Presented by the Designers Lighting Forum of New York

March 19–20, 2024
New York Hilton Midtown, New York City

2021 PANEL Raising the Stakes for Presence Detection

PANEL DISCUSSION: Raising the Stakes for Presence Detection

Ruth Taylor, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Dan Blitzer, Practical Lighting Workshop; and Craig Bernecker, Parsons School of Design

March 17, 2021
2:00pm –3:30pm EST


1.5 LU – Elective


Sensors for presence detection have been around for more than 50 years, initially for security and then for energy conservation. Now, research is moving beyond detecting humans to protecting them.

Advances in dimmable LED lighting have increased interest in deploying sensors for lighting human/traffic interactions outdoors. Indoors, using germicidal UV radiation to fight life threatening pathogens while maintaining human safety presents new opportunities for sensor technology and deployment.

Nevertheless, critical questions of sensor effectiveness, reliability and deployment need to be addressed as sensors move into applications with significant human risk. This presentation discusses how The Next Generation Lighting Systems program is evaluating various sensor technologies with implications for interior and exterior applications.

Learning Objectives
1. Participants will be able to consider new applications for presence detection and how these applications can improve health, safety, and environmental outcomes.
2. Participants will learn about the techniques used to evaluate the performance of sensors for presence detection and what these techniques demonstrate...and what they do not.
3. Participants will learn how the results of evaluating sensor performance affect design decisions with respect to sensor selection and location, and implications for health and safety.
4. Participants will be able to assess some of the next steps in the development of presence detection technology and application.


Ruth Taylor
Program Manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Ruth Taylor currently serves as a project manager on the Advanced Lighting Team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) where she contributes to a number of projects focused on the application and development of solid-state lighting (SSL). She began her career at PNNL in 1984 and has managed a number of projects for the Department of Energy including the outreach and deployment activities for the Building Energy Codes Program (BECP), the Commercial Lighting Solutions web tool development and implementation activities, as well as the Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting (CALiPER) program.

Currently, Ms. Taylor manages the Next Generation Lighting Systems (NGLS) competition, a highly successful, nationally recognized program which encourages technical innovation and promotes excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaires and connected lighting systems. Ms. Taylor has extensive experience speaking nationally on NGLS program activities and findings. Conferences have included LIGHTFAIR, LEDucation, Greenbuild, Design Lights Consortium Conference, IES, SALC, LightShow West, LED Specifier Summit, DOE SSL Workshop and others.

Dan Blitzer
Principal, Practical Lighting Workshop

Dan Blitzer, Principal of The Practical Lighting Workshop, brings over 30 years of experience to issues of lighting application, energy effectiveness and sustainability. The Practical Lighting Workshop is a 22-year old consultancy providing strategy, marketing, communication, and training services for the lighting industry. The chief deliverables are a wide range of face-to-face and written communication. Dan currently serves on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Next Generation Luminaires design competition. He is a board member and past president of the Designer’s Lighting Forum of New York, a member of the IESNA, a director and Treasurer of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education and is Lighting Certified.

Craig Bernecker
Professor, Parsons School of Design

Dr. Bernecker has been a lighting educator for over 35 years. He is founder of The Lighting Education Institute, providing professional education, and Professor of Lighting Design and Director of the Masters of Fine Arts in Lighting Design program at Parsons School of Design, The New School.

Prior to founding The Lighting Education Institute, he directed the lighting education program within the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State University. He has published more than fifty articles on research and education in lighting design and illumination engineering and is known for his work on the psychological aspects of lighting.

He also maintains an active consulting practice, providing lighting design services and serving as an expert consultant on many projects and as an expert witness on many legal cases. He regularly serves as a peer reviewer for lighting research proposals and projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

He further has served for 15 years as Educational Facilitator for LIGHTFAIR International, coordinating the development of the annual conference program, and annually teaches the IES online lighting certification review course in preparation for the NCQLP LC exam.

Dr. Bernecker has served the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) as Vice-President for Technical and Research Activities (1991-1993) and Vice-President for Educational Activities (1993-1995). More recently, he served the Society in its highest office, as Senior Vice-President for 2003-2004, President for 2004-2005, and Immediate Past President for 2005-2006. As a result of his contributions to lighting education, the Society named him a Fellow in 1991, and for his service to the IES, the Distinguished Service Award in 2017.