Last month the U.S. Energy Department announced that it would be investing $7 million in three energy-efficient lighting projects as part of its effort to reduce energy costs for American consumers. Solid-state lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights and are up to ten times more efficient. All three of the chosen projects aim to lower the cost of manufacturing these highly efficient lights.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu asserted that investing in these projects will help the U.S. maintain a competitive edge in manufacturing while reducing lighting costs for American consumers. These technologies will also help diminish the nation’s overall energy usage. By 2030, the increased implementation of LED and OLED lighting could save American consumers up to $30 billion per year and cut the nation’s energy bill in half.
The $7 million invested by the Energy Department will leverage another $5 million in funding from the private sector. All three of the projects selected focus on either improving manufacturing or monitoring techniques to make LEDs and OLEDs more cost effective.
The company receiving the largest award is KLA-Tencor. This company is based in Milpitas, California and will receive a total of $3,995,000. KLA-Tencor is working to create a measurement tool that will improve the performance of LED lights while reducing the variation in their quality. The company also hopes to reduce the manufacturing costs of these lights while creating a white light with a more consistent brightness and color.
The second largest grant, totaling $2,344,000, will go to Cree Inc. This company, based in Durham, North Carolina, is working to develop an LED light that uses fewer raw materials and can be easily installed in buildings without sacrificing performance. Cree hopes to create warm white LED lights that last a minimum of 50,000 hours and cost less to produce than current models.
The final award of $800,000 will go to k-Space Associates. Located in Dexter, Michigan, this company is hoping to make the manufacturing process for OLEDs more efficient by creating a tool to precisely measure the lights’ layer composition and thickness. This development will improve the color, efficiency and longevity of the lights.
These investments in energy-efficient lighting projects demonstrate the Energy Department’s commitment to accelerating U.S. manufacturing of new technologies. Not only will these projects help create more efficient lighting, but they are also expected to strengthen the U.S. economy by creating jobs and increasing exports.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, Danielle Stewart is a blogger and lighting design consultant for P-2, manufacturers of commercial led lighting. She hopes to inform consumers about energy efficient lighting options that are available for use in their projects today.