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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 19 December 2012

Digital Agenda: European innovation lighting the way

On 19th December, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič inaugurate "Shapes of Light", a 12-month long lighting installation that relies on advanced LED technology, which will be displayed in the entrance hall of the Commission's headquarters in Brussels.

LED lighting is energy-efficient and versatile. The installation shows the potential of LEDs in functional and decorative lighting and is part of the Commission's efforts to promote the wider deployment of innovative LED-based lighting in Europe. LEDs substantially improve the quality of lighting and open up new possibilities for lighting design innovation. Faster deployment in public and private spaces will help reduce energy consumption from lighting in Europe by 20% by 2020, one of the targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).

Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "LED lighting is so versatile today. It looks great, plus the evidence shows it improves concentration and leads to better results in school classrooms. I am proud that European businesses are LED pioneers."

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "I was delighted to offer the Commission's headquarters to showcase such a good example of European innovation. The Commission is committed to lowering its carbon footprint and energy bills and so it is entirely appropriate to host an installation that points the way to a greener future."

"Shapes of Light" is an interactive installation consisting of a group of illuminated human shapes that symbolise the diversity of people in Europe. The shapes light up in the presence of visitors and change colour and increase in brightness depending on the number of visitors passing by.

The lighting installation is fully sponsored (that is, no cost to European taxpayers) by leading European LED manufacturers Schréder following an open call for proposals. The installation was developed in Italy and assembled in Belgium.

Background

Lighting accounts for 14% of electricity consumption in the EU. As incandescent bulbs are being phased out in Europe, new energy efficient and eco-friendly lighting technologies start to replace them. Solid State Lighting (SSL) is the most innovative technology emerging in the market, saving up to 70% energy and reducing costs compared to other lighting technologies. It is based on light-emitting semi-conducting materials that convert electricity into light and comprises light-emitting diode (LED) and organic LED (OLED) lighting.

SSL offers both high quality light and visual performance and increasingly good design options. SSL can drive innovation in the lighting, construction and transport sectors and offers tremendous opportunities for our businesses – many of them SMEs – leading to jobs and growth in Europe. The European lighting sector employs today around 150,000 people. The move to SSL is a major challenge and at the same time a tremendous opportunity for the further growth of this industrial sector.

Last year, the Commission's Green Paper "Lighting the Future - Accelerating the deployment of innovative lighting technologies" invited research and business stakeholders, government, civil society and citizens to engage in a public debate in Europe and launch initiatives for accelerating the pace of SSL deployment. The three main concerns raised by respondents include the risk of buying products of unproven or insufficient quality, the lack of information for consumers and professional end users, and high initial purchase prices. The European Commission is committed to raise awareness among Europeans of the benefits of LED Lighting and this initiative is part of this effort.

The installation by Constructions Electriques Schréder s.a, Belgium, was selected on the basis of an open Call for Sponsors published by the European Commission in March 2012.

Useful links

Solid State Lighting in the European Commission

Green Paper "Lighting the Future - Accelerating the deployment of innovative lighting technologies" and results of the Public Consultation

Schréder

Hash Tags: #Lighting, #Photonics, #SSL

Neelie Kroes website; Follow Neelie on Twitter

Contacts :

Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16), Twitter: @RyanHeathEU

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)


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