PNW Students Researching Street Lighting Technologies

Purdue Northwest’s Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center is helping municipalities, businesses advance improved street lighting

Purdue-Northwest-colorFor the past four years, the Purdue University Northwest Calumet Campus Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center has been helping the Indiana Municipal Utility Group (IMUG) and Northwest Indiana municipalities and businesses maximize value and benefit from implementing new, high efficiency street lighting options.

Under a new program designed and proposed by NIPSCO, IMUG and other Indiana utility regulatory stakeholders, the expertise and insight of PNW energy scientists will come into play, as new, LED (Light Emitting Diodes) street lighting technology will be implemented throughout NIPSCO’s service area, pending approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Need to replace old technology
“A large percentage of the current street lighting in our member communities is reaching the end of life, and the time is right to replace these old technology, inefficient and poorly illuminating streetlights with new LED lights,” IMUG Group Director Ted Sommer said. “We are very pleased with the work Dr. Kramer (Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center director) and his students have done for our municipalities.”

Approximately four years ago, the Purdue Northwest Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center received a grant from IMUG to assess options that maximum the value of implementing new street lighting technology. IMUG municipalities participating in the grant effort have included Dyer, Griffith, Highland, Munster, Schererville, Winfield, East Chicago and Valparaiso. The appraisal process has been coordinated with NIPSCO to assure a uniform and consistent approach that offers best value.

PNW scientists, students conducting studies
At the Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center and several community test sites, PNW faculty scientists and students have conducted detailed studies, testing and evaluating LED street lighting options to assure that prospective products meet lighting design and operational requirements necessary to assure a highly beneficial implementation of new technologies.

“Recent advances in lighting technology have opened many new opportunities to implement highly efficient new lighting technologies,” Kramer said. “These options can provide a multitude of benefits, including dramatically improved energy efficiency, visibility, light distribution, color rendering, greatly increased streetlight useful life and reduced maintenance costs.”

Benefits of new light sources
Adding, he said, “Due to their improved light quality and distribution, these new light sources can significantly improve safety, community image and economic development.”

Sommer offered that the new lighting technology is capable, not only of providing improved nighttime visibility and safety, but also a 50 percent savings in energy use and a reduction in taxpayer cost.

As part of their experiential learning requirement, PNW Calumet students have been active participants in the research process.