LRC Releases LED Airfield Lighting Report

Recently, the Lighting Research Center (LRC) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has cooperated with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to jointly study the use of LED lighting in airfield installations, and has released LED Airfield Lighting report.

The report was published by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies through the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP), which funded the study. A panel of experts from aviation, government, industry, and academia appointed by the National Academies oversaw the project.

The report compiled and written by John Bullough, senior research scientist and adjunct assistant professor at the LRC, draws on the experience of airport operators, on published accounts of LED airfield installations, and on the LRC’s knowledge of LED lighting technologies and aviation applications.

The report was designed to assist airports as they decide if and when to install LED runway and taxiway lights. According to Bullough, “LED runway and taxiway lighting systems can save airports time and money. The largest area for savings by airports was in terms of reduced maintenance requirements, followed by lower energy use. LED airfield lighting uses much less energy than incandescent, but airfield electrical systems are optimized for incandescent lamps, not LEDs. Even more energy can be saved if electrical systems are designed with the reduced loads of LEDs in mind.”

The FAA is now investigating new electrical infrastructures for airfield lighting designed around the reduced loads that LED lights require. It is expected that this will help maximize energy savings and reliability.

Additionally, the report also adds an overview of LED light source technology, the relevant FAA guidance documents for airfield lighting, and pointers to resources on airport funding and economic cost analysis tools.

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