Despite all the negativity and controversy surrounding this year’s Olympics in Bejing, I have to admit I’m eager to tune in this month to NBC’s coverage of the 2008 summer games. As a former swimmer, my favorite events are those that take place in the pool, and you can bet I’ll be watching to see if the illustrious Michael Phelps can take gold in the 200m freestyle and if Natalie Coughlin can set yet another world record in the 100m backstroke.
In addition to those challenges in which Team U.S.A. is favored, the grueling 800m events, in particular, give me a pang of nostalgia for my own chlorine-filled days. Call me a glutton for punishment, but one of my preferred contests was the 500m freestyle — 10 lengths of a 50-meter-long pool. A test of strategy and endurance, I quickly learned that I had to pace myself with modest, calculated strokes at the beginning, so I could finish strong at the end.
The same slow-and-steady-wins-the-race methodology is at work in the lighting industry, as well, especially as we watch illumination as we know it evolve at break-neck speed. Lighting industry innovators are excited about the recent breakthroughs in light-emitting diode (LED) science and the resulting consumer buzz. But, is the new technology ready to fill the large shoes that have been laid out for it?
Energy Star partners the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently butted heads over this very topic, and while we want to accelerate making LED lighting available on the shelves, a hasty move could mean major setbacks for its acceptance in the marketplace. No one wants the super-energy-efficient, new technology to face the same consumer cold shoulder that compact fluorescents received in their early days; the industry is still rebounding from that gaffe.
Though at press time, the issue had yet to be resolved, both parties were working on a solution that will best serve the lighting industry and the general public. Fortunately, we’re savvy enough to learn from our past mistakes, and I’m confident that the DOE and the EPA will come to an appropriate consensus; we are, after all, on the same team.