LED street lighting system along Second Street in Davis, CA. The project team will demonstrate and measure the effects of various sensor technologies and communication protocols for adaptive street lighting, in terms of performance characteristics and energy savings. The demonstration involved replacing 12 high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures with LED streetlights and retrofitting 14 existing LED fixtures with dimming capabilities and controls.
“Smart” luminaires use integrated sensors to adapt light levels based on available daylight and/or occupancy patterns; “ultra-smart” luminaires function similarly, but they are also capable of communicating with one another through wireless radio frequency (RF) connections. This RF networking allows the luminaires to operate as a larger system. Different luminaire types can be incorporated into the network, including wall packs, post-tops, parking lot luminaires, and streetlights.
CLTC research, demonstrations and case studies have shown adaptive corridor and stairwell lighting systems are a cost-effective strategy for achieving lighting energy savings of 40–50%. This is because many stairwells and corridors are illuminated continuously, despite low occupancy rates, and are usually equipped with standard, non-dimmable ballasts and operated with wall switches or from a panel box.