OEC Overview

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On-line Lighting & Daylighting Educational Resources (eLAD)

Daylighting, coupled with high performance electric lighting and advanced controls, provides a powerful combination of energy measures that is at the top of the list of cost-effective energy strategies for many types of commercial buildings.

Lighting energy consumes 15-19% of all electric power generated in the United States (US-DOE 2006; US-EIA 2008). Daylighting, effectively integrated into building design and operations, can provide substantial energy savings. In buildings with effective daylighting, lighting energy is often reduced by over 50% with additional energy savings resulting from reduced cooling loads and improved visual quality of spaces for occupants.

To foster this substantial reduction in building energy use, this proposal outlines a comprehensive plan for eLAD, an on-line Lighting and Daylighting educational resource package that focuses on the use of controls and their implementation.

eLAD is designed to serve multiple learning environments, from traditional academic settings such as universities and continuing education programs, to single-session or stand-alone informational queries. eLAD consists of two primary components, an eLearning Software Platform (See eLearning Platform) and an Open Educational Curriculum (OEC). Coupling these learning resources will allow specialized knowledge and a fundamental understanding of issues to reach a distinct set of individuals that are responsible for lighting, interiors, and building envelope. It is the competence and expertise of these individuals upon which the life of a building depends – from design, through specification and construction, into measurement and verification, operations, maintenance, tenant improvements, and retrofit.


eLAD Potential Audiences and Learning Needs Audiencesandneedstable.png

Open Educational Curriculum (OEC) Summary

The challenge of teaching the complexity of integrating daylighting and electric lighting solutions to the range of potential educational beneficiaries of eLAD necessitates a different approach than that of standard textbooks. The structure of the open educational resource curriculum proposed herein will be developed to follow two approaches:

  • First, as a linear instruction period that offers a sequence of courses that may be tailored to conform to the 15-18 week semester into which an academic period is often divided.
  • Second, as a non-linear lesson sequence that offers comprehensive, single session “spot learning” supported by graphical software tools and problem-based case studies.

Both approaches would draw upon existing university level syllabi through the use of selections by educators or as stand-alone lessons (see Composite Syllabus). Pre-screening and categorization tools will be provided to tailor the materials to particular student needs and interests, while making available additional information for students with broader or deeper interests. Problem-based case studies covering new construction and existing buildings will provide a framework for many of the lessons (see Case Studies).


The eLAD OEC consists of three modules:

  • Daylighting Design
  • Controls Design
  • Controls Implementation


OEC Module A - Daylighting Design

The intent of eLAD’s Daylighting Design Module is to provide an educational opportunity to understand:

  • Daylighting Fundamentals: source properties, basic building science and physics, conventional strategies and typologies for sidelighting and toplighting,
  • Integrated Design Process: methodology, parametric design, quantitative and qualitative targets.

“Daylighting” commonly refers to the use of sunlight, skylight, and diffuse overcast sky illumination to provide functional illumination for indoor environments in a manner that is appropriate for specific programmatic and visual comfort requirements. In most critical visual task environments this means complete control of direct beam sunlight during all occupied times and the provision of sufficient diffuse daylight to meet ambient and/or task illumination criteria during occupied daylight hours.

The benefits of this approach are manifold. In addition to saving energy, buildings illuminated with daylight provide healthier and higher quality interior environments for building occupants. Daylit environments have been shown to increase individual productivity and human comfort, and provide the mental and visual stimulation necessary for the proper regulation of circadian rhythms.

During the building delivery process daylighting traditionally encompasses multiple avenues of inquiry: (1) building form and orientation, (2) daylight apertures, (3) shading for glare control, (4) shading for solar heat gain control, (5) interior surface design, (6) partition type, height, and location, (7) electric lighting and controls, and (8) continued maintenance. The inter-relationships of these goals are complex and may at times require tradeoffs and compromises. Only through careful analysis of climate, site, patterns of use, and building geometry, while always considering occupant visual comfort of paramount importance can effective daylighting solutions be realized. Hence, the capacity of design and construction professionals to deliver successful daylit environments depends on their depth of understanding across a range of daylight-related topics, and ability to employ this knowledge throughout the design and delivery process.


For an outline of the Daylighting Design Module, see OEC Module A


OEC Module B - Lighting Controls Design

The intent of eLAD’s Lighting Controls Design Module is to provide an educational opportunity to understand:

  • lighting controls concepts
  • qualitative issues that are necessary to achieve user acceptance
  • design strategies that can increase whole-building energy performance as well as enhance the benefit of controls equipment

There is a specific need for education related to lighting and daylighting controls for all segments of the building field, including ownership, design, construction, operations, and maintenance. While the upper limit of a building’s energy consumption is set by its connected load, large reductions are possible through controls. Unfortunately, these savings are often not realized, due to inadequate design, documentation, implementation or maintenance of lighting control systems.

Few university or continuing education programs teach lighting controls design in any depth, or even at all. Continuing education is often provided by manufacturers, without an independent, objective overview of the options and consequences. Consequently, control systems are often specified without an understanding of lighting quality or human factors and are disabled by occupants or facilities managers. In addition to teaching fundamental lessons and addressing integration of daylighting, envelope, HVAC and electric lighting systems, the Lighting Controls Design Module will link to or provide extensive technical information presented in a product-neutral manner.


For an outline of the Lighting Controls Design Module, see OEC Module B


OEC Module C - Lighting Controls Implementation

Effective education is urgently needed in order to avoid a number of problems that arise during design, installation, and operation of lighting control systems:

  • Writing a three-part spec, even a performance spec, is difficult due to substantial differences between manufacturers, and manufacturers often provide customized and proprietary systems with algorithms changing frequently.
  • Shop drawings in the form of bills of materials are difficult to evaluate.
  • Controls are often installed but not properly calibrated so that the intended savings are not realized.
  • Commissioning Agents are usually mechanical engineers without adequate knowledge of lighting systems and their controls. The involvement of lighting designer, lighting controls specifier, lighting manufacturer, and owner is essential for effective installation, calibration, and functional testing of lighting control systems.
  • Building operators and occupants need to be properly informed if long term savings are to be achieved and controls not be circumvented or disconnected.
  • Due to high turnover of maintenance staff (also usually mechanical engineers), documentation is lost, and there is no process for effectively dealing with complaints about lighting control system features and operations.

The proposed eLAD Lighting Controls Implementation Module will establish a process for designing, specifying, installing, calibrating, testing and re-calibrating controls that will carry over from early design stages into long term building operation, with the intent of achieving the full potential of long-term energy savings. This process will include checklists, templates and specification language that can be provided to owners, specifiers, installers and commissioning agents, to raise awareness and standards of best practice.


For an outline of the Lighting Controls Implementation Module, see OEC Module C

Contact Info and PDF Downloads

PDF Versions of the Following Documents are Available for Download:

OEC Overview
OEC Module A
OEC Module B
OEC Module C
OEC Case Studies
Composite Syllabus
eLearning Platform Concept
eLearning Use Cases
eLearning User Variables and Feedback


Please address additional questions to: Maria Konstantoglou @ mkonstantoglou@lbl.gov

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