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Three photos of the Connected Lighting Test Bed.

Connected lighting systems (CLS) promise to improve lighting performance and the energy efficiency of lighting and other building or municipal systems, while also providing myriad other value-added features. However, the energy impact of the requisite integrated network communication interfaces, sensors, and intelligence is largely unknown. Further, the energy impact may vary by application, system architecture, and core technology.

DOE is using its connected lighting test bed (CLTB) to characterize the system-level energy performance of emerging CLS, and contribute to the understanding of the energy requirements of new features. Results are used to identify needs for industry standards, recommended practices, or model specifications, thereby reducing the risk of developing CLS that deliver unacceptable or unanticipated energy performance.


A first series of studies focuses on power over Ethernet (PoE) connected lighting systems. These systems typically promise enhanced energy management capabilities, including an accurate reporting of energy use.  However, it is often unclear which system component(s) are included in energy reports, making it difficult to evaluate reporting accuracy and develop optimal energy management schemes. 

The first study describes and analyzes the various ways that PoE systems can be architected and report energy consumption. A follow-up study will test a variety of PoE connected lighting systems to evaluate energy use reporting accuracy.

A related study examines energy losses in PoE cabling, exploring the impact of cable characteristics and installation techniques, and verifying the usefulness of emerging industry recommended practices. A follow-on study further tests and characterizes power losses in Ethernet cable, examining additional cable types (including shielded cable) as well as the impact of physical installation characteristics.