Curtis Lumber Lighting Lab

A lack of knowledge about energy-efficient lighting technologies, like ENERGY STAR® lighting products, has created a barrier to the acceptance of energy-efficient lighting in residential applications. As a result, the incandescent lamp, despite its inefficiencies, remains the dominant light source used in the home.

DesignWorks teamed up with Curtis Lumber Co., Inc., a full-service home improvement retail chain, to develop an interactive lighting lab located in Curtis Lumber's flagship store in Ballston Spa, N.Y. The project was funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as part of an outreach program promoting the use of ENERGY STAR lighting products among builders and consumers in New York State.

Spreading the word about energy-efficient lighting
The design team successfully developed a lab that allows customers to compare lighting options in terms of energy use, aesthetics, and lighting quality at the time of purchase—a first-of-its-kind lighting lab for consumers. The lab compares the effects of different lighting schemes using both incandescent and fluorescent technologies, and showcases ENERGY STAR lighting products in kitchen and bathroom displays.

Consumers experience fluorescent undercabinet lighting that enhances warm tones and provides good task lighting on counters, a suspended pendant with a circline fluorescent lamp that brightens the ceiling and helps fill the volume of space with light, and adjacent kitchen displays comparing fluorescent lighting and traditional incandescent undercabinet lighting.

The lighting lab also demonstrates how to best use lighting controls to save energy within a home, design techniques for lighting that will meet the visual needs of older adults, and how much energy can be saved in a typical home using ENERGY STAR lighting products.

In addition to designing the lighting lab, the team also developed a program that serves as a lighting-education pipeline to spread the word about energy-efficient lighting. The LRC provides "train-the-trainer" seminars to teach Curtis Lumber personnel how to educate builders about energy-efficient lighting, and provides design consultation services at the lab for builders and contractors.