Month: May 2014

LED Replacement Lamps Come of Age

Here’s an article I wrote about LED replacement lamps for the April issue of The Electrical Distributor (TED) Magazine, which you might find interesting: Demand for LED replacement lamps continues…

Here’s an article I wrote about LED replacement lamps for the April issue of The Electrical Distributor (TED) Magazine, which you might find interesting:

Demand for LED replacement lamps continues to experience rapid growth as performance improves and costs decline. According to Navigant Research, worldwide shipments of LED lamps will grow from 68 million in 2013 to nearly 1.3 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of about 44 percent.

These lamps may be categorized as omnidirectional (e.g., A), directional (e.g., PAR, BR, MR), decorative (e.g., B10, G25) and linear (e.g., T8). This article will focus on omnidirectional A-lamps and directional lamps, which are most popular in terms of demand among LED replacement lamps. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimated that the installed base of LED A-type and directional lamps in the United States increased from less than a million units in 2009 to nearly 20 million and more than 11 million, respectively, in 2012.

“The growth of LED lamps has far surpassed any other technology transformation we have seen in the lighting industry,” says Jeffrey Hungarter, product portfolio manager, lighting for Cree, Inc. “The trend will continue as awareness around inefficient lighting increases, and legislation that phases out inefficient lighting is introduced.”

The Energy Independence and Security Act resulted in the phaseout of 40-100W incandescent general-service screw-in lamps between 2012-2014, with industry offering a choice of energy-saving halogen, compact fluorescent and LED lamps. DOE regulations eliminated a majority of remaining incandescent and halogen and reflector lamps in 2012 (with some notable exceptions), with industry offering a choice of infrared-coated halogen, ceramic metal halide, compact fluorescent and LED lamps.

“The best selling opportunities for LED PAR lamps are in retail and hospitality applications,” says Cheryl Ford, marketing manager for OSRAM SYLVANIA. “The largest installed base for A-lamps is in homes, but hotels would benefit greatly from installing LED lamps in hotel rooms and lobbies for energy and maintenance savings.”

LED lamps provide several significant benefits compared to incandescent and halogen sources, including up to 85 percent energy savings and long rated service life of 25,000 to 50,000 hours. They do not contain mercury. They are resilient against source failure caused by shock and vibration, since they have no filament. And the light emission contains little heat and ultraviolet output. High energy savings, improving performance and greater confidence in the technology has resulted in rapid adoption of LED lamps in utility rebate programs. According to BriteSwitch, LLC, the average rebate for an LED replacement lamp was about $12 at the end of 2013. While overall funding is increasing, the average rebate per product is falling, reflecting falling product costs. LED A-lamps that cost $60 just a few years ago, for example, recently broke the $10 price barrier.

A recent DOE Snapshot Report on A-lamps, based on the Lighting Facts database, found that the mean efficacy of registered lamps now stands at 69 lumens/W (with a wide variation of <60 to nearly 90 lumens/W, so scrutinize products carefully), surpassing the average 60 lumens/W for compact fluorescent lamps. Ninety-five percent of these lamps satisfy current ENERGY STAR efficacy criteria, while nearly 90 percent meet new ENERGY STAR criteria set to take effect in September 2014. Several LED A-lamps are now available offering light output equivalent to 75W and 100W incandescents. Most have a warm color temperature of 2700K or 3000K, similar to incandescent, with a color rendering index (CRI) rating in the 80s. LED technology is also suited to other capabilities related to accompanying advances in digital control technology. For example, the lamp may be programmed to become warmer in color tone as it is dimmed, matching what consumers expect from incandescent lamps. As another example, wireless control built into the lamp enables lamps to be remote controlled from a smart device, including ON/OFF, raise/lower and color tuning. “New LED lamps with ZigBee wireless control incorporated into the lamp design for use with home automation systems eliminates the dimmer incompatibility issues with no limitations on the number of lamps on a circuit,” says Ford. “This wireless technology allows for controlling the lamps wirelessly via a smart device that communicates directly with the home automation hub.” LED lamps continue to pose some performance issues, however. These include issues with dimming compatibility and lower color quality than incandescent. “LED offers vastly better efficiency than halogen or incandescent and much longer life, but has traditionally required a step back in light quality and dimmability, and cannot be used in enclosed fixtures in most cases,” says Susan Larson, vice president of sales-Americas for Soraa. “Most LED lamps offer a CRI similar to compact fluorescent lamps (80) and are friendlier to operate with dimmers, yet their quality is not as good as incandescent or halogen.” She points out that the best products on the market address these issues, while advising distributors to ensure compatibility between a given lamp and enclosed fixtures, dimmers, transformers and controls prior to purchase and installation.

Cheryl Ford adds that when selecting products, distributors should pay attention to R9, which describes how well a lamp renders reds, in addition to CRI and color temperature. She points out that even these metrics do not always best characterize the color quality of a lamp in a given application, and advises installation of samples for a proper evaluation.

“We recommend electrical distributors do their homework,” says Hungarter. “Just because an LED lamp saves energy and promotes long life doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your application. There are other product features to consider, such as lamp aesthetic, beam power and distribution, LM79 testing, dimming compatibility and ENERGY STAR compliance. It’s only by assessing an LED replacement lamp against each of these characteristics that you can determine which LED lamp works best for your application.”

“While metrics are important, the most important test for a light bulb is how people look in its light,” says Larson. “Most people can immediately see the difference between bad lighting and good lighting without a detailed understanding of the underlying metrics, so qualitative judgments often drive design decisions much more than is generally recognized. Our advice is to just look at your own mirror image under the light or at the appearance of your skin, and you will be able to choose the lamp that is right for you.”

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently published a voluntary specification for LED replacement lamps that goes beyond ENERGY STAR by being more aggressive in terms of lighting quality. For example, the CEC spec requires the lamp to have a 90+ CRI with an R9>50. All lamps must be capable of continuous dimming to 10 percent of light output without flicker. While the spec is voluntary, CEC required the state’s utilities to recognize only compliant products in their residential rebate programs, which was expected to go into full effect in early 2014. A few products currently comply, such as some SYLVANIA ULTRA PRO LED lamps, Cree’s LED TW Series and Soraa’s Vivid LED MR16.

“A little knowledge goes a long way,” says Hungarter. “If you can speak confidently on choosing a particular LED lamp over incumbent technology, the customer will listen and may make the switch based on your recommendations as an LED adviser.”

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Architecture Billings Index Mired in Slowdown

Following a modest two-month recovery in the level of demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) again turned negative last month. As a leading economic indicator of construction…

Following a modest two-month recovery in the level of demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) again turned negative last month. 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 March ABI score was 48.8, down sharply from a mark of 50.7 in February. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.9, up from the reading of 56.8 the previous month.

With this release, 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 March was 48.2.

“This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”

Key March ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: South (52.8),West (50.7), Northeast (46.8), Midwest (46.6)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (52.1), commercial / industrial (49.6), institutional (49.0), mixed practice (47.6)

• Project inquiries index: 57.9

• Design contracts index: 48.2

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

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Autodesk Whitepaper on 3D Printing of LED Optics

Autodesk has published a whitepaper on 3D printing of LED optics. The whitepaper describes the role Autodesk played in a project for manufacturer LUXeXcel that demonstrates the direction in which…

3DAutodesk has published a whitepaper on 3D printing of LED optics. The whitepaper describes the role Autodesk played in a project for manufacturer LUXeXcel that demonstrates the direction in which the market for optics development may be moving.

Click here to read it.

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Jim Brodrick on Early Lessons Learned in Bringing SSL to Market

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program by Jim Brodrick, U.S. Department of Energy Although solid-state lighting has come a long way in the…

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

by Jim Brodrick, U.S. Department of Energy

Although solid-state lighting has come a long way in the past few years, it still has quite a ways to go to fulfill its considerable potential to save energy and improve the way we deliver and use light. The efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and others have helped the market avoid some problems with early SSL products, and DOE’s strategy in supporting the development of SSL has drawn heavily on lessons learned from the development and commercialization of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). With LED lighting now available for most applications, and with several years of market and installation experience accumulated, DOE has come out with a new report that documents early challenges and lessons learned in the development of the SSL market.

Entitled Solid-State Lighting: Early Lessons Learned on the Way to Market, it summarizes early actions taken to avoid potential problems that were anticipated based on lessons learned from the market introduction of CFLs, and identifies issues, challenges, and new lessons that have been learned in the early stages of SSL market introduction. These new lessons are based mainly on insights from DOE’s SSL Market Development Support Program, which coordinates with a wide range of stakeholders that includes manufacturers, utilities, energy efficiency programs, lighting designers, retailers, distributors, and end users.

The report identifies and characterizes 12 key lessons distilled from DOE’s SSL Program results, with a focus on areas for which ongoing challenges exist and/or useful information can be applied going forward. These lessons correspond with technological challenges (related to performance and lifetime of LEDs, color quality and measurement, flicker, glare, dimming and control, and serviceability), challenges related to developing LED product lines and families, and complications and limitations experienced when trying to fit LEDs into existing lighting infrastructure.

The key lessons are the following:

* Rigorous testing requirements adopted in the early days of SSL industry development were necessary to counter exaggerated claims of performance by some manufacturers, but they eventually led to unreasonably high testing costs.
* Despite the promise of long life, there is no standard way to rate the lifetime and reliability of LED lighting products.
* Specifiers prefer complete families of products, but the rapid evolution of LED lighting technology presents a challenge to manufacturers in creating and maintaining complete product lines.
* The range of color quality available with LED lighting products, and the limitations of existing color metrics, may confuse users.
* The color delivered by some LEDs shifts over time, enough to negatively impact adoption in some lighting applications.
* Some LEDs flicker noticeably, which may negatively impact adoption in some applications.
* LEDs can cause glare, which may negatively impact adoption in some applications.
* Achieving high-quality dimming performance with LED lamps is difficult but improving.
* Greater interoperability of lighting control components, and more sensible specifications of lighting control systems, are required to maximize the energy savings delivered by LED light sources.
* Lack of LED product serviceability and interchangeability has created barriers to market adoption in certain sectors.
* Existing lighting infrastructure limits the full potential of SSL; more effort is needed to open the doors to new lighting systems and form factors.
* Programs that provide ways to identify quality LED products have helped support market adoption.

Thanks in part to lessons learned from CFLs, the development and market introduction of LEDs has gone much more smoothly than CFL market introduction. However, the unique technological characteristics of LED lighting have presented a host of new challenges and lessons. This early assessment of the LED general illumination market is intended to aid in the continuous course corrections needed to reach the technology’s full potential.

For a much more in-depth treatment of this topic, we encourage you to read the full report, which is available at www.ssl.energy.gov/tech_reports.html.

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Product Monday: Hue Luminaires by Philips

Philips Lighting’s Hue Entity and Tempest table and pendant luminaires, co-created with design teams WertelOberfell and Strand+Hvass, feature color-changing Hue lamps and are manufactured using 3D printing, which provides more…

Philips Lighting’s Hue Entity and Tempest table and pendant luminaires, co-created with design teams WertelOberfell and Strand+Hvass, feature color-changing Hue lamps and are manufactured using 3D printing, which provides more freedom, control and even personalization when designing lighting products.

Click here to learn more.

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DOE Publishes CALiPER Application Summary Report on LED T8 Lamps

The U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER program has released an Application Summary Report that focuses on the bare-lamp performance of 31 linear LED lamps intended as an alternative to T8…

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER program has released an Application Summary Report that focuses on the bare-lamp performance of 31 linear LED lamps intended as an alternative to T8 fluorescent lamps. The testing covered light output, input watts, efficacy, color, power factor and beam angle. Products listed as satisfying DesignLights Consortium criteria and those not listed were included. Lamps were tested as bare lamps, not in luminaires, with the testing covering 31 products purchased in late 2012.

DOE found:

* LED linear lamps provide similar efficacy (lumens/W) as fluorescent lamps, but typically with much lower light output. As a result, achieving suitable light levels entails relying on the directionality of the light emission to increase luminaire efficiency. However, certain application issues can result, such as changes to light uniformity, luminaire appearance and glare, which will be the subject of two follow-up reports by DOE studying lamp performance in fluorescent troffers.

* The average light output of the tested LED T8 lamps was half as much as the benchmark 32W fluorescent T8 lamp. Wattages ranged from 16 to 29W. The average efficacy was 94 lumens/W, which is marginally higher than an 80+ CRI fluorescent T8 lamp, a marked improvement over products covered in previous CALiPER testing. In terms of efficacy, the five best-performing products ranged from 106 to 143 lumens/W.

* Many of the products were rated at 4000K with a CRI of 80+, but some products were limited to a higher color temperature (cooler light appearance) and 70+ CRI.

* Measured light output, input watts or efficacy differed by more than 10 percent from performance claimed by the manufacturer in 45 percent of the tested products. Many manufacturers failed to accurately report beam angle. To assure desired performance, specifiers and buyers may consider testing products in the intended application prior to commitment.

DOE concluded: “While the efficacy of linear LED lamps is higher than for many other LED product categories, the linear fluorescent lamp is a difficult incumbent to beat, on both energy efficiency and cost. However, in terms of energy savings, the tide may be starting to turn in favor of LEDs, but it remains to be seen whether the performance changes associated with the dramatically different luminous intensity distribution (e.g., luminaire appearance, glare, illuminance distribution) will be accepted. If quality limitations restrict adoption, the energy savings potential will remain theoretical.”

When quality issues limit adoption, DOE cites several realistic and other potential remedies, including LED luminaires, omnidirectional LED lamps and LED kits or inserts.

Download the report free here.

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Product Monday: Serenity by Visa Lighting

Visa Lighting’s Serenity line of luminaires was designed specifically for healthcare environments, including patient rooms, treatment rooms and long-term care. Serenity over bed fixtures are extremely versatile and come equipped…

Visa Lighting’s Serenity line of luminaires was designed specifically for healthcare environments, including patient rooms, treatment rooms and long-term care.

Serenity over bed fixtures are extremely versatile and come equipped with separately switched reading, ambient and exam lighting settings. The luminaires distribute the multi-function performance lighting around a luminous frame, while their illuminated center panel enhances the patient experience.

This center panel affords a pleasing design for the environment and helps the patient to feel more at home while creating a serene visual distraction. This is achieved with a choice of four decorative patterns to compliment any design. Additional options include an amber LED night light which allows nurses to attend to patient without disturbing sleep cycles and the RGB color-changing LED option for visual interest.

Serenity over-bed luminaries are offered in recessed and surface mounted models and are available in 3 standards sizes (2’ x 4’, 2’ x 2’ and a 1’ x 4’ tandem set). Recessed models have a shallow recessed depth to minimize interference with systems within the plenum. Companion luminaires include a Head Wall luminaire, Wall Sconce, and Table Lamp. All Serenity luminaires include Visa Lighting’s standard five year warranty.

Click here to learn more.

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Industry Buzz: EYE and CIMCON Sign Agreement, Hess Acquired and More

EYE Lighting International and CIMCON Lighting recently announced they have signed a sales and marketing agreement in which both companies will cooperate to promote and sell outdoor lighting wireless control…

EYE Lighting International and CIMCON Lighting recently announced they have signed a sales and marketing agreement in which both companies will cooperate to promote and sell outdoor lighting wireless control systems manufactured by CIMCON.

Business operations of Hess AG Form + Licht were successfully transferred to Nordeon B.V. by way of an asset transaction on October 1, 2013. Business operations, have, and are, continuing uninterrupted through the newly formed company Hess GmbH Licht + Form.

Alera Lighting has launched a completely redesigned website to showcase the brand’s architectural linear LED and fluorescent products. Founded at the onset of the century, Alera Lighting celebrates its 14th birthday this year.

Pegasus Lighting is celebrating 15 years in business.

LED lighting manufacturer Noribachi was chosen for the 2014 Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies.

Nemalux has released a new company profile video here.

Cooper Lighting’s Halo line was named the preferred choice in the Lighting category in REMODELING Magazine’s 2013 Brand Use Study.

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Painting with Light at the International Space Station

While serving aboard the International Space Station Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata used long-exposure photography and a spiral LED top designed by light artist Takuro Osaka to produce interesting light paintings….

While serving aboard the International Space Station Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata used long-exposure photography and a spiral LED top designed by light artist Takuro Osaka to produce interesting light paintings. Click here to see more.

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Product Monday: LED Pivot Floodlight by Architectural Area Lighting

Architectural Area Lighting’s (AAL) popular Pivot linear flood light is now available in LED. The Pivot is a flexible lighting solution for both indoor and outdoor applications, serving indirect lighting,…

Architectural Area Lighting’s (AAL) popular Pivot linear flood light is now available in LED.

The Pivot is a flexible lighting solution for both indoor and outdoor applications, serving indirect lighting, perimeter highlighting, wall grazing, sign lighting and wall washing applications. Available in three lengths (2’, 4’, and 8’), each with two lumen packages, the Pivot is equipped to distribute both uplight and downlight. The luminaire can be mounted individually or in continuous rows.

Up to 94 lumens/W, 2,500 lumens/ft., 3000K/4200K/5100K.

Click here to learn more.

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