Solid-State Lighting: DOE SSL Commercial Product Testing Program
The US Department of Energy along with industry groups like the Solid-State Lighting Program t RPI are moving quickly to develop standards and testing procedures for solid-state lighting products. They have started a commercial product testing program to help with their own planning for their various research programs and industry support programs like ENERGY STAR®. More importantly, the DOE’s work on this front will provide and through whatever standards and procedures they adopt, force manufacturers to provide accurate product performance information to the public in regards to SSL products. This is particularly important in these formative years for the solid-state lighting industry since it will build up and help maintain confidence that new solid-state lighting products are performing as stated by the manufacturers.
The results of the DOE’s first three rounds of SSL product testing are very interesting and worth taking a look at (PDF format). I am a bit surprised that SSL product manufacturers, in most cases but not all, have chosen to use misleading numbers to represent the efficacy of their luminaires when we, as an industry, can look back at the same misleading behavior and resistance to standards in the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) industry during it’s launch and use their mistakes as a guideline of “what not to do”. We, and I am speaking to all LED product manufacturers out there including my company, have to be very careful about the numbers we state for our products. Once these standards are in place, it can become embarrassing to have to suddenly drop your stated efficacies to a much lower number, undermining your OEM and customers faith in your products, because you chose to use misleading test results. As an industry, we are still in the formative years and should be looking to quickly adopt standards and procedures along with products that meet or exceed them to prevent undermining our own marketplace. Part of that is updating our products with the latest, available technology wherever substantial efficiency improvements can be realized from such a move. As is the case whenever you have rapidly improving technology and standards in place to drive them, manufacturers will often have no choice but to update to stay inline with the current standards, forgoing cost but the flip-side of fast paced technology is that improvements are eventually made in manufacturing efficiency so that cost-savings are often realized.
In the case of my own company, we like most in the industry have moved to higher output, more efficient LEDs at reduced cost than what we were paying for less efficient LEDs even a year ago, in an attempt to meet California’s Energy Efficiency Standards Title-24 and DOE guidelines for luminous efficacy in SSL products. We have seen a 25 – 30% increase in LED output for 25% less cost but are still trying to hit the Title-24 efficacy mark of 40 lumens/watt.
Every LED product manufacturer should check out the DOE’s Commercial Product Testing Program Page.
I really want to see your comments on this one. Me and my companies engineers would be very interested to get other manufacturers and consumers take on this one. Whatever segment of the industry you’re in or even if you’re not, please feel free to post a comment!
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