Lumileds’ George Craford Recognized for Major Contributions to LED Lighting

George Craford, Lumileds Solid State Lighting Fellow, was recently awarded the IEEE Edison Medal for “a lifetime of pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of visible LED materials and devices.”

Craford’s career spans from the early days when LEDs were first developed to delivery of high brightness LEDs suitable for commercial use in a variety of applications, including LED lamps. He is best known for his invention of the yellow LED in 1972. Craford then led the development of increasingly brighter red, orange and amber LEDs. In 1979, Craford began work at Hewlett-Packard, where his team pioneered the development of AlInGaP LEDs using metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). MOCVD was then a relatively expensive lower volume process and had not been utilized for the high volume commercial production of LEDs. AlInGaP LEDs increased the performance of red and yellow LEDs by more than 10 times. Craford’s team continued to achieve technology breakthroughs in AlInGaP LEDs, eventually reaching 100 lm/W.

“Not only was George responsible for substantial breakthroughs in technology, but with his team, ensured that the technology could be reliably and cost effectively manufactured,” said Mark Karol, 2017 IEEE Awards Board Chair.

One can see the impact of Craford’s early work in the color LEDs now ubiquitous in traffic signals, emergency and automotive lighting. Craford’s later work focused on making white LED light cost effective for retail, office, architectural, outdoor and industrial lighting markets. In the early 2000s, his team’s work enabled commercialization of the first high power LEDs in the 10-20 lumen range. Such LEDs contributed to the creation of the first LED bulbs to meet the high efficiency and long lifecycle requirements to win the U.S. Department of Energy’s “L Prize” for a 60W-equivalent LED bulb.

Today, Craford is Lumileds Solid State Lighting Fellow at Lumileds. He is an IEEE Life Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has received numerous awards including the 2002 National Medal of Technology and the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Engineering Charles Stark Draper Prize. He has also been awarded the International SSL Alliance Global Solid State Lighting Development Award, the Strategies in Light LED Pioneer Award, the University of Illinois Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Award, the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the Optical Society of America Nick Holonyak Jr. Award, the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors Welker Award, the Materials Research Society MRS medal, the Electrochemical Society Electronic Division Award and the Economist Innovation Award.

National Academy of Sciences Releases Report on Solid-State Lighting

The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) has published a report, Assessment of Solid-State Lighting, Phase Two, which is a follow-up to its 2013 report.

The new report focuses on three key areas: commercialization (noting the rapid uptake of SSL since the 2013 report), technology development (updating the findings of the 2013 report), and manufacturing. In the process, the NAS committee has updated material that was presented in the earlier study.

Click here to read it.

New Report Published on Color Shift Impact on Reliability

An industry working group facilitated by with the Department of Energy has published a new report on the impact of color shift on reliability. LED Luminaire Reliability: Impact of Color Shift was written to provide a better understanding of how and why color shifts. It does not define limits for specific applications.

Developed by the LED Systems Reliability Consortium (LSRC) under the auspices of the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance, it’s available here.

Product Monday: BeveLED Micro by USAI Lighting

Available with 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-light configurations, USAI Lighting’s BeveLED Micro enables creation of distinctive patterns such as starbursts and circular designs to highlight specific architectural elements.

The luminaire features a 1.25-in. aperture, 8-41W, 2700K to 4000K, and downlight, adjustable, and wallwash options.

Click here to learn more.

Interview with Finelite’s Terry Clark

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Clark, Founder, Finelite. The topic: K-12 school lighting. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the December 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the K-12 education lighting market?

Clark: I would characterize the market in one word: “Underserved”. More attention is given to selecting flooring than selecting the best way to light a classroom. As a result, too often, lighting has been bought based on a lowest first-cost basis. When lowest first cost is the focus, it is difficult for a Distributor to add value and to make profit on the project. That is about to change!

DiLouie: What are the top design trends in K-12 classrooms? How are K-12 classrooms changing?

Clark: Trend 1 – Using T-LED replacement lamps in existing and dated fixtures. This is the path taken when decisions makers are not aware of new approaches that are cost-effective from day 1.

Trend 2 – Recognize the teachers teach better with great lighting systems. Update the classroom lighting system by using cost-effective, LED-based, 2-color tunable white, plug-and-play lighting systems that light each area of the classroom appropriately.

No longer will the learning environment be static where teachers stand at the front of the classroom and lecture to students in desks. Classrooms are incorporating a range of technologies, from mobile devices and computers to interactive white boards and modular furniture all designed to enhance the learning the environment supporting collaboration and personalized interactions.

Classrooms must be dynamic to accommodate the wide range of activities occurring, therefore a lighting system that can adjust to the tasks at hand is needed.

DiLouie: Generally, how are these design trends affecting best practices in K-12 classroom lighting design?

Clark: Best practices include a teacher-specific control panel that allow a touch of a button to change from general lighting to lighting appropriate to AV systems, to tablet use, to energize students and to calm them. Teachers can easily set these presets to reflect the unique nature of their classrooms. The system allows for school-wide schedules and can provide data to energy administrators as needed. One firm should take full responsibility for pricing, installation, and warranty support.

DiLouie: How influential are initiatives like CHPS, energy codes and LEED in the construction and renovation of schools?

Clark: They help. But, new research shows that newer, cost-effective approaches should be used. CHPS and LEEDs are working to update their recommended Best Practices to reflect what is now possible. Doing that in a timely basis is their challenge.

DiLouie: How is new teaching technology increasing demand for flexibility? What are typical lighting requirements? What lighting and control solutions are appropriate for satisfying these requirements?

Clark: Video displays, white boards on multiple walls; tablets for all students, Wi-Fi in every classroom are some of the things we see in many new classrooms. Since each of these needs a different type of light at different times in different intensities, new lighting systems are needed!

To satisfy the requirements and promote student learning, an energy efficient and cost-efficient tunable white lighting-emitting diode (LED) lighting system composed of luminaires, a user interface, a controller, daylight harvesting systems and occupancy sensors to promote energy efficiency specifically designed for education settings is needed.

DiLouie: Tunable-white lighting is offering ways to support learning by allowing teachers to control both intensity and color temperature throughout the day. How useful are these strategies, and what evidence supports their use? What are typical lighting requirements? What lighting and control solutions are appropriate for satisfying these requirements?

Clark: Lighting controls designed for teachers and teaching are the most appropriate. Key specifications include user interfaces tailored for managing common classroom scenarios such as general, audio/visual, and laptop/tablet activities. Vertical lighting should be used to increase light on vertical teaching surfaces and improve visual performance for students. Color tuning can be used to cue behavior and future proof learning environments.

The good news is that recent research1 shows that these new lighting systems can be made to be very reliable, to deliver excellent spectrums of light over the range of 6500K to 2700K, to be cost-effective, and to cover a very wide range of classroom types. However, these systems are just being designed into and installed in actual classrooms. Accordingly, concrete evidence of their effectiveness may still be some way down the road.

DiLouie: What are the most appropriate retrofit options for K-12 classrooms?

Clark: Today’s LED-based 2-color systems are so different from yesterday’s fluorescent light fixtures, that retrofits are no longer appropriate. Trying to do that will be a waste of money. This will become clear as we go forward.

DiLouie: How are energy codes affecting design of K-12 classrooms?

Clark: New codes are causing key decision makers to look at lighting more closely than before. When that happens, it creates the opportunity to explain why it is necessary to install a new system. That is a good thing.

DiLouie: What LED benefits are particularly suited to classrooms?

Clark: Properly designed, LED-based luminaires deliver extremely long-life (50-years is not outrageous), energy efficient, and maintenance free lighting in the classroom. LEDs also allow for 2-color tunable white systems that were not really feasible with fluorescent light fixtures.

DiLouie: When selecting an appropriate K-12 lighting solution, what should electrical distributors be looking for?

Clark: Make sure you are getting a fully plug-and-play system that combine new 2-color tunable white luminaires with special plug-and-play switches and teacher interfaces. Look for one firm that can guarantee pricing, delivery, easy installation, and one source warranty support.

DiLouie: What can distributors do to ensure they are most competitive in the education lighting market?

Clark: Ask great questions. If they are asked to price a retrofit, ask why they are not taking the opportunity to upgrade to a new system. If they are asked to quote a new system, ask who can provide it on a turn-key basis. As they move into this new area, be sure to ask: “who are the trusted partners that will be around for decades to support the system”.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about today’s education lighting market, what would it be?

Clark: Do not assume that the only issue is first purchase price. Strive to add value to the project. That will let you increase your profits by providing additional value.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Clark: No other area of school design and construction has undergone as much change as the way we should light classroom. You will bring value to your customers by helping make them aware of this. Bringing increased value to our customers is what you need to continue to succeed in the years to come.

NLB Video Discusses Importance of Daylighting

Daylighting can have such a powerful effect on office workers’ comfort, well-being, and productivity, the buildings they occupy are now being oriented and designed to bring as much daylight as possible into occupied spaces. So say three experts on the topic, impaneled at the National Lighting Bureau’s Annual Lighting Forum. Moderated by EdisonReport Editor and Publisher Randy Reid, the panel comprised Sara Lappano, P.E., LC, LEED AP (SmithGroupJJR); Brent Protzman, Ph.D., LC (Lutron Electronics); and Seth Warren Rose (Eneref Institute).

Underscoring the impact of effective daylighting, Rose recounted a story about five libraries in Berkeley, California. The least-used library provided low-quality daylighting to the facility’s occupants. Once the building was renovated, with extensive focus on its daylighting characteristics, the library became Berkeley’s most popular.

Lappano noted that developing effective daylighting design is not simple. It requires a team approach involving the architect, lighting designer, electrical engineer, and – for purposes of energy-use modeling – the mechanical engineer. As Protzman noted, however, the team needs to develop a solution at the outset, and all team members need to focus on making it happen. In that respect, Lappano commented that team members must realize that more daylighting is not necessarily better daylighting, given that too much daylighting can have a negative impact on energy consumption and overall lighting quality.

As one outcome of the new emphasis on daylighting, Lappano said new buildings tend to be “slimmer” than their older counterparts, allowing almost all occupants to have a view out the window, giving almost all workers some of the benefit of a “corner office.” While this approach costs more to build on a per-square-foot basis, Protzman noted that those who intend to purchase or rent space find that the benefits of better daylighting justify higher prices for space acquisition.

NAILD Introduces Lighting’s Forces Under 40

The National Association of Innovative Lighting Distributors (NAILD) has named six young industry leaders as its 2017 “Forces Under 40”:

Ira Greenberg, CEO of Keystone Technologies in North Wales, Pennsylvania, has overseen the emergence of Keystone Technologies as a leading competitor among lighting component manufacturers. His accomplishments include increasing sales more than 50-fold, expanding the catalog from a few dozen SKUs to more than 1,000, expanding product presence from one warehouse to 27 across North America and winning multiple awards for outstanding products from NAILD and EC&M Magazine. He founded The Fertility Fund, is a member of Wharton Executive MBA Investment Club and the Young Presidents Organization and serves on the board of directors of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia.

Matt John, chief strategy officer and executive vice president at Elemental LED in Emeryville, California, was the driving force in the development of Elemental LEDs patented products. He led the creation and development of key product innovations, including ClickTight Pro and SWITCHEX. He has conducted speaking engagements at many of the top electrical distributors in the nation and has been a member of panel discussions at many industry conferences. He co-founded Elemental LED and the product brand, Diode LED, in 2008. He is helping to bring the company’s final-mile production and assembly back to the United States and providing jobs in California. He enjoys participating in Alameda County Community Food Bank drives, the Holiday “Warm Coat” Drive and charity runs.

Cory Schneider, CEO of Lighting Unlimited in Scottsdale, Arizona, held every job in the company before taking over the responsibility of leading the four-store distributorship. He helped the company triple sales over the past three years, instituted a training program and started an outside sales team. He has served as chairman of the Education Committee for NAILD, as well as a NAILD board member. He helped raise more than $150,000 for Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, he is a member of Entrepreneurs Organization, a local organization that brings business leaders together to work and learn.

Guillaume Vidal, co-CEO of Green Creative in San Bruno, California, is a product development guru who has created many award-winning lighting products in the market. He has served as speaker on the Chinese supplier side at trade shows and panelist at multiple entrepreneurial events. He developed a company from nothing into a leader in the industry producing $40 million per year in sales. He also created a team in Shanghai to manufacture a product line and is active in volunteer programs in Shanghai working with migrant workers’ children.

Kevin Wolf, national distribution sales manager at Jesco Lighting in Windham, New Hampshire, has led the company into a new level of distribution by training personnel and developing customer relationships. He is a consistent sales leader, managing both local territories and a national platform. He is motivated and focused on growth and has excellent leadership skills and product knowledge. He has provided lectures at the Roger Williams Chapter International Association of Electrical Inspectors and serves as head coach of Portsmouth Pop Warner.

Cole Zucker, co-CEO of Green Creative in San Bruno, California, has brought innovation to the lighting industry and is a strong partner in the traditional distribution channel. He has given several speeches, including keynotes. His company is one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in the Bay area. He has received numerous IES awards and volunteers as a Big Brother. Zucker helped build a company from the ground up and he is always supporting and developing exceptional partnerships within distribution.

A Closer Look at the Lighting Facts Spec Tool

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lighting Facts program launched a lighting specification tool that enables Distributor and Lighting Pro partners to search, filter and track products from its database of more than 50,000 LED products.

Lighting Facts facilitates adoption of solid-state lighting (SSL) by ensuing products are accurately represented on a level playing field. Manufacturers submit products, which are independently tested to verify product performance claims. Manufacturers then report performance data using the Lighting Facts label, which provides an at-a-glance view of major metrics such as light output, wattage, efficacy and color quality. Optional reported attributes include lumen maintenance and warranty.

Launched in 2008, Lighting Facts grew threefold in the past two years—a sign of LED lighting’s accelerating adoption. According to DOE, more than 40 percent of these products were listed in 2016, with an average 2,000 submitted every month. Currently, the database includes more than 50,000 LED lighting products from more than 1,400 manufacturers. As obsolete listings are archived, the database represents current commercially available products.

In 2015, DOE hosted a roundtable of lighting designers in Chicago to ask them how it could make the Lighting Facts database more useful to them. The designers stated they would benefit from being able to generate fixture schedules and uniform spec sheets, share product information with project team members, and interact with manufacturers and their sales reps. DOE responded by creating a new specification tool that allows lighting specifiers and distributors to search, filter and track Lighting Facts-listed products within a sharable workspace.

Using this tool, specifiers and distributors can filter products based on desired performance attributes, save products to a project or favorites list, tag products to projects, write project notes, interact with manufacturers about their products, assign products to a fixture schedule, and produce spec sheets and project summaries.

The Lighting Facts specification tool is available free to all Lighting Pro and Distributor partners of the program. The partner accesses it using their email address. Distributor partners pledge to ask their suppliers for the Lighting Facts label, verify that it is legitimate by comparing its information to that listed as LightingFacts.com/Products, use the label to evaluate products, and recommend Lighting Facts-listed products. Partners may use the Lighting Facts Partner Mark in their marketing within guidelines.

The Lighting Facts does not guarantee quality in a product. However, it does ensure lighting professionals can evaluate LED product performance that is accurate and represented in a simple format to enable quick evaluation and comparison. The Lighting Facts database itself provides a robust source of product. The specification tool now allows professionals to use this database in a way that makes their jobs easier.

Click here to learn more.

Product Monday: Continuous LED Cove by Williams

Designed for seamless illumination and adjustable to the inch, Williams’ CX LED cove lighting system offers a choice of distributions and colors for customized accent lighting. Multiple dimming options and integral emergency.

Click here to learn more.

What’s New in Residential Lighting

Below is my contribution to the September issue of tED Magazine, on the topic of residential lighting trends. Reprinted with permission.

In 2016, residential put-in-place construction spending increased to about $467 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. This marked a fifth year of double-digit growth since the 2008 recession. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) forecasted 2017 housing starts would increase to 1.2 million, a five percent increase over last year. Up until June 2017 (the time this article was written), builder confidence remained consistently sound, as measured by the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

Traditionally, lighting consumes more than 10 percent of electric energy used in homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Relatively new technologies such as compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED promised substantial energy savings, putting residential lighting on the radar for policy makers. DOE has regulated incandescent reflector lamps, while the Energy Policy Act of 2005 targeted incandescent general-service lamps. Meanwhile, a majority of states now have a residential energy code in place regulating lighting efficiency in new construction.

As of January 1, 2017, 13 states had a residential energy code in place at least as stringent as the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), eight states had adopted a code at least stringent as the 2012 or 2015 versions, and 16 states were transitioning between the two, according to EnergyCodes.gov. Three states, meanwhile, such as California with its Title 24 energy code, had a code in place that was more stringent.

IECC 2009 requires that 50 percent of lamps in permanently installed luminaires must be high efficacy, necessitating CFL or LED. IECC 2012 and 2015 increased this to 75 percent of lamps. California Title 24-2016 requires that all permanently installed must be high-efficacy (at least 45 lumens/W), have a color rendering index (CRI) rating of at least 90 (with an R9 >50), and a correlated color temperature of 4000K or lower.

CFL, once the most viable high-efficacy option, is in decline due to competition by LED and halogen A-line lamps that comply with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Q1 2017 Incandescent Lamp Index published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) showed CFLs had declined from a peak of about 25 percent of lamp sales to 13.3 percent, while LED A-line market share had grown to 32 percent. According to the latest DOE Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), about one-third of American homes by 2015 had already installed at least one LED lamp.

The new ENERGY STAR V2.0 Lamp Specification, which became effective January 2, 2017, will likely hasten CFL’s decline. An analysis of CFLs qualifying for the older V1.1 specification showed none satisfied V2.0, which may cut out CFLs from the majority of rebate programs that rely on ENERGY STAR. While some utilities may continue to promote CFLs, the majority will likely begin to shift their funding from CFL to LED lamps.

“More and more families are interested in energy efficiency and consumers are more aware of the energy-saving benefits of LEDs,” said Alfred LaSpina, LED Product Group Marketing Manager, LEDVANCE. “Having LED lighting in new residential construction and design is a good differentiator and selling point, especially for buyers who want a home with the latest and greatest options.”

Image courtesy of Lutron.

Product trends

“The promise of energy savings with LED lighting over traditional sources is now an expected outcome, so the focus of residential lighting can shift back to design in choosing the right light for the occupants, task and visual environment,” said Bill Johnson, Market Development Manager – Residential Recessed Lighting, Eaton. He pointed out that today’s LED luminaires have matured as a viable and accepted design solution, no longer viewed as merely an energy-saving alternative.

LED source efficacy has increased to a level allowing highly compact and integrated luminaires, the opportunity to rethink traditional form factors, and greater choice of beam spreads and adjustable functions.

“The development of surface-mounting, thin-profile, flat-panel LED luminaires that create wide beam downlight-like illumination and install in a ceiling junction box has created great interest for residential lighting,” Johnson said. These luminaires offer the appearance of a downlight but are surface-mounted, ideal for applications where plenum space for a recessed downlight is limited. It eliminates the need for an air-seal recessed housing or fire-rated box, expanding design flexibility.

Johnson also pointed to smaller apertures as another leading design trend. “Small apertures in 2-, 3- and 4- inch are growing as a preferred choice due to LED technology advancements,” he said. New LED products can deliver higher light output in smaller apertures to match or exceed traditional sources. In addition, the smaller LED housings are IC rated, which wasn’t possible with traditional incandescent sources due to higher thermal test temperature.

LaSpina noted that in lamps and some luminaires, the predominant trend is imitating traditional form factors and performance to satisfy consumer expectations. “Many consumers want lighting that has a form factor that looks like what they are used to, which is why in recent years we have modified our LED products to go from an unflattering design to one that looks like a traditional light bulb,” he said. “Filament LEDs have become a growing trend with a full glass body design, giving that retro look.”

Dimming is no exception. Consumers expect LED lighting to dim similarly to incandescent lamps. For this reason, Johnson pointed out, dim-to-warm LED lamps and luminaires are available that dim from warm (e.g., 3000K) to very warm (e.g., 1850K) over the dimming range.

The result is specifier and consumer interest in something old, something new. The familiar feel and performance of traditional lighting but with value-added features based on the unique characteristics of LED lighting. In addition to smaller and problem-solving form factors and more choices, interest is growing in smart lamps and luminaires offering color tuning.

Image courtesy of Eaton.

Consumers get control

“Lighting control improves comfort and convenience, enhances security and peace of mind, and saves energy,” said Michael Smith, Vice President of Sales, Lutron Electronics. “LEDs can be inherently dimmable and can provide an excellent user experience when bulbs and controls are properly paired.”

While interest in dim-to-warm dimming is growing, immediate expectations are that the lighting will dim reliably without flicker. In 2015, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) updated its SSL 7A standard, which details manufacturer compatibility requirements when a line-voltage dimmer is matched with one or more dimmable LED light engines. While providing confidence, however, the standard is voluntary.

“There is currently no universally manufacturing standard for LED bulbs,” Smith said. “As a result, consumers who are used to the predictable performance and experience of incandescent and halogen bulbs can be very frustrated by inconsistent dimming performance and flicker from their LED bulbs.”

Smith believes lamp manufacturers must continue to work toward standards that improve the performance and simplify the selection of LED lamps and controls. To that end, NEMA recently launched a labeling program to better communicate compatibility between dimmers and LED lamps and luminaires, he said. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is also developing standards for phase-cut dimming of LEDs that will apply to both forward- and reverse-phase dimmers, he added.

Dimmers provide flexible user control of aesthetics and visual comfort, while vacancy sensors save energy by turning lights OFF in spaces such as bathrooms and utility rooms when they’re not being used. More recently, the industry began introducing smart lamps and luminaires that provide unprecedented user control enabled by wireless connectivity. These smart LED products provide dimming, timeclock control and in many cases color tuning while also potentially integrating with other home smart devices.

“New options in wireless control solutions allow homeowners to control lights from any smart device, and even using just their voice with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and a variety of other digital assistants,” Smith said. “Control solutions have to offer seamless integration with a variety of digital platforms and simple control from intuitive apps, while still providing convenience and familiar control options such as dimmers, switches and wireless remotes.”

To take advantage of today’s lighting opportunities, electrical distributors should think beyond product and more on design, LaSpina said. And they need to think bigger.

“Consumers want to love living in their home and are more focused on style and decor than perhaps a commercial customer who is focused on price,” he noted. “Distributors need to ensure availability of a wider portfolio of LED incandescent replacements to meet the needs across the house, and not just A19 and BR30. LEDs are no longer just being installed in major areas of the house but also closets, garages and laundry rooms. Distributors need to think about areas of opportunity that aren’t typically top of mind when thinking about residential lighting.”