Energy lights the way to conservation

By Vyomika Jairam
Internet Editor

Coming soon to a federal building garage near you: LED lights. The Departments of Energy and Labor have partnered to try out a new lighting system that would cut down on energy consumption while providing better coverage. Part of the DOE’s Solid State Lighting GATEWAY Demonstrations program, 19 Light Emitting Diode light fixtures were installed in one floor of a Dept. of Labor parking garage.

“We have an open program, called GATEWAY,” said Jim Brodrick, Solid-State Lighting Program Manager at the Department of Energy. “We chatted with the Department of Labor who were quite active on pursuing energy efficiency and green initiatives, so it was an easy partnership there. Then we found the actual lighting product. This is going to be considerable energy reduction, and savings.”

The lights, which are a series of smaller lights mounted on special fixtures, were specifically designed for the garage.


“It was a complete replacement of the fixture. The fixture is designed right from the drawing board to take advantage of the LED light. So you get this very even dispersion of the light, it cuts down on the shadows. The light is very white, or let’s say closer to sunlight than the prior system,” Brodrick said. “It also allows the heat transfer problems to be taken care of in that you can dissipate heat out of the backside of the fixture.”

The GATEWAY program is an on-going initiative by DOE to install LED light demonstrations to show the impact that switching to LED lights can have on energy consumption and costs. Though the initial cost can be high, LED lights have a much longer lifetime than regular lightbulbs.

“This is a demo, and the Department of Labor so far has been very positive about it,” Brodrick said. “They are looking to install this on all of the levels of the parking garage, which must be a sizeable electricity bill each month.”