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.
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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