LESA Center Receives Department of Energy Grant to Create Cost-Saving Technology

LDS rensselaer logo 400

March 3, 2020

Designing more efficient buildings could significantly decrease the nation’s energy consumption. In 2018 alone, homes and businesses consumed about 40% of the energy used in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Energy is investing $74 million dollars in research to develop and test technologies and construction practices that will help “improve the energy performance of the nation’s buildings and electric grid.” The Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) Center, housed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will receive more than $2.8 million as part of this nationwide effort.

The grant will support researchers at LESA as they develop hardware and software for a system that will be able to sense its surroundings and automatically tune lighting based on factors such as time of day, how many people are in the building or room, and what’s most energy efficient.

“It is projected that with an occupancy centric control-based dynamic light sculpting system, like the one we are developing, higher quality lighting can be provided while reducing lighting energy costs by about 50%,” said Robert Karlicek, the director of LESA.

In this multidisciplinary public-private partnership, LESA researchers will work with the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) at Rensselaer, LESA industry member Lumileds LLC, and architectural design firm HKS Inc. to develop and test this new platform.

The system will rely heavily on new, privacy-preserving sensors developed by LESA that can detect when people are in the building and where they are in a specific room. That data, combined with information about the building’s design and the outside environment, will guide the overall platform as it autonomously estimates what type of lighting is needed.

 A new adaptive lighting system will be designed by Lumileds and LESA that will feature novel “light shaping” capabilities that can electronically control the lighting spectrum, illuminance, and direction of light delivery based on input from the occupancy sensing system. Luminaires with this capability will autonomously deliver lighting where and when it is needed for optimal human performance and energy savings.

This type of innovative building research can also provide powerful tools for building designers, who will now be able to electronically control lighting distributions in the built environment with a new degree of flexibility never before possible. This has the potential to transform the spaces where people live and work by dynamically adapting lighting patterns to human activity, improving circadian health and productivity, reducing glare conditions on televisions and computer screens, and increasing efficiency by delivering the right kind of light where it is needed.

Related Articles


Changing Scene

  • 5 Simple Steps Towards Sustainable Lighting

    February 20, 2024 Here are five practical actions you can take –today! – to move towards designing more sustainably. Sustainability in lighting – a broad, sometimes confusing topic, that can be looked at in many ways. Circular lighting economy, material ingredient reporting (MIRs), environmental product declarations (EPDs), life cycle analyses (LCAs), factory working conditions, carbon… Read More…

  • Lighting Design International Calls for Greater Sustainability Across Lighting Design Projects

    February 19, 2024 Leading lighting design consultancy, Lighting Design International (LDI) has been raising awareness of the need for greater sustainability across the built environment. LDI’s Associate, Arianna Ghezzi, shared these principles as part of a panel discussion at the recent and most successful Surface Design Show. The talk focused on Circularity in Lighting, and… Read More…


Design

  • Case Study: Windsor Family Credit Union (WFCU) with Salex SW

    Case Study: Windsor Family Credit Union (WFCU) with Salex SW

    February 6, 2024 Since 1940, WFCU Credit Union is a prominent and forward-thinking financial institution based in Windsor and Essex County. For over 80 years, WFCU has been dedicated to serving Ontario residents, community, organizations, small businesses, commercial entities, and public institutions. Their new headquarters in Kitchener was created as they continue to grow their… Read More…

  • Coaticook Suspended Footbridge: An Ever-Changing Luminous Canvas, Painted by Nature

    Coaticook Suspended Footbridge: An Ever-Changing Luminous Canvas, Painted by Nature

    December 5, 2023 At 170 m (554 ft) long and 50 m (160 ft) high, the Coaticook Canyon Bridge at Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook is one of the longest suspension footbridges in North America and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Eastern Townships. For several years, the Parc de la… Read More…


New Products

  • LED Hi-Pro Expandable Lamp from Satco Nuvo Offer 320 Degree Rotation for Light Positioning

    LED Hi-Pro Expandable Lamp from Satco Nuvo Offer 320 Degree Rotation for Light Positioning

    February 22, 2024 SATCO|NUVO’s LED Hi-Pro Lamps offer a 320° rotating EX39 base making the installation of these lamps easier than ever. The two different on-unit CCT and Wattage Selectable switches give the user the power to customize the lighting for each unique environment. The notable design of the expandable light panels, when used in… Read More…

  • LED PIR Sensor Lamps from Satco Nuvo

    LED PIR Sensor Lamps from Satco Nuvo

    February 21, 2024 SATCO|NUVO’s PIR screw-base lamps with integrated motion sensor turn any luminaire into a motion activated light source without added wiring. Conveniently install lamps to improve safety and security in any application. Available in A19 and PAR38 bulb shapes and rated for wet locations, these lamps can be used indoors or outdoors, and… Read More…