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Center fosters illuminating partnerships

Michael Siminovitch, Director/California Lighting Technology Center:
The California Lighting Technology Center was really established in partnership with the industry and with large end users, the electrical utilities, the Energy Commission, looking at all of these folks working together.  And we knew very early that the existing research paradigm that exists in this country doesn't work well.  It develops things in narrow laboratories that never see the light of day. So we knew that this narrow, very narrow research agenda that we see in this country could be expanded by having many industrial partners.  And so the center here has at any particular time, 50 to 60 industry partners representing the broad cross section of the United States lighting to be able to help us get these new technologies into the marketplace.

Most of the activities that we're doing here is, there's a combination of demonstrations where we're showing cutting edge technology that we've developed. In other cases we have laboratories where we're actually involving new technology. So it's really starting from nothing and creating something brand new in partnership with our industrial partners. So this is really a living laboratory where we're working on technology of today and technology of tomorrow.

We have an office of the future effort where we're looking at developing new lighting systems for California office spaces and we're demonstrating 40 to 50 percent energy savings with advanced LED technology. We have other laboratories where we're looking at new residential LED down lighting where we're looking at lighting for the future home. And we're working on research components and training components with architects and contractors and we're demonstrating that here in full-scale. We're developing a whole smart lights initiative where we're looking at lighting systems that dynamically tune according to whether there's people in the parking lot or not in the parking lots.  So there's, you know, 40 to 50 national savings here for exterior lighting with this kind of lighting control systems.  So something we're very closely involved with.

Wal-Mart is very interested in implementing day lighting solutions into their big-box facilities. And so they have a lot of sky lights and they have a lot of electric lighting. The big challenge with sky lighting and electric lighting is how to make these things work seamlessly together. So we work collaboratively with Wal-Mart and many other entities to develop simplified day lighting approaches to do this.

And so we're partnering with many folks. We're working with universities. We're working with large state agencies with the idea that we're focused on real retrofit technologies in a non-abstract form. We're interested in solving real problems today and that's really our research agenda. That's our demonstration agenda. So everything that you see in this building includes this spectrum of opportunities of technologies and best practice approaches to really address immediate retrofit needs for the state of California.