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Lighting the way to an energy-efficient Europe

EU-funded researchers are developing state-of-the-art energy efficient lighting modules capable of bathing large areas in uniform light.

Green alternatives to conventional lighting – such as LED bulbs – are increasingly being used in homes and offices due to their high efficiency and extremely long lifetimes. In contrast, their use in the lighting of architectural features and large public spaces has to date been limited. Key problems include a perceived decrease in light intensity and strength along with poor uniformity over large areas. In order to overcome these challenges, the EU-funded LASSIE project, which was launched in January 2014, is developing innovative, large-area, low-cost solid-state lighting (SSL) modules that aim to offer high efficiency and high lighting quality. Given that the EU has sought an outright ban on incandescent light sources by 2020, this represents a real market opportunity for energy-efficient lighting solutions. SSL uses not only semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs) but also organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) or polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED) as sources of illumination rather than electrical filaments (as used in fluorescent bulbs). Compared to incandescent lighting, SSL creates visible light with reduced heat generation and less energy dissipation. Furthermore, the typically small mass of a solid-state electronic lighting device provides for greater resistance to shock and vibration compared to brittle glass tubes/bulbs and long, thin filament wires. They also eliminate filament evaporation, potentially increasing the life span of the illumination device. This means that SSL is incredibly efficient and offers a greener alternative to conventional lighting. LED bulbs are mercury-free, have a long lifetime and could help Europe to achieve significant energy savings if rolled out extensively. Indeed, by switching to LED lights, Europe could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use by up to 50 % in just over 20 years. Over the next two years, the LASSIE project, which has received EU funding totalling EUR 3.15 million, will trial new lighting modules that integrate light-management structures with new colour changing coatings that contain highly efficient and reliable organic fluorescent dyes. LED chips and multispectral sensors for intelligent colour-sensing will also be installed. The project specifically targets the standard sizes used by the professional lighting sector, thus ensuring compatibility for the fast deployment of intelligent LED solutions. The end result will be a selection of viable low-cost, energy efficient architectural lighting modules that combine the efficiency and long lifetime of LEDs with the flexibility of colour-changing coatings. The team is confident that the lighting quality will be able to match anything on the market. The LASSIE project will dramatically increase the market penetration of LEDs and other SSL innovations, and help to encourage the rapid adoption of new SSL lighting modules. The project is due for completion in December 2016. For further information, please visit: LASSIE



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