Carnegie Mellon University
The Impacts of Real-time Knowledge Based Personal Lighting Contro.pdf (8.29 MB)

The Impacts of Real-time Knowledge Based Personal Lighting Control on Energy Consumption, User Satisfaction and Task Performance in Offices

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posted on 2011-05-01, 00:00 authored by Yun Gu

Current building design and engineering practices emphasizing on energy conservation can be improved further by developing methods focusing on building occupants’ needs and interests in conservation. Specifically, the resulting energy effective building performance improvements cannot reach the desired goals, if the resulting indoor environmental conditions do not meet thermal, visual and air quality needs of the occupants. To meet both energy conservation and human performance requirements simultaneously requires to give the occupants information regarding indoor environmental qualities and energy implications of possible individual decisions. This requires that building control components and systems must enable occupants to understand how the building operates and how their own actions meet both their needs and the energy and environmental goals of the building project.

The goal of the research and experiments of this dissertation is to explore if real-time information regarding visual comfort requirements to meet a variety of tasks and to simultaneously conserve energy, improves occupant behavior to meet both objectives. Two workplaces in Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace were equipped to test the performance of 60 invited participants in conducting computer based tasks and a paper based task, under three difference lighting controls:

1) Centralized lighting control with no user choice

2) User control of

- blind positions for daylight shading

- ceiling based lighting fixture luminance output level

- task lighting: on/off

3) User control the three components (as listed under point 2 above), with provided simultaneous information regarding energy and related CO2 emissions implications, appropriate light levels meeting tasks requirements, and best choices in order to meet both task requirements and energy conservation goals/objectives.

The main findings of the experiments are that real-time information (listed under point 3 above) enables users to meet the visual quality requirements for both computer tasks and the paper task, and to conserve significant amounts of electricity for lighting. Furthermore, the 60 invited participants were asked to identify the importance of the four types of provided information tested in point 3 above. While individual users identified the importance of different information categories, the overall assessment were considered to be significant.




Degree Type

  • Dissertation


  • Architecture

Degree Name

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Volker Hartkopf,Vivian Loftness,Richard Day

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