A public/private research partnership called the ZEBRAlliance (Zero Energy Building Research Alliance) just announced completion of four energy efficient homes in the Oak Ridge, Tennessee Wolf Creek subdivision. Among other energy-saving technologies, one of the homes is lit by LED-based solid-state-lighting (SSL) products based on Acriche LEDs from Seoul Semiconductor.
The founders of the ZEBRAlliance include the US Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Schaad Companies (the home builder), The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) utility, and BarberMcMurry Architects.
The ZEBRAllinace project built the homes for a 30-month test of the energy-saving technologies. In the case of lighting, the Alliance will monitor energy usage, maintenance requirements, and lighting quality. At the end of the tests, results from the SSL home will be compared against similar data gathered from a house that uses compact fluorescent lighting.
According to Doug Hardman, Seoul Semiconductor’s North American strategic marketing director, the SSL-lit house uses only LED-based lights whether the application is general room illumination, or task or accent lighting. Hardman said, "This project will help raise awareness about LEDs and their ability to provide energy-saving, cost-efficient, and longer lasting lighting solutions than homeowners currently use."
Molex manufactured the Acriche-based luminaires used in the project via their Transcend Lighting Group. Lumenique consulted on the SSL deployment.
In general, the ZEBRAlliance expects the homes in the project to use 55 to 60% less energy than houses with similar amenities that were constructed with conventional approaches.
"The ZEBRAlliance project marks the beginning of a new era in home lighting," said Brian Wilcox, Vice President of North American sales for Seoul Semiconductor. "The United States Congress has mandated elimination of ordinary incandescent bulbs by 2014; Europe did the same last year, banning the sale of incandescent bulbs over 100 watts. This market will grow substantially as consumers realize the benefits of brighter illumination combined with energy efficiencies."
The ZEBRAlliance was founded as both a research project and a campaign to raise awareness of residential energy efficiency issues. Schaad built the homes over the course of the last two years at their own expense. "Our vision has always been to drive innovation into the marketplace," said Schaad CEO Jennifer Banner. "The bigger question is which innovative technologies can be cost-effective for consumers who want to improve their existing home or build a new one. We hope to gain that knowledge from the ZEBRAlliance project."
Over the course of the 30-month test, the project team will continue to swap out lighting, equipment, appliances, and controls with the latest products that become available. At the end of the project, the homes will be sold to the public.
"Because of the ongoing involvement from builders, designers, component manufacturers and utilities, projects like ZEBRAlliance have the ability to identify solutions and implement them with speed and scale," said Roland Risser, program manager of the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program. More than 30 other ORNL partners are participating in the project.