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

Vol. 2, No. 1

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

The LRC Promotes Energy-Efficient Lighting in Latin America

On October 3 and 4, 2002, a team of LRC personnel headed south to Quito, Ecuador, to conduct a two-day seminar on energy-efficient lighting—the LRC's first in Latin America. The seminar was for policy makers, architects, engineers, and manufacturers. "This activity was part of the LRC’s CIELA Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy," says Sandra Vásconez, manager of program development at the LRC. CIELA is an acronym in Spanish for "Collaboration for Efficient Lighting in Latin America." The program promotes energy-efficient lighting in the region. Current efforts are focusing on Brazil and the Andes community: Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

Vásconez says, "We chose Ecuador for this first seminar because we are collaborating with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), which has its headquarters there. OLADE works with Latin American countries to promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. For them, this event was a first in emphasizing energy-efficient lighting." The first day of the seminar, led by Russ Leslie, Associate Director of the LRC, invited policy makers to consider lighting as an important aspect of building construction and to realize that efficient lighting can bring significant energy savings. Three invited speakers from outside the LRC—one from Venezuela, one from Peru, and one from Ecuador—contributed to the international flavor of the event. They described programs that have been successful in their countries. A roundtable gathering summarized the important issues that participants felt needed attention with respect to policies in their own countries and education on energy-efficient lighting technologies and practices, among other issues. It also encouraged participants to consider ways they could implement initiatives of their own. A next step for CIELA could be to approach organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy or the World Bank to obtain more funding to address these issues.

The second day was an educational session for architects and engineers. Vásconez explains, "We wanted them to learn about more advanced lighting technologies and better lighting techniques that incorporate our research results in human factors." LRC lighting designer Jean Paul Freyssinier taught lighting technologies and human factors at the event. "People were very interested in what we had to say," he reports. "This is an important time because there is great interest in energy-efficient lighting, and there is growing momentum generated by other energy-efficiency programs. I think we have an opportunity now to make some real progress in this area, not just in the United States but throughout the world."

Vasconez calls the seminar a success. About 50 people attended the seminar, including manufacturers showcasing their products. "Our participants said they were very satisfied with the experience. They're excited and want to continue working with us. For our part, we hope that people learn more about new technologies so that they will explore other energy-efficient options. We want them to participate in the policy-making process, to learn from other countries’ successes, and to realize that energy-efficient lighting is not just about saving energy. It's also about using lighting efficiently to meet our needs as human beings.”

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

© 2003 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 USA.

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