Jim Brodrick on LED PAR38 Lamps

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

PAR38 lamps put in long hours lighting up retail shelves, museum displays, lobbies, and other commercial settings across the country, which presents a prime opportunity to save energy. LED PAR38s, which have been on the market for a few years, have the potential to be much more energy-efficient than their incumbent halogen counterparts. LED PAR38s with beam angles of 25° to 45° (often called narrow flood or flood lamps) are now fairly common and readily available. LED PAR38 lamps with narrower beams (spots), high center beam intensity, and excellent color characteristics — so often needed by lighting designers and specifiers for demanding applications — are much harder to come by. In an attempt to spur the market to higher across-the-board performance, DOE launched a PAR38 category of the L Prize® competition, with ambitious performance targets. LED PAR38s continue to show incremental improvement, but right now there’s a long way to go.

DOE’s LED Lighting Facts® database currently lists nearly 500 LED PAR38s. Of those, only about 33 (less than 7%) can meet the L Prize light-output requirement of 1,350 lumens, while none even comes close to meeting the 123-lm/W efficacy target. In fact, the median efficacy for products currently listed with LED Lighting Facts is only 58 lm/W, with a maximum of 92 lm/W. The median efficacy has not changed in the past two years and has only increased by 18% since 2010, significantly lagging the rates of improvement in other LED product categories. Only 20 (4%) of the listed LED PAR38s have warm-white color and high (>90) CRIs, and these all have light outputs below the L Prize target.

DOE’s CALiPER testing program has been looking closely at PAR lamps and is publishing a series of reports to share the results. The first, CALiPER Application Summary Report 20, described the results of photometric testing and showed that most PAR38 lamps tested had warm-white color with CRIs in the 80s. A handful of products had spot distributions with high center beam intensity, but this was the exception; most products had beam angles of 20º-45° or higher. The second report, CALiPER Report 20.1, focused on human-evaluated characteristics, including beam quality, shadow quality, and color quality. Results suggested that the LED products compared favorably to halogen PAR38 benchmarks in all attributes considered.

The latest report in the series is CALiPER Report 20.2, which came out last month and focuses on dimming, flicker, and power quality characteristics. For the LED lamps that were dimmable (three-quarters of the Series 20 total), those evaluated characteristics were less consistent than for conventional halogen PAR38s, although a number of trends emerged.

For example, most of the LED products produced more relative light output at a given dimmer setting than the benchmark halogen PAR38s. And when operated by a switch, almost all of the LED PAR38s exhibited less flicker than a magnetically ballasted fluorescent lamp, with more than two-thirds of them exhibiting flicker less than or comparable to that of a halogen. However, when dimmed, about half of the lamps exhibited more flicker than a magnetically ballasted fluorescent lamp, and almost all of the LED products exhibited more flicker than a typical halogen.

As for power factor, while all of the LED lamps tested met the current ANSI-defined thresholds for power factor when operated by the switch, nearly one-third had a power factor less than 0.5 at some point over the dimming range, which would not meet the standard.

While LED PAR38s on the whole have come a long way, and many of them can now be considered “good enough” for various applications, it’s important that their performance continue to improve — as attested to by L Prize partners in a video you can watch online. A PAR38 L Prize winner will not only overcome some of the limitations of today’s LED PAR38s, but, with double their efficacy, will run cooler. And that, in turn, will make possible a whole range of other improvements, including longer life, better color stability, higher output, smaller heatsinks, higher center beam intensity, and more fixture types. The narrow beam angle of 9º-15° will provide the focused lighting needed by critical applications, with color quality that makes merchandise, art, and lobbies sparkle.

And the energy savings — which, after all, is DOE’s main interest — will be considerable. It’s estimated that making all 90 million installed PAR38s L Prize-efficient would annually save 11 terawatt-hours of electricity (which is roughly equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Washington, DC) while avoiding 7 million metric tons of carbon emissions (the equivalent of removing 1.46 million cars from the road).

Product Monday: Rubix by WAC Lighting

WAC Lighting’s Rubix is a high-power exterior-rated wall-mounted LED luminaire with a universal (120/220/277V) driver, 100-10% dimming, 85 CRI and 3000K color appearance.

Click here to learn more.



ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING Announces 2014 Award Winnners

ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING recently announced the winners of its 2014 lighting design awards competition.

Click here to see this year’s winners.

DOE Publishes CALiPER Snapshot Report on LED Outdoor Area Lighting

The U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER program has released a Snapshot Report on LED outdoor area lighting. Based on LED Lighting Facts data through the second quarter of 2014, the report focuses on outdoor area/roadway luminaires, parking garage luminaires, canopy luminaires, and outdoor directional luminaires. As of July 1, 2014, area/roadway products alone comprised 23% of the LED Lighting Facts database, with the other three product categories comprising approximately 7%.

Among the report’s highlights:

* The number of products listed by LED Lighting Facts continues to grow rapidly. An increasing percentage of those products are luminaires, and more and more of those luminaires are outdoor area lighting products.
* The efficacy of outdoor area lighting products continues to rise, with mean performance now around 80–90 lm/W and the most efficacious products around 120–150 lm/W.
* Likewise, lumen output has continued to increase. For example, there are now several listed products with lumen output comparable to a 400 W high-pressure sodium streetlight. This is a notable change since the last Snapshot Report on this product category, which was published one year ago.
* Early LED outdoor area lighting products were often known for their higher CCTs (e.g., 6500K). Today, 4000K and 5000K are the most common CCTs, and the mean CCT has shown a continual downward trend.

Click here to get the full report.

Exploring Lighting Cultures

Philips Lighting interviewed some of the international lighting community’s most innovative designers. The topic? Light.

Check it out here.

Emergence Light Installation at London Heathrow

Cinimod Studio created an extraordinary LED light sculpture to entertain diners at Caviar House & Prunier at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2. The sculpture, titled “Emergence,” spirals 43 ft. toward the ceiling, with 350,000 LEDs programmed to invoke the choreography of a school of fish.

"Emergence" for Caviar House & Prunier, London Heathrow Terminal 2 from Cinimod Studio on Vimeo.

Do We Need New Color Metrics?

LEDThe proliferation of solid-state light sources has highlighted the limitations of the CRI metric as a predictor that fully represents how people perceive color. This article in ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING describes these limitations and efforts to create a new metric.

Check it out here.

In March 2013, the IES formed the Color Metric Task Group to investigate alternatives to CRI. The group is currently writing a Technical Memorandum that may propose a path toward a new color metric.

Lighting’s Digital Makeover

MIT Technology Review recently published an article about how Lighting and the Internet are merging, and what that means. I found this excerpt to be of particular interest:

“Another look at how lighting systems are changing will emerge this November, when a 14-story regional headquarters for Deloitte, nearing completion in Amsterdam, will be festooned with networked LEDs in each fixture—the first such installation for Philips.

“Each of 6,500 light fixtures will have an IP address and five sensors—all of them wired only to Ethernet cables. (They’ll use “power over Ethernet” technology to deliver the juice to each fixture as well as data.) The fixtures include a light sensor to dim the LEDs during the day, and a motion detector that covers the area directly beneath each light and turns the light off when no one is there. “We expect to spend 70 percent less on light, because systems [give] us much more control,” says Erik Ubels, chief information officer at Deloitte in the Netherlands. Additional sensors in the LED fixtures can monitor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and heat, turning the lights into a kind of building-management system.”

That’s the Internet of Things in action, and an excellent example of how LED luminaires may serve as a “Trojan Horse” for it–a platform for the installation of sensors that make it happen. I’ll be very interested to see how the project turns out. If they publish measurable outcomes, I’ll be sure to share it.

Check out the article here.

What the Heck is the Internet of Things, Anyway?

What’s the Internet of Things, and what does it mean?

MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW has the answer here.

Career Opportunity: Industrial Designer, Mechanical Engineer for Kenall


Industrial Designer, Mechanical Engineer

kenall1As Kenall’s Industrial Designer/ME you will research, conceptualize and develop new state of the art lighting products. The ideal candidate will be able to convey ideas using visual mediums, including hand sketches and possess a working knowledge of 3-D CAD modeling, Solidworks and/or Inventor.

Kenall’s product development is a cascade process consisting of three primary groups: Ideation, Proof of Concept and Sustainability.


• Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Industrial Design
• Strong mechanical and electrical aptitude
• Proven ability to free hand sketch in isometric and 3-D perspective
• ALL levels of experience will be considered, including enthusiastic new graduates
• Previous experience in the field of solid state lighting a plus

Founded in 1963 by Ken Hawkins, Kenall Manufacturing carved a niche within the industry by creating the first impact and vandal resistant lighting products, and continues that mission today by providing intelligent, durable and sustainable solutions to complex lighting problems. As the company’s second generation CEO, Jim Hawkins has expanded the company’s vision to include sealed lighting for containment or clean spaces, high abuse lighting for public access areas, as well as correctional, healthcare, and transportation lighting.

1963-2013-Celebrating 50 years

JOIN US as we move to our new custom designed, state of the art 355,000-sq.ft. manufacturing headquarters in Kenosha, WI in early 2015!

Click here to apply.