Ledhis System

Text: Susanna de Besi


The Design and Sustainability Nucleus is a research group linked to the Graduate Design Program at the Federal University of Paraná. It was founded in 2003 with funding obtained from the project’s approval in the Verde-Amarelo/TIB FINEP 01/2002 public request for proposals. Since then it has been developing and spreading knowledge about Design for Sustainability through partnering on projects with companies, the government, NGOs and other research and teaching institutions. The group has lead the discussion on this topic in Brazil, having organized large events singlehandedly and with other groups, including the I, II and III International Symposium on Sustainable Design and the I, II and III Brazilian Symposium on Sustainable Design.


The LEDHIS project aims to develop a system of products and services with LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting technology for public housing (HIS). This study involves a broader project called “The rational use of water and energy efficiency in public housing,” which was developed by a network of ten national institutions: FEESC, UFSC, FUFS, UFES, UFMS, UFPR, UFBA, UNISINOS, EMC-UFSC, and UFPEL with funding from FINEP (Innovation Agency).

Within this broader project, the UFPR Design and Sustainability Nucleus (NDS), in a partnership with researchers from the Electrical Engineering department at UFPR and COHAPAR, has been developing a product+service lighting platform since 2011.


The first phase has already taken place and consisted of the development of a pilot product: an LED light fixture for use in public housing. The project aims to help this part of the population leapfrog the technology by going directly from an incandescent light fixture to an LED one, without using a fluorescent light fixture in between. During this part of the research the product idea developed involves a central system with three pluggable modules. These can be plugged into any outlet in the home, and can be suited to the resident’s preferences. The product reduces energy consumption and increases lighting comfort (Figure 1). Henrique Serbena’s dissertation is based on this project, while Maurício Hoss’s dissertation about service prototyping is being developed based on the design of the service system linked to this light fixture.


Figure I: LED Light fixture Platform – Source: LEDHIS (2013)




The second phase of the project consists of developing a lighting service linked to the LED light fixture. It has been in development since the beginning of 2013. The goal is create a new lighting service in collaboration with COHAPAR and public housing residents. The service aims to minimize lighting problems as well as allow users to perform domestic activities more efficiently, reduce energy waste and maintain costs within the Electrical Energy Social Tariff. The Electrical Energy Social Tariff is an energy discount for families registered for government social programs under the Cadastro Único with a monthly household income equivalent to half of the minimum wage – (MDS, 2013).


The goal of the first phase of the project is to investigate recommendations and parameters for developing products integrated with designing eco-efficient systems. (SERBENA, 2013)

The goals of the second phase of the LEDHIS project are to elaborate guidelines for prototyping and implementing services and developing sustainable lighting solutions for public housing. In this project, the focus is low-income families with more than three members who live in public housing.

Throughout the project, the families were involved with developing and validating the ideas through co-creation activities. For the development of the first phase of this project, a family from the Águas Claras neighborhood in Piraquara (PR) was involved, and in the second phase, two families from the Boa Vista neighborhood in Campo Magro (PR) were included in the service project, along with COHAPAR.

Therefore, the benefits being strived for in the LEDHIS project are: to obtain a technological leap with a significant reduction in the consumption of electrical energy in public housing, improving lighting quality in public housing, and creating jobs and income in socially focused businesses with new products and services derived from the new system/platform being developed in this project.


Since the beginning of the LEDHIS Project in 2011, national and international researchers, Master’s candidates, PhD candidates and undergraduate students contributed to the study.  Designers, engineers and anthropologists have also been part of the team.  However, one group of researchers was present during the first phase, and in 2013, another team has continued the project’s development.

Aguinaldo dos Santos, MSc, PhD, Coordinator of the project and NDS.

Henrique Serbena: Master of Design at UFPR, developed the first phase of the project, the LEDHIS platform.

Maurício Hoss: Master of Design at UFPR, developed the second phase of the project, the Lighting Service.

Rodrigo Karam: Researcher hired by the Nucleus, contributed to the light fixture project.

Silvia Ottavia Siviero: Master’s candidate at the Polytechnic University of Milan and intern at NDS.

The whole team can be seen on the project’s blog (http://projetoledhis.blogspot.com.br/).

The COHAPAR company, which works to implement the state government’s housing programs, is a partner of the LEDHIS project, and actively participates in the activities.


In order to develop the LED light fixture platform, the method used aimed to analyze the satisfaction units of a low-income family as well as a company in the lighting business. The information obtained was used to model concepts of eco-efficient systems which generated requirements for the product project. The requirements adjusted the development of the product and resulted in two different solutions, though both aim to reach the same user satisfaction units (SERBENA, 2013).

The methodology being used for development is the Reference Model for the Design of Eco-efficient Services in Product-Service Systems (COSTA JUNIOR, 2012). The method is divided into Pre-development, Development and Post-development.

In this structure, the project will undergo the following phases: (1) Strategic Analysis (This phase requires information about the organization’s strategies, essential components of its institutional arrangement, the portfolio of products and services and the environment in which the business will function). (2) Informational Analysis (This phase requires information about the norms and legislation applicable to the project, the user’s needs and interests, competitors and opportunities for working with sustainability). (3) System Conceptual Design (Create different concept options for the system). (4) Detailed Project (This phase requires details of the service concept chosen, in preparation for the next phases). (5) Prototyping (This phase requires a representation of the service experience).

Throughout the process, COHAPAR has been actively participating in development, along with the user who has been involved through co-creation activities. During this time, the participation of the company and the service users contributed significantly to the result and final quality of the project.


September 2011: Beginning of LEDHIS Project

December 2011: Ethnographic study + light fixture creation workshop

February 2012: Meeting of Rede (Network) 22 to present results

September 2012: Prototype 1.0 test

October 2012: INOVATEC Fair with prototype 2.0

November 2012: LACTEC evaluation of prototype 2.0

February 2013: Henrique Serbena’s dissertation on the Lighting Platform

March 2013: Beginning of the LEDHIS Service project

July 2013: Installation of prototype 3.0 in two public housing units

August 2013: Conclusion of Service project

February 2014: Maurício Hoss’s dissertation on prototyping services


The results of the first phase allowed us to identify the lighting needs of low-income families as well as how including local actors in the system helps people appreciate the local identity and generate income.

Another result included information on the initial investments required for LED systems since one of the deterrents for installing them in public housing is that the technology is considerably expensive and very hard for the low-income population to obtain. However, the study verified that when LED technology is thought of as a configurable system, it allows for a new way of thinking about lighting.

From June 27 to July 9 the last phase of the LEDHIS project took place; the lighting platform with LED technology. Two light fixtures were installed in the Boa Vista Community in Campo Magro (PR). The installation of the LED light fixtures aimed to test the functionality on site as well as verify the user’s experience with the project. The initial feedback from the two families was positive, though this process will be monitored to verify the advantages of using the light fixture. (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Installation of the LEDHIS Light fixture Platform in Campo Magro – Source: LEDHIS (2013)


The lighting service from the second phase of the LEDHIS project aims to resolve issues related to lighting behavior, energy saving and encouraging better energy consumption habits. The service will help families choose the lighting equipment that will be installed in public housing and an energy plan in kWh based on family habits. It will also seek periodical information about energy consumption and increasing families’ awareness with energy saving tips in text messages, on the energy bill and in workshops.

Soon we will publish the results of the lighting service project, an important innovation given that normally lighting is only dealt with based on physical characteristics.


See also