Improving the energy efficiency of lighting systems in buildings and homes across the nation is the goal of our Energy Technologies Area (ETA) lighting research. Our goal is to reduce lighting energy consumption by 50% over the next 20 years by improving the efficiency of light sources and controlling and delivering illumination so that it is available when and where it is needed, at the required intensity.
ETA's lighting research falls into four main areas:
- Sources and ballasts
- Light distribution systems
- Controls and communications
- Human factors.
Lighting sources have changed considerably in the past two decades, from widespread use of energy-inefficient incandescents and fluorescents with magnetic ballasts to much-higher-efficiency compact fluorescents, electronic ballasts, and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, among others. At the same time, advances in lighting distribution systems and controls help users reduce energy demand by using lights only when they are needed. Our research in this area focuses on providing the information stakeholders need to choose the best lighting options for their application from among the many choices available. Our "human factors" research examines how people use these technologies and identifies best practices for achieving the highest energy and cost savings while meeting user needs.