Solid-state lighting (SSL) is a pivotal emerging technology that promises to fundamentally alter and improve lighting systems of the future. Successful development and commercialization of SSL technology will require coordinated efforts that leverage the strengths and capabilities of industry, research and academic organizations, national laboratories, and government. This paper discusses the U.S. Department of Energy's role as a catalyst in accelerating SSL technology advances. Through DOE's SSL R&D program, the collaborative efforts of our nation's best and brightest lighting experts are moving this promising technology from the laboratory to the marketplace.
Electric lighting of buildings in the United States consumes over 20% of the nation's primary electricity and is second only in magnitude to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. This installed lighting base is generally inefficient and is characterized by relatively low performance especially when compared to other building systems. While substantial opportunities for improving overall lighting system efficiency exist, the pathway to achievement of this goal is less clear. Lighting research and development conducted by the US Department of Energy's (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE), Building Technologies Program (BT) addresses this national issue and aggressively pursues a number of broad research areas that promise to yield significant increases in overall lighting system efficiency.
Implementation of a successful program in lighting energy conservation depends upon a detailed assessment of energy consumption trends by lighting technology. The results of several years of research are presented that describe electricity consumption by market sector, application and lamp type. Following this lighting market assessment, an overview of the DOE's ongoing lighting research and development (LR&D) program portfolio linked to the market assessments is provided. Individual program contributions toward achieving ambitious lighting energy conservation goals are described. The BTS portfolio includes research in three broad areas: (1) light source and electronics, (2) fixtures, controls and distribution systems, and (3) human factors. An overview of each technical objective is provided, as well as a timeline for achieving specific energy conservation goals.