Building Energy Efficiency, Ergonomics and Management (BEEEAM) Laboratory
The Building Energy Efficiency, Ergonomics and Management (BEEEAM) Lab in the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology was established to research issues related to light. The laboratory focuses on three primary areas of research:
Factors of lighting such as flicker, glare and the the color spectrum can have physiological impacts on humans and animals - impacts that can affect behavior and ability to perform. In particular, as LED lighting gains popularity, we need to consider how the blue light from LEDs impacts the body differently than the red-orange light of incandescent bulbs. We are researching and developing lighting control systems that take these factors into account.
Future systems could include intelligent buildings that can guide a visitor to the right office, identify unoccupied conference rooms, summon elevators, track valuable assets such as medical equipment and adjust indoor air quality and lighting levels based on a room's occupancy.
It can be difficult to quantify how a person's performance is affected by lighting as light perception can vary widely depending on the observer and application. We are developing ways to accurately test control systems and measure human performance, including productivity under various lighting conditions.
Guidelines for performance testing and reporting of color-tunable luminaires have not yet been fully developed and applied in the lighting industry. NIU codesigned next-generation intelligent luminaires capable of supporting Internet of Things (IoT) and smart grid requirements.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2017, the U.S. residential sector and the commercial sector used about 273 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity for lighting. This was about 10% of the total electricity consumed by both of these sectors and about 7% of total U.S. electricity consumption.
BEEEAM is currently working with the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF) on a consumer outreach program to educate consumers about energy efficiency and electrical smart meters. Through the Creating Your Excellent Future Using Smart Meters program, Kevin Martin, Ph.D of the NIU Department of Technology delivers engaging talks and hands-on demonstrations using a scale-model smart house.