Lighting Research Center NYSERDA Lighting Patterns for Homes Image Map


About the Lighting Patterns for Homes Website


The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute created this Lighting Patterns for Homes website with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Our goal is to assist visitors in selecting lighting technologies for residences that provides high quality and energy efficient lighting.

This website was designed primarily for homeowners, building managers, retail staff, builders, efficiency contractors, and others who select lighting for residences but would not typically hire a lighting professional. To make the lighting designs as broadly applicable as possible, the designs are provided for the most common architectural rooms and spaces and are shown in a neutral style without windows (which do not contribute light during most of the time electric lighting is used). This website does not recommend particular products or brands, nor does it provide information on electrical wiring. Those who are unpracticed, or who live in areas where it is required for the work being performed, should hire a licensed electrician.


What is a Pattern?

Lighting Patterns for Homes is designed in the spirit of traditional architectural pattern books. It gives model designs and components of designs that can be adapted to your particular building and style. As such, it is dedicated to all those who strive to create practical homes that harmonize with, rather than deplete, our environment.


How the Lighting Designs Were Created

This Lighting Patterns for Homes website is an update of the book, The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes, first published in 1993. Updating the information in that book involved incorporating new lighting technologies such as LEDs, revising some of the layouts to reflect current architectural styles, providing designs for some additional spaces, updating prices and performance of light sources, creating new images of the lighted rooms using 3D modeling software, and bringing the content online to make it more accessible and allow for easier energy and cost saving calculations.

The first step in the process was to update the architecture that was used in The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes. To do this, LRC staff compared the plan views of the spaces included in that book with contemporary published architectural plans for the same rooms. While many rooms remained the same, the largest rooms (e.g. the biggest kitchen and living room) have become larger and more open.

The next step was to research the typical lighting found in residences today to accurately portray the "base case" lighting for each room. LRC staff examined data from studies of lighting technology by room, including the 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization, completed by Navigant Consulting in 2012 for the U.S. Department of Energy and the NYSERDA CFL Expansion Program: Random Digit Dial and Onsite Survey Results Final Report completed by the NMR Group Inc. for NYSERDA in 2011. The LRC found that incandescent lighting is still the primary source used in houses, even though compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have been widely available since The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes was published. Linear fluorescent lighting is found in single-family basements and some rooms, such as multi-family corridors.

The LRC then undertook a study of commercially available light bulbs, fixtures, and controls suitable for residential applications. This research was conducted via the internet during the summer and fall of 2012. For each product used in the lighting designs, the prices and photometric properties of several products were averaged together. For fixtures, the optical efficiency was determined from manufacturer-published photometric files, either from a single typical product or an average of several similar products. This data were used to guide the lighting designs and to determine the default values that populate the calculator on each design web page. The LRC also purchased many of the newer products and evaluated them in residential settings to make sure that they perform as expected.

With the above data in hand, LRC staff updated the improved lighting design for each room. These designs were created through a collaborative process by the LRC's professional lighting designers. After a draft design was developed, the LRC then created a draft model of the lighting design with AutoDesk 3ds Max software, a photometrically accurate 3-D modeling package. Each design was then reviewed by the team for lighting quality and energy and cost savings and revised as needed. All of the improved designs provide at least the same lighting quality as the base case, almost all have a lower power demand, and many provide economic payback within several years. After the lighting designs were finalized, the 3-D model was rendered, a plan view of the lighting installation was created, and a text description of each lighting design was written. Finally, LRC staff and a contracted programmer created the Lighting Patterns for Homes website and all of the data, text, and images were uploaded to it.



The LRC thanks:

  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for funding this project.
  • Ryan Moore, Adele Ferranti, and Karen Hamilton of NYSERDA for their guidance.
  • The numerous energy efficiency experts who attended a roundtable in May 2012 to provide their input on early concepts for this website.
  • Ed Donohue and Troy Web Consulting for programming the lighting design display pages of this website.
  • The Home Depot for providing product images.
  • Curtis Lumber for allowing the LRC to photograph showroom light fixtures.
  • Wolberg Electric for allowing the LRC to photograph showroom light fixtures.
  • LaMar Lighting for providing product images.

Much of the material in the Lighting Patterns for Homes website is adapted from The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes by Russell P. Leslie and Kathryn M. Conway, copyright 1993. The sponsors of that book were Bonneville Power Administration, California Institute for Energy Efficiency, Empire State Electric Energy Research Corporation, the LRC, NYSERDA, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, and North Carolina Alternative Energy Corporation.



Ines BergerWebsite Design, Writing, Editing
Jennifer BronsAuthor, Lighting Design, Architectural Research
Rosa CapĆ³Product Research, Energy Calculations
Tyler Doherty3-D Modeling
Dennis GuyonPhotography
Russ LeslieAuthor, Principal Investigator, Lighting Design
Rebekah MullaneyWriting, Editing
Patricia RizzoLighting Design
Erin RyanWebsite Data, Photography
Jeremy SnyderAuthor, Co-Principal Investigator, Project Management, Design, Energy Analysis