Month: December 2014

Jim Brodrick on the Nobel Prize in Physics

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program by Jim Brodrick, SSL Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy As we approach a holiday that’s all…

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program

by Jim Brodrick, SSL Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy

As we approach a holiday that’s all about gratitude, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude to Shuji Nakamura, Isamu Akasaki, and Hiroshi Amano. In awarding the three of you the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel committee acknowledged not just your brilliant and singular achievements in developing the efficient blue LED — which paved the way for the development of the white LED — but also the profound impact this technology will have on the world. And it’s also important to acknowledge your many predecessors and successors, whose R&D efforts laid the groundwork for your invention and have carried forth the technology’s rapid subsequent development.

Even at this very early stage, the technology development you set in motion is already having a significant impact. LEDs in general lighting applications saved the U.S. 188 tBtu in 2013 — enough to power more than 1.5 million homes during that same period, and worth $1.8 billion. That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what could be saved with full market penetration, but the numbers are staggering nonetheless. In my entire tenure at DOE, there has not been any other technology that has had anywhere near that level of impact, particularly in such a short span of time.

But it’s clear that the impact of LED lighting will extend well beyond energy efficiency. There will also be benefits to productivity, health, the environment, agriculture, animal husbandry, automobile safety and efficiency, quality of life — and much more. How lighting is perceived, used, and valued will also change dramatically. By the time they become adults, today’s children will expect much more from lighting than we do now, yet the cost and environmental impact of this greatly increased value will be less than it is today.

Thanks to the efforts of Shuji, Isamu, Hiroshi, and many other researchers worldwide, LED lighting technology has come a long way — light-years, you might say — since DOE launched its SSL Program in 2002. So long a way, in fact, that even if all SSL research were to stop right now, we would still enjoy many of the benefits described above. But that doesn’t mean we should take our foot off the accelerator, because there remain many scientific challenges still to be met before we can unlock the technology’s full potential.

Understanding, mitigating, and solving current droop can improve lighting performance, simplify luminaire structures, and reduce costs. Unraveling the mystery of the “green gap” can enable efficient, color-tunable lighting with the maximum theoretical efficacy. Quantum dots offer the potential of improved control, resolution, and efficacy of the emitted spectrum. But less-dramatic refinements are also critical. For example, LED luminaires can be reconsidered “beyond the bulb” for improved integration, delivery of light, and building integration. LED packages and arrays can be engineered with power supply electronics into compact, easy-to-use modules. Flexible manufacturing can be developed to maximize the range of lighting products with the minimum number of building blocks.

In short, there’s still much more R&D work that can be done to maximize the impact of the invention of the blue LED. That’s why DOE has selected Shuji to give the opening remarks at our 12th annual SSL R&D Workshop, which will be held in San Francisco January 27-29, 2015. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to inspire the industry to think about what’s next for SSL R&D, and what it will take to make that next leap forward.

I hope to see many of you in San Francisco. Meanwhile, a very Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education Issues Call for Proposals

The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, an endowment fund in support of college-level programs that inspire students with an understanding of light in architecture, has issued a call for proposals….

nuckolls

The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, an endowment fund in support of college-level programs that inspire students with an understanding of light in architecture, has issued a call for proposals. E

ach year, the Fund solicits proposals from colleges and universities for innovative educational ideas consistent with the Fund’s objectives, and awards grants after rigorous review.

In 2015, the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education intends to award three grants.

The deadline is February 6, 2015.

Click here to learn more.

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Product Monday: Split by Luxo

Luxo’s Split doubles the light output of the typical task light for larger, more demanding applications. The aluminum luminaire features two 6W LED modules, each positioned at 30 degrees for…

luxoLuxo’s Split doubles the light output of the typical task light for larger, more demanding applications.

The aluminum luminaire features two 6W LED modules, each positioned at 30 degrees for wide light distribution of desktops, while the luminaire head itself remains parallel to the work surface.

Dimmable, available with integrated PIR occupancy sensor.

Click here to learn more.

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Light Harvesting: Mimicking Photosynthesis with Artificial Leaves

A new, efficient light-harvesting system based on the principles of natural photosynthesis has been developed by researchers at Tokyo Tech. Scientists have long been trying to emulate the way in…

A new, efficient light-harvesting system based on the principles of natural photosynthesis has been developed by researchers at Tokyo Tech.

Osamu Ishitani in his laboratory.

Osamu Ishitani in his laboratory.

Scientists have long been trying to emulate the way in which plants harvest energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Plants are able to absorb photons from even weak sunlight using light antennae made from chlorophyll molecules in their leaves. This absorbed energy is then transferred to reaction centers wherein the plants create the sugars they use as food. So far, artificial systems built to replicate this super-efficient natural process have been limited to a single reaction center with a few light absorbers, and have been unable to absorb enough energy from light sources with low photon levels such as sunlight.

Now, Osamu Ishitani at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, along with researchers from Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc., has created an efficient, artificial light-harvesting system based on the natural two-step process of photosynthesis. The new system uses man-made “leaves” as light absorbers, which relay energy through a metal complex to feed a final energy acceptor.

“It is difficult to make an efficient solar-energy converter using molecular devices such as so-called photocatalysts because the molecules are so small and solar light is so dilute,” explains Ishitani. “Such systems would require huge numbers of molecular devices, which are expensive and time-consuming to make. Introducing devices with the ability to harvest light into solar-energy conversion would be one possible solution.”

Ishitani and his team realized that building a system with multiple light absorbers feeding a smaller number of energy relay “antennae” linked to an energy acceptor would allow more photons to be absorbed from dilute light, with less energy being lost along the way.

The researchers created a device with 440 “leaves” using tubes made from so-called periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO) and light-absorbing biphenyl (Bp). The PMO-Bp complexes were linked to five connected rhenium metal sticks, which transferred the light energy harvested by PMO-Bp directly to a central ruthenium sphere. In this way, the photons from the light source were concentrated very efficiently, first through the rhenium sticks and then into the ruthenium reaction center, with little loss of energy en-route.

(Left) A ruthenium complex connected to the center of the rhenium tetramer is adsorbed into the mesopores of periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO). (Right) Photons absorbed by PMO framework are first concentrated to the rhenium oligomers, and then to the ruthenium reaction center.

(Left) A ruthenium complex connected to the center of the rhenium tetramer is adsorbed into the mesopores of periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO). (Right) Photons absorbed by PMO framework are first concentrated to the rhenium oligomers, and then to the ruthenium reaction center.

In a series of tests using the new system, Ishitani and his team found that the reaction center of their device was capable of emitting a strong light powered by the photonic energy from the leaves.

The new system could be used to build better photocatalysts, which can be used for a number of purposes including CO2 reduction and water oxidation photocatalysis. However, Ishitani and co-workers state that it will be some time before artificial photosynthesis becomes commonplace in such systems, because the process requires considerable further research and development.

Click here to learn more about this interesting discovery.

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The Vast Potential of LEDs

Maury Wright, editor of LEDs Magazine, had an interesting editorial that started the November 2014 issue. Focusing on color-tunable white light and new form factors, he says LEDs are beginning…

Maury Wright, editor of LEDs Magazine, had an interesting editorial that started the November 2014 issue. Focusing on color-tunable white light and new form factors, he says LEDs are beginning to realize vast transformative potential, though there’s still work to be done. Of particular interest is what we know about light’s impact on human health, and where that knowledge is actionable as best practice–a major potential for color-tunable white light. He might have mentioned controls, which I believe is another frontier in LED lighting, but he makes some excellent observations.

Read it here.

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New York’s Governor Cuomo Signs Model Outdoor Lighting Bill Into Law

New York Governor Cuomo recently signed into law the “Healthy, Safe and Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act,” which establishes requirements for outdoor lighting installed by state agencies. The bill requires…

New York Governor Cuomo recently signed into law the “Healthy, Safe and Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act,” which establishes requirements for outdoor lighting installed by state agencies.

The bill requires the use of properly shielded luminaires to prevent unnecessary up- and side-lighting, thereby reducing light trespass and sky glow. The bill also states that installations shall comply with minimum IES recommendations.

This legislation has been pending for several years. To resolve differences and garner industry-wide support, major industry and advocacy groups formed a coalition that included NEMA, IALD, the International Dark Skies Association and the IES, all of whom played a significant role in supporting and passing this legislation.

The coalition worked with the State Assembly and State Senate members to develop this model legislation, which addresses the design challenges while ensuring applications adhere to good lighting design principles.

IES praised the new legislation.

“This bill is a good example of collaboration and effective compromise among private sector stakeholders, advocates, and our elected representatives,” said IES Director of Public Policy, Bob Horner.

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Green Building Standards and LEED to Harmonize

In November 2014, ASHRAE published ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. The standard, which updates the previous 2011 version, covers site…

In November 2014, ASHRAE published ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The standard, which updates the previous 2011 version, covers site sustainability, water use, energy, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources.

The standard provides states and other jurisdictions a green building standard in mandatory code language. These jurisdictions can adopt Standard 189.1 in whole or in part. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of LEED, supported the development of 189.1 because LEED is a voluntary green building rating system, not intended to be a code. Another green building model code is the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), published by the International Code Council (ICC), which recognizes 189.1 as an alternative compliance standard.

In August 2014, ARCHITECTURAL RECORD reported that the USGBC, ASHRAE, AIA, IES and ICC partnered to harmonize 189.1, IgCC and the LEED rating system. Under this agreement, 189.1 will provide the baseline requirements aligned with LEED prerequisites and the IgCC. The IgCC will provide as an alternate set of prerequisites for LEED. ASHRAE, USGBC and IES will sponsor IgCC, and the ICC and AIA will sponsor 189.1. Integrated development will be managed by a steering committee.

The result will be a streamlined and effective set of regulatory options for jurisdictions across the United States, aligned with LEED. Regulators get the right tool for the job, adopting code-ready language instead of trying to codify LEED. Designers ideally will get less confusion.

Click here to read the article.

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Are LED Trends Affecting Our Health?

In a press release, lighting artist Bentley Meeker, president of Bentley Meeker Lighting Staging, Inc., contends what we don’t understand about light is affecting our health. He says: “LEDs and…

In a press release, lighting artist Bentley Meeker, president of Bentley Meeker Lighting Staging, Inc., contends what we don’t understand about light is affecting our health.

He says: “LEDs and fluorescent are the same light from a spectral standpoint. Daylight and halogen (or incandescent) light are similar in spectral properties. And daylight and firelight are the kinds of light that we as a species have been exposed to for tens and even hundreds of thousands of years. We’re being forced to use light in which we have no evolutionary relationship. It’s the difference between sitting in your office and going outside.”

Meeker worries about the trend in modern lighting toward LED and fluorescent lights, arguing that policymakers are focusing too heavily on energy as the key lighting policy metric: “They’re looking at coal and fossil fuel consumption and reducing it through a watt per lumen efficiency ratio. But we’re not discussing the behavioral traits that happen in that light. If you lived in your office lighting, you’d be out more, consuming more, driving more, you’d probably be fatter and you’d have a resulting ‘phantom’ carbon footprint that would easily outweigh your watt per lumen savings on electricity.”

Meeker believes that people who advocate cheaper electricity do not realize what they are sacrificing: “The change is really the elimination of spectrum. White, high noon daylight has 2 billion colors, almost all of them latent to the eye but available to us as humans. Fluorescent and LED have very, very few, if any beyond what you see directly. We don’t connect to that light at all, which is why we hate those kinds of light so much. Show me one person who likes fluorescent. The narrative needs to be framed in terms of ‘good light’ (full spectrum) or ‘bad light’ (‘mono’ spectrum).”

He points out that light is ultimately a matter of the utmost importance to human beings. It can affect the way we think, live, and love. Meeker frames light in almost religious terms: “Our souls are light, so as such this is mostly affecting our souls. We connect to daylight because of all of the latent colors that are baked into the colors that you see. Hence full spectrum. Our soul would connect to that. With mono-spectrum light, we don’t connect to anything on a soulful level. This creates a void within us where our bodies can physiologically function in certain kinds of light but our souls can’t connect. I think, over the longer term, this represents a real healthcare issue for the general population. Just as I believe that fluorescent-lit offices have directly or indirectly caused a lot of our healthcare issues today, either as a direct result of the light itself, or as behavior changes (eating, drinking, sugar consumption, comfort food, etc.).”

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LRC Releases Video Proposing Lighting Value Metrics

The Lighting Research Center has produced a new video, featuring director Mark Rea, proposing lighting value metrics that look beyond cost and lumens and focus on application needs.

The Lighting Research Center has produced a new video, featuring director Mark Rea, proposing lighting value metrics that look beyond cost and lumens and focus on application needs.

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Product Monday: Surface-Mount LED Luminaire by Cooper Lighting

Eaton’s Cooper Lighting’s Portfolio Surface-Mount LED Luminaire, featuring the company’s patented WaveStream LED optical technology, provides high output and precise wide distribution with visual comfort. The Portfolio Surface-Mount LED Luminaire…

Eaton’s Cooper Lighting’s Portfolio Surface-Mount LED Luminaire, featuring the company’s patented WaveStream LED optical technology, provides high output and precise wide distribution with visual comfort.

The Portfolio Surface-Mount LED Luminaire is available in five lumen packages ranging from 4,500 to 9,000 lumens, four correlated color temperatures including 2700K, 3000K, 3500K and 4000K and in 80 or 90 CRI. The high efficacy luminaire operates at up to 100 lumens/W. Featuring a clean design, the product is offered in multiple mounting options including ceiling-mount, wall-mount, pendant-mount or suspended by aircraft cables. The product is available in white, black, bronze and silver painted finishes.

The luminaire is equipped with a 0-10V or trailing edge standard dimming driver for control. The luminaire is also available with a native Fifth Light DALI driver option for complete digital energy management in some configurations.

Click here to learn more.

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