May 2011

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EMAIL INTERVIEWDane Sanders, Darcie Chinnis & Ken Sinclair

Clanton & Associates

Dane Sanders, PE, LEED AP® is a Principal with Clanton & Associates, based in Boulder, Colorado. Clanton & Associates is an award-winning design firm that specializes in sustainable lighting design and has been committed to environmentally sensitive design for over 30 years. Dane has worked as a lighting designer and engineer since 2000. His project experience includes interior and exterior lighting design projects, lighting controls design, development of local and national lighting standards, lighting master plans, lighting analyses, audits and research. He has designed lighting control systems using many different types and technologies to provide lighting control systems that best suit any project’s specific needs. Lighting control projects include the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Headquarters Office, University of Illinois Business Instructional Facility, and GSA Smart Building Program Specifications. Several of his projects are LEED certified, including four LEED Platinum projects. Dane currently holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering with an emphasis in Illumination from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Darcie Chinnis, LEED AP®, EIT is currently an Engineer and Researcher with Clanton & Associates.  Prior projects include advanced energy analysis and simulation, advanced modeling of the impact of streetlighting on skyglow, and modeling and research efforts in support of energy code revision for the State of California.  Darcie has worked as a lighting consultant since 2005, and has additionally managed a wide variety of architectural lighting projects, including convention centers, educational facilities, retail, hospitality and performing arts spaces.  Previously, Darcie has been a member of IESNA and IALD, having served as Education Committee Chair for the Los Angeles IES Chapter and on the Energy & Sustainability Committee for the IALD.  Darcie is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where her dissertation research is focused on dynamic occupancy modeling for quantification and prediction of the impact of lighting controls.  She currently holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering, both from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lighting Control Technologies

Evaluation of the cost effectiveness and potential energy savings of lighting control retrofit projects, with a special focus on advanced controls technologies.

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Sinclair:  Clanton & Associates recently completed an in-depth study on the lifetime value of retrofit lighting controls. Tell me about the purpose of the study, and why you chose to look at commercial office retrofits rather than new construction projects?

Dane Sanders: Energy retrofits are challenging yet critical for the economic and environmental health of our nation. Lighting energy in existing commercial buildings represents about 30% - 40% of total commercial building energy use. Much of this energy is unnecessarily wasted by spaces that are over-lighted, lights left on when spaces are unoccupied, and lights used at full power when ample daylight is present. Lighting controls retrofits, employed at a large scale, have the potential to eliminate this wasted energy in existing buildings. Without retrofitting the country’s existing building stock, building new energy efficient buildings will not reduce our environmental impact, and will not lead us toward economic and energy stability.

There are also more technical challenges and cost related barriers to retrofitting lighting controls in existing buildings than there are in new construction. The existing electrical infrastructure is costly to modify, which is typically required for conventional, non-networked lighting control systems.

This research paper explores the costs and savings associated with installing addressable and wireless networked control systems that can overcome these traditional barriers, and provide a cost effective solution for today’s energy and environmental challenges.

Sinclair:  What are the most significant findings of your research?

Darcie Chinnis: The most significant finding is that advanced wireless lighting controls can have the same, or lower, initial cost, including equipment, installation and commissioning, when compared to very simple conventional control system upgrades and will lead to a lower lifetime cost-of-ownership because they also provide additional energy savings.

Dane Sanders: This research also shows that dimmable lighting in all office spaces is most cost effective and energy efficient. The reduced initial costs for wireless, and wired, addressable lighting control networks provides enough cost savings for commercial retrofit projects to afford dimming in all offices which provides additional energy savings, improves social equality amongst employees, saves more energy, and is most cost effective in a 10-year life cycle cost analysis.

Sinclair:  What is unique about the energy study you performed for this research?

Darcie Chinnis: The energy study included in this effort provides a novel method of hourly simulation that allows for time-of-use utility pricing and demand rate structures to impact the total annual operating cost.  This allows for the impact of occupancy-based automatic controls, such as occupancy sensors, to be predicted on an hour-by-hour basis instead of blindly applying the anticipated net energy savings, which may lead to over- or underestimation of energy and cost savings. Daylighting analysis used a “useful daylight autonomy” method to more accurately model the effects of local climate in an hourly simulation.

Sinclair:  How can this study be used by electric utilities to evaluate rate structures and lighting control incentives?

Darcie Chinnis: The results of this study can be used by utilities in two ways.  First, the two studied utilities use different rate structures, with seasonal variations in Boston and time-of-use pricing in Los Angeles.  The results show that the time-of-use pricing, in general, results in higher energy costs since peak consumption times (mid-day) align with peak cost times.  The study also included the impact of the utility rebates available for controllable lighting.  In Los Angeles, the rebates are structured to incentivize the controlling equipment, such as the photocell or occupancy sensor itself.  This method of incentivizing encourages fine-scale adoption of such equipment.  In Boston, the rebates are effectively structured to incentivize the controlled load by providing rebates for dimming ballasts.  This method encourages broad-scale adoption of controllable lighting.

Sinclair:  What other benefits do advanced, networked lighting controls offer that are not addressed by this study?

Dane Sanders: Addressable lighting controls can add significant value to existing office spaces far beyond the energy savings they can achieve. Once an addressable lighting controls network is installed the system can be an asset to Building Owners and Property Managers. Specifically, addressable controls offer: 

Sinclair:  How can the results of this study help specifiers, utilities and owners?

Darcie Chinnis: The results of this study can help specifiers by providing a basis for evaluating various lighting control options without having to delve into in-depth analysis for every project.  For utilities, the results of this study can be used to evaluate the impact of time-of-use pricing schedules, as well as to evaluate the structure for providing incentives for lighting controls.  For owners, the results of this study provide a basis for understanding the lifetime cost-of-ownership for different lighting control system options.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Sinclair:  What advice would you give to Engineers and Specifiers who are designing an addressable, networked lighting control system?

Dane Sanders: Designing and specifying an advanced lighting control system often requires the specifying engineer to take on the roles of a research analyst and an educator. Yet there is often not enough time or fee to analyze multiple lighting control system options. This research paper should help give evidence to help specifiers select an appropriate lighting control system and provide cost data to support the selection. Beyond the research paper, the specifiers should consider the following process when specifying lighting control systems:

Write a comprehensive specification: Make sure to include –

Sinclair:  Where can I download a copy of the report?


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