Solid-state lighting (SSL) products – those using light-emitting diode (LED) technology – vary considerably in performance, and more than just a few fail to live up to their manufacturers’ efficiency and/or longevity claims. Now, lighting system designers, architects, electrical engineers, interior designers, electrical contractors, lighting-management companies, facility managers, and others with lighting expertise can use the National Lighting Bureau website (www.nlb.org) to access independent-laboratory test results for more than 100 LED products. The testing is being performed through the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting” (CALiPER) program.
According to Bureau Chair Robert W. “Rob” Colgan, Jr. (National Electrical Contractors Association), “The Department of Energy is performing an outstanding service through its CALiPER program. The Bureau is working to increase lighting professionals’ awareness of the available data and to make the data easier to access.”
The products tested to date represent a wide range of applications and categories: downlights, task/desk, undercabinet, outdoor, step/wall, directional replacement lamps, and other replacement lamps. Test reports provide objective product-performance information along with valuable benchmarking data for comparison with other light-source technologies. “The average consumer will find some of the information difficult to interpret,” Mr. Colgan said. “That’s unfortunate, because many of the products are meant for direct-to-consumer sales. Still, some of the researchers’ comments about given products’ reliability or actual light output versus claimed output don't require much interpretation.”
According to DOE, “The test results guide DOE planning for ENERGY STAR® and technology procurement activities, provide objective product performance information to the public, and inform the development and refinement of standards and test procedures for SSL products.”
Tested products are selected based on guidelines that ensure a range of lighting applications and product categories are represented, along with a range of performance characteristics, a mix of manufacturers, a variety of LED devices, and variations in geometric configurations that may affect testing and performance. All products are commercially available. They are purchased and then tested by one of several pre-qualified lighting-testing laboratories. Manufacturers have an opportunity to comment before their products’ test results are finalized.
Access CALiPER test data from the NLB website (www.nlb.org) or directly from the DOE website (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/search.html).