Lighting Controls Market Characterization Study Available

July 25, 2014

With residential lighting energy consumption decreasing steadily in the United States and minimum standards rising, CEE members took the initiative to uncover the market status and savings potential in lighting controls. The results of this inquiry are now publicly available in the CEE Residential Lighting Controls Market Characterization Study. Lighting controls represent a compelling opportunity as the next source of energy savings in the residential sector, and the CEE study establishes a basis for pursuing these savings. The study focuses on four control types currently in the market:

  • Occupancy/vacancy sensors
  • Photosensors
  • Dimmers
  • Timers

Dimmers show the greatest promise for energy savings, followed by timers and occupancy/vacancy sensors.Not surprisingly, timers and occupancy/vacancy sensors provide the most savings for incandescent and halogen lamp types, with average savings ranging from 60-65 kWh/yr. Overall savings increase with highly efficient lighting technologies. In these situations, dimmers provide the most savings, with averages ranging from 20-25 kWh/yr.

The savings also vary by room type. The single highest average energy savings value is from dimmers used in living rooms—approximately 110 kWh/yr. These savings are the result of the high number of lamps and hours of use in these rooms. Residents also tend to dim lights further in living rooms. Timers show promise for outdoor applications—100 kWh/yr.

The study ranks all the control types by weighting energy savings potential of each with the overall market size or potential, payback period, market barriers, and nonenergy benefits. By comparing all these elements, it provides a useful evaluation of the control types from a program perspective.

The graph below, excerpted from the study, shows average annual kWh savings per control by lamp type.

Average annual kWh savings per control by lamp type

Next Steps

Significant trends in the future of lighting controls are also investigated. Notably these include integrated sensors/controls—multifunction devices, hours of use monitoring, compatibility with different light sources, color tuning, networking/wireless/mobile control, and integration into home energy management systems. The complexity, price, and availability of these products means that they are not immediately useful for programs but represent the next generation of savings.

The Lighting Controls Study typifies how members work together at CEE to proactively address new markets and savings opportunities at scale. By leveraging individual resources, CEE provides a basis for program administrators to add controls to their programs, along with informing manufacturers and distributors of this activity. Regulators may also find this study informative. The study is just the beginning of lighting control exploration; there is further work to be done in this area. Contact CEE if you have interest in furthering this research.


About CEE
CEE is an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. Members work to unify program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the success of efficiency in markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other, but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices and, by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.