The Living Lab Demonstration Project is a collaboration between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Building Energy Exchange that explores and advances innovative integrated lighting, daylighting, and shading systems in working office environments. The team will document the metrics, economics, and lessons learned, and develop resources to aid the widespread deployment and successful operation of these energy saving systems. Two leading financial institutions are hosting “living lab” demonstration floors within their flagship NYC headquarters.


To speed adoption of advanced lighting, daylighting, and shading systems, the Living Lab Demonstration Project will retrofit existing offices with “state-of-the-shelf” systems and monitor their performance to better understand and communicate the factors involved in successful deployment and operation of these systems. This proof-of-concept project grew out of BEEx’s Let There Be Daylight report.

The project will analyze pre-retrofit performance over a range of space types, and will monitor control spaces to compare and contrast the impacts of the deployed systems, including effects on satisfaction of the occupants. The two-year projects will include multiple feedback loops allowing for periodic modifications and enhancements to the systems. In addition to significant improvements in energy use performance, the project will focus on strategic procurement processes that reduce overall implementation costs.

Areas of focus will include effective, high-efficiency lighting, shades, solar controls, and products that extend daylight penetration, and controls for scheduling and tuning of systems that respond to occupancy, light levels, and other factors. The team will consider cost effectiveness while maintaining high levels of indoor environmental quality. The projects take LBNL’s ground-breaking work on shading and lighting controls at the New York Times building as their model. When the most effective set of integrated solutions has been identified, the financial institutions will explore replication of these solutions on other floors and throughout their respective building portfolios.


The LBNL/BEEx team expects the Living Lab projects will transform the performance and cost expectations for advanced daylighting retrofit solutions. Successful solutions, lessons learned and the key factors in sustaining ongoing performance will be communicated by the Building Energy Exchange to the greater real estate community through virtual case studies, live instruction technical training, panel discussions, webinars, and other resources.

Over the demonstration period, a wide range of addressable, granular lighting control strategies (e.g. daylight harvesting, occupancy sensing, tuning, etc.) will be tested to achieve the greatest energy usage reductions while maintaining or improving occupant satisfaction.

  • Widespread utilization throughout the building stock requires highly cost-effective solutions. Quantifying benefits and reducing product, installation, commissioning, and operating costs is a major goal of the project, in part by creating very large new markets to justify investment in cost-reducing innovations.
  • The project team, with support from DOE and NYSERDA, will ensure that results are widely disseminated not only in New York City and state, but also nationally via a wide variety of public and private venues and media.


Throughout the demonstration project, BEEx and LBNL have learned many lessons on process, technology selection, installation and commissioning to date. The exhibit, Lighting the Future, which was located at the Building Energy Exchange in downtown Manhattan, showcased the technologies installed in the Living Lab. BEEx updated See the Light Training to incorporate these lessons learned. Additionally, BEEx and LBNL have presented at international conferences such as LightFair 2014 & 2015, Greenbuild 2014 and EnergySmart 2016.

To learn more be sure to visit the Lawrence Berkley National Lab page here for more information or read the full report (PDF)


  • Retrofit
  • Commercial
  • Data & Technology

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