In March 1988, the Lighting Research Center (LRC) was established within the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. The LRC is the largest university-based research center for lighting in the United States. The center emphasizes lighting research and development, technology transfer, and education. The LRC has ties with other lighting laboratories and centers, and receives input from all sectors of the lighting, building, and utility industries.
Current LRC activities include the Partners program, the National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP), the Graduate Education in Lighting program, the Research and Development in Efficient Lighting program, the Research and Development in Human Factors program, the Technology Transfer program, and the Outreach Education program.
Research topics covered by the LRC include: lighting and safety, lighting and security, visibility of exit signs, illuminance levels, and people’s acceptance of efficient lighting technologies. The LRC also looks at the needs of DSM and energy conservation programs, as well as longer-term issues that relate to efficient lighting.
LRC expenditures for FY 1988 through FY 1992 total $6,686,200, with expenditures of $2,162,000 in FY 1992. Funding for the center comes from a diverse group of sources including government (44%), utilities (34%), manufacturers, associations, universities, and consulting firms.
The Lighting Research Center has helped to fill a critical information niche in the efficient-lighting industry, focusing its projects on areas where little information exists. A real emphasis has been placed on conducting the LRC as a business rather than a "typical" university-based research organization in order to avoid being cast as a group of "academics" whose work does not focus on everyday business needs. Perhaps the most unique feature of the LRC is its publication of product specific performance information, which other organizations either cannot or will not publish.
The staff of the LRC believes that it has greatly impacted the lighting manufacturing industry through its product performance reports which affect manufacturer sales, manufacturer marketing, and lighting specifier product selection.
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