Architecture Alumnus John Barrie Receives Lindbergh Grant

The Lindbergh Foundation announced today that John Barrie, B.S.’83, M.Arch.’85, from The Appropriate Technology Collaborative in Ann Arbor, MI, received the Lindbergh Grant for his project entitled “Creating and Disseminating an Efficient, Cost Effective Universal LED Circuit Board Design as a Replacement for Kerosene Lamps in Central America.”

More than 2.1 billion people live without access to electricity. Another billion live with unreliable access to power. The vast majority of these people use kerosene to light their homes and businesses, but this light source produces a poor quality, smoke-filled illumination and has the potential to cause fires, burns and lung disease. Kerosene lamps produce more greenhouse gasses per unit of illumination than any other common light source. According to a 2005 Science magazine article, 190 million metric tones of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere annually. And, kerosene is expensive. The cost of kerosene lighting costs more per unit than what is paid in the developed world.

John Barrie plans to bring 21st century Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights to people who are currently using 19th century fuel-based lighting. He plans to do this by developing a universal LED circuit board that will accept a variety of power supplies including photovoltaic panels and battery power or recycled charger power in Guatemala and Nicaragua. A universal circuit board will greatly reduce the costs of LED lighting to the point of being less expensive than kerosene lights. A single watt of LED light provides more illumination than a kerosene lamp. It is better for reading, and solar LED lights are more reliable, lasting approximately 100,000 hours, or 68 years at 4 hours per night. In addition, Barrie plans to provide data on the costs and benefits of moving from a fuel-based lighting system to high efficiency LED lighting in rural areas. He believes that providing LED lighting will improve the quality of life, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and remove a major cause of burns and lung disease for a large number of people in rural areas of developing nations while reducing energy consumption.

John Barrie received one of 10 Lindbergh grants awarded so far this year. He was chosen from 166 applicants from around the world. Lindbergh Grants are made in amounts up to $10,580, a symbolic amount representing the cost of building Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in 1927. To date, nearly $3 million has been awarded to 294 researchers.

“Today’s students will share this planet with more than 8 billion people. If we are to sustain our species and our planet, it is imperative that we make full use of the one expandable resource available to us: human intelligence,” said Gregg Maryniak, Chairman of the Grants Committee and Vice Chairman of the Foundation. “The Lindbergh Grants program attracts researchers who are passionate about the environment and about finding solutions to protect and sustain our world.”

“As an unknown in aviation, Charles Lindbergh struggled to find the financial backing he needed to pursue his dream of making a non-stop, solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927. The Lindbergh Foundation Grants Program identifies and supports highly creative and dedicated researchers from around the world and provides them with the same opportunity for success as Charles Lindbergh received. That’s why the Lindbergh Grant is set at $10,580,” said Maryniak. “Many of our grant recipients are ‘unknown’ in their fields, too. For them, receiving a Lindbergh Grant provides much-needed credibility to their work and typically enables our recipients to secure additional funding, providing them with valuable leverage.”

The Lindbergh Grants program maintains an excellent reputation among the scientific community and the public sector for supporting exceptional, high-quality projects and dedicated researchers. Lindbergh grant applications undergo a rigorous five-step review process focused on evaluations by two independent all volunteer review groups, including a 73-member Technical Review Panel. This international panel is comprised of knowledgeable and respected individuals drawn from the various fields in which Lindbergh grants are made.

The annual deadline for all Lindbergh Grant applications is in mid-June for funding the following year. Anyone interested in applying for a Lindbergh Grant will find information and a downloadable application at