The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 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 January 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. An event summary is available at www.lrc.rpi.edu/RCL/SALTF_post-event-summary.pdf
“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, Ph.D., Rensselaer professor, 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.
Establishing the Regional Centre for Lighting in South Asia
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 December 2010, LRC staff traveled to Colombo to instrument the laboratory and train RCL staff to test products according to international standards,” said Narendran.
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.
Other activities since the launch of this new initiative in April 2009 have included education seminars led by LRC professors to increase the knowledge of those who can lead the region’s transition to sustainable lighting. Course curriculum has ranged from the newest advances in energy-efficient lighting design, technology, and measurement to LED system integration issues involving electrical, optical, and thermal characteristics of LEDs, as well as measurement and evaluation techniques for LEDs and LED systems.
About USAID SARI/Energy
The USAID SARI/Energy program promotes energy security in South Asia through three activity areas: cross-border energy trade; energy markets; and clean energy access partnerships. Through these activities, SARI/Energy facilitates more efficient regional energy resource utilization, mitigates the environmental impacts of energy production, and increases regional access to energy resources. SARI/Energy countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
About the Regional Centre for Lighting
The USAID partnered with the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) and the Lighting Research Center, USA, to establish the Regional Centre for Lighting (RCL), which launched in April 2009. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the RCL is designed to support collaborative initiatives with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to advance sustainable lighting, making it affordable in South Asia to improve the well-being of the citizens and the countries within the region. For more information, visit www.rclsa.net.