Cost-effective dynamic daylighting for existing buildings
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Research and Demonstration Program

The latest IntelliBlinds™ prototype, the Evo-3, includes hardware and software to enable remote control, performance monitoring, and environmental data collection via an RF link. These capabilities make it well-suited for use in daylighting research and demonstration programs in occupied buildings. Such a program isn't necessary for IntelliBlinds™ commercialization, but could be very useful from a marketing standpoint—particularly if implemented as a joint venture with a university laboratory, lighting controls manufacturer, building owner/operator, or Energy Services Company.


The latest IntelliBlinds™ prototype, the Evo-3, provides a super-set of the capabilities of the reference IntelliBlinds™ Model D production design, including hardware and software to enable remote control, performance monitoring, and environmental data collection via a wireless RF link. The original purpose of designing these capabilities into the Evo-3 was to facilitate testing and fine-tuning of the user interface and daylight control algorithms.

However, these capabilities would also enable the Evo-3 to support broader daylighting research, test, and demonstration objectives in occupied buildings. For example, in addition to demonstrating the effectiveness of IntelliBlinds™ itself in real-world conditions, such a program could be aimed at demonstrating the full potential of daylight harvesting in sidelit spaces, or investigating the impact of varying daylight levels on occupant productivity and absenteeism.

Such a program isn't necessary for IntelliBlinds™ commercialization, but could be very useful from a marketing standpoint—particularly if co-sponsored by a utility, university laboratory, or government agency. For that reason, we've included it in our reference commercialization plan (albeit not on the critical path to market entry).

Evo-3 Research Capabilities

The Evo-3 prototype includes research-oriented design features and capabilities that are omitted from the reference production design for cost reasons:

  • XBee-compliant RF transceiver and antenna
  • Expanded IntelliLux™ sensor configuration (details omitted here due to overlap with in-process patent applications)
  • Serial command language to support remote control, performance monitoring, and data logging
The current IntelliBlind prototype design incorporates an RF transceiver, a modular sensor suite with interchangeable sensors, and software that includes special remote data logging and control commands
Chart 1: IntelliBlinds™ Evo-3 Research Capabilities

RF Network Configurations

The Evo-3 is intended to be used in a star-topology network configuration, with each Evo-3 node connected to a controller/hub via a point-to-point RF link. The controller/hub is also capable of broadcasting messages to all nodes simultaneously.

Evo-3 nodes can include IntelliBlinds™ Evo-3 units, XBee-enabled WorkPlane Illuminance (WPI) sensors, XBee-enabled lighting power monitors, and other devices. Each controller/hub can communicate with 255 Evo-3 nodes at ranges of up to 40 meters. The controller/hub can be an XBee-enabled PC or an XBee-to-ethernet gateway, enabling multiple networks to be managed by a single PC.

Using an Xbee-to-ethernet gateway allows multiple IntelliBlind Evo-3 star-topology RF networks, spanning hundreds of meters, to controlled by a single PC
Chart 2: Evo-3 Network Topology

This allows a single PC to manage an Evo-3 network of up to hundreds of nodes, spanning hundreds of meters.

Sensor Suite

Due to in-process (but not yet officially pending) patent applications, we can't yet disclose details of the Evo-3 sensor suite on this site. However, in general, the sensors support measurement of the exterior vertical daylight illuminance, several variables related to the interior daylight level, and the relative artificial lighting level.

Some of the sensor outputs can be roughly mapped to accepted photometric quantities. And the relative artificial lighting level can be roughly translated to lighting power consumption in watts, using a non-linear watts-per-lux calibration curve obtained during system installation.

And while the sensors can't take the place of conventional photometric instrumentation, they do have the significant advantage of being completely integrated into the Evo-3 at the top of the window, whereas conventional instruments must be located at eye level or on the workplane. So, data can be collected with Evo-3 in operating buildings with minimal disruption of the occupants' activities. This gives the data a degree of real-world relevance which could be more valuable, for some research purposes, than photometric accuracy.

Command Language

The Evo-3 software includes a command language that allows a remote PC to control and monitor all aspects of the IntelliBlinds™ Model D's operation. The master can read all of the Evo-3 raw sensor outputs and major internal variables, change key operating parameters (e.g. the daylight control set-point or sampling interval), and remotely download new software. The following table lists some of the over 120 available commands:

Table 1: Selected Evo-3 Remote Commands (of More than 120 Available)
Command Description
g_Daylight_Exterior_Alpha_equate_byte Reads/Sets averaging time-constant for exterior daylight sensing
g_Daylight_Exterior_Average_read_byte Reads average exterior daylight level
g_Daylight_Exterior_BrightSun_Threshold_equate_byte Reads/Sets exterior daylight threshold for declaration of "bright sun" to arbitrary value
g_Daylight_Exterior_BrightSun_Threshold_store_byte Stores current exterior daylight level as "bright sun" threshold
g_Daylight_Exterior_Calibrated_Accumulated_Minutes_equate_byte Reads/Sets exterior daylight Lux*Minutes product
g_Daylight_Exterior_Calibrated_equate_byte Reads/Sets exterior daylight reading calibrated in lux
g_Daylight_Exterior_Calibration_Coefficient_equate_byte Reads/Sets exterior daylight calibration coefficient
g_Daylight_Exterior_Current_read_byte Reads current (non-averaged) exterior daylight level
g_Daylight_Exterior_Daytime_Threshold_equate_byte Reads/Sets exterior daylight threshold for declaration of "daytime"
g_Daylight_Exterior_Daytime_Threshold_store_byte Stores current exterior daylight level as daytime" threshold
g_Daylight_Interior_Alpha_equate_byte Reads/Sets averaging time-constant for interior daylight sensing
g_Daylight_Interior_Average_read_byte Reads average interior daylight level
g_Daylight_Interior_Calibrated_Accumulated_Minutes_equate_byte Reads/Sets interior daylight Lux*Minutes product
g_Daylight_Interior_Calibrated_equate_byte Reads/Sets interior daylight reading calibrated in lux
g_Daylight_Interior_Calibration_Coefficient_equate_byte Reads/Sets interior daylight calibration coefficient
g_Daylight_Interior_Current_read_byte Reads current (non-averaged) interior daylight level
g_Daylighting_Adjustment_Counter_equate_byte Reads/Sets count of daylighting shading adjustments since system reset
g_Daylighting_Conditions_Accumulated_Minutes_equate_byte Reads/Sets count of accumulated minutes over which daylighting conditions were met
g_Daylighting_Disable_do_byte Disables dynamic daylight control
g_Daylighting_Enable_do_byte Enables dynamic daylight control
g_Daylighting_Mode_equate_byte Reads/Sets daylighting mode control bits
g_Daylighting_On_Accumulated_Minutes_equate_byte Reads/Sets count of accumulated minutes over which Dynamic Daylight Control was engaged
g_Daylighting_Setpoint_equate_byte Reads/Sets dynamic daylight control setpoint
g_Daylighting_Setpoint_Update_Delay_equate_byte Reads/Sets delay between manual adjustment and update of setpoint
g_Daylighting_Status_equate_byte Reads/Sets daylighting status bits
g_Daylighting_Tolerance_equate_byte Reads/Sets daylight regulation tolerance
g_Daylighting_Tolerance_Factor_equate_byte Read/Sets daylight regulation tolerance factor
g_Daylighting_Tolerance_Minimum_equate_byte Reads/Sets minimum daylight regulation tolerance
g_Daytime_Accumulated_Minutes_equate_byte Reads/Sets counter of accumulated minutes over which Daytime conditions were met
g_Daytime_Duration_read_byte Reads duration of previous day in minutes

Potential Program Objectives

The Evo-3 can support a variety of research and demonstration objectives involving dynamic daylighting in sidelit spaces, such as:

  • Demonstration of IntelliBlinds™ energy savings under real-world conditions
  • Investigation of impact of various daylight control prototocols
  • Investigation of impact of different lighting control protocols (e.g. switching-only versus dimming/switching)
  • Investigation of occupant-preferred daylight levels versus artificial lighting levels, including impact of wireless remote control for both shading and lighting
  • Impact of wireless remote control on frequency of occupant-initiated shading adjustments
  • Impact of daylight regulation algorithm parameters (e.g. daylight set-point, update interval, etc.) on energy savings
  • Impact of varying daylight levels on occupant productivity and absenteeism

Many of these objectives could be accomplished using an automated shading device other than IntelliBlinds™ Evo-3. However, the Evo-3's wireless networking capability, coupled with its ability to sense and log environmental variables such as the natural and artificial lighting levels, would substantially reduce the need for wiring and additional instrumentation. As previously noted, in addition to reducing cost, this would reduce the obtrusiveness of the test set-up—a crucial advantage for research in occupied buildings.

For example, if a high degree of photometric accuracy in the measurements isn't required, virtually all of the potential demonstration and research objectives mentioned above could be achieved without any equipment whatsoever beyond the Evo-3, daylight-harvesting lighting control, and control PC:

Thanks to the IntelliBlind Evo-3's built-in sensors, RF transceiver, and control language, daylighting research can be conducted without need for any instrumentation other than a control/collection PC
Chart 3: Streamlined Evo-3 Demo/Research Installation

Potential Participants

An Evo-3-based demonstration or research program as described herein would be most effective with participation from the following types of entity:

Table 2: Potential Program Participants
Entity Role Payoff
University Laboratory
  • (Potential) Co-sponsor
  • Design program
  • Oversee execution
  • Unique research opportunity to investigate dynamic daylight control for daylighting applications
Building owner/operator
  • Provide site
  • Allow access for installation, monitoring, and metering
  • Publicity for Green innovation
  • LEED credits
  • Long-term energy savings at reduced (or zero) up-front cost
Institutional/commercial tenant
Lighting controls manufacturer
  • (Potential) Co-sponsor
  • Provide daylight-harvesting lighting controls (if not already installed)
  • Publicity
  • Independent laboratory validation of product performance & energy savings
  • Research data to improve product performance
  • Opportunity for strategic alliance with other particpants
Daylight Control Technologies
  • Co-sponsor
  • Provide IntelliBlinds™ units and optional compatible instrumentation
Energy Services Company
  • (Potential) Co-sponsor
  • Design program
  • Oversee execution
  • Publicity
  • Research data for future service offerings
  • Opportunity for strategic alliance with other participants
Government Agency/Lab
  • (Potential) Co-sponsor
  • Design program
  • Oversee execution
  • Publicity
  • Potential for substantial reduction in domestic energy consumption


Summary of Key Points

  • The latest IntelliBlinds™ prototype, the Evo-3, provides a super-set of the capabilities of the Model D reference production design, including hardware and software to enable remote control, performance monitoring, and environmental data collection via a wireless RF link
  • While intended primarily to support fine-tuning of the IntelliBlinds™ software, these capabilities would also facilitate daylighting research and demonstrations in occupied buildings
  • In addition to Daylight Control Technologies, organizations potentially benefiting from involvement in such a program include university and government laboratories, building owners/operators, institutional/commercial building tenants, manufacturers of lighting controls, and energy services companies
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