Ultra-Smart Exterior Luminaires

Ultra-Smart Exterior Luminaires

“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. System software gives facility managers the capacity for utility-grade power monitoring and control of individual luminaires or groups. This can include adjusting high and low modes of light output, programming the system to issue maintenance alerts when a luminaire is out, and adjusting lighting schedules to increase energy savings or meet changing demands.

Operating as a system also allows the luminaires to sense occupants’ rate of approach, whether on foot, cycling or traveling by car, then increase light output along that occupant’s predicted path of travel. When areas are vacant, the lights in those parts of the network automatically resume operation in low mode, conserving energy without compromising safety. This coordinated, real-time response to occupants’ lighting needs results in maximum energy savings and optimal lighting performance.

UC Davis became the first institution to install a system of ultra-smart exterior luminaires when it debuted its campus network of over 1,600 networked LED luminaires in June 2012. The campus-wide installation was a collaborative effort undertaken as part of the UC Davis Smart Lighting Initiative. The project was led by the campus’s Design & Construction Management team, Utilities unit and CLTC, with support from Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability.  CLTC and industry affiliates Philips, WattStopper and Lumewave, Inc. were able to bridge key market gaps between lighting, sensor and control manufacturers to make the system components compatible and commercially available. The ultra-smart luminaire installation is saving the campus an estimated one million kWh and $100,000 annually. More details on the UC Davis project are available here.


Principal Investigator: Michael Siminovitch


Staff Contact

Cori Jackson

Program Director
(530) 902-8360