Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Eval. Lighting Designs for Senior Housing:Residential Lighting - Elderly(ST4343-1)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute-LRC


The Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is currently under contract to NYSERDA to design and evaluate residential lighting at South Mall Towers, a senior residential facility. This project will build on and complement the work that is currently under way.

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Project Description

Lighting specifications will be developed for common areas, including the entryway, elevator lobby, community room, and laundry room, as well as a connecting corridor. An evaluation and case study will document the success of the lighting designs. Data collection will be accomplished through written and in-person interviews, photometric measurements, and light-loggers. A light-therapy room will be designed, installed, and evaluated to determine potential impacts of various lighting levels on elderly residents' well-being.


The connected lighting load was increased for the retrofitted common areas of the facility, but decreased for the sample of retrofitted apartments. Previously, the connected load for the community room, lobby, lobby corridor, and residential corridor was 3120 W, compared to the new connected load of 4337 W, while the connected load for the four apartments was 4160 W, compared to the new connected load of 3180 W.

Project Results

The project designed, installed, and evaluated lighting designs for common areas in the South Mall Towers facility, including entryway and elevator lobby, community room, laundry room and connecting corridor lighting. The project developed comprehensive lighting guidelines for renovation or new construction of senior housing. A light therapy room was also designed and installed in a portion of the facility's community room. Lighting designed with the requirements of seniors in mind can enhance their quality of life. Improving the lighting in a space can alter the way seniors use the spaces. Retrofitted fluorescent lamp luminaires were well received by residents. Combining a dimming system and occupancy sensors is an effective way to save energy in an intermittently used space, where some lighting is necessary for safety reasons, but it is important to use electrical contractors who are experienced with installing unusual equipment combinations. Commissioning can be difficult when multiple controls influence the same luminaires, and better lighting for seniors may use more energy.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute-LRC
21 Union St
Troy, NY 12180

Principle Investigator

Jennifer Brons

Universities Involved

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Building Systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Marsha Walton


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST4343-1

Last Updated: 1/4/2013 4