Lighting Controls in Commercial Buildings


Williams, A., Atkinson, B., Garbesi, K., Page, E., and Rubinstein, F. Leukos, Vol. 8, No. 3, January 2012, pg. 161-180.

Review by Scott Schuetter, Energy Center of Wisconsin: 

In this paper, the authors conduct a meta study of available research on the energy savings associated with lighting controls. In total, they summarize 88 papers, comprising 240 savings estimates of 4 controls strategies; daylighting, occupancy sensors, personal tuning and institutional tuning. Daylighting is defined as the automatic adjustment of light levels in response to daylight.

Occupancy controls are defined as automatic adjustment of light levels in response to the presence of occupants. Personal tuning is defined as an individual adjusting their own light levels to their personal preference. Institutional tuning is defined as adjusting light levels to task-specific requirements by commissioning. 40 of the papers were published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at conferences, while the remaining 48 papers were self-published reports or case studies.

The authors tracked savings by building type and calculation type when possible. Then, applied data filters to screen out data that was not lighting controls-specific and that included HVAC savings.

On average, the lighting energy savings were summarized to be 28% for daylighting, 24% for occupancy controls, 31% for personal tuning, and 36% for institutional tuning. Combining multiple approaches resulted in average lighting energy savings of 38%. The study also showed that simulation typically over-predicts energy savings. In particular, simulation over-estimated daylighting energy savings by at least 10%. Taken together, this report indicates that these lighting control strategies result in significant energy savings.