Light and Health Research Center

Light for Energy Efficiency

Enhancing the value of lighting while reducing its negative impact on the environment has been the primary focus of our research team’s efforts since 1988. As the world’s leading independent, third-party authority in lighting, we have advised utilities and governing bodies about the effective use of lighting energy for society and the environment. We have tested and evaluated lighting products and systems in the laboratory and in the field, developed quantitative methods for minimizing light pollution, advanced the use of daylight into the built environment, and provided insight on how ultraviolet radiation can be used effectively to combat viruses, bacteria and fungi. 

The overarching goal of the Light for Energy Efficiency program is to maximize the effectiveness of lighting while minimizing its negative collateral effects on the people and the environment.

Research Areas

Emerging lighting technology

New light sources may offer opportunity for energy savings. LHRC performs both laboratory and field tests of new technologies. 

Lighting retrofit technology

Simple lighting upgrades can save energy. Retrofit technologies allow existing equipment to be re-used, thus extending functional life and delaying waste. However, retrofit products may not the greatest value to users. 

Lighting controls

While much of the energy savings from LED light sources has already been achieved, new energy efficiency efforts involve use of controls to dim lights or turn them off when not needed. Significantly, lighting controls and sensors can now form the platform for two-way communication between the user’s environment and the building’s centralized management system for further reductions in energy use.

Horticultural and agricultural lighting

Advanced LED technology can provide lighting conditions that inhibit plant pathogens and promote healthy plant development, enabling growers to extract greater value from their crops and nourish Earth’s growing population. As indoor plant growth facilities become more common, the energy implications are becoming increasingly important.

See the Light for Plant Health Program

Ultraviolet and other disinfection technologies

Ultraviolet (UV) and other disinfection technologies are becoming increasingly important tools to combat pathogens. As these technologies proliferate, energy demands will need to be balanced with safety and effectiveness. The LHRC is addressing all three of these issues to best optimize UV technologies for different applications.

Value metrics

The luminous efficacy of all electric light sources is measured in terms of “reading” per unit of electric power needed to generate the light (i.e., lumens per watt). The effectiveness of light for other visual effects, such as detecting hazards on the periphery while driving an automobile, are not accurately characterized by lumens per watt.  More importantly, lumens per watt are particularly deficient in representing the efficacy of light for non-visual benefits such as promoting sleep.