I recently presented at and attended the US Department of Energy’s Solid State Lighting 2014 R+D Workshop in Tampa, Florida. A terrific event, the US DOE’s SSL group uses this input from key industry participants to help guide their long-term funding programs with the goal of promoting the adoption of energy-efficient LED and OLED lighting technologies.
We need to find ways to reduce the total costs of advanced lighting systems. And as big a fan as I am regarding digital lighting technologies, I want our industry to leave behind a positive legacy — not a legacy of “e-waste” and other toxic garbage like the computer and consumer electronics industries have dumped on our world. I believe that the solution to both is intertwined, awaiting some creative R+D by industry participants who take a different view of what the future may look like.
My presentation once again called on the DOE to consider that advancements in sustainable lighting technologies may lead to lower costs in the future — both initial product costs and overall life-cycle costs. I also proposed that a series of smaller-scale R+D competitions might help drive these more futuristic advances. Both concepts seemed well-received by both the DOE and the general audience; I heard several of my more eccentric phrases echoed in subsequent speakers. Hopefully, this will start a positive transition in our industry.