RTI International receives funding from US Department of Energy to develop energy efficient lighting

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that RTI International has been selected to receive funding for the development of lighting technology for the education market that combines energy efficiency and the ability to adjust color.

RTI will develop and demonstrate the advantages of an LED-based tunable lighting system for use in classrooms. Research has demonstrated that a properly designed, color tunable lighting system can actually increase student's attention levels and improve their scholastic performance. 

"RTI is excited to be involved in this effort to bring high efficiency, color tunable lighting to the classroom," said Lynn Davis, Ph.D., director of engineering research at RTI and the project's principal investigator. "In many classrooms, students may be divided with some students involved with team activities in the back, others listening to a lecture at a white board in the front, and more students performing computer work. The lighting system must be easily adjustable to meet the needs of each of these varied tasks."  

The color tunable lighting system to be developed by RTI will not only adjust light intensity by dimming, but also change the color of light on demand. For instance, the light color can change from a warm white color to a cool white color when necessary.

"Since electricity costs are frequently the second largest expense in schools, lighting systems must be energy efficient and cost effective," Davis said. "This is especially a challenge since classrooms are an active setting, often with multiple activities occurring at once, that place stringent demands on the lighting system."

To take on this challenge, Finelite Inc., a leading producer of energy-efficient lighting for the U.S. classroom, will collaborate with RTI to develop innovative designs for classroom integrated lighting systems.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. This global initiative brings together many stakeholders including scientific societies, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

The U.S. Department of Energy is funding nine research and development projects that will help accelerate the development of LED and organic LED products, to significantly reduce overall U.S. energy consumption and save consumers money. Find more information about the funding and selections of the U.S. Department of Energy here.