About the Lighting R&D Program

The DOE Lighting R&D Program fosters U.S. scientific capabilities, leverages private funds, provides internationally trusted information, and drives innovation to create efficient and flexible lighting products that support health, productivity, and well-being. Traditional lighting technologies have little leeway for improvements in efficiency, but solid-state lighting (SSL) technology, particularly light-emitting diode (LED)-based technology, still has significant room for growth in achieving its full potential.

According to DOE projections, if DOE targets for efficiency, controls, and connected lighting are met, advanced lighting systems are expected to save 6.9 trillion kWh of electricity by 2035. The total cumulative energy savings would be equivalent to $710 billion in avoided energy costs and 2.1 billion metric tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions.

Program Strategy

For nearly two decades, the Lighting R&D program has acted as a catalyst, bringing together researchers, industry, universities, standards organizations, utilities, energy efficiency programs, building owners, lighting designers, and specifiers to drive SSL technology advances. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) issued directives to the Secretary of Energy to carry out a Next Generation Lighting Initiative to support SSL research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities. In order to effectively fulfill the directives in EPACT 2005 and EISA 2007, DOE developed a comprehensive national strategy to build collaborative efforts with lighting industry and research partners to guide SSL technology innovation. Learn more about Lighting R&D Program partnerships.

Key DOE Roles, including Convene, Plan, Co-fund, and Share, shown with icons

Research Priorities

Program priorities are guided by the Lighting R&D Opportunities document, updated annually in collaboration with the U.S. lighting research community.

Pyramid graphic: Lighting R&D Goals. Efficient and flexible lighting that supports health, productivity and well-being. The pyramid has three segments: Platform Technology, Integration & Validation, Lighting Science.
  • Platform technology R&D lowers barriers to adoption, decreases performance tradeoffs, and improves lighting application efficiency through advances in materials, components, device structures, product integration, and manufacturing technology.
  • Integration and validation studies evaluate advanced lighting solutions and design strategies in real settings.
  • Lighting science research informs productivity benefits and lighting application efficiency, and improves our understanding of how best to apply new capabilities enabled by LED lighting.

Learn more about Lighting R&D Program research focus areas.

Program Impacts

The 347 competitively selected R&D projects funded to date have resulted in 458 patents (applied for or awarded) and a huge industry footprint. A total of 357 products can be directly traced to DOE-funded SSL R&D, and millions of products on the market today have some DOE R&D inside.

Attributable to DOE program: 347 projects, 458 patents, 357 products. Attributable to LED adoption: 185 billion kwh saved a year, 79 million metric tons co2 saved, $20 billion in energy costs avoided.

Those products have contributed to an estimated 185 billion kWh in annual energy savings, equating to 79 million metric tons of carbon dioxide avoided and over $20 billion in energy cost savings for American homes and businesses.