Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

LRC establishes ‘Daylighting Controls Practicum’
Learn how to automatically control the lights to capture daylight energy savings
Photo: Daylight controls box
The "Daylight Controls Box," one of the demonstration tools to be used in the training program.

One of the missing links in many daylighting designs is the inclusion of a control system that effectively turns off or dims electric lighting in response to available daylight. To address this problem, the LRC is developing a program that will train lighting decision makers to make better use of controls to save energy in response to daylighting. As a first step, LRC researchers presented a draft curriculum for a training program on stand-alone daylight harvesting controls to daylighting experts at the Controls Summit 2004, hosted by the Lighting Design Lab in Seattle during August of this year. This provided the opportunity for the LRC to refine the curriculum by incorporating the feedback, knowledge, and expertise of these daylighting professionals.

The training program, called The Daylighting Controls Practicum (part of the Daylight Dividends program), will be carried out by regional training teams identified by Daylight Dividends program sponsors. These sponsors include the California Energy Commission, Connecticut Light & Power, Iowa Energy Center, North Carolina Daylighting Consortium, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the U.S. Department of Energy. Each sponsor will select regional trainers who will provide seminars in their areas based on the curriculum developed by the LRC.

Train-the-Trainer seminar

Photo: Daylight control and measurement system
Sensors inside the box measure and record the performance of different controls and sky intensities.

To accomplish the next step of the program, the LRC is inviting the regional training teams to attend a Train-the-Trainer seminar to be held December 1 and 2, 2004 at the Lighting Research Center in Troy, N.Y. At this train-the-trainer session, LRC faculty will review the curriculum with the regional training teams and teach them how to use the various resources the LRC has developed. The trainers will use this curriculum to teach lighting decision makers how to successfully select, specify, set up, and use a system that will effectively control electric lighting in response to available daylight while maintaining the satisfaction of building occupants.

Course design

The Daylighting Controls Practicum is flexibly designed as a “hands-on,” interactive training program that can be presented as a stand-alone one day seminar, or can be incorporated into other shorter training programs by the regional training teams. The curriculum the LRC is developing will include:

Demonstrations and interactivity — Using a “daylight controls box” designed by the LRC, trainers and seminar participants will be able to experiment with a variety of control system components, products, and measurement tools to evaluate the effectiveness of various daylighting control strategies, products, and systems.

Presentations — Using adaptable presentations developed by LRC faculty, the regional trainers will review how daylighting controls work, important information that needs to be included in a system specification, and the steps involved in developing a successful daylighting control system design. Presenters also will review the importance of proper system setup and commissioning, the steps involved in the commissioning process, and have participants practice how to commission a sample system and assess the success of the commissioning process.

Once the train-the-trainer session has been completed, the regional training teams will schedule the first training sessions in each of their areas. The LRC will evaluate these sessions to determine their effectiveness, and incorporate any necessary changes into the curriculum. The LRC also plans to update the curriculum on a regular basis to make sure it includes the latest developments in daylighting control products and continues to provide lighting specifiers with the information and tools they need to better design effective daylight-harvesting systems.

For more information on Train-the-Trainer and the Daylighting Controls Practicum, contact Dan Frering, the LRC’s manager of education, at 518-687-7149 or

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment.

© 2004 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 USA.

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