Oct 142011
pavegen Powering Lighting with Footsteps? Its Possible.

One footstep produces enough electricity to keep an LED-powered street lamp lit for 30 seconds.

A new technology developed by an engineering student harvests the energy of a single footstep – and delivers a source of incredibly sustainable electricity.

They’re called “PaveGen” pavement slabs, and they are being installed right now at the 2012 London Olympic site.

Adding just twenty titles between the central crossing of the Olympic stadium and the Westfield Stratford City Mall “should be enough … to power about half (the mall’s) outdoor lighting needs,” said the 25-year-old who developed the prototype, Laurence Kemball-Cook.

Kemball-Cook came up with the concept in 2009 while he was in his final year of school. This will be the first commercial application for “PaveGen” slabs. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 14, 2011 at 9:46 am
Oct 052011

overexaggerated sustainability1 80% of Architects, Designers Dubious About Sustainability...… Sustainability claims from manufacturers, that is.

A new research study indicates that although the number of environmentally-friendly projects for architects & interior designers is growing, professionals are questioning whether products that claim to be “green” actually live up to the name.

812 architects and designers took part in the survey, sponsored by home & building marketing agency IMRE in conjunction with the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and ASID (American Society of Interior Designers).

Architects, designers, and professionals reading: Weigh in. Is this consistent with your feelings about “sustainable” products from manufacturers? Do you think this is a problem in today’s remodeling and construction industries?

To speak for the lighting industry, this has become a real problem with LED lighting. The market is still maturing for LEDs, and there are a number of products out there that are poorly designed. Sure, they are energy efficient – but energy efficiency carries less weight when a product meant to replace an incandescent, xenon, halogen, or fluorescent light bulb is a fraction as bright as you are accustomed to.

Take caution when selecting LEDs. This issue is one of the reasons we are so careful about ensuring the quality of products we put on the Pegasus Lighting website!

Oct 032011

jfk pink 200x300 World Landmarks Turn Pink for Breast CancerOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and hundreds of buildings across the country will be lighted pink to show it.

It’s all part of Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign. Estee Lauder is partnering with Philips to light landmark buildings with pink LEDs.

The BCA Campaign is celebrating its 12th year. Last year, the campaign set the Guinness World Record for “Most Landmarks Illuminated for a Cause in 24 Hours.”

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York will go pink, along with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and other notable buildings spanning from New York to California.

Worldwide, the campaign will launch in Belgium, Dubai, France, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

Sep 152011

newborn light thearpy Rosen Family Works to Save Newborns Lives with LEDsA research project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is using LED blankets to treat jaundice in newborns.

The story’s an incredible one. The entire idea for the project originated from a small family in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Harel Rosen worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at Riddle Hospital. When his mother visited his workplace, she asked about an infant in the NICU laying naked under a bank of blue lights. Rosen explained that the baby was being treated for jaundice with light therapy, and they needed to treat as much of the skin surface as possible.

Daniella Rosen was troubled. “But his mom could not pick him up or hold him,” she said.

The incident sparked a series of conversations at the family dinner table. How could babies with jaundice be treated with light therapy in a less intrusive way? And what about areas of the world without access to power? Was there a solution possible that wouldn’t require electricity? Africa, for example, has one of the highest mortality rates for neonatal jaundice. Could a solution make it easier to treat jaundice across the world? Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Sep 132011

A few months ago, I posted a video about an engineer in Brazil who created “light bulbs” by installing clear plastic 2-liter bottles into the ceilings of buildings and capitalizing on the sun to light businesses and homes.

A friend on Twitter (thanks, Andrew!) recently sent over a similar video about “solar bottle lights” used in the Philippines.  If you didn’t see the first one, or if you are interested in green technology solutions, check it out:

 Posted by on September 13, 2011 at 10:52 am
Sep 092011

US power demand declining comes as surprising news to utilities executives 200x300 This Just In: US Power Demand DecliningIn an age of cell phones, high definition TVs, DVRs, iPods, and countless devices sucking power from every outlet in our homes, the latest report from the Electric Power Research Institute might come as a surprise. The demand for residential power in the U.S. is actually falling.

For the last 30 years (up until 2011), residential power demand has grown fairly steadily. From 1980 to 2000, the growth rate was about 2.5 percent per year; from 2000 to 2010, the rate was 2 percent per year.

However, during the first three months of this year, residential power demand nationwide dropped by 1.3 percent (after adjustment for the effects of weather). It’s expected to continue to decline over the next ten years.

Why is this happening? According to the Associated Press, utility executives are a bit perplexed – typically, power usage is not affected by changes in the economy. As AP Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey writes, “Even when the economy is stagnant, people still watch TV and keep their ice cream cold.”

Utility analysts are pointing their fingers at quite a few possible reasons for the decline, including the increasing adoption of energy efficient lighting, the efficiency programs initiated by federal and state governments, the weak housing market resulting in families occupying smaller homes, and grassroots efforts from consumers cutting back on energy use. They’ve also noted that appliances have become more efficient in the past couple of decades.

 Posted by on September 9, 2011 at 9:51 am
Sep 072011

1938 chevy 300x165 What a 38 Chevy Can Teach You About LightingJohn Philip Bachner of the National Lighting Bureau wrote a fantastic article (Good-bye T12. Hello Opportunity) about why T12 fluorescent tubes are being phased out in the U.S. I couldn’t have written it any better, so I wanted to include his opening paragraph here. It’s a great read – click through the link to view the rest of the article!

Imagine that the year is 1938. You buy a brand-new Chevy, the technological marvel of
its era. Now imagine it’s 2011 and you’re still driving the same car for your daily
commute. Far-fetched? Not if you substitute T12 fluorescent lighting – first marketed in
1938 – for the ’38 Chevy. True: We‟ve seen an astonishing array of new lighting and
automotive technology since 1938. Also true: No one we know of drives a 73-year-old
car for daily commuting, but some 500 million T12 fluorescent tubes are still being
illuminated in U.S. buildings every day… read more

 Posted by on September 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm
Aug 312011

Raleigh NC 300x175 Happy 5th Birthday to the Original LED CityBack in 2006, the city of Raleigh, NC partnered with local LED manufacturer Cree to become the first “LED City.” Since that time, the LED City program has grown substantially, with cities across the U.S. and abroad joining in to reduce their carbon footprint, save money, and promote LED technology in general. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy itself absorbed the LED City Program recently.

This fall marks Raleigh’s fifth year as an LED City! Since that time, 57 LED projects have been completed in Raleigh, with installations ranging from streetlights to pedestrian walkways to the mayor’s office.

According to assistant city manager Dan Howe, each project passes a careful cost-benefit analysis before going through. “We have undertaken no LED project that did not pencil out for the taxpayers,” says Howe. “Early on, we decided our efforts here have to be focused on LED as a strategy that pays off, not just something cool that will save the earth.”

Aug 122011

Classroom Concentration Lighting Classroom Lighting Impacts Learning: Research Study

When the Philips SchoolVision lighting system was installed in a German primary school, the teachers were probably dubious that there would be measurable results.

Sure, the SchoolVision system was specifically designed to improve learning environments: A touchpad allows the teacher to select between four lighting levels for the optimum atmosphere during lessons. For example, an “Energy” setting features high intensity light in a cool color tone, recommended for first thing in the morning or after lunch. A “Calm” setting has a standard intensity level and a warm color tone for use in a hyperactive classroom. “Normal” and “Focus” similarly use light to create the ideal setting for students.

But would such subtle changes in lighting make a difference? Apparently, yes! A year-long study of 166 pupils and 18 teachers in SchoolVision classrooms was conducted in Hamburg, Germany. Standard tests used to measure levels of attention and concentration found that reading speed among the students increased by 35% and hyperactivity decreased by 76%.

The findings correlate with several other studies into the effects of SchoolVision. According to my research, SchoolVision has not yet been installed in any classrooms in the United States. What do you think: Would it be a valuable addition to our school systems?

Aug 112011
Baiyun Obo Mine Will the Future of Fluorescent Lighting Be Shaky?

A mine in Baiyun Obo, which produces half the world's rare earth elements. Photo courtesy of Treehugger.

Remember our post on why fluorescent light bulbs are becoming more expensive?

Well, the Chinese government is beginning to enforce those export restrictions on rare earth elements. According to an article in Times LIVE, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will now punish rare earth producers that fail to stick to the nationwide production cap.

Enterprises exceeding quotas will have licenses cancelled, and will also face government action if they are caught buying ore from mines that violate government guidelines.

It is unclear whether the production cap for 2011 of 93,800 tonnes has already been met, but a number of plants have closed down.

What does this mean for fluorescent lighting? For a fluorescent light bulb to create light, there must be a phosphor coating inside its glass envelope. While phosphor is not a rare earth element, rare earth elements are a crucial component to the process of creating the light-producing tri-phosphors inside the lamps.

The production cap is meant to crack down on illegal production of rare earth elements. However, since China produces about 97 percent of the global supply, the policy is affecting the production of countless products in the green tech industry that count on rare earth minerals.

 Posted by on August 11, 2011 at 10:31 am

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