The California Lighting Action Plan (LAP) calls for 60%–80% lighting energy use reduction by 2020.

Additionally, the Lighting Efficiency & Toxics Reduction Act (AB 1109) requires significant reduction in the average statewide electrical energy consumption, from 2007 levels — 50% indoor residential lighting; 25% indoor commercial & outdoor lighting. 

These laws & policy directives from the state of California are driving urgency of reducing lighting energy consumption.

Project Description

The project advances lighting control system innovation to help realize California’s energy efficiency goals .

There are 4 major converging trends that are opening up new opportunities for pursuing dramatic energy savings through advanced, automated & intelligent control systems:

  • Increased control granularity: An increasing number of building systems are now controllable with a level of discretion that has not before been possible, particularly LED systems that are fully dimmable and individually addressable.

  • Increased sensor availability and use: Environmental sensors such as light sensors, occupancy sensors, carbon dioxide sensors, and power meters are becoming less expensive to install in buildings.

  • Pervasive communication through wireless networks: Wireless networks are nearly ubiquitous in buildings today. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and others are increasingly used for building control purposes.

  • Low-cost computation: Bundling digital intelligence at the sensors and lights adds virtually no incremental cost. Coupled with communications, this enables interactive, optimized, rule-based control and fault detection systems at very low cost.

Research Goals and Objectives

This project “Developing Flexible, Networked Lighting Control Systems that Reliably Save Energy” is a comprehensive strategy to make the energy use of all plug loads observable, thereby enabling users to more easily control those loads to save energy.

  • Goals

    • Enhanced lighting controls & sensors more ubiquitous

    • Lighting system energy use more controllable and efficient

    • Lighting systems more responsive to human needs.

  • Objectives

    • Develop & promote low-cost sensing, distributed intelligence & communications.

    • Create an effective task ambient daylighting system integrating sensors with data-driven daylighting control using Open API.

    • Develop standard user interface elements for lighting control systems.

    • Develop industry-accepted outcome-based lighting system methodologies, metrics & controls testing.

    • Target California’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards revisions in 2019 to incorporate next generation lighting control systems into policy or building code.

    • Identify next generation technology solutions for lighting control systems to realize energy savings.

    • Work with standards organizations to add capabilities to their protocols.

Project Tasks

  • Task 2 – Ubiquitous, Low-Cost Sensing, Distributed Intelligence and Communications

  • Task 3 – Task Ambient Daylighting - Data-Driven Daylighting Control

  • Task 4 – Standard User Interface Elements

  • Task 5 – Outcome-Based Lighting Systems: Methodologies, Metrics & Controls Testing


Peter Schwartz:

Richard Brown:


This project is funded under the California Energy Commission’s Energy Program Investment Charge (CEC EPIC) Program.