To achieve the goals of sustainability and high performance, stakeholders in new construction and renovation projects must rein in energy consumption. Interior illumination represents a large fraction of building sector energy use, and lighting overall ac- counts for 19% of electricity consumed nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. With this in mind, project designers, contractors, facility managers, and end-users must understand why illumination is so energy-intensive—and what to do about it.

Though lamp types tend to be top-of-mind when efficient lighting is discussed, control systems are an equally important—and highly complex—topic. This course provides an in-depth discussion of lighting control technology for commercial projects, plus important techniques for exterior lighting design. (For additional information on interior lighting design and daylighting, see our course “Sustainable Design: Integrating Lighting And Daylight”: integratedlighting.)

The DOE’s 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization study illustrates the high cost of inefficient commercial lighting. Of the 700 terawatt-hours consumed by illumination in 2010, nearly 300 TWh were used to power linear fluorescent lamps in commercial and industrial buildings, turned on for an average of 11 hours daily. (Residential lighting consumed only half as much power as commercial—175 TWh vs. 349 TWh—despite using far more lamps, at nearly 6 billion).

The DOE reported good news about movement toward more efficient lamps, which produced an average of 58 lumens per watt in 2010, compared with 45 per watt in 2001. But most of the gains took place in the residential sector, where energy-efficiency awareness campaigns and successful marketing of compact fluorescents have created a shift in purchasing habits.

Clearly, the commercial and industrial sectors have plenty of room for improvement, from the earliest stages of planning through construction and O&M. One beneficial approach is to fully integrate lighting design into the process of architectural design and construction. An integrated process helps facility managers, tenants, and occupants take full advantage of energy-efficient illumination.

“Often the hardest part of lighting design is educating the client and end-user about the importance of considering the lighting in a space,” says Nelson Jenkins, AIA, LC, IESNA, LEED AP, Principal at Lumen Architecture ( “Just filling a space with lots of light is rarely the right approach for getting the light qualities that the user wants and that the architect envisions.”

Shortchanging lighting design can play havoc with energy efficiency and safety, not to mention aesthetics. “Have you been in a space with bamboo floors and really bad LEDs? The room will turn green,” says Avraham Mor, IALD, LEED BD+C, MIES, a partner with Lightswitch Architectural ( “Good lighting could be the solution. And it makes us feel good in a space.”

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