Problem Statement

It is well-known that corporate and governmental office spaces do not use their lighting systems efficiently. Often lights remain on in unused sections or on even after all the building's occupants have left for the night. Furthermore, lights tend to be controlled in large groups, sometimes even entire floors at a time. This eliminates an individual occupant's environmental control as well as creating potentially wasteful lighting plans.

Charlie Huizenga, working with 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 energy consumption by as much as 40%. A unique characteristic of this project is that it is designed to retrofit existing lighting systems 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 work space. 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 to the user when there is a light failure.

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.

Ultimately, we hope to have a working front-end interface that we can connect to the existing hardware test installation by the end of the semester.

Primary Users

We expect that users of this system will primarily be building and facility managers. It is also conceivable that this interface will be useful to virtually any person involved in office lighting, from company controllers to the individual occupant under one of the lights.

Typical users should not be difficult to come by. Every building on campus has a facility manager in addition to the campus-wide facilities department headed by Paul Black. Charlie Huizenga has already been in contact with many of these people and reports that they are happy to help. In addition, Berkeley is home to several UC offices and the CDE also has close ties with the Pacific Energy Center, both of which might be excellent sources for user contacts.

Current Design

There is currently no web-based interface for this project, so we will be starting from scratch. In preparation for designing the user interface, we plan on contacting former HAAS student Josh Mooney from Adura Technologies who has already begun work on a commercial application of the CBE's work. We will explore any interface they have developed in addition to looking at what Lutron and other commercial lighting control companies have deployed.