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Integrated Design Lab Installs Smart Lights

The new lights will save up to 70% energy

The College of Art and Architecture Boise-based Integrated Design Lab (IDL) just got a little smarter with the installation of new wi-fi connected smart LED lights.

The lights are managed by Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLC), which communicate wirelessly and allow occupants to control the lights with their own smart phones. The lab can pre-program different lighting settings based on room layout, number of people in the space and time of the day.

This new way of managing the IDL lights improves staff and students’ comfort by allowing them to control their lights preferences as they work, but most importantly, it allows the facilities to save up to 70% of the lighting energy in the space.

To accomplish such savings, the system uses LED lights to replace the old fluorescent lights and knows when people are not in the area so it can dim or turn off lights to save energy. It also can read the amount of natural light in the room and dim itself accordingly, depending on the user’s preset preferences.

The installation of the smart lights aligns with IDL’s mission of developing more sustainable and high-performing energy-efficient buildings and was envisioned as a showcase for architects, engineers, building owners and facility managers that often work with the IDL to improve their buildings.

The original lights in and gaps in the acoustic tile ceiling of the U of I Integrated Design Lab.
The original lights in the Integrated Design Lab.
Facilities installs the new lights in the U of I Integrated Design Lab.
Installation of the lights.
The new lights in the U of I Integrated Design Lab.
The new lights of the Integrated Design Lab.

The manufacturer of the new LED lights, Cooper Lighting, along with Idaho Lighting Solutions, provided 50% of the lights for free, and the rest of the 15 lights were purchased with help of a Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance grant.

In the next few months, Dylan Agnes, IDL research scientist, will read the system’s data and prepare a case study of the lab’s energy use to show the energy saved in the area and include a projection of the savings for the entire Idaho Water Center building, if LLLCs were installed in the entire building.

Article by Maria Ortega, University of Idaho Boise

Published August 2021.

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