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The Lighting Living Lab will contribute to the implementation of the European Sustainable Energies Policy, in line with the conclusions of the 2007 Spring European Council which sets out an ambitions EU approach to energy issues and climate changes aiming to ensure the security of energy supply, the increase of energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But, as the challenge it maybe, it carries also a brighter side, constituting an opportunity for the development of new products/services/applications, with embedded ITC, to create new business and market opportunities. This constitutes the problem/opportunity to be addressed by the Lighting Living Lab. Beyond this the Lab is viewed as space of interaction between the Aveiro region main stakeholders and an opportunity to develop there the concept of Triple Helix – an interactive, rather than linear, model of cooperation and innovation process between the university, the enterprises and the government (Etzkowitz, H. 2001). Furthermore, the Living Lab concept improves and enriches this concept by introducing the users/citizens in the innovation process. The idea for the Lab in itself is a direct consequence of a first experience to develop a Triple Helix process in the Aveiro region, centred on the Águeda municipality.
The Lighting Living Lab mission is to promote innovation and the development of research in new technologies and applications in the field of lighting, focused on the concepts of Smart Lighting and Eco-friendly Lighting, and supported by the ICT sector, giving birth to new services/systems/products and business opportunities. The user-driven approach is necessary to change the current paradigm of the lighting usage: to pass from lighting seen as a mere utility (supporting the human activity in a context of insufficient illumination), to lighting seen as a mean to achieve objectives like, for instance, to enhance the sense of comfort and enable further personalization of environments. This implies behavioural changes which only the Living Lab user driven methodology can achieve. Simultaneously, this is a mean to reduce energy consumption by using new lighting technologies (e.g. Light-emitting diode, LED, or new light sources) and adapting its usage to the real needs and tastes of the user. The necessary change of behaviour and attitudes towards energy consumption can only be achieved by understanding the reason behind them, through the integration and active collaboration of the end-user. This Eco-Friendly approach is complemented by research on the use of materials without, or limited, environment impacts. This permits, not only achieve the desired reduction of energy consumption, but also the design of new approaches/products/services/methodologies, and consequently the creation of new market/business opportunities, configuring a win-win situation.In the initial stage, the Lighting Living Lab addresses public spaces lighting, be them exterior or interior and/or located on urban or rural areas, but it will spread its activities into more general applications. This selection is based on common existing problems through European cities/villages, like for instance, the need to illuminate some areas where introduction of linear infra-structures (e.g. electrical network) is neither feasible (e.g. environmental sensitive areas) nor desired (e.g. poor benefit-cost rate).
There are initiatives where the main stakeholders of the Lab are already active participants, namely the RIC Águeda (Águeda Innovation and Competitiveness Network). The RIC Águeda was the first attempt to develop and implement the Triple Helix concept in the Aveiro Region. It is then a unique and innovative approach to promote interactive cooperation between the Águeda municipality, the University of Aveiro and the local/regional enterprises, being also supported by entities with national relevance. RIC Águeda main objective is the promotion of innovation processes where all its stakeholders participate actively, leading in the future to a self-sustainable dynamic process of innovation based on the relationships promoted by the network. The Sustainable Development Agenda was one of the main issues tackled by RIC Águeda. The Lighting Living Lab is itself one of the projects born from the innovation process promoted by RIC Águeda. Another example of the dynamics promoted by RIC Águeda, consists of an initiative, created by some of its stakeholders, based on a European network dedicated to the promotion of sustainable local economies through the development of green SME’s - Greening SME’s Project. This network is supported by the European URBACT II Programme. It is expected some interaction between the Greening SME’s Project and the Lighting Living Lab.
Lighting Living Lab is member of the ENoLL Council.