Immediately after being sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 32nd District in July 2009, Congresswoman Judy Chu wasted no time in getting to work on behalf of her constituents. Her first task on Capitol Hill was voting on a number of important environmental bills.
It is this personal commitment to ecological issues and concern for America’s energy future that led Dr. Chu to confer with executives and engineers of solid-state lighting pioneer LEDtronics Inc. to discuss and gain some insight into the technological advances in light-emitting diodes (LED) and the tremendous contributions LED lighting applications might bring to energy conservation on a national level.
LEDtronics hosted the roundtable meeting in its Torrance headquarters on April 6.
During the two-hour gathering, President and CEO Pervaiz Lodhie and other company executives explained the LED technology’s latest innovations and its potential to become a major contributor not only to energy efficiency but also to reducing greenhouse gases and the creation of green jobs. “The solid-state lighting and solar energy industries are the top job creators in the U.S. today,” said Lodhie. “In addition, these cutting-edge technologies spur innovation, boost domestic manufacturing and re-affirm the U.S. as the leader in technological ingenuity around the world,” he added.
Rep. Chou was interested in learning that Light Emitting Diodes, which use a similar technology as computer chips, are tiny, energy-efficient, long-lasting (10 times as long as compact fluorescents), durable, mercury-free and white-bright light generating sources that produce only negligible heat and are perfectly suited to be used with alternative energy sources like solar and wind. Until recently, they were limited to single-bulb use in applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights and, more recently, strings of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights. Manufacturers such as LEDtronics have expanded LED applications by clustering the small bulbs, first as battery-powered items such as flashlights and headlamps, and nowadays available with standard bases which fit common household light fixtures. Analysts predict that by the end of the decade, LEDs will be the dominant source for commercial and residential lighting.
Gary Peterson, National Sales Manager, described some of the wide-encompassing LEDtronics projects around the world, from a group of street lights abutting a local public school to the South Capitol Street Bridge in Washington, D.C., that Rep. Chou traverses every day to a U.S. Army garrison in South Korea to turtle-friendly boulevard lights in Florida.
“It’s amazing how many lighting problems you have solved,” remarked Rep. Chou, the first Chinese American woman elected to the U. S. Congress.
Mr. Lodhie thanked the congresswoman for taking time away from her busy schedule to learn about LEDs, and expressed the company’s readiness in contributing in any way to the national campaign for energy efficiency. “Considering the number of major energy-saving LED bulbs we supply to the US industry, we are helping save 2-3 megawatts of energy each year, over and above the continued energy savings of the past 26 years,” he said. “And we will continue to be in the forefront of those efforts.”