US group launches solid-state lighting competition

Lighting for Tomorrow has announced a national lighting competition focused on innovative new light sources using LEDs.

Lighting for Tomorrow, a US program that aims to stimulate the market for high-efficiency residential lighting, has launched a new solid-state lighting (SSL) competition.

The competition, launched at the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Solid-State Lighting Workshop in Orlando, Florida, last week, will encourage and recognize innovation, lighting quality and energy efficiency in the use of SSL technology for specific lighting applications.

Responding to rapid development of SSL technology in recent years, Lighting for Tomorrow is soliciting lighting fixture designs that use LEDs as the sole light source for specific applications. A separate 2006 Lighting for Tomorrow competition for compact fluorescent fixtures was announced in January 2006.

SSL competition entrants will be invited to submit working prototypes in several niche categories:

• kitchen under-cabinet and in-cabinet lighting

• portable desk/task lighting

• outdoor porch, pathway and step lighting.

The registration deadline for the competition is April 1, 2006 and the date by which entrants must submit working prototype or production quality fixtures is September 15, 2006.

Lighting for Tomorrow is organized by the American Lighting Association (ALA), the DOE represented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). About two dozen energy-efficiency organizations nationwide have combined to pledge more than $150,000 to sponsor the 2006 Lighting for Tomorrow program.

This initial Lighting for Tomorrow SSL competition is geared to facilitate learning about effective applications of this new light source in appropriate niche lighting applications.

"We see that SSL has the potential to provide high-quality lighting and decrease energy use in certain applications," said Terry McGowan, Director of Technology and Engineering for the ALA. "However, at this early stage of development of SSL for general illumination, the traditional lighting fixture industry faces a steep learning curve as designers and companies learn how best to use the technology.

"The 2006 competition is an opportunity to evaluate innovative new fixture designs employing LEDs, while providing valuable feedback to SSL manufacturers and facilitating new connections within the lighting industry."

Lighting for Tomorrow was launched in 2002 with the goal of stimulating the market for high-efficiency, compact fluorescent-based, residential lighting fixtures that use up to two-thirds less electricity than standard incandescent fixtures. Through successful design competitions in 2003-04 and 2005, Lighting for Tomorrow has encouraged manufacturers and designers to develop innovative designs and technologies for the residential market.

Because aesthetics is a major factor in consumer purchase decisions, these competitions have emphasized attractiveness as well as efficiency and functionality. Past winners of Lighting for Tomorrow include Lithonia, American Fluorescent, Lightolier, Forecast and Justice Design Group.

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