Forecasted Energy Savings from LED Lighting

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program

by Jim Brodrick, SSL Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy

Among solid-state lighting’s many potential advantages, energy efficiency is the one that’s best-known, and it’s the driving reason behind DOE’s multipronged effort to accelerate the technology’s development and market introduction. That’s why DOE has supported studies forecasting the market penetration of LED lighting. These periodic forecasts — the latest entitled Energy Savings Forecast of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications — provide a comprehensive overview of the expected path of LED lighting adoption within the U.S. and estimate the resulting energy savings out to year 2030, and have been widely used by industry and government, both here and abroad. The latest forecast — the sixth iteration since 2002 — has just been released.

The additional historical data we’ve obtained since the last such report have helped us sharpen our pencils considerably. Leveraging updated data sources and providing a more detailed breakdown of general lighting applications than presented in past forecasts, the new report estimates the expected future adoption of LEDs based on the current trajectory for the technology, which doesn’t necessarily represent its maximum potential in terms of market penetration and energy savings. The analysis compares the annual lighting energy consumption in the U.S. with and without the further market penetration of LED lighting, with the forecasted energy savings represented by the difference in energy consumption between the two scenarios.

LED lighting sales (based on lumen-hours) are anticipated to increase from approximately 3% in 2013 to about 48% in 2020. By 2030, LEDs are projected to dominate lighting sales in each of the submarkets examined, comprising 84% of all sales, which will have a huge impact on energy consumption. DOE estimates that in 2013, lighting was responsible for 17% of the country’s total electricity consumption, using about 6.9 quads (609 TWh) of source energy — roughly equivalent to the total energy consumed by 50 million U.S. homes. LEDs are projected to reduce total US lighting energy consumption by 15% in 2020 and by 40% in 2030, saving 3.0 quads (261 TWhs) in 2030 alone — worth about $26 billion at today’s electricity prices, and nearly equivalent to the total energy consumed by 24 million U.S. homes today. But remember: those projections are based on the current trajectory and could end up being even higher.

Of the eight lighting submarkets examined, LEDs are anticipated to grow most rapidly in street and roadway and general service lighting, in terms of the percentage of total sales. In the street and roadway submarket, which is already a popular area for LED upgrades, LEDs are predicted to reach 83% market share of sales by 2020 and nearly 100% by 2030. The general service submarket will shift to LEDs a bit more slowly, with a projected 55% market share of sales in 2020, but will also consist nearly entirely of LEDs by 2030.

Many projections were used as inputs in the lighting-market model underlying the analysis. While the best available resources were used to come up with each of these projections, there are always elements of uncertainty. An online interactive model that accompanies the report allows users to adjust four key input variables — LED price decline, LED efficacy improvement, increased use of automated controls enabled by LEDs, and renovation rate — to better understand how changes in these variables affect the forecasted LED penetration and energy savings. These four inputs were found to have the most influence on results. Many other inputs with inherent uncertainties, such as the projected price of electricity, were used in the lighting market model, but varying them within a reasonable range doesn’t significantly affect the results.


One scenario that’s highlighted in the report’s Sensitivity Analysis section examines the impact on energy savings if DOE’s ambitious goals for LED price and efficacy, as set forth in our 2014 SSL R&D Multi-Year Program Plan, are realized by all LED lighting products. If those goals are reached, LED lighting is projected to achieve a market share of 68% of lumen-hour sales in 2020, and over 90% in 2030. This would result in an additional energy savings of 20% in 2030 (compared to the 40% savings predicted by the conservative reference scenario for that year), making for a 60% decrease (130 TWh) in total lighting energy consumption compared to a scenario in which there is no further market penetration of LEDs beyond current levels — while the cumulative energy savings over the no-LED scenario during the analysis period (2013 to 2030) would increase to nearly 44 quads (3900 TWh), equal to over $380 billion in avoided electricity costs. This shows the significant increase in energy savings that could be captured through increased investment in improving SSL technology.

The report shows LED lighting to be one of the country’s best technology options to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. And it also shows that there’s still quite a bit of headroom for additional energy savings, so it’s far from “game over” yet. The report is available online at

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

An article recently published in the IEEE Spectrum alleges that a cartel of lighting manufacturers engineered shorter life into their lamps to ensure a higher volume of ongoing sales.

Read it here.

Special thanks to Howard Wolfman for sending this my way.

Architecture Billings Index Shows Continuing Strength in August

On the heels of recording its strongest pace of growth since 2007, there continues to be an increasing level of demand for design services signaled in the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 53.0, down from a mark of 55.8 in July. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, following a very strong mark of 66.0 the previous month.

The AIA has added a new indicator measuring the trends in new design contracts at architecture firms that can provide a strong signal of the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in August was 56.9.

“One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.”

Key August ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Northeast (58.1) , South (55.1), West (52.5), Midwest (51.0)
• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (58.1), mixed practice (57.1), institutional (54.0), commercial / industrial (50.4)
• Project inquiries index: 62.6
• Design contracts index: 56.9

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.


Nuckolls Fund Awarded $30,000 in 2014

The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education presented a total of $30,000 for lighting education grants and awards in 2014. Founded in 1989 in honor of the late lighting designer and educator, James L. Nuckolls, The Nuckolls Fund has given a total of $875,000 for the advancement of lighting education in North America.

Proposals are solicited annually by the Nuckolls Fund for innovative educational ideas that will advance the understanding of light in architecture. This year, Jeffrey A. Milham, president of The Nuckolls Fund, presented a $20,000 Nuckolls Fund grant and two $5,000 student awards.

$20,000 Nuckolls Fund Grant:

Carnegie Mellon University will continue the presentation of an Architectural Lighting Design Workshop series for schools of architecture to encourage the initiation of new courses or expansion of existing programs in lighting design. Serving as principal workshop leader is Cindy Limauro, Professor of Lighting Design, School of Drama and Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University. Four acclaimed workshops were given in 2013-2014 at Northeastern University, California Polytechnic University, University of Texas-Austin, and the University of California-Berkeley. The workshops are open to students and faculty. Workshops for 2014-2015 will be held at schools to be determined by Professor Limauro.

$5,000 Nuckolls Fund Awards:

The Jonas Bellovin Scholar Achievement Award was given to Yulia Tyukhova, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Currently in her second year of a PhD program in Architectural Engineering, she earned a second M.A. in architectural engineering at UNL as a Fulbright Scholar. Her field of research has been High Dynamic Range Imaging for Luminance Measurements. She presented a paper on the topic at the 2012 IES Annual conference, which has been published in the journal, Leukos.

The Jules Horton International Student Achievement Award was given to Ukwatte L. Indika U. Perera, a graduate student from Sri Lanka studying at the Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. After having received his master’s degree in lighting at RPI, Perera is a doctoral candidate in Architectural Sciences with a concentration in lighting, specializing in improving the performance of white LED systems for illumination applications.

On The Nuckolls Fund’s newly redesigned website are seven independent teaching modules within “Lighting Across the Design Curriculum.” Funded by a $50,000 Nuckolls Fund Twentieth Anniversary Grant awarded in 2010, the teaching modules are available at no charge in the site’s Educational Resources section. The Principal Investigator was Professor Katherine S. Ankerson of Kansas State University, leading a team of lighting educators. Another teaching module, “Lighting Controls—Tools for Teaching,” is also posted on the Nuckolls Fund website. It was developed by Erin Speck at George Washington University from her Nuckolls Fund 2012 Edison Price Fellowship Grant.

Click here to learn more about the Nuckolls Fund.

New York Festival of Light Coming November 6-8, 2014

Nyfestival of light

The New York Festival of Light (NYFOL) announces New York City’s first annual New York Festival of Light, a three-night event – Thursday through Saturday, November 6 -8, 2014 – that celebrates light, in all of its extraordinary incarnations. New York now joins the ranks of major cities such as Berlin, London, Lyon, Montreal and Sydney that have festivals of light. The festival is free and open to the public.

The festival, which is held in partnership with the DUMBO Improvement District, features a curated collection of lighting installations created by local and internationally renowned lighting designers, visual and performing artists, and technologists who work within the medium of light. The spectacle takes place in the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge and in the surrounding plaza space.

Approximately ten interactive, projection, and static lighting installations, will take part in NYFOL 2014.

Highlights include:

Sounds of Nature – Tupac Martir, visual artist and production designer, and lighting director for Elton John, Beyoncé, Sting, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, to name a few, has created an installation for the plaza that is composed of umbrellas that and LEDs that are triggered by sensors sensitive to the weather, and the movement of the people to create different patterns of sound and light.

Laser Light Show – Howard Ungerleider, whose amazing architectural lighting, stage lighting, and set design presents a high-powered laser light show, complete with smoke, in the Archway.

Initiations - 3_Search, a creative collective, is curating a projection mapped video series that explores the transitory place where endings and beginnings overlap in perpetual evolution, and incorporates works by international projections mappers including from Glowing Bulbs, Integrated Visions, dandelion & burdock and others on the facade of the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage.

In addition NYFOL 2014 will feature illuminated ice sculptures, performances by iLuminate, a DJ, food trucks, and hundreds of visitors. Hours are 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Thursday and 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Friday and Saturday.

NYFOL is the brainchild of Liam O’Braion, a producer of large-scale entertainment events and Ira Levy, an award-winning New York City-based lighting designers.

Click here to learn more.

Lighting Systems Index Flat During Second Quarter on Mixed Component Results

Demand for lighting equipment, as measured by NEMA’s Lighting Systems Shipments Index, was essentially flat during the second quarter, increasing 0.1% over 2014Q1. In contrast, year-over-year performance for the topline index showed a decrease of 1.4%. Emergency lighting and fixtures were the only index components to show an improvement in sales with ballasts, large- and miniature-lamps in negative territory during the quarter.


Product Monday: Alba by Stack

The next generation of light bulbs features embedded intelligence, with many new products becoming available, as the editor of LEDs Magazine recently pointed out.

An interesting new product that’s been getting a ton of praise in the press is Alba by Stack, which features intelligence and onboard sensors to offer a load of features and resulting responsiveness. Dimming, light sensing, color tuning, auto shutoff with motion sensing, and more.

Learn more here.

DOE Updates National Reference Standard for Commercial Buildings to 90.1-2013

Following preliminary analysis that ASHRAE/IES’s 2013 energy efficiency standard contains energy savings over the 2010 standard – 8.5% source energy savings and 7.6% energy savings – the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a ruling that establishes the 2013 standard as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes.

In an announcement in the Sept. 26, 2014 edition of The Federal Register, DOE attributes the greater energy savings to improvements in ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, related to several areas, including better lighting, fans, commercial refrigeration and boilers.

The determination means that states are required to update their codes to meet or exceed the 2013 standard within two years. Currently, states must meet or exceed the 2010 standard, which serves as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes under the federal Energy Conservation and Production Act.

Among the eight addenda that are identified as having a major positive impact on energy efficiency, IES notes that three are attributed to lighting changes according to Rita Harrold, IES director of technology. These address control requirements for lighting alterations, additional controls for more spaces with a shortened time to lighting reduction or shutoff, and a decrease in lighting power density in most building types to reflect changes in revisions to illuminance recommendations in the IES Lighting Handbook, 10th edition.

The DOE noted that the 2013 standard contains 52 positive impacts on energy efficiency that were incorporated into the analysis. These impacts included changes made through the public review process in which users of the standard comment and offer guidance on proposed requirements.

Click here to learn more about changes in the 2013 version of the standard.


DOE Announces Solid-State Indoor Lighting 2014 Award Winners

The Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) Design Competition recently recognized 57 commercial LED indoor lighting products as part of its sixth annual awards program.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Association of Lighting Designers, the NGL competition recognizes excellence in the design of energy-efficient commercial general lighting. In 2013, the competition split into two, one covering indoor products and the other covering outdoor.

NGL bestows its product awards based on criteria including lighting quality (color, light levels, light distribution, glare), appearance, serviceability, efficacy (lumens/W), controllability, power quality, innovation, lumen maintenance and overall value.

The program received 266 products for consideration; of these, 153 were selected for judging. The largest number of entries came in the recessed troffer, pendant and high-ceiling categories, and there was an increase in the number of decorative entries. The judges, which include lighting designers, evaluated the products over three days at the facilities of Intelligent Lighting Creations in Arlington Heights, IL. All products were evaluated as installed in their characteristic installations, including various mounting heights and ceiling conditions.

The judges identified 57 products (37 percent of those submitted) as Recognized, meaning they are considered worthy of specification in their intended applications. Of these, four were award Best in Class, meaning they stand out significantly above the rest. Another four products, which were not yet on the market at the time of judging, were designated as Emerging, meaning they are considered noteworthy for their possibilities. This year, special acknowledgment was given to 10 Recognized products that also demonstrated high efficacy, and to eight Recognized products that demonstrate superior serviceability.

The Best in Class winners came from four different manufacturers and covered four areas of lighting:

• Koncept for its Mosso Pro LED desk lamp;
• Finelite, Inc. for its Series 11LED Micro Profile family of cove mounted luminaires;
• Cree, Inc. for its LS Series utility luminaire; and
• Acuity Brands – Mark Architectural Lighting for its Slot 2 & 4 LED – Direct and Bi-Direct family of surface-mounted and pendant linear luminaires.

Reflecting the continuing improvements in LED technology, there was a marked increase in efficacy in the 2014 NGL competition, with more than half of the Recognized products achieving efficacies at least 20 percent above the DesignLights Consortium minimum, and 10 products exceeding 100 lm/W.

While there was a notable improvement in glare control as well as generally high ratings for color, illuminance and light distribution, serviceability remained a serious concern for the judges.

Download a catalog of NGL 2014 indoor products here.



2014 Nobel Prize in Physics Goes to Inventors of Blue LEDs

Dr. Shuji Nakamura, one of the founders of Soraa, Inc.

Dr. Shuji Nakamura, one of the founders of Soraa, Inc.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014 to Isamu Akasaki, Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan and Nagoya University, Japan; Hiroshi Amano, Nagoya University, Japan; and Shuji Nakamura, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA and one of the founders of Soraa, Inc. for “the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”

An Academy press release stated:

“In the spirit of Alfred Nobel, the Prize rewards an invention of greatest benefit to mankind; using blue LEDs, white light can be created in a new way. With the advent of LED lamps we now have more long-lasting and more efficient alternatives to older light sources.

When Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s, they triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology. Red and green diodes had been around for a long time but without blue light, white lamps could not be created. Despite considerable efforts, both in the scientific community and in industry, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.

They succeeded where everyone else had failed. Akasaki worked together with Amano at the University of Nagoya, while Nakamura was employed at Nichia Chemicals, a small company in Tokushima. Their inventions were revolutionary. Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.”