Welcome to the LightsOn Project Website

Problem Statement

Corporate and governmental office spaces do not use their lighting systems efficiently. Often lights remain on in unused sections of the building or even after all the building's occupants have left for the night. Furthermore, the lights tend to be controlled in large groups; sometimes a single switch controls whole floors or even the entire building. This eliminates an individual occupant's environmental control as well as creating potentially wasteful lighting plans.

Charlie Huizenga, working for the Center for Built Environment (CBE), has developed a wireless lighting control system that can give building occupants complete control over any light in the building. The implementation of flexible controls has already been shown to cut a building's total energy consumption by as much as 15%. A unique characteristic of this system is that it is designed to retrofit existing lighting fixtures in a cheap and efficient manner. Other more expensive solutions require the installation of entirely new lighting components.

In the new system, individual occupants are given wireless buttons that control the light above their personal workspace. However, there does not currently exist an interface for facility managers to control or monitor the building's entire lighting system. The wireless lighting project envisions that such an interface would allow managers to monitor energy usage, control the lighting at various levels and provide notice when there is a light failure.

The system should provide utility for all levels of users. Upper-level building managers are more concerned with the energy use, whereas electricians and maintenance staff are primarily concerned with spotting outages. There is even the possibility that those within the building might wish to track energy consumption and schedule sensible lighting plans for their floor. The lighting control system will support these tasks.

Project Goals

Our goal is to build a web-based interface that will allow facility mangers fine-grain control over lighting behavior, scheduling and hardware status. The system needs to be intuitive enough to allow ease of use by people who don't necessarily spend the work day in front of a computer. Operation failures must be discernable at a glance and the source of the problem should be readily identifiable. Energy trends should be clearly visible without requiring detailed calculations. Our goal also is to create a system that the user, with little outside support, can configure.

Project Team

Ivan Tam | Lindsay Tabas | Katrina Rhoads | John-Mark Josling