Solid State Lighting Outperforms Traditional Fixtures

Cleantech Approach conducted research in October 2009 comparing solid state lighting to traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), linear fluorescent bulbs (LF), and metal halide bulbs (MF). The sustainable solutions research company took into consideration prices of bulbs, energy costs, performance, bulb life time, and cost of operation of each bulb. The search favored solid state lighting in almost every category. LED vs CFL vs IncandescentSolid state lighting outperformed all of the traditional lighting fixtures in performance and payback time, with the exception of CFLs. The electricity costs of incandescent bulbs are 4 – 6 times higher, and the bulbs last approximately 4% as long as LED lighting fixtures. According to the research, the energy costs of halogen bulbs are 4 times higher, and the bulbs only last 5% as long. Payback time and cost of operation of both bulbs is similar. The cost of operation of the fixtures is about 8 – 15 times greater than LED alternatives, and the payback times range from 1.7 – 3.5 years. Linear fluorescent and metal halide bulbs also have similar performance results. Both energy costs are similar, but their lifetimes are 12% – 25% as long as LED lighting. Their costs of operation are also significantly higher than LED fixtures. CFLs are a little different. CFLs have been under the “spotlight” because they give off UV rays and contain mercury. LEDs outperformed CFLs in energy costs, bulb lifetime, and cost of operation. CFLs only outperformed LEDs in payback time because of the current price of CFLs in comparison to the current prices of LEDs. LEDs are the better alternative because they do not contain mercury, consume less power, and last longer. According to CTA’s research, “Consistent with the Department of Energy’s forecasts, we expect to see warm white LED brightness and efficacy improvements of 14% per annum through 2015, which should serve to make LEDs increasingly compelling solutions compared to conventional technologies, with regard to CFL lighting options.” We hope that the conclusions from CTA’s research help consumers choose solid state lighting as a sustainable alternative.

LED Fixtures Saving Cities Thousands Annually

Parking garages are some of the most wasteful structures when it comes to energy. Most parking garage light fixtures are lit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, consuming over 100 watts of power per fixture. Cities around the world are replacing their parking garage fixtures garages with LED fixtures, including the City of Raleigh in North Carolina.

Raleigh was the first city to participate in Cree’s LED City program, and they replaced 141 120-watt high pressure sodium fixtures in their parking garage with 70-watt LED fixtures. About half of the fixtures were equipped with a photocell sensor that turned the lights off for 12 hours during the day. According to the study, Raleigh is producing only 128 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day, and 46,720 kilowatt-hours per year. Their electricity savings totaled $2,803 annually.

Raleigh also saved $3,325 per year on maintenance costs. LED parking garage fixtures only need to be changed every 5 – 22 years, rather than every few months, depending on the lifetime of the fixture. Also, the inside of the fixtures do not have to be cleaned on a regular basis because they are manufactured to keep insects, dirt, and moisture out of the fixture.

Two hundred customers of the parking garage were surveyed before and after the LED replacement. After the retrofit, the surveys revealed both men and women felt safer in the parking structure, the quality of light was better, and the overall opinion of the garage was most positive. People also thought the parking garage was cleaner and easier to maneuver through.

According to the study, LED parking garage fixtures are 75% more efficient than those used in current parking garages. Payback time has been seen in as little as few months, or in the case of Raleigh, a few years. More cities have seen the energy savings and customer benefits from the LED retrofit in Raleigh and have begun the change themselves.

Lighting Facts Bringing Out the Truth in the Label

Shopping for new lighting products for home or office use can be difficult. Confusing labels and misleading technical information can lead to customers buying the wrong product. This won’t be the case in mid-2011. According to a press release from the Federal Trade Commission, all lighting products will be required to have a Lighting Facts label highlighting the amount of light the product produces rather than how much power it consumes.LightingFacts Example Label
Lighting Facts is a program sponsored by the United States Department of Energy that allows companies to submit their LED products for performance verification testing. The results of the tests are printed either on the product packaging or specification sheet. The program is free, and is important for manufacturers to be involved in because it shows they are not afraid to print test results. Although Lighting Facts does not guarantee the highest quality LED products, it does let consumers know exactly what they are purchasing.

As mentioned above, in 2011, every lighting product will be required to have a Lighting Facts label. In a press release by the FTC, the label was described to be similar to a “nutrition facts” label. The label will include brightness, energy cost, lifetime, color temperature, wattage, and whether the product contains mercury. Many consumers purchase products based on wattage, thinking it will be a brighter light. This is not always the case. By featuring the brightness of the LED product, rather than how much power it is consuming, consumers will be more satisfied with the performance of their LED products.

Relumination is proud to be affiliated with Lighting Facts, and recommends Lighting Facts products to our customers. We support their mission, and strive to offer our customers LED products with accurate specifications. With the help of Lighting Facts, consumers can be certain their expectations of the product they are purchasing will perform as the label reads.

L-Prize Competition Shaping the Future of Solid-State Lighting

The United States Department of Energy is rewarding $15 million in cash prizes for lighting manufacturers who can create a solid-state lighting alternative for 60-watt incandescent lamps and PAR38 lamps. Thirty-one companies across the country have partnered with the DOE to assist in testing, selecting, and promoting the winning lamps. To ensure efficiency and complete consumer satisfaction, entries will go through multiple tests and evaluations to meet contest requirements.  The DOE is looking to eliminate harmful and costly lighting products, such as incandescent and compact-fluorescent (CFL),and encourage consumers to invest in LED lamps. The L-Prize contest gives an incentive for manufacturers to create and promote sustainable and energy-saving solid-state lighting.

The L-Prize includes the 60-watt incandescent lamp and PAR38 lamps because they are the most commonly used and most inefficient because they  waste most of their electricity consumption on heat. The solid-state lighting products designed through this competition will feature a significant reduction in watts while producing light similar to, or better than, the inefficient lights we use today.

According to the L-Prize requirements, the 60-watt incandescent replacement lamp must consume less than 10 watts. It also must produce more than 900 lumens. This is a benchmark of 90 lumens per watt. In comparison current incandescent lights only produce 5-10 lumens per watt. The PAR38 halogen replacement lamp must be less than 11 watts, but produce more than 1,350 lumens and more than 123 lumens per watt. Both lamps must also have a lifetime of over 25,000 hours. If every existing light was replaced with one of the winning lamps, consumers would save over 80% in lighting energy costs, says L-Prize.

Philips Electronics has submitted the first entry in the L-Prize and is being tested in accordance to the contest rules. The lamp has already been named “the best invention of 2009” by Time, according to a Philips’ press release. We look forward to seeing who the next entry is and who will set the bar higher in the race to create the United States’ next most efficient solid-state lighting product.

Thanks in part to the L Prize and many forward-thinking manufacturers all over the world the LED Light has become the future of lighting. Customers are excited by the many benefits of LED lighting such as electricity savings, long-life and a minimized carbon-footprint.