Green Sustainable Lighting

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Old Meets New as Covered Bridge Gets Sustainable Lighting Makeover July 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 8:07 pm

Not exactly breaking news, but this (and almost anything else involving Vermont, home of my alma mater) is near and dear to my heart. The West Dummerston Covered Bridge, one of many historic bridges in southern Vermont, has just been outfitted with energy-saving LED lights!
The 10 new LED light fixtures replaced high-pressure sodium lamps, cutting wattage use in half. Newly installed motion detectors on the bridge also reduce light output and energy use by 90% after sensing five minutes of inactivity. The lights are also expected to last a monumental 50,000 to 75,ooo hours.

The best part of the story? Residents say that the modern retrofitting has not sacrificed the old-world charm of the covered bridge, built in 1872. Hopefully this will kick off energy-saving makeovers for these monuments all over New England, including my personal favorite, the Silk Road Covered Bridge.


Repost: Loan Giants Threaten Energy-Efficiency Programs

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 5:41 pm

According to the New York Times, the Obama administration has set aside $150 million in stimulus money towards programs that fund energy-saving home improvements. The way this works is through local government lending the money to homeowners to cover upfront costs of solar paneling, sustainable lighting and other energy improvements. Then the homeowner has 20 years to repay the loan through a special assessment on their property tax bills, which stays with the house even if it is sold.

But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-chartered agencies that buy and sell most of the mortgages in this country, are worried that people will prioritize their energy improvement loans over their mortgages. If someone were to foreclose on his or her home, property taxes (which would be increased with this program) must be paid first, before other liens. To that end, Fannie and Freddie are refusing to approve home loans until the energy assessment is paid off first.

The unfortunate affect of this is that homeowners have shied away from the Department of Energy’s home improvement program, fearing that it would violate the terms of their loans. State and local officials, including Gov. Schwarzenegger of California, Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York, and some members of Congress are taking on this conflict. They are urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to clarify its financing program policies.

We’d all like to see more people involved in the home improvement program. Everyone should be able to invest in thermal insulation, LED lighting, solar paneling and whatever energy saving retrofitting they want, separate from their mortgages. Read the Times article to learn how this move can affect your home, and contact your local representative to get behind the effort to make financing easier for those of us who want to live more sustainably.


LEDs + Solar Energy = Saving Lives June 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:09 pm

Wow. This video from CNN (via Timbuktu Chronicles) shows the impact of sustainable lighting on communities that really need it due to limited resources. Evans Wadongo from Kenya has introduced solar-powered LED lights to rural families with no access to electricity. The money that they would have spent on kerosene for lamps can now be spent on food.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


This is a wonderful application of LED lights because they require so little energy to work, which the sun in Kenya can easily provide with minimal solar paneling. Now little kids there can study through the night and pursue higher education, and eventually give back even more to their communities. Green sustainable lighting WIN!


Repost: An LED That Mimics Old Standby / American Consumers Apparently Don’t Follow Lighting News June 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:19 pm
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via the New York Times Green Blog:

In more sustainable design news, the New York Times Blog reports that Osram Sylvania has produced a new LED bulb (at right) that mimics the shape of a traditional Edison light bulb. The LEDs’ light emanates from the top, and they are supported by thick, arched heat sinks. It uses 12 Watts and is supposed to produce almost as much light as a standard 60-Watt lamp.

I have already mentioned that I prefer the modern look and functionality of an industrial LED light bulb (like the one at left), but I can see how one that can’t let go of old-fashioned lights could be “tricked” into buying this bulb. As someone who has worked with LED lights and knows a little bit about them, though, I can’t see how these heat sinks can be too effective. Usually they are composed of lots and lots of little ridges to increase surface area for heat dissipation; the chunky arches look like they minimize surface area. Anyway, I’m sure the heat sink on the Sylvania bulb works adequately, enough to be approved for sale. I’d probably just use oven mitts while replacing it.

The article goes on to make two more interesting points. First, it reveals another application for LED lighting: refrigerators used in retail. The lights in any refrigerator with a glass front are on 24/7, so there is a strong case for replacing the fluorescent tubes they typically use with more energy-efficient CFLs or, even better, LEDs. The lamps that you see in most refrigerators also generate considerable heat, with requires more work on the unit’s part because it needs to be cooled to maintain the proper temperature. This is where LEDs would again be extremely helpful, as they run a lot cooler than any other type of light bulb.

The most thought-provoking part of this article for me is related to the federal phase-out of inefficent lamps like incandescents. Though the lighting industry is working hard on developing marketable LED replacement bulbs, a survey of Sylvania customers revealed that 74% of them are unaware of the coming change. This is two years after Congress passed the bill for the phase-out. Rick Leaman, chief executive of Osram Sylvania, says he fears a backlash when consumers are unable to buy the old-fashioned bulbs they’re used to. He wants the government to start a campaign to raise awareness of the lighting revolution that the country is poised to see.

I guess I’m not surprised that three out of four Americans don’t know about the federal phase-out of the inefficient bulbs that are all around them. (Heck, according to the FCC, 80% of American broadband users [myself included] don’t know the speed of their own home broadband connections, which they also pay for and use.) I suppose I’m surprised that both the government and most light bulb manufacturers haven’t already taken the initiative to advertise the phase-out themselves.

When television was making the switch to digital, we saw tons of commercials warning viewers about it (albeit mostly paid for my digital cable companies), and the issue was also on the news a lot. It would make the US Department of Energy look good to show that they’re working on ways to help save the environment while maintaining quality of life for us. So I believe it’s on both the government and lamp sellers to publicize the phase-out which will effect the entire country. While I, for one, welcome our new LED overlords, it’s important for people of all backgrounds to understand what’s going on, process it, and think about what it has to do with sustainable living.


Bulled Light Bulb: Form Following Function June 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 5:05 pm
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via design-aggregator:

An innovative new LED light bulb design by Jürgen Honold offers a sound compromise for people who embrace the LED lighting revolution and those who prefer the look of traditional bulbs. The Bulled light bulb is an 11 Watt LED replacement for a typical 60 Watt incandescent. Its LEDs are spaced out and built directly into the fins of the bulb-shaped heat sink. (The heat sink is where an LED bulb’s heat dissipates, leaving the light itself cool to the touch.)

image from

Personally, I think the heat sinks make LED light bulbs look edgy and cool. I’m glad this design integrates them into the overall look, rather than hide them. Honold’s design also offers a solution to someone who may be interested in LEDs for energy savings but wants a more radiant, rather than directional, light. The Bulled bulbs should be available on the market (in Europe, of course) by fall 2010.

The beauty in this design (for me, anyway) is how simple it is. If you see the problems people find in the LED bulb appearance, and know a little about how LED lights work, it’s easy to imagine something like this. (But not necessarily so easy to implement.) It makes me want to customize or commission my own LED light bulbs.


Melt Bulbs

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 2:32 pm
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via Gizmodo:

Artist Keita Ogawa has won the bronze award at the 22nd Koizumi International Lighting Design Competition for Students with this quirky lamp design incorporating LED lights. keita ogawa melt bulbs LEDWaves LED lights

The melting effect serves as a reminder of our diminishing natural resources and urges viewers to consider sustainable energy. I love that Ogawa used energy-efficient LED lights for this design. Although I guess if he’d used actual Edison bulbs not only would that lessen the impact of his message, but they’d heat up and actually melt things!

Unfortunately this lamp is not for sale (yet), but I know I want one!


(Earth)Healthy Competition June 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — greensustainablelighting @ 4:29 pm
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According to CBS News, the average American consumes about 13,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. (To put that into a little perspective, that’s twice the usage of an average person in England.) And 22% of that energy is devoted to lighting. Furthermore, Americans are also increasing their electricity usage by 30% a year.

To meet the growing demands of the country, the United States Department of Energy is sponsoring the L-Prize contest, which offers $10 million (and probably a lucrative federal buying deal) to whoever makes the most energy-efficient light bulb which creates the best light. LED light manufacturers are way ahead of the game, since LEDs use considerably less electricity than standard incandescents and burn way cooler. (95% of an incandescent bulb’s electricity usage generates heat; the resulting 5% creates light.)

philips led waves light bulb L-prize

image via

Philips has put forth the first submission to the L-Prize contest, with a bulb design that uses 80% less energy than an incandescent and half the energy of a CFL. At $40, it’s supposed to save homeowners $300-$600 on utilities and last up to ten years.

While I applaud the efforts of Philips, these specs aren’t exactly groundbreaking in the LED industry. I’m looking forward to seeing what innovations other companies produce, more in the name of sustainability and less for the $10 million cash prize.

via cbsnews