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Lighting Research Center
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Troy, N.Y. -  7/20/2015

NLPIP Releases Report on Wired and Wireless Lighting Controls

wireless photosensorThe National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center (LRC) recently released its latest publication, Lighting Answers: Comparison of Wired and Wireless Lighting Controls for Single Rooms.

The report details findings from NLPIP’s study of wireless occupancy sensors and photosensors, focusing on control systems designed for a single room in a commercial building such as an office, classroom, or conference room. The investigation included occupancy sensor and photosensor features and performance, wireless communication performance, compatibility with lighting products, energy harvesting and storage capabilities, and capital costs of control systems.

Key findings include:

  • Wireless occupancy sensors from the evaluated brands were available with only passive infrared detection technology. The lack of wireless ultrasonic and dual technology occupancy detectors should be taken into consideration where furniture may block motion detection.
  • The wireless occupancy sensors and photosensors tested had similar performance as equivalent wired sensors from the same manufacturer.
  • The wireless communication was robust in a typical office environment.
  • For controllers that don’t make use of a neutral wire and/or are installed in a switchbox without a neutral wire, operation could be an issue for lighting with electronic ballasts or drivers, so verification is needed.
  • Photovoltaic energy harvesting by the tested occupancy sensors is likely to be insufficient at some ceiling locations. Installing a battery in the sensor will circumvent this problem.
  • The tested wireless occupancy sensor systems had 54 to 128% higher capital costs than the equivalent wired systems from the same brand.

The report was sponsored by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and Natural Resources Canada.

Lighting Answers: Comparison of Wired and Wireless Lighting Controls for Single Rooms is available free to the public, courtesy of the above sponsors, at: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/nlpip/publicationDetails.asp?id=944&type=2.

About NLPIP
NLPIP, the National Lighting Product Information Program, helps lighting professionals, contractors, designers, building managers, homeowners, and other consumers find and effectively use efficient, quality products that meet their lighting needs. With the support of government agencies, public benefit organizations, and electric utilities, NLPIP disseminates objective, accurate, timely, manufacturer-specific information about energy-efficient lighting products. Established by the Lighting Research Center in 1990, NLPIP team members are LRC researchers—leading experts in efficient lighting, human factors and technology transfer. The NLPIP product testing laboratory is a non-manufacturer, NVLAP-accredited lab (NVLAP lab code: 200480-0). NLPIP's research and product testing has included many products such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), T5 fluorescent systems, metal halide lamps, dimming ballasts, and occupancy sensors, as well as timely subjects such as light pollution, full-spectrum light sources, and light sources and color.


About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. Learn more at www.lrc.rpi.edu.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.