Tuning the Light at a Senior-Care Facility

The U.S. Department of Energy’s GATEWAY program has released a new report on a pilot installation of tunable-white LED systems at a senior-care facility in Sacramento, CA. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) conducted this trial installation at the ACC Care Center and invited GATEWAY to document the performance.

The Department of Energy’s role in the project was to take pre and post installation field measurements of illuminance and color quality advise SMUD on equipment specifications,

and compare the estimated energy consumption of the new system with that of the old one.

There were two primary goals identified by SMUD and ACC. They were to learn more about how tunable-white lighting affects the sleep patterns, nighttime safety, and other behaviors of the residents; and to better equip the staff to provide excellent care by improving the quality of lighting relative to the incumbent system.

Among the findings:

  • Energy savings for the tunable LED luminaires in the corridors was 45% relative to the incumbent fluorescent system, based on the reduced power, but increased to 68% when the automatic dimming was considered.
  • Illuminance levels in resident rooms and bathrooms were below industry standards with the incumbent fluorescent system, but exceeded Illuminating Engineering Society recommendations for the over-65 age group with the LED system.
  • Color consistency for the tunable LED luminaires used in the corridors, nurse station, family room, and administrator’s office was very good between luminaires and over the dimming range.
  • The staff of the senior-care facility documented important health-related benefits that may have been attributable, at least in part, to the lighting changes.*
  • Contractors aren’t yet familiar with tunable systems and controls, that finding the proper balance of automatic versus manual tuning of the lighting spectrum and intensity is challenging*
  • Educating residents and staff is essential when implementing new lighting solutions in senior-care facilities.

To download the full report, click here.

*MAC Electric is one of the few electrical contractors out there that actually keeps up with this ground breaking technology and works closely with several lighting  manufacturers who have color tunable products and options. MAC Electric is one of the few electrical contractors that actually understands this technology and has the knowledge and expertise  to design and customize a solution like this one for existing health care facilities — all while eliminating the cost of an engineer who probably doesn’t understand the technology. To learn more about our services and get your project started, contact us today!