Some say they can see the future better at night. Now I have some insight into what they are talking about. As you may know, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is filling the government role in advancing energy-saving solid state lighting (SSL), which uses light emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide illumination. As part of its commercialization program, DOE recently assisted the City of Oakland, California, and Pacific Gas & Electric in demonstrating the energy saving potential of SSL street lighting.

The final of three reports on the demonstration project is available on the DOE SSL demo program website. The most remarkable finding is that the replacement of a single high pressure sodium streetlamp with a revolutionary LED luminaire could save 257 kilowatt-hours over the course of a year without sacrificing light quality or pedestrian and auto safety in most applications. Multiply that by even by one city block and already we are talking about some significant savings. Cross-country deployment could bring energy savings that would grow utilities' nightime capacity/usage gap even larger and make even more room for the plug-in electric-car charging that will be happening overnight around the U.S., if those dreams are fulfilled.

I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the forthcoming report on the performance LED roadway lighting on the new Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis. Stay tuned for that. For information on SSL manufacturers, see www.nglia.org.


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