Lighting Research Center
LRC Intranet Web mail Lighting Research Center

Press Release


Back To Newsroom

News from the Lighting Research Center
                             Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Contact:   Rebekah Mullaney
Lighting Research Center
(518) 276-7118
  Newsroom Home
  Project Posters
  In the News
  About Us
  Contact Us
Troy, NY -  9/18/2000

Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center Wins Public Service Award from NYSERDA

Summary: The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded the LRC with the first-ever Pioneer Award in recognition of "excellence in energy innovation in the public interest."

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) presented the first-ever Pioneer Award to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center (LRC) at a ceremony commemorating NYSERDA's 25th anniversary. The award recognizes the LRC for "excellence in energy innovation in the public interest."

The award was presented to LRC Director Dr. Mark Rea by NYSERDA President F. William Valentino at a reception held at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Albany, New York. The ceremony was hosted by NYSERDA Chairman William R. Howell, Valentino, and NYSERDA Vice President William M. Flynn. Howell and New York State Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue delivered keynote speeches to a packed crowd of NYSERDA supporters and collaborators, including New York State Assemblyman and Chairman of the Committee on Energy Paul D. Tonko and New York State Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications James Wright.

Pioneer Awards were presented to ten New York State organizations for their leadership in energy-efficiency and environmental development, with most awards going to corporations that market environmentally-friendly technologies, like SunWize Technologies and ECR International, or to organizations that have successfully implemented such technologies throughout their facilities, including the Shenendehowa Central School District and the Office of Mental Health.

"We are honored to have been selected for this competitive award from among the hundreds of distinguished organizations that have collaborated with NYSERDA," Dr. Rea said. "We are especially pleased to be the only university to receive this award."

In his presentation, Valentino paid respect to the late Jim Barron, who, as NYSERDA's lighting research and development project manager, originally conceived establishing a world-class center for lighting research and education in New York State. In 1988, Barron and NYSERDA sponsored a statewide competition for funding to start such a center, which was won by Rensselaer's School of Architecture.

In the 12 years since, the LRC has grown into an interdisciplinary center of 40 professionals devoted to lighting excellence. Their research has transformed the lighting industry, driving the acceptance of such innovations as L.E.D. traffic signals and exit signs, high-efficiency fluorescent lighting systems, improved visibility for snowplows, and certification for lighting professionals.

As Valentino remarked, "Unfortunately Jim Barron is not with us today to witness the success of a dream he first conceptualized and convinced NYSERDA management to support, a Lighting Research Center in New York. It is with pride, congratulations and thanks for a job done better than even Jim dreamed of that I award this Pioneer Award to the Lighting Research Center."

The other Pioneer Award winners were:

Rupprecht & Pataschnick of Albany for air quality monitoring devices.

Steven Winter Associates for energy efficiency services and green building leadership.

SunWize Technologies of Kingston for leadership in developing and marketing photovoltaic products.

Goulds Pumps ITT Industries for developing a process to reduce the volatile organic compound content of their industrial painting operation.

Lockheed Martin/NYC-MTA for developing and successfully operating the hybrid-electric drivetrain for transit buses now in operation in New York City.

ECR International for work conducted through it subsidiaries Dunkirk Boiler, Utica Boiler, and EnviroMaster International to develop energy-efficient and environmentally sound heating and cooling systems for the residential and small commercial markets.

Shenendehowa Central School District for its efforts to promote and advocate for energy performance contracting in schools as well as leadership in building the largest natural gas-powered school bus fleet in the State.

Energy Investment Systems of New York City for leadership in promoting energy efficiency in low-income, public housing using advanced metering technologies throughout New York City.

The Office of Mental Health for its efforts to incorporate energy efficiency throughout its statewide network of facilities, reducing energy use at these facilities by a remarkable 40%.

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 conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. 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. 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. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.