– Dane Sanders, Darcie
Chinnis & Ken Sinclair
Clanton & Associates
PE, LEED AP® is a Principal with Clanton & Associates,
based in Boulder, Colorado. Clanton & Associates is an
award-winning design firm that specializes in sustainable lighting
design and has been committed to environmentally sensitive design for
over 30 years. Dane has worked as a lighting designer and engineer
since 2000. His project experience includes interior and exterior
lighting design projects, lighting controls design, development of
local and national lighting standards, lighting master plans, lighting
analyses, audits and research. He has designed lighting control systems
using many different types and technologies to provide lighting control
systems that best suit any project’s specific needs. Lighting control
projects include the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Headquarters
Office, University of Illinois Business Instructional Facility, and GSA
Smart Building Program Specifications. Several of his projects are LEED
certified, including four LEED Platinum projects. Dane currently holds
a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering with an
emphasis in Illumination from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Darcie Chinnis, LEED AP®, EIT is currently an Engineer and Researcher with Clanton & Associates. Prior
projects include advanced energy analysis and simulation, advanced
modeling of the impact of streetlighting on skyglow, and modeling and
research efforts in support of energy code revision for the State of
California. Darcie has worked as a lighting consultant since
2005, and has additionally managed a wide variety of architectural
lighting projects, including convention centers, educational
facilities, retail, hospitality and performing arts spaces.
Previously, Darcie has been a member of IESNA and IALD, having served
as Education Committee Chair for the Los Angeles IES Chapter and on the
Energy & Sustainability Committee for the IALD. Darcie is
currently a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder,
where her dissertation research is focused on dynamic occupancy
modeling for quantification and prediction of the impact of lighting
controls. She currently holds a Master of Science in Civil
Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering,
both from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Lighting Control Technologies
Evaluation of the cost effectiveness and potential
energy savings of lighting control retrofit projects, with a special
focus on advanced controls technologies.
& Associates recently completed an in-depth study on the lifetime
value of retrofit lighting controls. Tell me about the purpose of the
study, and why you chose to look at commercial office retrofits rather
than new construction projects?
Dane Sanders: Energy retrofits are challenging yet critical for the
economic and environmental health of our nation. Lighting energy in
existing commercial buildings represents about 30% - 40% of total
commercial building energy use. Much of this energy is unnecessarily
wasted by spaces that are over-lighted, lights left on when spaces are
unoccupied, and lights used at full power when ample daylight is
present. Lighting controls retrofits, employed at a large scale, have
the potential to eliminate this wasted energy in existing buildings.
Without retrofitting the country’s existing building stock, building
new energy efficient buildings will not reduce our environmental
impact, and will not lead us toward economic and energy stability.
There are also more technical challenges and cost related barriers to
retrofitting lighting controls in existing buildings than there are in
new construction. The existing electrical infrastructure is costly to
modify, which is typically required for conventional, non-networked
lighting control systems.
This research paper explores the costs and savings associated with
installing addressable and wireless networked control systems that can
overcome these traditional barriers, and provide a cost effective
solution for today’s energy and environmental challenges.
What are the most significant findings
of your research?
Darcie Chinnis: The most significant finding is that advanced wireless
lighting controls can have the same, or lower, initial cost, including
equipment, installation and commissioning, when compared to very simple
conventional control system upgrades and will lead to a lower lifetime
cost-of-ownership because they also provide additional energy savings.
Dane Sanders: This research also shows that dimmable lighting in all
office spaces is most cost effective and energy efficient. The reduced
initial costs for wireless, and wired, addressable lighting control
networks provides enough cost savings for commercial retrofit projects
to afford dimming in all offices which provides additional energy
savings, improves social equality amongst employees, saves more energy,
and is most cost effective in a 10-year life cycle cost analysis.
What is unique about the energy study
you performed for this research?
Darcie Chinnis: The energy study included in this effort provides a
novel method of hourly simulation that allows for time-of-use utility
pricing and demand rate structures to impact the total annual operating
cost. This allows for the impact of occupancy-based automatic
controls, such as occupancy sensors, to be predicted on an hour-by-hour
basis instead of blindly applying the anticipated net energy savings,
which may lead to over- or underestimation of energy and cost savings.
Daylighting analysis used a “useful daylight autonomy” method to more
accurately model the effects of local climate in an hourly simulation.
How can this study be used by electric
utilities to evaluate rate structures and lighting control incentives?
Darcie Chinnis: The results of this study can be used by utilities in
two ways. First, the two studied utilities use different rate
structures, with seasonal variations in Boston and time-of-use pricing
in Los Angeles. The results show that the time-of-use pricing, in
general, results in higher energy costs since peak consumption times
(mid-day) align with peak cost times. The study also included the
impact of the utility rebates available for controllable
lighting. In Los Angeles, the rebates are structured to
incentivize the controlling equipment, such as the photocell or
occupancy sensor itself. This method of incentivizing encourages
fine-scale adoption of such equipment. In Boston, the rebates are
effectively structured to incentivize the controlled load by providing
rebates for dimming ballasts. This method encourages broad-scale
adoption of controllable lighting.
What other benefits do advanced,
networked lighting controls offer that are not addressed by this study?
Dane Sanders: Addressable lighting controls can add significant value
to existing office spaces far beyond the energy savings they can
achieve. Once an addressable lighting controls network is installed the
system can be an asset to Building Owners and Property Managers.
Specifically, addressable controls offer:
- Simple Reconfiguration: With new tenants or
changing office interiors addressable lighting controls can easily
adapt by reprogramming lighting control zones and reassigning control
devices without rewiring. The cost savings from avoiding re-wiring the
lighting may far out-weigh the energy cost savings. This potential
savings was not included in this study.
- Energy and Maintenance Reporting: Providing
zone-by-zone lighting energy data to Tenants and Facilities Management
can clarify where more lighting energy is being used and help identify
further energy and cost saving opportunities. This data is also be
useful for diagnosing devices that are faulty or are not properly
- Employee Satisfaction: While energy savings
improves the economic bottom line, no other factor affects a company’s
economics more than employee productivity. Providing manual lighting
control and individual choice of light level can help improve
employees’ sense of well-being. This amenity may also increase the rent
that tenants are willing to pay.
How can the results of this study help
specifiers, utilities and owners?
Darcie Chinnis: The results of this study can help specifiers by
providing a basis for evaluating various lighting control options
without having to delve into in-depth analysis for every project.
For utilities, the results of this study can be used to evaluate the
impact of time-of-use pricing schedules, as well as to evaluate the
structure for providing incentives for lighting controls. For
owners, the results of this study provide a basis for understanding the
lifetime cost-of-ownership for different lighting control system
What advice would you give to Engineers
and Specifiers who are designing an addressable, networked lighting
Dane Sanders: Designing and specifying an advanced lighting control
system often requires the specifying engineer to take on the roles of a
research analyst and an educator. Yet there is often not enough time or
fee to analyze multiple lighting control system options. This research
paper should help give evidence to help specifiers select an
appropriate lighting control system and provide cost data to support
the selection. Beyond the research paper, the specifiers should
consider the following process when specifying lighting control systems:
- Identify your Client’s priorities: Provide a list
of lighting control characteristics, and ask the Client to prioritize
them. Such a list may include; capital cost, 5-year present value,
energy savings, real-time energy use display, ease of reconfiguration,
daylight responsive control, switching vs. dimming, occupancy sensing,
timed events, personalized control, plug load control, building system
interoperability (HVAC, security, fire alarm, …), remote access to
- Outline a performance specification: Based on your
Client’s priorities, develop an outline that describes the
characteristics that must be included in the lighting control system.
- Interview lighting control manufacturers: Determine
which system best meets the design intent and Client’s priorities.
- Coordinate design documents: Coordinate the design
intent with the lighting control manufacturer. Provide lighting plans
with control zones, and a sequence of operation for each space type to
- Review design documents: Review control system
one-line diagrams, plans, equipment lists, and sequence-of-operations
with Contractors prior to bid.
Write a comprehensive specification: Make sure to
- Contractor training sessions: Pre-bid training and
pre-installation training with a manufacturer’s representative will
help Contractors understand the ease of installation and reduced
materials that often accompany an addressable networked lighting
- System programming & calibration: Require a
manufacturer’s representative that is factory trained and certified to
program and calibrate the lighting control system. Coordinate with the
manufacturer the number of site visits necessary to complete
- Clarify responsibilities: Networked lighting
controls require coordination amongst multiple trades and
- Follow through: Provide two - three site visits to
test the lighting control system and verify that the sequence of
operation has been properly programmed. Coordinate with the project’s
Commissioning Agent if there is one on the project.
Where can I download a copy of the report?
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