This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.


LEDs & Sustainability

Sustainia spotlights 100 companies or projects, worldwide, each year that exemplify sustainability in action. LEDs feature prominently on this year's list.

The organization, based in Sweden, has a mission of combatting the doom and gloom around global warming, ecological catastrophe, etc., by shining a light on things that are working -- scaleable, sustainable solutions. The principal means to this end is the annual Sustainia 100 report, from which list a panel of judges chooses the winner of the Sustainia Award. There is also a Community Award, chosen by popular vote. This is the second year the organization has published a list.

You can download the 2013 Sustainia 100 report here.

The 100 honorees -- 10 sustainability solutions for each of 10 sectors -- are by no means limited to the Western world. They come from 79 countries and were chosen from a pool of more than 500 applicants. They are implemented in 128 countries.

Here are the solutions involving LED lighting that made Sustainia's list.

Lighting system "listens" to plants -- Heliospectra
This company applies "smart biofeedback" to automate plant production, and claims to achieve longer durability, energy savings, and increased yield. The system "listens" to plants by using reflected light and fluorescence. This information helps the system optimize the light spectrum to produce only the necessary light required, while encouraging desired plant characteristics. Finally, "A software management system provides growers with improvements based on the results of the whole grower community. The data is aggregated in an online database with predictive algorithms creating the best light conditions for growers depending on the type of crops and environmental conditions."

Community Light Centers -- Philips
(A subsidiary of Philips sponsors this site.) Philips has committed to build 100 of these centers across Africa by 2015. Each is an area of 1,000 square meters lit by solar-powered LED lighting. Solar energy is stored in batteries, which are installed underground and last four to five years. The lights provide up to 20 lux of 5700K light for as many evening hours as the local community desires.

Generating light from gravity -- Therefore and Deciwatt
GravityLight uses the force of gravity to create sustainable energy that powers light for people living in off-grid areas. It takes 3 seconds to lift the weight that powers GravityLight, which then provides up to 30 minutes of LED light as the weight drops. The weight is a bag that the user fills with 10 kg of dirt, rocks, or sand.

Making lights intelligent -- Digital Lumens
This company's intelligent LED lighting systems provide wireless controls and central control software to achieve claimed savings of up to 90 percent on lighting costs. (Note: The control protocols seem to be proprietary and patented, available to partner companies only under license. I don't know why Sustainia did not choose a lighting control company based on open standards. Perhaps none applied.)

Any bets on how many LED projects make next year's list?

— Keith Dawson Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page, Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting