Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Assessing Daylight Dividend in Commercial Lighting :Capturing the Daylight Dividend (ST6771-1)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute-LRC


Daylighting is feasible in approximately 20 percent of total space located at a building's perimeter. Within this area, savings of 40 to 60 percent can be achieved through dimming technology and appropriate space design. Lighting loads represent an average of 20 percent of total building electric loads. In New York State, the net electricity savings for daylighting applications in all new commercial/institutional construction per year is estimated to be about $2 million or 17 GWh of energy, or 8MW of capacity. Additional energy savings can result from the reduction in cooling requirements borne by reduced operation of the lighting system.

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Project Description

The Daylight Dividends program was a collaborative, including US DOE, NYSERDA and other members of the Association of State Energy Research and Technology Transfer Institutes (ASERTTI), which funded the Lighting Research Center (LRC) to pursue the following broad objectives: (i) build market demand for daylight as a means of improving indoor environmental quality; (ii) overcome the technological barriers to effectively reap the energy savings of daylight; and (iii) to inform and assist state and regional market transformation and resource acquisition program implementation efforts. The three-year effort to enhance the use of effective daylighting in non-residential buildings is nearing completion and a proposal is being considered by the DOE to continue program activities another three years. All project tasks were completed on time and on budget. The program was able to leverage the Daylight Dividends research to garner an additional $500,000 in grant funding above the project budget of $1.7 million.


Energy savings associated with daylighting provide peak energy reductions and enhance the lighting quality and indoor experience of building occupants. Daylighting has been linked to increased test scores among students, greater worker productivity and satisfaction, decreased absenteeism in the workplace and school, increased health, and improved sleep patterns.

Project Results

A series of focus groups were conducted to identify activities needed to support daylighting in commercial buildings without compromising comfort and satisfaction of building occupants. The focus groups identified the following barriers to effective daylighting: 1) lack of effective technologies, 2) lack of proof of the benefits of daylighting and 3) lack of information on how to apply daylighting effectively in buildings. The project completed the following activities to address these barriers, including: A product study assessing state-of-the-art photosensors; a publication of a guide for daylighting schools; development of a daylighting curriculum and training demonstration daylight simulator ; publication of three case studies ; development and field demonstration of new, easy to use technologies, the DaySwitch and the manual shade controller ;a study of the value of windows from a real estate perspective ;development of easy to use guides on selecting top and side lighting strategies ;development of a guide to establish regional daylighting labs ;a dedicated Web site,( )to provide daylighting research and guidelines ;a series of presentations to national and regional building owners and lighting designers; and seven training sessions in New York State on how to commission daylighting technologies


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

Principle Investigator

Russell Leslie

Universities Involved

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Project Type:

Information Dissemination

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: ST6771-1

Last Updated: 2/8/2011 1