LRC Issues DELTA Report on Sensor-controlled Lighting in Residences

Lighting Research Center RensselaerThe Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has issued a new DELTA report “Sensor-Controlled Lighting in Multi-Family Corridors.” This guide shows results from a field demonstration of sensor-controlled, bi-level corridor lighting in a multi-family apartment building. Occupants had positive feedback, and considerable energy savings were achieved.

“Saving lighting energy in multi-family corridors is becoming more feasible,” says DELTA Program Director Jennifer Brons, who authored the report. “LED luminaires can easily dim light output when corridors are vacant, rather than turning off entirely. Most importantly, the occupants had positive comments about safety and comfort with sensor-controlled, bi-level lighting.”

With support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC and Taitem Engineering collaborated with Albany Housing Authority (AHA) to upgrade 60 corridor lights on six floors of a below market rate apartment building in Albany, New York, known as Lincoln Square Two.

The field demonstration showed that approximately three-quarters of residents liked the new bi-level lighting. Residents approved of the short (5-minute) delay time and dimming to low (20%) light output when the corridor was vacant. Short delay times led to the best energy savings. Use of sensors to create bi-level lighting more than doubled energy savings compared to upgrading to fixed-output LEDs, even in busy elevator lobbies. The lower the dim setting when vacant, the greater the energy savings due to bi-level lighting.

Monitoring at other below market rate apartment buildings showed similar results: bi-level lighting can be expected to operate at low output 75-80% of the time, on average. At market rate apartment buildings, bi-level lighting can be expected to operate at low output approximately 90% of the time.

“As energy codes move toward increased adoption of advanced lighting control technologies, these results show how to use sensor-controlled lighting to improve energy efficiency without occupant dissatisfaction,” said Brons.

The full report is available to download.