Advanced lighting systems and controls have been on the market for many years, but configuration complexity inhibits the adoption and performance of these systems, limiting a valuable source of energy savings. New and emerging technologies often undergo significant laboratory performance testing but are rarely evaluated in real settings due to factors such as cost and timeline to market. Any field testing usually analyzes only energy savings after installation is complete and the system is operational, or it takes place in a controlled environment to study specific outcomes. Observational research in the field takes a different approach, to better understand the processes associated with installing, configuring, using, and maintaining emerging technologies to find and resolve pressure points, with the goal to increase adoption rates and fully realize energy savings potential.

Applying this approach to advanced lighting systems and controls, DOE launched Next Generation Lighting Systems in 2017 to observe, document, and measure how systems are installed and configured, how well they perform, and how users operate them. Over several years in several “living labs,” this process identified what works and what does not, revealed needed product improvements, and articulated best practices. The findings informed the development of resources and tools to enable more successful installations.


Thumbnail image of the cover of “Modeling a New Approach to the Design of Lighting Controls: 3 Hour Educational Workshop”

Modeling a New Approach to the Design of Lighting Controls (Workshop, May 2023)

This presentation models an interactive decision framework, independent of specific manufacturer systems. The materials detail how controls objectives suggest appropriate system capabilities, how technology variables shape cost and risk parameters, and how system architectures support or limit the desired outcomes.

Thumbnail image of the cover of “Selecting Lighting Control Systems.”

Selecting Lighting Control Systems (Guide, November 2022)

This guide provides a systematic approach to determining controls objectives, system capability considerations, networking and communication options, and documentation needs – helping decision makers select lighting control systems to satisfy project objectives.