Cleantech Open 09 - Lunescent Syncs Streetlights With Moon Cycles for Energy Savings

lunescent lunar drawing image

Image via Lunescent

Before streetlights, there was the moon. Well, at least for a week or two out of the month, if weather conditions were good, you could get enough moonlight to guide your way down a path. Now, streetlights line our walks - great for getting us from one place to the next relatively safely, but a big drain on electricity resources. Lunescent hopes to get us back to following the moon a little more, and save us up to 90% on streelight energy consumption. The start-up showed off its first product, the Lemma light, at Cleantech Open.

We first wrote about Lunescent in 2007. Lunescent lighting would track ambient lights - as in, the moon - and dims or brightens accordingly. By following the moon's phases and using LED light sources, it could save as much as 90% less energy than what we currently use for street and outdoor lighting.

Lunescent would "return the beaty of moonlight to areas where it has typically been drowned out by excessive, often low-quality lighting" while still providing enough light for people to see by during the evenings.

According to the company, Lunescent is a "patent-pending technology, that uses sensors to measure ambient moonlight. The sensors interface with an intelligent control system, for use with LED or other dimmable light sources." It would attempt to keep from using other streetlights as a point for calibration, and focus on natural light instead. But it would also be controllable at a central computer for times when more light is needed.

But enough with concept talk - there's an actual product to see.

lunescent lemma light photo

Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

Lemma is Lunescent's first light. Created for pedestrian and area lighting, it is super efficient, using just a tiny 16 watts of electricity, versus conventional metal halide streetlight that use 150 watts. The light quality is very good, and the design has a sleek look - nothing so whimsical as Ross Lovegrove creations, but still.

The reduction of light pollution is attractive to most cities where the stars are rarely seen thanks to the overuse of urban lighting. Having a simple solution like this could be great. The company is certainly making stride if they were shortlisted for a Cleantech Open award!
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