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LRC Steers Collaborative Initiative To Achieve Sustainable Lighting in South Asia

LRC Steers Collaborative Initiative To Achieve Sustainable Lighting in South Asia
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The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer is steering a major initiative to promote sustainable lighting in South Asia, using light-emitting diode (LED) technology. The LRC efforts reached a milestone last week when global lighting manufacturers, world finance and development organizations, and leading government representatives met to develop a regional lighting technology roadmap at the first South Asia Lighting Transformation Forum.

The event took place Jan. 17-19 in Male’, Maldives. Sponsored by the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI/Energy) program, the forum was designed to create a framework for a five-year, step-by-step guide to transforming the region to sustainable lighting using LEDs.

“The demand for energy keeps growing in South Asia as regional industries expand and the percentage of households connected to the electrical grid increases. Lighting contributes to a significant portion of the electric power demand. Therefore, the overall initiative to promote sustainable lighting with new energy-efficient light sources, such as LED, is critical not only for the region’s energy security but also for preserving the environment and improving the economy,” said Nadarajah Narendran, LRC director of research and principal investigator on the project.

With the framework now established, a detailed five-year roadmap for transforming lighting in South Asia is under way and will be completed in the coming weeks, according to Narendran. With LRC’s support, the Regional Centre for Lighting in South Asia will lead the implementation phase of this roadmap along with regional stakeholders.

“The demand for energy keeps growing in South Asia as regional industries expand and the percentage of households connected
to the electrical grid increases. Lighting contributes to a significant portion of the electric power demand.” — Nadarajah Narendran

The LRC was selected by USAID SARI/Energy in April 2009 as the “primary knowledge partner” to guide the establishment of the Regional Centre for Lighting (RCL) in South Asia. Through this partnership, the LRC has helped to develop education, training, research and testing programs, as well as strategic industry collaboration initiatives to foster regional manufacturing and job growth through the transformation of lighting to greater sustainability.

“The internationally renowned Lighting Research Center’s knowledge in lighting technology, design, and human factors, combined with its research, education, and testing experience, has helped fuel our sustainability initiative and establish the foundation on which to build a new lighting infrastructure for the region,” said S. Padmanaban, director, SARI/Energy program, USAID, India. “Their additional experience in working collaboratively around the world with lighting manufacturers, utilities, and government organizations has led us to engage the necessary stakeholders to help ensure that our market transformation is a success and provides efficient, affordable lighting to the people of South Asia.”

“In order to successfully begin the lighting transformation process, the region needed a facility that could conduct research, testing, and demonstration of cutting-edge, energy-efficient lighting technologies,” said Upali Daranagama, additional secretary, Ministry of Power and Energy, Government of Sri Lanka and the executive director of the Regional Centre for Lighting.

The Sri Lankan government contributed a new 10,000-square-foot facility located in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to the RCL for the purpose of supporting this sustainable lighting initiative. Lighting Research Center faculty, staff, and students, led by Rensselaer Professor Russ Leslie, helped the RCL design the interior of this new facility. In addition, Professor Narendran led a team of experts to plan and implement a state-of-the-art LED testing laboratory. This laboratory is designed to aid regional manufacturers in developing high-quality LED products and assist government agencies in implementing quality control programs to safeguard consumers from inferior products.

In order to maintain quality and affordability, the LRC has plans to support RCL in establishing partnerships between global and South Asian manufacturers while also working with regional government to promote quality-controlled production of sustainable lighting products, develop performance criteria, and implement incentive plans. These programs will be designed to promote accessibility to sustainable lighting products that are truly affordable.

An event summary is available at www.lrc.rpi.edu/ RCL/ SALTF_post-event-summary.pdf. To learn more about the Lighting Research Center, go to www.lrc.rpi.edu.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 2, February 4, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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