MLI will foster innovative applications of new energy-saving lighting technologies through MLI-funded research that speeds adoption and understanding of those technologies for the improvement of human health, safety, and productivity.

Mission Statement of Midwest Lighting Institute

The efficiency of LED technology is doubling every two years, similar to Moore’s Law. Manufacturers are continually introducing new lamps or light sources to take advantage of these efficiencies. In this environment, manufacturers have limited windows of opportunity to sell their products before being bypassed by the next generation.

The quality of the light sources has improved dramatically. The effect of this improvement on visual acuity and performance is just beginning to be understood. To that end, the Illuminating Engineering Society recently approved TM-24 which officially recognizes the effect of high kelvin light and visual efficiency. This document has the potential to reduce lighting energy consumption by 25% just be changing the color of light!

The effect of light on human health is also emerging. Numerous studies strongly indicate the significance of these impacts on our physical and mental health. While some of the basic mechanisms of how light is detected has been elucidated, more research needs to be completed to understand how to more effectively apply these findings in the real world. We will help to bridge this gap in current knowledge. 

The incandescent light bulb was patented in 1880 and has not changed since. The traditional sources of lighting available to the general public, and the ways in which light is used, have not moved far beyond the incandescent lamp. New advances in lighting knowledge are evolving rapidly and traditional lighting providers (retailers, distributors and electricians) simply cannot keep up with the technology to advise customers of the most recent advances.

History of Midwest Lighting Institute (MLI)

Rod Heller, founding partner of Energy Performance Lighting, saw a need in the lighting industry. He saw many different reports and research papers that indicated a relationship between human behavior, the operation of the human eye, and man-made lighting in the built space. The reports seemed to indicate opportunities to improve people’s lives, but details were sorely missing.

The other thing that Rod thought was missing in the industry was a robust training institution that was not product dependent. Rod saw many lighting vendors, electricians, and lighting designers that simply were not considering energy efficiency and the human effects of lighting in their designs.

Rod teamed up with Dr. Steven Lockley from Harvard Medical School. Together they started to dream of establishing a non-profit company that would take some of the preliminary studies and further the investigation to prove real improvements to people’s lives using simply light. Dr. Richard Moss and  Kurt Zimmerman, and Brian Liebel soon joined the effort to formulate the business plan for this non-profit. WECC, a Wisconsin based energy conservation company, also joined the effort to expedite the training and education program.

MLI was created as a 501(c)3 in 2014. After months of work, the first research studies and trainings will begin in the Fall of 2016.

Board Members

Visit Board Members profiles.

Keys to Success

General Principles:

  • Our research, technologies, and services will include products vetted by scientists, practitioners, and industry experts at the highest standard of care.
  • Our research, technologies, and services will maintain objectivity through manufacturer-neutral assessments.
  • Our research, technologies, and services will embrace collaboration with individuals and institutions that are specialized and recognized in their fields.
  • Our research, technologies, and services will focus on collaborations within a 12-state underserved region that will both support and receive benefit from the MLI.