Lead Performer: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Blacksburg, VA
Partners: None
DOE Total Funding: $718,028
Project Term: April 15, 2019 – December 31, 2022
Funding Type: SSL R&D Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (DE-FOA-0001823)

Project Objective

In adaptive lighting, the lighting levels are controlled based on the needs of the users of the space. Such systems are enabled by the instant-on and dimming capabilities of solid-state lighting and have been shown to have the potential to reduce energy consumption by more than 50%, both through the use of maintained lighting levels without overlighting and through dimming. Additional benefits of adaptive lighting systems include reductions in the potential negative effects associated with outdoor lighting, such as light trespass and skyglow. Although fully adaptive lighting systems have the potential to achieve significant reductions in energy usage and cost, the implementation of these systems in street and residential areas has been slow, possibly as a result of the high costs of the luminaire controllers and/or the potential for negative effects on traffic safety and/or resident security. To speed the implementation of adaptive lighting systems, the enablers of the technology, along with its effects on safety and security in street and residential areas, must be further investigated. This project involves an analysis of the impacts of adaptive lighting, with the goal of developing metrics to guide the design of adaptive lighting systems, and seeks to maximize energy savings through better understanding of application needs (visual safety and security), allowing for informed decision-making related to lighting and control systems. A case study will be conducted in a city where adaptive lighting has been fully implemented, and a complete photometric evaluation, a vehicle crash and crime analysis, and focus groups will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the adaptive lighting system. Based on the case study results, a metric will be developed that allows the evaluation of the impacts of adaptive lighting on established measures. After a final evaluation of the metric along with energy consumption and user impacts, the findings will be translated into guidelines and specifications for the application of adaptive lighting in street and residential areas.

Project Impact

This project is expected to have significant and immediate impacts on the outdoor lighting industry. The ability to identify the energy impacts of an adaptive lighting system that maintains the safety and security of roadway users will allow agencies and governments to make informed decisions about adaptive lighting systems and provide benefit-cost justifications for those systems. Thus, the results will immediately improve decision-making related to lighting and control systems.


DOE Technology Manager: Brian Walker, brian.walker@ee.doe.gov 
Lead Performer: Ron Gibbons, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute


2021 Research Highlight