The US Department of Energy (DOE) has published another in its series of Caliper Snapshot Reports with the latest focused on industrial LED luminaires, and noted that the commercial products lead both legacy commercial products and LED-based products for other applications by a wide margin in efficiency. In another recent Energy Reporting Study, the DOE considered the state of LED lighting connected by Power over Ethernet (PoE) with the goal of determining if energy metering in the fixtures could enable additional energy savings in buildings and cities. And in the street light area, the DOE has assembled a number of resources in one place to help answer questions, especially in response to the controversy resulting from the American Medical Association (AMA) recommendations on limiting deployments to warm CCTs.
Snapshot on commercial luminaires
The DOE has been especially busy with Snapshot reports of late. The agency utilizes its LED Lighting Facts database to mine important trends in individual applications unlike the full Caliper reports that cover detailed testing of luminaires sold on the commercial market. Earlier this year, the DOE released a Snapshot report on LED troffers. And in the fall of 2016, the agency released a Snapshot on outdoor area lighting.
The new report reveals that the commercial luminaires are perhaps the most efficient LED products in the broad market. Approximately 23% had efficacy ratings of 130 lm/W or higher. We will get to how that compares to incumbents in a moment, but in summary the DOE said it is better than LED linear, troffer, area/roadway, and parking garage fixtures in the Lighting Facts database.
The industrial segment comprises low- and high-bay luminaires with the full range of products in the database spanning 5,000 to 100,000 lm. The low-bay products top out at 20,000 lm and the high-bay products start at 15,000 lm. The report said LED products only penetrated the commercial market by 6% in 2015, but expects the number to reach 86% by 2035.
The mean efficacy for all products in the database is 115 lm/W and is up 7 lm/W in just the past nine months. Legacy fluorescent and metal halide (MH) products are mired in the 50–70-lm/W range. None of the legacy products meet the requirements of the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) qualified products list (QPL), while most of the LED fixtures meet minimum DLC levels and many qualify for the QPL Premium listing at 125 lm/W.
The DOE further said that the LED products compare favorably to legacy products in terms of power and color quality. Of the LED products, 38% have power factor over 0.9. And 65% have CRI of 80 or above. And the LED manufacturers offer more flexibility in CCT with some products as warm as 3000K while almost half have CCT above 5000K.
You can read the full report on the DOE website for more detail.
Moving to the report on POE and what the DOE calls connected lighting systems (CLS), the agency projects that accurate knowledge of energy usage patterns along with intelligent control systems can pave the way for additional energy efficiency. The DOE referred to the technology as data-driven energy management.
This initial report is more of a stage setter than a finished work and we may see several follow-on reports. For instance, the DOE said it may study standardization and best practices for how to measure and report energy usage including data formats that could enable interoperability among products from multiple manufacturers.
The work is not necessarily limited to PoE systems and could be applied to wirelessly-connected systems. But the report notes that PoE may enable CLS functionality at lower costs in many cases and thus was a good place to start the research. Still, PoE comes with its own issues such as power losses on the low-voltage wires used to carry data and power to luminaires. See our recent feature for more information on PoE. Indeed the DOE said it might even study the impact of such losses in future research.
The report concludes with a lengthy list of recommendations by the authors. Among the recommendations, SSL manufacturers should develop energy reporting capability with an established level of detail. The authors even developed one possible format for describing PoE energy usage reporting. The initial study did not definitively answer the question of what, if anything, the DOE will do next in the area.
You can read the very lengthy report on the DOE website.
Street light FAQs
The DOE has also aggregated a number of resources related to LED street lights in one convenient place on its website. The agency has repeatedly stressed that LEDs can actually help the industry overcome issues with any blue light hazards and ultimately enable municipalities and utilities to reduce light levels and pollution. Nonetheless, the AMA work stirred more protests which in many cases involve citizens and politicians that don’t accurately understand the issues at hand.
The AMA erred in simplifying the discussion around the CCT metric that does not accurately describe spectral power distribution (SPD) and potential issues such as circadian disruption. You can have any number of light sources with the same CCT and vastly different SPDs. The DOE documents accurately explain the issues at hand.
Straight shooting is critical in the street lighting area. We don’t need momentum derailed for a technology than can both slash energy usage and provide better light. And research may yet prove that people see better under cooler CCTs.
DLC 4.0 Premium is now effective starting April 2017
The DesignLights Consortium® (DLC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the widespread adoption of high-performing commercial lighting solutions. The DLC promotes high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products in collaboration with utilities and energy efficiency program members, manufacturers, lighting designers, and federal, state, and local entities. Through these partnerships, the DLC establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides information, education, tools and technical expertise.
Its Qualified Products List (QPL) includes LED fixtures available on AtaraLights.com that are certified for light output, distribution, efficacy, color characteristics and lumen maintenance, as defined for a wide range of commercial lighting applications.
As of April 3, 2017, products that do not meet the V4.0 Technical Requirements will be removed from the active qualified product list and will not be eligible for energy rebates.
Download a copy of new 4.0 standards here. In short, DLC continually upgrade design standards to ensure and encourage innovation in LED technology.
Feel free to contact one of Atara Lights staff to learn more information on DLC premium standards.
Eight things you did not know about LED
This article is part of the Energy.gov series highlighting the “Top Things You Didn’t Know About…” Be sure to check back for more entries soon.
8. A light-emitting diode, or LED, is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. Today’s LED bulbs can be six-seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and cut energy use by more than 80 percent.
7. Good-quality LED bulbs can have a useful life of 25,000 hours or more — meaning they can last more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. That is a life of more than three years if run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
6. Unlike incandescent bulbs — which release 90 percent of their energy as heat — LEDs use energy far more efficiently with little wasted heat.
5. From traffic lights and vehicle brake lights to TVs and display cases, LEDs are used in a wide range of applications because of their unique characteristics, which include compact size, ease of maintenance, resistance to breakage, and the ability to focus the light in a single direction instead of having it go every which way.
4. LEDs contain no mercury, and a recent Energy Department study determined that LEDs have a much smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs. They also have an edge over compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that’s expected to grow over the next few years as LED technology continues its steady improvement.
3. Since the Energy Department started funding solid-state lighting R&D in 2000, these projects have received 58 patents. Some of the most successful projects include developing new ways to use materials, extract more light, and solve the underlying technical challenges. Most recently, the Energy Department announced five new projects that will focus on cutting costs by improving manufacturing equipment and processes.
2. The first visible-spectrum LED was invented by Nick Holonyak, Jr., while working for GE in 1962. Since then, the technology has rapidly advanced and costs have dropped tremendously, making LEDs a viable lighting solution. Between 2011 and 2012, global sales of LED replacement bulbs increased by 22 percent while the cost of a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb fell by nearly 40 percent. By 2030, it’s estimated that LEDs will account for 75 percent of all lighting sales.
1. In 2012, about 49 million LEDs were installed in the U.S. — saving about $675 million in annual energy costs. Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.