A first approach to universal daylight and occupancy control system for any lamps


Energy used for lighting purposes globally is currently about 20% of the total energy consumed. Recent technological developments have seen light emitting diodes replace fluorescent tubes and inert gas-filled bulbs globally. However, despite great advances towards energy saving lighting lamps, lighting control systems have lagged behind. This can be associated to the fact that their techniques and strategies represents intricate matters ranging from their planning process, their installation features, unevaluable investment payback time and difficulties in proper matching of the dimming system for use in luminaires. To this regard, there is need to come up with alternative, economic and sustainable control systems.

Researchers led by professor Dario Ambrosini and professor Vincenzo Stornelli University of L’Aquila in Italy, proposed a new lighting control system based on natural light monitoring and on occupancy control, characterized by installation easiness and affordability, for both new and existing plants. The researchers designed the novel universal daylight and occupancy control system that would be employable with any lamp, and based on microcontrollers, actuators and a wireless sensor network. Their work is now published in the research journal, Energy and Buildings.

Briefly, the researcher commenced their study by designing the control system architecture and setting it up in a laboratory for the proposed tests. They then simulated the lighting control system within the laboratory. Eventually, they advanced a case study in one of the classrooms in the Faculty of Engineering of the University of L’Aquila, in central Italy where the model was calibrated with both natural and artificial light.

The authors observed that the laboratory tests showed positive results for the new universal daylight and occupancy control system tests. More so, they noted that simulation in an academic classroom allowed validate applicability of their system where significant energy saving and reduction in carbon emission was confirmed. Eventually, the simulation helped reveal significant reduction in payback time that could be achieved once the system becomes commercialized.

University of L’Aquila researchers successfully presented a novel lighting control system, specifically conceived for installations on existing buildings. This system is entirely based on smart control unit and lighting control devices that can be directly mounted on the lamps in series connection. Moreover, the results obtained in their study indicated that the system is diverse in terms of the lamps used and that it has an ideal applicability to real cases. Therefore, from an economic point of view, the comparison between the proposed control system and commercial systems has shown a shorter payback period, from 9 to 5 years. The results of Dario Ambrosini and colleagues are encouraging and have laid solid foundation for future development and application of the proposed system in real scenarios.

 A first approach to universal daylight and occupancy control system for any lamps. Advances in Engineering

About the author

Tullio de Rubeis received the M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of L’Aquila, Italy, in 2011. He is post-doc researcher with the University of L’Aquila – Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics (DIIIE). His main research activities in technical physics are focused on the analyses of buildings’ energy efficiency, thermal dynamic simulations, lighting simulation tools, daylight design processes, lighting control systems, heat transfer through buildings’ envelope, renewable energy and optimization of energy models for retrofit analyses.

About the author

Mirco Muttillo was born in Campobasso, Italy. He received the Master degree (cum laude) in Electronic Engineering from University of L’Aquila, Italy, in 2016. He is a Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, University of L’Aquila.

His research interests are concerning on design and analysis of electronic systems for energy efficiency and structural monitoring of buildings, problems in industrial electronics, and both analog and digital signal processing.

About the author

Leonardo Pantoli received the Degree (cum laude) in Electronic Engineering and the Ph.D. in Electrical and Information Engineering from the University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy, in 2006 and 2010, respectively. In 2007 and 2008, he spent several months with the Communications Engineering Department of University of Cantabria, Spain and the C2S2 Department of the XLIM Research Institute, Brive La Gaillarde, France. From 2013 to 2017 he has been Research Fellow with the University of L’Aquila and from 2017 he is Researcher with the same University.

His research activities include the development of methods and algorithms for the design of RF and microwave nonlinear circuits, stability analysis under large-signal regime, active filters and MMICs design for space and communications systems.

About the author

Iole Nardi graduated (cum laude) in Mechanical Engineering in 2013 at the University of L’Aquila (Italy), discussing an experimental thesis concerning the assessment of walls’ U-value through quantitative infrared inspection. She got a PhD in 2017, and she is currently a post-doc researcher. Her research activities are devoted to buildings physics, with a special focus on buildings energy efficiency and on the assessment of the thermal characteristics of building opaque envelope through thermographic and numerical approaches.

About the author

Ivan Leone was born in Sulmona, Italy. He graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of L’Aquila (Italy). Meanwhile his period of study he collaborated in the realization of the scientific publication about energy efficiency, titled “A first approach to universal daylight and occupancy control system for any lamps: Simulated case in an academic classroom”. Actually he is living in L’Aquila where he is carrying on the master’s degree in Mechanical Engineer.

About the author

Vincenzo Stornelli (M’16) was born in Avezzano, Italy. He received the “Laurea” degree (cum laude) in electronic engineering in 2004. In October 2004, he joined the Department of Electronic Engineering, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy, where he is involved as Associate Professor with problems concerning current mode applications; physics-based simulation; computer-aided design modeling characterization and design analysis of active microwave components, circuits, and subsystems; and the design of integrated circuits for RF and sensor applications. His research interests include several topics in computational electromagnetics, including microwave antenna analysis for outdoor ultrawideband applications.

About the author

Dario Ambrosini earned his degree in Electronic Engineering from the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), defending an experimental thesis about the optical information processing by the Talbot effect and Talbot interferometers (Prof. Franco Gori). He spent two years in the Optics Laboratory of the Sapienza University. In 1995 he joined the University of L’Aquila as an Assistant Professor. Since 1998 he was a Temporary Professor and since October 2006 he is an Associate Professor of Thermal Sciences. In 2013, he was designated a Senior Member of both OSA and SPIE.

His research interests include flow visualization and heat and mass transfer, buildings physics, optical metrology, non destructive testing, thermography, digital image analysis as well as the history of science and engineering.


Tullio de Rubeis, Mirco Muttillo, Leonardo Pantoli, Iole Nardi, Ivan Leone, Vincenzo Stornelli, Dario Ambrosini. A first approach to universal daylight and occupancy control system for any lamps: Simulated case in an academic classroom. Energy and Buildings , volume 152 (2017) pages 24–39.


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