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Development of Energy Efficient/Retrofit Alternatives to Incandescent Downlights

The goal of this project is to develop an energy-efficient retrofit/remodeling downlight system for both residential and commercial applications.

The approach taken in this project will be to:

  • Develop 2 to 4 energy-efficient “out of the box” downlighting systems working with one or more manufacturers targeted at both residential and commercial applications designed explicitly for the needs of the homeowners and contractors doing renovation/retrofits.
  • Develop a plug and play wiring and installation system that simplifies the electrical connection and ceiling integration process for downlight.
  • Develop a thermally robust lamp-ballast system by exploring the application of centralized and remote ballasting methods.
  • Achieve photometric performance that matches or exceeds the illuminance of traditional incandescent downlights while using only a third of the power.
  • Analyze and establish priority retrofit applications within the residential and commercial market sector.
  • Determine the control and cost implications and technical features associated with dimming systems for both residential and commercial applications.


  • Installed several prototype retrofit systems into new homes built by a homeowner we are working with on the PIER Kitchen Lighting Project. While this was not a retrofit situation, this was a significant opportunity to get actual feedback from field electricians on the system.
  • Michael Siminovitch met briefly with the engineering team at Lithonia during his visit in November. He briefed them on the findings of the field tests and the team briefly discussed the implications of these tests on the retrofit designs.


Currently, the following reports are available for this project:

  • Background Information (568 KB) - This document provides an informal report on the current design status of the PIER funded Kitchen Lighting System, which is separate from the PIER LRP, and how this work feeds into the retrofit downlighting project.
  • Lithonia Flyer (131 KB) - This two-page marketing document presents an overview of the CFL downlight lighting system for new construction.

Contact Information

For more information on this project, please send an email to:


Sponsor Information

This project is sponsored by the California Energy Commission. For more information, please see the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) website.

This project is being completed in collaboration with Lithonia Lighting and the California Lighting Technology Center.

Background Information (568 KB)
Lithonia Flyer (131 KB)
(PIER) website
Lithonia website
California Lighting Technology Center