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Lighting Research Center
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mullar2@rpi.edu
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Troy, N.Y. -  1/11/2007

Lighting Research Center and OSRAM SYLVANIA demonstrate new load-shedding technology to help reduce peak electric loads on the nation's stressed grid

Newest demand response technology will help consumers manage their peak demand, lower their bills

Representatives from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and OSRAM SYLVANIA have demonstrated a new lighting control system that allows electricity customers to reduce their monthly utility bills by controlling their own peak electricity demand.

Scientists at the LRC developed a prototype for a device known as a “load-shedding ballast,” that reduces power use by dimming the lighting in a building when the building’s peak electric demand is high or when the available supply is tight. With support and assistance from the LRC, OSRAM SYLVANIA modified the LRC design and is now manufacturing its version of the ballast, which is expected to be on the market in 2007.

Electric utilities often face periods of peak demand that exceed available supplies, especially during the summer. This can result in blackouts that can affect entire regions of the U.S. In a demonstration project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC installed 150 OSRAM SYLVANIA load-shedding ballasts at Consolidated Edison’s division headquarters in Rye, New York. Responding to a signal sent by the utility or the customer’s energy management system, the ballasts reduce power to the lighting by one third.

 “We chose this level,” explained Peter Morante, the director of energy programs at the LRC, “because it does not affect lamp life, and it is acceptable to most building occupants.” Morante explained that the LRC conducted lamp life tests as well as human factors studies to find the optimum level of dimming. “We found that we could dim the lighting by as much as 40 percent for brief periods without upsetting 70 percent of the building’s occupants or hindering their productivity.” LRC studies also showed that 90 percent of the occupants accepted the reduction in light levels when they were told that it was being done to reduce peak demand.

Peter R. Smith, NYSERDA president and CEO, noted that: “NYSERDA encourages this type of engineering ingenuity, and funded this demonstration with the intention of bringing this technology to market sooner. It will fit well into some of the State load-shedding programs that pay utility customers to reduce their load in peak demand situations.”

“This new system offers an alternative to costly and highly polluting peak power generation, as it can immediately and predictably reduce power consumption in response to peak demand alerts,” said Mike Williams, product marketing manager at OSRAM SYLVANIA. “It is a great breakthrough for businesses seeking to manage peak demand charges or reduce consumption during peak electric rate periods.” Williams said the new SYLVANIA load-shedding, high-efficiency, universal-voltage, electronic ballast for 32W T8 lamps will be available in 2007.

“The design of the load-shedding system is simple,” said Morante. “It is based on common instant-start ballast technology currently used in nearly 80 percent of commercial lighting installations. It uses a signal injector on the building’s lighting circuits to control the ballasts, so no extra wiring is needed.” Morante estimates that the load shedding equipment would pay for itself in as little as six months for new construction projects within New York City. Elsewhere, payback would be in about three years.

"This method of reducing lighting load during peak demand conditions shows how existing or new construction projects can dramatically reduce energy without compromising lighting," said William McGrath, vice-president, Con Edison's Bronx-Westchester electric operations.

Approximately two dozen representatives from energy service companies (ESCOs) attended the demonstration. Many said they were impressed with the simplistic yet effective method by which the load-shedding ballast system operates, and most wanted to know the commercialization date of the ballast.

For more information, contact Peter Morante at 518-687-7100 (moranp@rpi.edu) or Keith Toomey at 518-687-7174 (toomek@rpi.edu).

About OSRAM SYLVANIA

OSRAM SYLVANIA has provided lighting solutions in homes, businesses and institutions, automobiles, and a broad range of specialty applications since 1901. Over the years, OSRAM SYLVANIA has changed to reflect the markets they serve and the customers they reach. Through this time of change and discovery, one thing has remained constant - a belief that their ideas can make a difference in every person's life and that their products reflect a commitment to making our world more comfortable, more productive and more imaginative. At OSRAM SYLVANIA, "We make better light for better living." More at www.sylvania.com.

About NYSERDA

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 by the New York State Legislature. NYSERDA administers the New York Energy $martSM program, which is designed to support certain public benefit programs during the transition to a more competitive electricity market. Some 2,700 projects in 40 programs are funded by a charge on the electricity transmitted and distributed by the State's investor-owned utilities. The New York Energy $martSM program provides energy efficiency services, including those directed at the low-income sector, research and development, and environmental protection activities. More at www.nyserda.org.

About Con Edison

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $26 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. For additional financial, operations and customer service information, visit Con Edison’s Web site at www.coned.com.


About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC has been pioneering research in solid-state lighting, light and health, transportation lighting and safety, and energy efficiency for nearly 30 years. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. LRC researchers conduct independent, third-party testing of lighting products in the LRC's state of the art photometric laboratories, the only university lighting laboratories accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP Lab Code: 200480-0). In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. With 35 full-time faculty and staff, 15 graduate students, and a 30,000 sq. ft. laboratory space, the LRC is the largest university-based lighting research and education organization in the world.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science “to the common purposes of life.”