UC Davis shows how new 'smart' lighting makes parking greener, safer

January 09, 2009 |

WHAT:  Demonstration of a new parking-area lighting system developed at UC Davis that is being installed around the world. The lighting system greatly reduces electricity use and light pollution, yet increases safety for drivers and passengers using the parking area. The event will take place in a campus parking garage after dark, and will vividly demonstrate the advantages of this system of energy-efficient lights paired with motion sensors over conventional lighting systems

WHEN: Monday, Jan. 12, 2009

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Lighting demonstration and ribbon cutting

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Indoor reception and comments

WHERE: Top deck of the South Entry Parking Structure at UC Davis (adjacent to the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts)

VISUALS: Campus, energy utility and industry officials will attend.

We will demonstrate the new lighting fixtures, which have two brightness levels -- a lower one for times when sensors detect no people or cars in the area, and a brighter one for times when sensors detect activity.

WHO: On hand to discuss the research project and its value to the public, including specifics about how much energy is being saved with the new lights, will be:

* Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis;

* Ben Finkelor, program manager of the Energy Efficiency Center at UC Davis;

* Chris Cioni, associate director of the Utilities Division of UC Davis Facilities Management;

* Cliff Contreras, director of UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services;

* James Boyd, vice chair of the California Energy Commission;

* Dave Hinshaw, senior account manager for account services, PG&E;

* Jerry Mix, chief executive officer of Watt Stopper/Legrand, the Santa Clara, Calif., firm supplying the occupancy sensors to the project; and

* Greg Mueller, marketing director of Ruud Lighting/BetaLED, the Wisconsin firm supplying the fixtures to the project.


BACKGROUND: Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of the electricity we consume in the U.S. goes to lighting. To better conserve that resource, the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis and its partners have designed and installed a new bi-level LED lighting system at UC Davis' South Entry Parking Structure.

Compared to conventional incandescent and metal-halide lights, LED (light-emitting diode) lights are much brighter but use far less energy. They are becoming widespread in traffic signals, status indicators on TV and stereo equipment, and exit signs in commercial buildings.

The South Entry parking lighting takes the efficiency of LED technology and combines it with motion sensors. It is one project of the lighting center's Smart Lighting Initiative. Other projects under way include retrofits of other campus parking structures, as well as pole lights and bollard lights. (Media demonstrations of these other projects can be arranged later; contact Sylvia Wright, below.)

Variations of these smart lighting systems are being tested throughout California. Also, UC Davis and other universities have united to form "LED University" to test and deploy the systems on their campuses. Some of the other LED University participants are: UC Santa Barbara, Tianjin Polytechnic University in China, University of Notre Dame, North Carolina State University and University of Arkansas.

About the California Lighting Technology Center: Part of the Design Program at UC Davis, the center is a research and education facility that focuses on the application of energy-efficient lighting and daylighting technologies through research, development, demonstration, outreach, and education in partnership with utilities, manufacturers, end users, builders, designers and governmental agencies.

The center was established through a collaborative effort of the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program and UC Davis, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

About UC Davis: For 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to Sacramento, UC Davis has 31,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $500 million, a comprehensive health system, and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science -- and advanced degrees from five professional schools:

Education, Law, Management, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine. The UC Davis School of Medicine and UC Davis Medical Center are located at the Sacramento campus.


Media contact(s):

* Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu

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