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Science Connexion

LED Lighting Resources & White Papers

Is LED lighting the right technology for your application?

It makes sense to invest in energy efficiency. We'll help you cut through the clutter and misinformation and deliver the facts you need to make informed, smart decisions. Feel free to view or download our whitepapers.

More information  For additional LED help, please visit our LED Glossary

FTC Lighting Facts Label  

New Federal Trade Commission Labels for Light Bulb Packaging
On June 18, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, announced a final rule that will require the new labels on light bulb packages. This page will be dedicated to providing updated information on the label and will include fact sheets and resources for partner reference.

Anatomy of the Label


The Anatomy of the Lighting Facts Label

Standard Label with Optional Metrics

The Anatomy of the Lighting Facts Label

PDF Download Frequently Asked Questions: The FTC Lighting Facts Label Updated
In response to the multiple inquires concerning the FTC and DOE Lighting Facts labels, DOE developed quick answers for frequently asked questions.
PDF Download Overview of FTC Guidelines on New Consumer Label
This overview breaks down the label requirements and explains how the FTC Lighting Facts label relates to the DOE Lighting Facts label.
Residential and Commercial Product Performance Scales

Lighting Facts has two tools for comparing the performance values of LED and standard lighting technologies for the five characteristics identified on the Lighting Facts label.

PDF Download2013 Lighting Facts - Product Snapshot Indoor Ambient Lighting
This Product Snapshot reflects the LED Lighting Facts® database as of April 1, 2013. It includes overall trends for all of the products listed, but focuses on three groups that are most commonly associated with ambient lighting: recessed and surfacemounted LED downlights,recessed and surface-mounted dedicated LED troffers,and linear LED lamps, which are most often used in troffer luminaires.

PDF Download July 2012: Product Snapshot: LED Replacement Lamps
This Lighting Facts Product Snapshot represents an analysis of the dataset underlying the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) LED Lighting Facts product list. This document is designed to help lighting retailers, distributors, designers, utilities, energy efficiency program sponsors, and other industry stakeholders understand the current state of the LED replacement lamps market and its trajectory

PDF Download December 2011 LED Lighting Facts: Product Snapshot: LED Luminaires
The LED market continues to experience rapid growth in product availability and steady improvement in performance for most product categories. Due to the speed of advancements in technology, a new snapshot is published twice a year alternating focus between replacement lamps and luminaires. Each new version has data from additional products, allowing for updated analysis and projections

DOE CALiPER Summary Reports 

DOE CALiPER ReportsDOE conducts at least two rounds of CALiPER testing each year. A Summary Report is published following completion of each round which provides analysis of the test results for all products included in that round.

The links below will enable you to view or download these reports directly from The DOE's Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) site:

PDF Download Caliper Retail Lamps Study Round 3 - Febtuary 2014
Since the second retail lamp study was published in early 2012, there has been substantial progress in all aspects of LED lamps available from retailers. To document this progress, CALiPER again purchased a sample of lamps from retail stores—46 products in total, focusing on A19, PAR30, and MR16 lamps. Instead of a random sample, however, the products were chosen to answer specific hypotheses about performance. These hypotheses focused on expanding ranges of LED equivalency, the accuracy of lifetime claims, efficacy and price trends, as well as changes to product designs.

PDF Download  Report 20.1: Subjective Evaluation of Beam Quality, Shadow Quality, and Color Quality for LED PAR38 Lamps
This report focuses on human-evaluated characteristics, including beam quality, shadow quality, and color quality. Using a questionnaire that included rank-ordering, opinions on 26 of the Report 20 PAR38 lamps were gathered during a demonstration event for members of the local Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) chapter.
PDF Download Caliper Exploratory Study: Recessed Troffer Lighting - June 2013
This report describes an exploration of troffer lighting as used in office and classroom spaces, which was conducted by the CALiPER program. Twenty-four pairs of 2×2 and 2×4 troffers were procured anonymously, documented, tested for photometric and electrical performance, and installed in a mockup office space in Portland, Oregon.

PDF Download Round 19 Summary Report
Report 19 reviews the independently tested performance of nine LED linear pendants and also evaluates a collection of 11 linear pendant products available in both an LED and fluorescent version. In general, the LED versions were more efficacious, but sometimes had a different luminous intensity distribution, poorer color quality, or different lumen output than their fluorescent counterparts. (19 pages, October 2012)

PDF Download Round 18 Summary Report
Report 18 reviews the independently tested performance of 17 LED recessed wallwasher luminaires. Overall, the LED products were found to be comparable to conventional wallwashers using a 32 W CFL or 20 W metal halide lamp, and several products were measured to have lumen output equivalent to 42 W CFL or 35 W metal halide lamps. (21 pages, October 2012)
PDF Download Round 17 Summary Report
Report 17 analyzes the performance of a group of six LED products labeled as AR111 lamps. Results indicate that this product category lags behind other types of directional LED lamps but may perform acceptably in some applications and provide some energy savings. (24 pages, August 2012—Revised November 2012)

PDF Download Round 16 Summary Report
Report 16 reviews the independently tested performance of 13 LED products labeled as BR30 or R30 lamps. Results show substantial improvement versus earlier CALiPER testing of similar products, but indicate the need for a broader range of LED products in terms of lumen output and distribution type. (26 pages, July 2012)

PDF Download Round 15 Summary Report
CALiPER Report 15 analyzes the performance of a group of LED floodlights that mirrors the range of conventional luminaires designated as floodlights. Results provide several key lessons about the growth necessary for LED floodlights to compete with and overtake conventional products. (May 2012)

PDF Download Round 14 Summary Report 
Report 14 of testing, focusing on LED downlight retrofit units, provides an overview of photometric performance results and compares the results to similar products that use conventional light sources, results from earlier rounds of CALiPER testing, and manufacturer ratings. (26 pages, March 2012)

PDF Download Round 13 Summary Report 
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 13, including LED and benchmark high-bay luminaires, LED wallpack luminaires, and LED and benchmark 2'x2' troffers. (33 pages, October 2011)

PDF Download Round 12 Summary Report 
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 12, including recessed downlights, track lights, A-lamps, SSL replacements for linear fluorescent lamps, and cove lights. (35 pages, June 2011)

PDF Download Round 11 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 11, including roadway arm-mount and post-top luminaires, linear replacement lamps, high-bay luminaires, and small replacement lamps. (40 pages, October 2010)

PDF Download Round 10 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 10, including parking structure luminaires, outdoor wallpack luminaires, cove lighting luminaires, and replacement lamps. (36 pages, May 2010)

PDF Download Round 9 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 9, including recessed downlights, linear replacement lamps, smaller replacement lamps, and a desk lamp. (33 pages, October 2009)

PDF Download Round 8 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 8, including replacement lamps, downlights and track lights, undercabinet fixtures, and outdoor fixtures. (28 pages, July 2009)

PDF Download Round 7 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 7, including outdoor area and streetlights, downlights, and replacement lamps. (28 pages, January 2009)

PDF Download Round 6 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 6, including small replacement lamps (MR16, A-lamps, and candelabra lamps), desk lamps, a downlight, a recessed wall fixture, and two different types of outdoor lighting products. (23 pages, September 2008)

PDF Download Round 5 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 5, including linear, A-lamp, and MR16 replacement lamps, downlights, desk/task lamps, undercabinet lighting, and outdoor lighting. (29 pages, May 2008)

PDF Download Round 4 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 4, including T8, MR16, and candelabra replacement lamps, downlights, desk/task lamps, and undercabinet and outdoor lighting. (23 pages, January 2008)

PDF Download Round 3 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 3, including directional and A-lamp replacement lamps, downlights, task lamps, and outdoor fixtures. (18 pages, October 2007)

PDF Download Round 2 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 2, including R30 and A-lamp replacement lamps, downlights, desk/task lamps, outdoor wall lighting, and refrigerated display lighting. (14 pages, August 2007)

PDF Download Round 1 Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in Round 1, including downlights, desk/task lamps, and undercabinet, outdoor area, and surface mount lighting. (13 pages, March 2007)

PDF Download Pilot Round Summary Report
Report includes test results and analysis for products tested in the Pilot Round of CALiPER testing, including downlights, a task light, and undercabinet lighting. (4 pages, December 2006)

PDF Download Special Summary Report: Retail Replacement Lamp Testing 
Report includes test results and analysis for SSL replacement lamp products—directly available through retail outlets—including A19, candelabra, night light, MR16/PAR16, PAR20, and PAR30 replacement lamps. (13 pages, April 2011)

US Department of Energy: LED Lighting Fact Sheets 

Department of Energy

The US Department of Energy offers a wealth of resources and downloads on their site. If you can't find what you need here, please visit their Building Technologies Program to search their database.

PDF Download  LED Basics
This fact sheet provides general information on LEDs to help retailers, energy efficiency advocates, and consumers make informed buying decisions.

PDF Download  DOE Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications-April 2013

This report presents the findings for nine major lighting applications where light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are competing with traditional light sources. This analysis estimates the energy saved due to current levels of LED penetration, as well as the potential energy savings if these markets switched completely to LEDs.

PDF Download DOE SSL Performance Characteristics Lifetime and Reliability

Long life has been billed as a key advantage of LEDs, but understanding and communicating how LED products fail and how long they last can be challenging. This is a detailed discussion of failure, lifetime, and reliability as they relate to LED-based products. (4 pages, August 2013)

PDF Download DOE SSL Performance Characteristics Energy Efficiency of LEDs

The energy efficiency of LEDs has increased substantially since the first general illumination products came to market, with currently available lamps and luminaires having efficacies more than three times as high as the best products from 2005. This fact sheet discusses current and projected benchmarks for the efficacy of LED packages and complete luminaires, as well as providing comparisons to conventional technologies. Characterizes the current state of the market and discusses package efficacy, luminaire efficacy, and application efficacy. (4 pages, March 2013).

PDF Download DOE-2013 Model Specification for Adaptive Control and Remote Monitoring, V1.0
The model specification provides both a suggested set of high-level requirements and a template for translating unique user needs into clear and consistent specification language. This version has undergone one public review cycle, where input from users, technology providers, and other industry stakeholders was used to determine: what requirements should be mandatory; how best to support the breadth of system architectures and features available in the marketplace; and where the development of standards that reduce user risk could be encouraged.
PDF Download 2012 DOE SSL Manufacturing R&D Workshop Report
Two hundred lighting industry leaders from across the country met in San Jose, CA, on June 13–14, 2012, at the fourth annual Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Manufacturing R&D Workshop, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Representatives from every link in the supply chain—chip makers, luminaire manufacturers, material and equipment suppliers...
PDF DownloadLife-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Environmental Impacts of LED Lighting Products (part 2) 
The report LED Manufacturing and Performance covers the second part of a larger U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project to assess the life-cycle environmental and resource costs in the manufacturing, transport, use, and disposal of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting products in relation to comparable traditional lighting technologies. The assessment comprises three parts...
PDF Download December 2011 LED Lighting Facts: Product Snapshot: LED Luminaires
The LED market continues to experience rapid growth in product availability and steady improvement in performance for most product categories. Due to the speed of advancements in technology, a new snapshot is published twice a year alternating focus between replacement lamps and luminaires. Each new version has data from additional products, allowing for updated analysis and projections.
PDF DownloadLife-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Environmental Impacts of LED Lighting Products
Part I: Review of the Life-Cycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent, and LED Lamps.
PDF DownloadCBEA LED Site (Parking Lot) Lighting Specification
CBEA members selected LED parking lot lighting as the first Technology and System Specification Development Project. The specification was first released in 2009 after extensive input from CBEA members, product suppliers, and others. Several CBEA members are currently testing products based on the specification in their parking lots, and others have adopted it across their parking lot portfolio...
PDF DownloadCBEA High-Efficiency Parking Structure Lighting Specification
A CBEA Project Team first developed and released specifications for high-efficiency fluorescent, induction, and LED lighting in parking structures in 2010. Specification Version 1.1, with updates related to IES TM-21 and anticipated RP-20 requirements, was released on February 15, 2012...
PDF DownloadCBEA LED Refrigerated Display Case Lighting Specification
CBEA members investigating the use of LED refrigerated display case lighting for retail buildings chose to develop a project-level specification as opposed to a luminaire-level specification...
PDF DownloadCBEA High-Efficiency Troffer (2'x4', 2'x2', 1'x4') Lighting Specification
In 2011, a CBEA Project Team working to support the market introduction of high-efficiency lighting troffers developed a specification that allowed for high efficiency LED and fluorescent technologies, and addressed the 2′x2′ category of troffer products...
PDF Download2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization  
Detailed estimates of the national inventory of installed lamps, their performance characteristics, associated energy use, and lumen production in four sectors: residential buildings, commercial buildings, industrial buildings, and outdoor.
PDF DownloadEnergy Savings Estimates of Light Emitting Diodes in Niche Lighting Applications
Report estimating LED energy savings in 12 markets where LEDs compete or are poised to compete with traditional lighting sources such as incandescent, halogen, high intensity discharge (HID), and certain types of fluorescent. The analysis includes general illumination, outdoor lighting, and consumer electronic display applications. (88 pages, January 2011)
PDF Download Energy Savings Potential of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications 2010 to 2030
Report estimating national energy savings that could be realized through the market penetration of energy-efficient solid-state lighting if the technology achieves certain forecasted price and performance objectives. Estimate is based on a model of the U.S. national lighting market - considering various lighting technologies, end-use sectors, and end-use applications within those sectors - and presents input assumptions, the methodology, and the findings of this analysis. (54 pages, February 2010)
PDF Download DOE: Laboratory Evaluation of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) T8 Replacement Lamp Products
This study evaluated three LED products designed to directly replace linear fluorescent lamps (most commonly “T8” lamps) in commercial ambient lighting. These three products were among the “best in class” at the time of the study, as identified by DOE’s CALiPER testing program.1 Many similar products exist in the market and all claim energy savings relative to the targeted incumbent fluorescent systems, but few perform as well as the three selected for this study.
PDF DownloadLighting Facts Performance Scale for Commercial LED Products
This Recommended Product Performance Scale is a tool to help evaluate LED products to determine whether they are appropriate for a given application. The Scale compares performance values for the characteristics identified on the Lighting Facts Label to performance values for those same characteristics in standard commercial lighting technologies.
PDF Download Lighting Facts: Product Snapshot - LED Replacement Lamps 2010
This paper answers: How do LED replacements for each of the lamp types affected by the legislation fare compared to the required performance levels and the incumbent technology?
PDF Download DOE Residential Product Performance Scale
This Residential Product Performance Scale is a tool to help evaluate LED products to determine whether they are appropriate for a given application. The Scale compares performance values for the five characteristics identified on the Lighting Facts Label to performance values for those same characteristics in standard residential lighting technologies.
PDF DownloadDOE Lumens, The Forgotten Metric
The DOE will team with the lighting industry and its market channels to increase consumer understanding of lumens as a more appropriate measure of light output than watts.
PDF DownloadUnderstanding IES LM-79 & IES LM-80
LEDs require new guidelines and practices for testing. There also needs to be a correlation between how LED manufacturers test their LEDs and how fixture manufacturers test their LED fixtures. In response, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America or IESNA developed LM-79-08 and LM-80-08 for LED fixture and LED device testing
PDF DownloadLED Parking Lot Lighting Working Group Fact Sheet
This fact sheet describes the Retailer Energy Alliance LED Parking Lot Lighting Working Group and its Technology Procurement Project
PDF DownloadRoundtable Discussions of the Solid State Lighting R&D Task Priorities Jan. 2011
A document for the Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Solid State Lighting
PDF DownloadDemonstration Assessment of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Retrofit Lamps
U.S. DOE Solid-State Lighting Technology Demonstration GATEWAY Program Report on retrofit lamps.
PDF DownloadEnergy Savings Estimates of Light Emitting Diodes in Niche Lighting Applications
This report is an analysis of niche markets and applications for light-emitting diodes (LEDs), undertaken on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.
PDF DownloadTechnology Specification Project: LEDs for Refrigerated Display Cases
A technology specification factsheet on LED lighting for refrigerated display cases
PDF DownloadTechnology Specification Project: High Efficiency Lighting for Parking Structures
A technology specification factsheet on high efficiency lighting for parking structures
PDF DownloadTechnology Specification Project: LED Site (Parking Lot) Lighting
A technology specification factsheet on LED site lighting (parking lots).
PDF DownloadNational Consortium Supports Cities in Evaluating LED Street Lights
This fact sheet describes the DOE’s Municipal Solid-State Lighting Consortium
PDF DownloadNational Consortium for LED Street Lights
This is a one page SSL factsheet discussing the National Consortium for LED Street Lights
PDF DownloadCALiPER Program Supports Unbiased Testing, Promotes Consumer Confidence
This fact sheet describes the DOE’s Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting (CALiPER) Program
PDF DownloadCALiPER Benchmark Report: Performance of Incandescent A Type and Decorative Lamps and LED Replacements
This benchmark report addresses common omnidirectional incandescent lamps - A-type and small decorative, candelabra-type lamps - and their commercially available light-emitting diode (LED) replacement
PDF DownloadCALiPER Benchmark Report: Performance of Halogen Incandescent MR16 Lamps and LED Replacement This benchmark report addresses the halogen MR16 lamp and its commercially available light-emitting diode (LED) replacements.
PDF DownloadDOE Solid-State Lighting CALiPER Program Summary of Results: Round 11 of Product Testing
Detailed results from Round 11, covering roadway arm-mount luminaires, roadway post-top luminaires, linear replacement lamps, high-bay luminaires, and small replacement lamps.
PDF DownloadLED Replacements for Incandescent Omnidirectional Lamps
A Solid-State Lighting factsheet which compares measurements of performance of incandescent omnidirectional lamp lighting to LED alternatives.
PDF DownloadSSL Quality Advocates Support Accuracy in LED Product Information
This fact sheet describes Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Quality Advocates, a voluntary pledge program to assure that LED lighting is represented accurately as it reaches the market.
PDF DownloadGATEWAY Demonstrations Showcase LED Product Performance
This fact sheet describes the DOE’s GATEWAY program
PDF DownloadNational Consortium for LED Street Lights
This is a one page SSL factsheet discussing the National Consortium for LED Street Lights
PDF DownloadInteragency Lighting Demonstration Improves Illumination and Saves 75% Energy
A fact sheet describing a joint Department of Energy and Department of Labor demonstration of LED parking garage lighting in a federal facility.
PDF DownloadSolid State Lighting OLED Manufacturing Roundtable Summary
Summary of a meeting of OLED experts to develop proposed priority tasks for the Manufacturing R&D initiative, including task descriptions, discussion points, recommendations
PDF DownloadSolid State Lighting LED Manufacturing Roundtable Summary
Summary of a meeting of LED experts to develop proposed priority tasks for the Manufacturing R&D initiative, including task descriptions, discussion points, recommendations, and presentation highlights
PDF DownloadLED Luminaire Lifetime: Recommendations for Testing and Reporting
This document is the first edition of a joint DOE-NGLIA effort to detail specific guidance for accurate reporting of LED lifetime.
PDF DownloadLED Performance Specification Series: T8 Replacement Lamps
A DOE Performance Specification Series technology fact sheet on T8 replacement lamps
PDF DownloadLighting with LEDs: Area Lights for Commercial Garage
A GATEWAY Demonstration Program Garage Lighting Report Brief from the Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon
PDF DownloadApplication Assessment of Bi-Level LED Parking Lot Lighting
This report summarizes an assessment project conducted to evaluate light-emitting diode (LED) luminaires with bi-level operation in an outdoor parking lot application.
PDF DownloadLED Outdoor Area Lighting Fact Sheet
This fact sheet reviews the major design and specification concerns for outdoor area lighting, and discusses the potential for LED luminaires to save energy while providing high quality lighting
Additional LED White Papers 

PDF Download Ecofys report “The benefits of energy efficiency: why wait?”
The benefits of energy efficiency go well beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency will lead to massive global cost savings. Energy efficiency improvement can play an important role in reviving economic growth and put the world on a sustainable development pathway. A report brought together by Ecofys, commissioned by Philips for the United Nations Climate Change Conference Doha, Qatar, 26 November - 7 December 2012

PDF Download LED electrical, thermal and optical characterization
This paper describes a combined electrical, thermal and optical characterization of power LED assemblies, including a method for board-level electro-thermal simulation.
PDF Download LIGHTING THE CLEAN REVOLUTION: The rise of LEDs and what it means for cities (June 2012)
This lighting revolution is already underway. It is being driven by advances in one technology: light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. LEDs are emblematic of the emerging Clean Revolution technologies, which promise minimal environmental impact, generate immense economic value, and have the power to change our lives for the better.
PDF Download Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NLPIP
This publication answers some commonly asked questions about lighting systems using light emitting diodes (LEDs). Also helping practitioners understand the differences between LEDs and other conventional light sources and relevant performance characteristics.
PDF Download Smart Lighting 2012
The NanoMarkets report, "Smart Lighting 2012" provides an analysis of the worldwide smart lighting market and builds on NanoMarkets' extensive six-year experience of analyzing the solid-state lighting industry. The report shows how new value is being created in the lighting market by adding enhanced electronics and intelligent luminaires and how such product strategies will be able to build on the massive trend towards introducing CFLs, LEDs, OLEDs and other forms of energy efficient lighting.
PDF Download Energy Savings Potential of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications 2010 to 2030
This report was prepared for The US Department of Energy commissioned through Navigant Consulting, Inc.
PDF Download Evaluating LED Manufacturer Claims: The good, the bad and the exaggerated.
Healthcare facility managers are getting bombarded with information from LED manufacturers, but many are at a loss as to how to evaluate the product information they receive. Although there are good products available, the challenge lies in the fact many LED manufacturers are making exaggerated performance claims.
PDF Download Konica Minolta: Lighting Technologies, Principle, and Measurement
The proper measurement of light is a precise and complex science. This White Paper, authored by Konica Minolta, provides a brief explanation of different lighting principles and technologies, and describes the best and most accurate methods for proper light measurement.
The LED Promised Land 

LED lamps will eventually be what we use to replace incandescent bulbs - Compact fluorescent lamps are a temporary but still viable alternative to energy-efficient lighting. Think of CFLs as the bridge that connects our older, less efficient lamp technology to the LED promise land. Increasingly more lamp manufacturers are devoting larger shares of their R&D resources towards developing the LED promise land and less so within that CFL bridge. The lighting industry is clearly banking on LEDs as the final replacements for incandescents.

The reason LEDs have not yet displaced CFLs from the market are twofold: the first generation LED bulbs had a narrow and focused light beam, and the cost of LED technology is still too high. With this said, both CFL and LED technology are viable options today when looking for a replacement for incandescent lamps.

We can't stress enough that this lamp technology market is no different than any other emerging market. There are numerous profiteers in the market spewing forth their too-good-to-be-true claims and misinformation for the sake of the quick sale before the dust settles and the facts surface. The old axiom, "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is", certainly applies here. The U.S. market is flooded with cheap LED products manufactured overseas with inferior components that produce low light levels, that can't possibly live up to their exaggerated energy saving and long life claims. Unfortunately, these cheap imports are being sold on well known web sites and through big box retailers.

Also worth noting are the many so-called "manufacturers"  who are in fact resellers and simply repackaging the same inferior products offered through the import channel. And to further add to this confusion, are the more reputable manufacturers that offer a lesser grade LED lamp expressly for the consumer market and a higher grade for the commercial market. As you probably guessed, the commercial grade products come at a higher price point and perform significantly better - but are easily confused with the lower priced consumer grade products. If you're making your decision solely on price, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. The keys here are Lumens and Lumens per Watt Efficacy. This is where the Lighting Facts label comes into play. The Department of Energy (DOE) is an advocate for quality and has established the Lighting Facts program to ensure that the LED products you find on the market meet your expectations for performance. These products include LEDs for everyday lighting purposes, such as table lamps and outdoor light fixtures. They do not include flashlights, nightlights, or holiday lighting.

Participating manufacturers voluntarily pledge to report their products' performance results. Those results appear on the Lighting Facts label, which those manufacturers must include on product packaging or in the product literature. Retailers and other industry buyers can then make informed purchasing decisions for their lighting inventory.

PDF Download Read the fact sheet that the DOE developed to explain Lighting Facts, titled Lighting Facts Label Supports Accuracy in Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Product Information

See also this press release from the Federal Trade Commission: Coming in 2011: New Labels for Light Bulb Packaging.

So now we know who the builders and developers are in our LED promise land. We have our low income housing; gorgeous single family homes that were erected overnight with the flaws you would expect from this type of construction and finally we have beautifully designed buildings that are truly the pinnacle of smart design.

With LED lamps, you get what you pay for. A product that costs $10 or $15 is less likely to provide superior light and long life over one that costs $50. Even high-quality LED lamps are in a relatively early stage of development; many major manufacturers are already rolling out their 2nd and 3rd generation LED lamps. As with all technology, in time prices will come down as manufacturing processes gain efficiency and the market drives commodity-like competitiveness. If you're entertaining the idea of LEDs for your commercial facility, look for the lighting facts label, this helps distinguish the manufacturer as quality conscience. Also, as mentioned earlier, make sure you're buying commercial grade lamps. The lower grade consumer products may have a tempting price but you get what you pay for.

You can and should expect long life from quality LED lighting; LED lamps last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents, and far longer than typical incandescents.

The expected life of the LED components is a direct function of how hot or cool they operate. The ambient temperature of the environment in which the fixtures operate must also be carefully considered, as it will also impact the overall temperature of the components. Simply stated, LEDs generate a lot of heat and heat shortens lamp life. The term "life expectancy" is defined as the point at which the LED source diminishes to 70% of its initial light output. Conversely, HID sources are rated at mean time to failure (10k - 20k hrs) at which 50% of lamp sources are expected to fail. Most manufacturers are currently claiming 70% lumen maintenance at 50,000 hours of operation, given that the junction temperature is held at or below the published limit (usually 80?C).

It's reasonable to question whether investing in LED lamps, with their comparatively high price are in fact a wise energy saving strategy. Depending on the application, we would answer with a resounding yes. Once you overcome the initial sticker shock, you must push forward and do the math; the numbers will bear out the true bottom line savings:

Incandescent Lamp

LED Lamp

Useful Life

50,000 hours requires 50 replacements

50,000 hours requires no replacement

Wattage

100 Watts

10 Watts

Cost of bulb/lamp

$1

$100*

Energy costs to operate

$500

$54

Total cost of ownership

$550

$154

*Estimated cost of high-end LED lamp. Even at this exaggerated cost, the lifetime savings of the LED makes sense for general lighting applications. 

Depending on your rate, the cost of energy is a variable (as are the actual lamp costs) - but the formula is consistent and logical.
When investing in any energy saving measure you need to take into account the total cost of ownership (including the cost saved on energy). This idea of total cost of ownership becomes even more significant when you consider where the lamps are installed and what's presently involved in lamp maintenance replacement. In commercial or industrial environments this may involve the cost of high lift scissor trucks and several man hours. Eliminating maintenance costs and the disruption it causes is a significant benefit, one that has a very real dollar value - that also needs to factor in the total cost of ownership equation.

Are LED lamps the right choice for every application? No, they're not. No single technology is right for every facility or application. The needs of your facility, environmental factors, light levels and budget hurdles should determine the optimal technology path.

In typical warehouse facilities for example, T5 high bay fluorescent fixtures  still offer an unbeatable combination of energy efficiency, color rendering, lumen output and budget friendliness. Fluorescent technology will remain a smart energy efficient solution for quite some time. The key is matching the right technology to the particular application. When this is done correctly you achieve that near perfect blend of energy efficiency, luminance and return on investment.

Remember those profiteers mentioned earlier? Beware of any company that is pushing LED lighting as their one-size-fits-all solution. Our Connexion energy team has gone out and corrected some of these expensive mistakes - investments made by unsuspecting facility managers who got sold a bill of goods. Don't shy away from LEDs but do your research first, then partner with a reputable lighting and energy consultant. If you decide then to cross the bridge to the LED promise land you'll have a course mapped out leading you directly to those beautifully designed buildings.

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