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Classroom and Office Lighting Research

Finelite is an active participant in energy-related lighting research, allowing objective evaluation of the success of our theories and technologies in real-world settings. Why is Finelite so firmly committed to objective research? Because energy conservation is simply too important to leave to subjective interpretation.


Department of Energy (DOE) Final Report: Luminaires for Advanced Lighting in Education

In this completed DOE-funded project, RTI International and Finelite developed the Next-Generation Integrated Classroom Lighting System (NICLS) exceeding the United States Department of Energy’s goals. NICLS provides high efficacy lighting, full illuminance control, and white light tunability in a Made-in-the-United States lighting system designed to improve the educational environments of facilities that focus on learners of all ages. This effort culminated in the incorporation of NICLS technology in the DOE Classroom of the Future (COF) demonstration site at Finelite’s facility in Union City, CA.

In building this system, more than 80 teachers and school administrators participated in focus groups held at the NICLS technology demonstration site to provide guidance on the use of the advanced lighting technologies in the classroom and the design of the user interface (UI) for the lighting system. NICLS provides a state-of-the-art lighting environment that adjusts the lighting conditions—both color and illuminance levels—to the needs of students and teachers for the task at hand. The NICLS technology has been demonstrated at the classroom level, and the feedback from the dozens of teachers and educational professionals who visited the demonstration site has been overwhelmingly positive.

This project exceeded every goal established by DOE for an advanced lighting system for educational environments, including the following:

  • Demonstrating a luminous efficacy value for NICLS luminaires in excess of 125 lpw at all CCT values
  • Demonstrating a TWL range of 2,700 K to 6,500 K while maintaining a CRI of 83 or higher at all values
  • Providing full-range dimming (100% to 1%) at all CCT values with flicker levels below industry guidelines
  • Incorporating daylight and occupancy sensing to provide automatic control of lighting zones to further reduce energy consumption
  • Achieving a rated lifetime on the system exceeding 50,000 hours with a lumen maintenance of at least 85% at 50,000 hours
  • Creating a teacher-focused UI located at the front of the classroom to operate the lighting system

California Energy Commission PIER Lighting Research Program: Project 4.5 Integrated Classroom Lighting System

With input from representatives of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), Finelite used a combination of best practices and new technologies to develop and test the Integrated Classroom Lighting System (ICLS) for K-12 classrooms.

Working with six California schools, variations of the ICLS were installed in 19 classrooms. Researchers continuously monitored the ICLS and other baseline classrooms for one school year. The data showed a 30 to 50 percent reduction in energy use in the ICLS classrooms over typical lighting systems with improved lighting on the teaching walls and better flexibility for adjusting light levels during A/V presentations.

The ICLS provided approximately 40 to 70 footcandles (fc) of light on student's desks while maintaining less then one watt per square foot (0.9 W/ft2) in the classrooms — that's 0.3 watts/ft2 lower than the 1.2 watts/ft2 requirement for new classrooms mandated by the California's 2005 Title-24 energy standard.

Researchers then installed a hybrid ICLS in a Southern California Edison training classroom designed to take advantage of daylighting. The hybrid system was demonstrated to several lighting specifiers and customers, and feedback obtained. Key results included:

  • Reduced energy usage by 30 to 50 percent
  • Lower lighting power densities (LPDs) 20% less than California's 2005 Title 24 levels
  • Improved flexibility for setting light levels for general teaching and audio-visual (A/V) presentations
  • Perceived reduction in eye strain and glare and improved quality of light by teachers
  • Integration of ICLS with daylight in a harmonious and energy efficient manner

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

This research project will demonstrate that a recently introduced, commercially available Integrated Classroom Lighting System (ICLS) will provide 30% to 50% energy savings from the current ASHRAE 90.1 levels. This system aligns with the standards published by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, as well as the recently published LEED for Schools. The project will demonstrate that following such standards can be done effectively, affordably, and result in a better learning environment that consumes much less energy.
 
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic will document savings achieved through the use of ICLS. Further, the LRC will document strong teacher and student acceptance of the system as well as the fact that the system is affordable. These verified results will be published in a readily available Delta Snapshot published by LRC.
 
The project places the Integrated Classroom Lighting Systems in 25 classrooms in 5 different schools in New York and studies the impact in K-12 and university level classrooms, which was not done in the original PIER 4.5 study.
 
Early results demonstrate the importance of the dual-scene luminaire, whiteboard luminaire, and the easy access of teacher controls over the luminaires. The chart below demonstrates the impact of energy efficient lighting design as well as the additional savings resulting from teacher controls.
 
The NYSERDA final report will be available in early September 2007.


California Energy Commission PIER Lighting Research Program: Integrated Office Lighting System (IOLS)

The Integrated Office Lighting System Project is research in progress, being conducted by the California Lighting Technology Center, located in Davis, CA. The goal of this project is to develop, demonstrate, and commercialize an office task / low ambient lighting system that operates at about 0.7 to 0.8 Watts per square foot connected load, providing uniform illumination while meeting IESNA recommended target illumination levels for general office work.

The first phase of the IOLS research project includes the development of an LED-based task lighting system with occupancy sensing controls, limited power usage, easy positioning, and high quality illumination of horizontal tasks and select vertical surfaces. As the outcome of this first phase, Finelite, in conjunction with the California Lighting Technology Center, developed the patent- pending Personal Lighting System (PLS), manufactured by Finelite.

Additional components of the IOLS research project will include field demonstration projects to document the energy savings potential of the IOLS design approach as well as occupant satisfaction. Preliminary results are showing that, PLS achieves up to 50% energy savings over current fluorescent task and undercabinet light fixtures. Because PLS provides such high-quality task lighting, the ambient light in the office can be reduced by an additional 35% to 50%. Together, this yields energy savings of up to 70% for new construction and even more when remodeling older offices. Integral occupancy sensor control provides additional savings in intermittently occupied work areas.

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