Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lighting Where We Live . . . Simplified
By Keith Toomey
Residential lighting at the LRC
An interactive lighting lab will be used to teach consumers about home lighting.

A new program at the Lighting Research Center promises to make it simpler for homeowners and others to choose the right lighting products and techniques for their homes…and to use those products properly. The program focuses on residential lighting, which can include homes, apartments, assisted living facilities, and even dorm rooms. Patricia Rizzo, who is heading up the program, says lighting properly has been too complicated in the past.

“Homeowners can’t possibly know what to look for or even why,” says Rizzo. “They don’t realize that they can have better lighting right now, if they know what to ask for.”

The new program will work to educate homeowners and others by teaching simple messages and reinforcing those messages through publications and demonstrations. Projects that involve live demonstrations of good lighting techniques and applications, according to Rizzo, are the best tool.

“One of our goals is to help homeowners to create better living environments for their families, from infants to grandparents and everyone in between,” says Rizzo. “We’re going to accomplish that by speaking a common lighting language, simplifying terms often heard but rarely understood, and showing people how they can enhance their lives with good lighting.”

Under a contract with New York Energy Research and Development Authority, the LRC recently designed an interactive lighting lab at a building supply retailer in upstate New York. “This is the first of its kind in New York state,” said Rizzo, “and it illustrates basic principles of lighting, such as how your artwork or skin tone or clothing will look under different lighting."

The LRC is currently training the staff at the new interactive lighting lab, which is located in a Curtis Lumber showroom in Ballston Spa, N.Y. They will, in turn, teach consumers how to make smart decisions about lighting for their homes.

Future plans, says Rizzo, include demonstration homes, which she plans eventually to organize throughout the United States. “Education and demonstration – a neat process,” says Rizzo. “Simple.”

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment.

Rennselear Polytechnic Institute