Jul. 19, 2011 SVForum Lighting The Future

On July 19, 2011 in San Francisco at Nixon Peabody, SVForum held a Clean Tech Breakfast Series on “Clean Lighting Solutions: Lighting the Future.” How many panelists does it take to change a light bulb’s efficiency? Mavis L. Yee of Nixon Peabody moderated panelists Mike Dauber of Battery Ventures, Steve Goldberg of Venrock, Tony McGettigan of Luxim, Carl Schlachte of Ventiva and Victor Westerlind of Rockport Capital.

Commercial building lighting uses 71 percent of overall lighting electricity in the United States. The panel discussed the economic, political and technical issues challenging adoption.

Most consumers care about up front costs. They will not pay forty dollars for an LED if they can buy an incandescent for a dollar. Most businesses don’t care about the environmental aspect unless it can reduce their costs by half. Retail businesses understand the importance of good efficient lighting to help sell their products.

Not many are aware of the hidden cost of CFLs over LEDs, which is the amount of mercury that must be safely disposed when the unit is replaced. LEDs also have the advantage of being easier to tie in with sensor networks that can turn on as people walk around a building.

Energy efficiency policy impacts economic efficiency and growth. California’s energy saving policies changed the lighting industry so much that state uses the same amount of electricity it did twenty years ago and still had double digit economic growth. China is adopting similar policies as it deals with even greater economic growth. Of course, with all the new construction, it will not have to retrofit existing infrastructure as in the United States. Both countries will have to do more with less to light the way.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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