Lead Performer: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Portland, OR
Partner: Solemma LLC
DOE Total Funding: $1,200,000
Project Term: October 1, 2021 – December 31, 2024

Funding Type: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT)


This project partners a leading team of lighting research engineers with a leading provider of commercial software for buildings to develop and validate new software tools that enable detailed evaluations of daylighting and electric lighting systems in buildings. These new tools account for the variability of light source spectral power distribution (SPD) and object spectral reflectance distribution (SRD); these variations affect the spectrum and intensity of light experienced by building occupants throughout the indoor environment. The software tools also enable sophisticated energy modeling that considers the integration of daylighting and electric lighting in providing for the desired occupant responses.

In 2020, PNNL researchers demonstrated how advanced software tools could be used to estimate the possible energy effects of implementing tunable LED lighting systems to meet emerging design guidelines related to nonvisual lighting metrics (Safranek, Collier, et al. 2020). For that project, PNNL used the Adaptive Lighting for Alertness (ALFA) simulation tool, commercially available from Solemma LLC, to document the electric lighting systems’ energy performance, and found that lighting systems designed to meet the new guidelines could increase lighting energy use from between 10 and 100%.

In this new project, PNNL continues to investigate the impacts of these design recommendations, using ALFA and other software tools to understand how the presence of daylight might influence future energy estimates. The project creates a collaborative partnership with Solemma, with a defined feedback loop whereby the emerging research results from PNNL can inform new software developments, the upgraded software tools from Solemma can be adapted into PNNL’s research, and validation results from PNNL’s research can inform further software revisions. The research and development cycle will define the data sets that can be standardized and made publicly accessible for all software tools and users and will be adapted as the emerging science on nonvisual effects of optical radiation and related design metrics continues to evolve.


The project will improve lighting application efficiency (LAE) through the advancement of software used by designers, manufacturers, and researchers for simulation of dynamic architectural lighting systems, resulting in energy-efficient lighting solutions that are optimized for occupant needs. The result of this project will be a state-of-the-art commercial software tool for parametric modeling of electric and daylight within a detailed graphical user interface (GUI), allowing users to explore designs and optimize for a range of design variables. Before commercialization, the software will undergo laboratory, field, and user group evaluations to assure workflow functionality and result accuracy. The software tool will be supported through maintained user support, digital documentation, teaching modules, and video tutorials.


DOE Technology Manager: Wyatt Merrill, wyatt.merrill@ee.doe.gov     
Lead Performer: Sarah Safranek, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Related Publications