Brodrick on OLED Lighting Installed in an Office

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

Aurora Lighting Design, Inc., in Grayslake, IL, made the bold step of installing an OLED lighting system during office renovations in 2014, becoming the first office test site for the use of OLEDs in general lighting, as well as the first GATEWAY demonstration involving OLEDs. A new GATEWAY report recounts the experiences of this pioneering project involving an intriguing technology, and provides valuable feedback to OLED and component manufacturers as well as luminaire manufacturers.

OLEDAcuity Brands’ Trilia™ OLED lighting system, which was selected by Aurora, has a shallow profile that works well with the company’s low-ceiling office and offers comfortable ambient light, with warm color (3000K) and very good color rendering (CRI = 89). Compared to the previous installation of recessed medium-base downlights with nominal 20W PAR38/830 LED lamps, the OLED system delivers much higher-quality lighting, according to the staff. The exposed OLED panels deliver a soft, minimal-shadow light that makes faces and expressions visible and increases room brightness by reaching vertical surfaces. When the OLED surface luminance is kept below 3000 cd/m2, this is achieved with no increase in glare. The system’s appearance expresses creativity and innovation, making a statement to clients who visit the offices. What’s more, the system is dimmable, enabling Aurora to save energy, reduce output and potential visual discomfort when lower illuminances are preferred, and use daylight as the primary light source. Lighting-energy use is moderate, at 0.62 W/ft2 when the system is operated at full output as designed. Aurora’s staff enjoys working under the system, and uses it in a dimmed state most of the time.

However, the installation of the OLED system was not without its challenges and complications. The drivers were too large to fit above the gypboard ceiling, so the 11 drivers were remote-mounted in an adjacent space. This necessitated pulling large numbers of wires through a shallow joist space to multiple mounting points. At the time of manufacture, there were no dedicated OLED drivers on the market, so Acuity equipped the OLED lighting system with LED drivers, which lowered system efficacy because they couldn’t be precisely tuned to the specific electrical needs of the OLEDs. While the system dims smoothly with a 0-10V dimmer, dimming introduces flicker. Although visible to very sensitive occupants and visitors, the flicker frequency is fairly high, measured by Acuity’s Horizon Group to be 261 Hz. The staff members have noticed no personal health consequences (such as headaches) as a result of the flicker.

Aurora’s OLED installation is an important demonstration of the potential performance of OLED panels. The panel technology itself is maturing, and problems such as shorting defects are already being solved with new panel architectures. The system that was installed in September 2014 represents the state of the art of the technology at that time, with a system efficacy of around 46 lm/W. Two manufacturers have since promised 80-lm/W OLED panels for delivery in 2016 and higher efficacies soon afterward.

However, panel efficacy is only part of the story of OLED systems. One frustration of luminaire manufacturers is that there are few dedicated OLED drivers on the market, because the total demand in the architectural market is low. Instead, manufacturers have to work with LED drivers, customizing them as best they can to deliver the current and voltages needed, which are often outside the optimized efficiency range of the driver. This makes the driver a weak point in the system efficacy.

The OLED panels are thin and light, and they deliver a unique quality of light. However, the drivers are still relatively large and brick-like. Because they don’t fit gracefully into the OLED luminaires or mounting canopies, they must be mounted remotely, which creates extra work for the designer and contractor to find an accessible location hidden from normal view, where drivers can be located in compliance with the electrical code. If OLEDs are to fulfill their promise, driver elements will need to be integrated sleekly and discreetly into the luminaire or mounting elements.

The flicker from OLEDs is a function of the driver, just as it is for LEDs. Like many performance aspects, such as dimming, it can be compounded by the fact that the driver, designed for LEDs, may be operating outside of its optimal operating area. This can be corrected by an improved electronic circuit design. Acuity Brands has already been converting its OLED product line to a different brand of programmable driver that will have current ranges appropriate for the OLEDs, with improved dimming performance and dramatically higher light-modulation frequency to eliminate flicker complaints.

For full viability of OLED architectural lighting, the systems will need to deliver higher efficacy, better system components, and lower costs. OLED lighting is in its infancy compared to LED lighting, but the architectural market is taking notice of a lighting product with an entirely different look and function. If OLEDs continue to increase in efficacy, longevity, size, and flexibility, designers and engineers will have a new tool for creative and effective lighting.

For a closer look at the findings, download the full report.

Product Monday: FGP Bollard by Landscape Forms

FGPLanscape Forms’ AG400 Bollard, part of the FGP Collection, uses aiming angles, color rendering and glare reduction to shape and enhance lighting performance. Constructed of durable cast aluminum with galvanized steel base plate, the luminaire emits 550 lumens (50 lumens/W) of 3500K, 81 CRI light.

Click here to learn more.


Below is my lighting column published in the July issue of tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

Founded in 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR is a voluntary product labeling program designed to help consumers identify and promote energy-efficient products. These products include lamps and residential luminaires.

Consumers recognize the ENERGY STAR label as meaning lighting products demonstrates equivalent or better performance as the traditional technologies they replace, but use significantly less energy. This approach promotes both quality and energy efficiency.

In the lamps category, certification to the influential ENERGY STAR Lamp Specification has come to mean qualifying for the large majority of utility rebate programs. More than 370 utilities in the United States run about 1,200 product incentive and promotion programs for ENERGY STAR-certified products, with an estimated budget of about $535 million. This represents about 95 percent of utility incentive programs nationwide. EPA estimates that in 2014, about 70 percent of compact fluorescent lamps and 75 percent of LED lamps sold were ENERGY STAR-certified.

“The ENERGY STAR mark is well-recognized in the marketplace, and there’s a lot of consumer awareness around it,” says Joseph Howley, Manager of Industry Relations, GE Lighting. “Most buyers see ENERGY STAR and are confident they’re buying a quality energy-efficient product. Your average consumer might not have the expertise to keep up with LED technology and how quickly it continues to evolve—so they rely on ENERGY STAR.”

The Lamps Version 2.0 specification was released on December 31, 2015. The effective date is January 2, 2017. To bear the ENERGY STAR mark after that time, a lamp must be certified to V2.0. There will be no grandfathering, meaning existing products must recertify. The new requirements are stricter and require more rigorous testing, which will have a big impact on omnidirectional, directional and decorative lamps that qualify for the ENERGY STAR mark.

The new ENERGY STAR Lamp Specification favors LED lamps. Image courtesy of OSRAM SYLVANIA.

The new ENERGY STAR Lamp Specification favors LED lamps. Image courtesy of OSRAM SYLVANIA.

Lamps V2.0

According to Taylor Jantz-Sell, ENERGY STAR Lighting Program Manager, U.S. EPA, V2.0 has four primary goals:

• Capture more energy savings in step with growing improvements in solid-state lighting while improving quality and, where possible, reducing cost. For example, for all lamps, minimum efficacy and lumen and color maintenance requirements increased, while for omnidirectional lamps, minimum service life decreased.
• Broaden the scope for features for eligible lamp types, such as color-tuning and connected (featuring ability to communicate) products. This is likely to stimulate demand for these value-added products.
• Harmonize with the program’s Luminaires V2.0 specification, such as allowing a turnkey way to certify decorative luminaires simply by including an ENERGY STAR-certified lamp.
• Allow for more cost-effective lamp designs to earn ENERGY STAR.

“EPA hopes the result of the new specification will be increased adoption of high-quality, highly efficient light bulbs that have been third-party-certified to a well-thought-out set of requirements,” says Jantz-Sell.

“In certain geographies, electrical distributors may need to stock ENERGY STAR V1.0 and V2.0 products to support current customer demands and utility incentives, respectively,” says Nathan Marafioti, Marketing Director LED – North America, Philips Lighting. “Electrical distributors should expect and prepare for a continued increase in LED lamp conversion. Many utility programs will shift funding from compact fluorescent lamps to LED, which will improve the value of and stimulate LED adoption.”

Omnidirectional lamps

Omnidirectional lamps emit light in all directions. Lamps V2.0 increases the minimum efficacy requirement from 55 lumens/W for lamps smaller than 15W and 65 lumens/W for lamps 15+W to 70 or 80 lumens/W based on color rendering index (CRI) rating. If the lamp has a CRI lower than 90, the product must achieve a minimum efficacy of 80 lumens/W; if 90+ CRI, it must have an efficacy of at least 70 lumens/W.

Additionally, V2.0 reduced the service life requirement from 25,000 hours to 15,000 hours, adjusted the light distribution requirements, and reduced the power factor requirement from 0.7 to 0.6 for 5-10W products. These changes were implemented to allow manufacturers to reduce cost and provide competitive, high-quality LED products to consumers at a price point they’ve become to expect from ENERGY STAR-certified compact fluorescent lamps.

“Currently, there are no compact fluorescent products on the market that are 2.0 compliant,” Marafioti says. “While we are constantly evaluating the market need and opportunity for different products for our customers, it is likely that our primary efforts will continue to focus on driving LED adoption.”

The new specification favors LED technology. “Almost all of today’s omnidirectional lamps from proven brands meet the ENERGY STAR 2.0 requirements,” says Alfred LaSpina, Product Group Marketing Manager, OSRAM SYLVANIA. “The transition will be seamless, and the end-user won’t be impacted.” He adds that SYLVANIA will continue to offer compact fluorescent lamps to provide customers with a choice.

While many new LED lamps meet V2.0’s 80 lumens/W, many existing LED lamps do not, which may require some design changes and a higher overall cost. “GE does not anticipate the new requirements will affect the broad availability of its ENERGY STAR-certified LED products, but we do expect that demand for those same products will increase,” says Chris Gonzales, Senior Product Manager, Current, powered by GE. GE is currently phasing out production of compact fluorescent lamps for the North American market in 2017 due to expectations of a significant downturn in demand.

Directional lamps

Directional lamps emit light in a single direction. Lamps V2.0 increases the minimum efficacy requirement for directional lamps, again based on CRI. The requirement increased from 40 lumens/W for lamps smaller than 20W and 50 lumens/W for 20+W lamps to 70 lumens/W ( “We expect that compact fluorescent reflector lamps will be effectively eliminated from ENERGY STAR consideration by the new requirement,” says Roland Rolle, Senior Product Manager, GE Lighting. “We will have a wide selection of decorative and directional LED lamps that meet V2.0, but no CFLs.”

“Additional scale and costs continue to come down for LEDs, including directional lamps,” LaSpina says. “For LED lamps that currently comply with 1.0 but will not meet 2.0, their price points will continue to make them attractive options even without the utility incentives. We have spec-grade products compliant with 2.0 and available for utility rebates, and we also have products engineered for value-driven customers. It comes down to offering a wide range so the distributor has the right light for the right application, with or without utility rebates.”

Decorative lamps

For decorative lamps, the efficacy requirements increased from 50 to 60 lumens/W based on wattage to 65 lumens/W for all lamps. ST, a new lamp shape emulating old-fashioned filament-style lamps, is now included.

“Like the other two categories, we expect nearly all compact fluorescent decorative lamps will be eliminated from the ENERGY STAR program under V2.0,” says Rolle. “We anticipate the entire market will move toward LED.”

Final word

“If distributors are in incentive-laden areas, they will have to change to compliant products to take advantage of rebates,” LaSpina says. “Distributors will need to scrub their products and vendor listing to make sure they are stocking V2.0 products. That is why it is beneficial to partner with a proven vendor who has been working with EPA already to be prepared for this version, so the transition is seamless.”

DOE Announces Interior Lighting Campaign Results

DOEIn the first year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Interior Lighting Campaign exceeded an initial goal of replacing 100,000 fluorescent indoor lighting troffers.

Participants are now working toward a goal of 1 million and have already upgraded 650,000 troffers for a total national energy savings of 1.3 trillion BTUs or the equivalent of $13.5 million in energy savings.

With support from BOMA, IES, IFMA and the U.S. General Services Administration, there are now close to 50 participants, including CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Target and T-Mobile, along with 110 industry supporters.

Click here to learn more.

IESNYC Announces Winner of First Annual Merit-Based Scholarship

dinn2The Illuminating Engineering Society New York City Section recently announced that Sarah Dlinn, who attends the MFA Lighting Design program at Parsons School of Design, as the winner of the first annual IESNYC Scholarship.

This merit-based scholarship comes with a monetary value of $25,000 to support a full-time, graduate degree candidate in architectural lighting enrolled in an accredited college or university located in New York State.

The Scholarship is unprecedented in the history of the IES and represents the first time a Section in the Society has supported higher education to such an extent.

Check Out the IALD Awards Book

2016-Awards-Book-Front-CoverCheck out the 17 projects that won accolades at the 33rd Annual IALD International Lighting Design Awards in a new book (PDF) produced by the IALD.

Get it here.

Product Monday: Nera by Focal Point

Available in both a suspended linear profile and a square pendant, Focal Point’s Nera provides illumination from a four-sided optical diffuser.

The linear model delivers a 60/40 or 70/30 light distribution and can be specified with Right Light output levels of 650-1,000 lumens/foot in 4-, 5-, 6- and 8-foot lengths as well as continuous rows.

The pendant, offering a 50/50 light distribution, is available in 2-ft. x 2-ft., 3-ft. x 3ft. and 4-ft. x 4ft. configurations, with Right Light lumen packages from 2,000 to 8,000 depending on pendant size.

The product earned an Outstanding mention at the 2016 Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) Design Competition.

Click here to learn more.



Bees Control Light and Sound Installation at Kew Gardens

Designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress, the “Hive” is a 17-meter-tall, 40-ton steel sculpture built in a meadow. The sculpture houses thousands of honeybees, whose activity triggers LED lights to pulse and sounds such as cello and vocals to emit from speakers.

The idea behind the Hive is to raise awareness of the role bees play in pollinating crop plants and therefore sustaining human and animal life. Honeybees are still in decline due to colony collapse disorder.

Energy Code Deadline Nears

Below is a short news piece I wrote for the July issue of tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

On September 26, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named the ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2013 energy standard as the new national energy reference standard, superseding the 2010 version.

What this means: Before October 2016, all states in the country must implement a commercial building energy code at least as stringent as 90.1-2013, or justify why they can’t comply. States may adopt 90.1 in whole or part, the 2012 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), or develop their own code. Roughly one-half of the states complied with the last DOE ruling. As of January 2016, only six states had achieved early compliance.

The 90.1 standard provides code-ready language jurisdictions can use to implement commercial building energy codes. Updated every three years since 2001, the lighting requirements have become increasingly complex and strict over the years. The 2013 version goes further while attempting to simplify application.

The major changes include tougher controls requirements, adjusted maximum allowable lighting power densities (LPD, expressed as W/sq.ft.), and a new tabular format for implementing LPD and control requirements in specific space types.

Most of the LPDs were adjusted, some up, some down. For example, the maximum allowable LPD for office buildings was adjusted up to 1.01W/sq.ft. from 0.9, while the LPD for hospitals was adjusted down to 1.05W/sq.ft. from 1.21. These modified LPD values were prompted by new light level recommendations published in the Tenth Edition of the IES Lighting Handbook.

Mandatory requirements for lighting controls received a number of significant changes. Occupancy sensors must turn OFF controlled lighting within 20 minutes after the space is vacated, not 30. Partial-OFF is required for occupancy sensors in certain spaces such as stairwells and corridors. Automatic independent control is required for secondary sidelighted daylight zones, not just the primary zone. Daylight harvesting step dimming requires two control points between full ON and OFF to increase flexibility. More-detailed functional testing requirements are included.

ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2013 features a new table for determining LPD allowances and control requirements using the Space by Space Method and control requirements using the Building Area Method. The idea is to make things simpler, but the tables may take some getting used to. For the Space by Space Method, there are actually two tables, one listing space types found in multiple building types, the second listing spaces generally found in one building type. The standard contains language applicable to these tables that must be referenced separately.

Let’s look at open offices as an example. If using the Space by Space Method, an LPD of 0.98 is prescribed. The room cavity (RCR) threshold is 4, which means an additional lighting power allowance of 20 percent can be used if the actual RCR (2.5 x room cavity height x room perimeter length / room area) is greater than the threshold. Choices of controls are then listed. In open offices, space controls are required for users, and all lighting must be bi-level. If daylight is available, daylight zone lighting must be automatically and independently controlled. The lights may be manual-ON (“ADD1”) or partial-automatic-ON (“ADD1”), and they must turn OFF automatically based on either occupancy (“ADD2”) or a schedule (“ADD2”).

Lighting is steadily getting more complicated; increasingly complex and stringent energy codes are part of the mix. For more information, consult the ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2013 standard or the state and/or other jurisdictional energy offices to determine local energy code requirements.

DOE Publishes New CALiPER Snapshot on TLEDs

The U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER program has released a new Snapshot report on linear LED lamps, commonly known as TLEDs. Among the key findings of the new Snapshot, which is based on DOE’s LED Lighting Facts database:

  • TLEDs now comprise more than 50% of all listed lamps, and more than 10% of all listed products.
  • TLEDs offer the highest mean efficacy of any lamp type, and also offer the listed product with the highest efficacy (190 lm/W).
  • In aggregate, TLED efficacy decreases by 3 lm/W for every 1000 K decrease in CCT.
  • While the raw efficacy of TLEDs exceeds that of dedicated LED troffers, the reverse is true if TLED efficacy is adjusted to account for luminaire efficiency. In other words, dedicated LED troffers tend to exceed the efficacy of troffers fitted with TLEDs.

At first glance, TLEDs may appear superior to retrofit kits or dedicated LED luminaires for replacing a fluorescent lighting system, with higher efficacy and likely lower product and installation costs. But accounting for factors such as luminaire efficiency may tip the balance against TLEDs in some scenarios. Nevertheless, viable TLED options are increasingly available, and as they push the efficacy limits for LED products, they can be compelling replacements for fluorescent tubes, as long as other tradeoffs are appropriately accounted for.

Get the report here.