How Lighting Controls Can Mimic the Sun (LIGHTFAIR 2019)

May 21, 2019

At LIGHTFAIR 2019, Jeff Hungarter, director at Cree Lighting, shared a demonstration of their skylight product called Cadiant. This fixture can mimic the sun—complete with a blue sky—and deliver what feels like natural daylight, if that’s not accessible in parts of your building.

It uses advanced lighting controls in combination with multi-dimensional LED panels and color-changing technology.

[Transcript begins]

So, when we talk about the static presets where you want people in the space just to have a simple way to change the lights if they come in and it looks like this and they’re having a big birthday party, right? They want the lights to be a lot brighter, they can easily go here and click “afternoon.”

[Related: What You Need to Know About Human-Centric Lighting]

The lights’ intensity comes up. The blue is a little bit more blue, like a sky. But you can also go back to say, ‘Well, I want to go do a presentation.’ And now it comes into kind of what we’re calling a dawn or an early morning mode.

And so, if you come underneath here, you can actually see where two of these panels are a little bit more illuminated and a little bit more warm, versus the other two panels. And again, that’s to give the effect that the sun is actually rising, coming across the sky.

You’ll notice when we go through the demo is that will start and that will go all the way through the day and it will end up on the other side, so just like you’re having a sunset.

[More from LIGHTFAIR: Light Fixtures Improve Acoustics in Open Work Spaces]

Now, if you don’t like the six presets that we’ve set here, of course, you can edit them, you can make as many presets as you want. You can customize them, name them whatever you want. But the people in the space can also change on their own.

So, if they want to change intensity and they want to change brightness, they can do that, right? And what will happen is that will stay that way for as long as that person is in the space.


Once they leave that space, whatever you’ve set your timer to, let’s call it five minutes, it will then go back to whatever profile you have running in the background. So, if you have, ‘it’s 1:30,’ it’ll go back to whatever 1:30 looks like.

So, let’s take a look at basically, you’ve taken 12 hours and we’ve condensed it into about a minute-and-a-half. Here you’ll see, we’re kind of starting in an early dawn morning mode.

And what will happen is you’ll just see slowly the intensity of light will start to increase. The color will move from kind of that warmer to 3200 or 3300 Kelvin. And depending on how underneath it, you can see some candles are more illuminated as if the sun’s coming.

Now, you’re getting closer to 11:00 am. You’re getting a little bit more blue, a little bit more intensity. The color is moving a little bit to a little bit cooler on the sun panels.

[On topic: Harvesting Natural Lighting]

What’s going to happen is you’re going to get to noon. And that’s going to be where you max out. You’re going have 50 percent across the sun because that’s the sun right up—and then you’re going to start to now go the other way. So, the intensity is going to slowly start to come down.

And if you’re over here, you’re going to see these two panels now are going to become more intense, they’re going to become a little bit warmer, as if the sun is actually setting in the west.

Again, the whole idea of this is just to give that person some way to feel like they have a connection to what’s actually happening outdoors.

[Transcript ends]

More LIGHTFAIR 2019 coverage:

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About the author
Sarah Kloepple | Associate Editor

Sarah joined the BUILDINGS team as an associate editor in August 2018. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, where her focus was magazine writing. She's written and edited for numerous publications in her hometown of St. Louis.