Dean Kamen's LED Island Goes Off the Grid

Dec 08, 2008 by Lisa Zyga weblog
The inside of Dean Kamen's house on his personal island, on which all the lighting was converted to LEDs. The island runs completely off the grid, generating its own electricity from wind and solar methods

( -- Dean Kamen, best known as the inventor of the Segway scooter and a thought-controlled prosthetic arm, has taken a personal interest in reducing energy consumption.

Kamen owns a three-acre island off the Connecticut coast called North Dumpling Island. The island contains its own wind turbines and solar cells, and, by making a few adjustments, Kamen recently succeeded in taking the island entirely off the grid.

The biggest change Kamen made was replacing all the island's lighting with LED bulbs, creating "the world's first LED nation," as he calls it. Working with some of his friends at Philips Color Kinetics, Kamen installed LEDs as well as a reflector bulb prototype, called PAR38, that Philips plans to bring to market next year. The reflector bulb is dimmable and has a warm color temperature like an incandescent bulb.

With the new lighting, Kamen cut his house's energy use by 70 percent. Because he added some extra outdoor LED lighting that wasn't there before, the island's total energy consumption dropped by 50 percent.

Kamen plans to demonstrate the installation this spring during a fundraiser for FIRST, an organization Kamen launched to encourage young people to participate in science and technology.

For the time being, most people won't be able to afford converting their incandescent or fluorescent bulbs to LEDs yet, since the technology is still too expensive for residential use. Still, the demonstration shows the possibilities for reducing energy consumption when LED prices do eventually drop to an affordable level.

via: Gizmodo and The New York Times [with more pictures]

Explore further: New study models path for achieving state's renewable energy targets

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User comments : 4

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5 / 5 (2) Dec 09, 2008
The road to progress is laid down by those who act on their (or others') ideas.
1 / 5 (2) Dec 09, 2008
isn't that true...

i am the real inventor of the segway!
not rated yet Dec 09, 2008
kamen should team up with the guy who invented the vornado-vaccume (and the new dry-air jet hand dryer) to invent a cheap easy system to install wirelessly installed self powered lightswitches combined with the led's all over houses, to make it easy to redesign the installation of and the the lighting for entire houses without having to go through expensive gutting that prohibits the installation of new lighting. screw the flourescent lighting, people need cheap energy efficient full spectrum white led light.

banning incandescents is silly, inventing better and cheapper lighting that people actually want and will install is the capitalist, and non totalitarian environmentalist way to go.

5 / 5 (2) Dec 09, 2008
The big trick, is to be sure that the CFB (compact Fluorescent bulbs) that you buy are NOT manufactured in CHINA. Why? substandard parts.

The popular thinking is that CFB's last 10x longer than any given incandescent and consume far less energy. Well, this is true..but only if the damn things last that time period!! but, they DON' we are dumb enough to shop via price and to make one of these CFB's cheaper, they have to use substandard parts and substandard assembly processes. Thus we get a bulb which lasts no longer than a standard incandescent many times..and has terrifically more waste product. So no net savings for the world, there, the exact opposite is true.

Spend time figuring out who makes the better bulbs. If they are made in europe, japan, Canada, etc, basically in westernized countries, you can be far more sure they will last the stated time period. Find a website that rates the quality of construction of these things,as they FAIL. And thus invalidate their savings and environmental issues--by a long shot.

For example: Don't buy them at wal-mart unless you KNOW that the brand they are pushing via their underpaid wage-slave serfs is of a good quality.

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