Offering a dose of reality to start the week, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solid-State Lighting program, part of its Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) Building Technologies Office, issued a new report that outlines the lessons learned by lighting professionals about the pros and cons of LEDs.
In “Solid-State Lighting: Early Lessons Learned on the Way to Market” (PDF) the DOE sums up a dozen lessons the industry has learned along the way as solid-state lighting for general lighting applications has developed and grown. Refreshingly, the report includes lessons about what the DOE’s own programs were costing the industry, as well as difficulties in the testing and performance measurements used to evaluate new light sources.
These key lessons include the following:
• Lesson 1: 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
• Lesson 2: Despite the promise of long life, there is no standard way to rate the lifetime and reliability of LED products
• Lesson 3: Specifiers prefer complete families of products, but the rapid evolution of LED technology presents a challenge to manufacturers in creating and maintaining complete product lines
• Lesson 4: The range of color quality available with LED-based products and the limitations of existing color metrics may confuse users
• Lesson 5: The color delivered by some LEDs shifts over time, enough to negatively impact adoption in some applications
• Lesson 6: Some LEDs flicker noticeably, which may negatively impact adoption in some applications
• Lesson 7: LEDs can cause glare, which may negatively impact adoption in some applications
• Lesson 8: Achieving high-quality dimming performance with LED lamps is difficult, but improving
• Lesson 9: Greater interoperability of lighting control components and more sensible specifications of lighting control systems are required to maximize the energy savings delivered by LED-based sources
• Lesson 10: Lack of LED product serviceability and interchangeability has created market adoption barriers in certain sectors
• Lesson 11: Existing lighting infrastructure limits the full potential of SSL; more effort is needed to open the doors to new lighting systems and form factors
• Lesson 12: Programs that provide ways to identify quality LED products have helped support market adoption
The DOE said many more lessons can be drawn out from its experiences in solid-state lighting. No doubt more lessons will come along. For a different take and further discussion on the realities of how LED lighting is changing the commercial lighting market, make sure you check out Electrical Wholesaling’s January 2014 cover story, “Light-Emitting Disruption.”