Lord Dumpling’s LED Nation

Dean Kamen, the inventor most well known these days for thoroughly overhyping the Segway, owns a private island off the Connecticut coast called North Dumpling.

He’s joked about seceding from the US after he was denied permission to build a wind turbine; he sometimes calls himself “Lord Dumpling,” and he went so far as to design a flag, compose a national anthem, create a currency and pen a constitution for his “kingdom.”

Needless to say, he’s single.

Now King Segway has decided to use his fiefdom to pimp the cause of energy-efficiency through LED lighting

Mr. Kamen wanted to take the entire place off the grid, producing his own power through wind and solar. But to do that, he had to reduce energy consumption. So he turned to LEDs, or light-emitting diodes.

With LED lighting typically using about one-fifth the power consumed by standard incandescent fixtures (and I have some LED bulbs in my home that use just one-tenth the wattage of an incandescent bulb), Mr. Kamen figured he could get the power usage down to an amount that would work.

Mr. Kamen tapped his long-time friend, Fritz Morgan, chief technology officer of Philips Color Kinetics for help. The two collaborated on removing all incandescent fixtures from Mr. Kamen’s home, the caretaker’s house and a guest house, replacing them with Color Kinetics products.

They included LED downlights (the kind that go in ceilings and shine down), undercabinet kitchen lights and exterior units to wash the outside walls in changing color patterns.

Mr. Morgan also installed a prototype of a reflector bulb (called a PAR38) that the company expects to bring to market sometime next year. As with a regular reflector bulb sold today, it is dimmable and has the same warm color temperature as an incandescent.

The result was, they cut the energy consumption used in the house by 70 percent. And of course, the bulbs won’t have to be changed for years. When you add in the power used for the exterior lights (the house was not previously lit outside), total energy consumption was reduced by 50 percent, enough to take the island off the grid.

Total average power used is 2,500 watts. If everything is ablaze inside and out, consumption peaks at 5,000 watts.

Here are some pictures of Lord Dumpling’s LED setup, including an evocative lighting scheme for his replica of Stonehenge!

What a relief to know that when the children dance to the pipes of Pan, they’ll do it by energy-efficient light!


About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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