IP, Reports & Roadmaps | Jul 28, 2010

DOE Solid-State Lighting CALiPER Program: Round 8 Results Released

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released the CALiPER Round 8 Summary Report. The testing was conducted from February 2009 to June 2009.

No extremely poor performing or unusually high efficacy SSL products were tested in Round 8. Efficacy of SSL products tested ranged from 14 lm/W to 53 lm/W, with an overall average of 36 lm/W—showing steady improvement over earlier rounds of CALiPER testing. In particular, the number of products that clearly represent viable replacements for incumbent products is increasing, although not always at levels claimed by manufacturers.
The MR16 replacement lamps tested demonstrated two extremes, with a retail CFL MR16 replacement lamp that clearly underperforms both 20W halogen MR16s and most recent SSL MR16 lamps. On the other extreme, a warm-white SSL MR16 lamp clearly meets and exceeds the average performance of 20W halogen MR16 lamps in light output and beam characteristics. This high performance SSL MR16 lamp achieves 20W halogen performance with over 3 times the average efficacy of halogens.
SSL lamps also show clear improvement in larger directional lamps. PAR20, PAR30, and PAR38 SSL lamps are now capable of meeting light output levels and beam characteristics of 35-50W incandescent and halogen lamps with efficacy levels similar to smaller wattage RCFL products. Some of these products need improvements in product performance reporting, power factor, or color quality, but overall they are now becoming competitive with lower wattage incandescent, halogen, and RCFL, particularly forapplications requiring directional light output. Similarly, track light fixtures using SSL products are now capable of matching the performance of 20W halogen track fixtures, although unfortunately they are often labeled with inflated claims of 35W halogen equivalency.
For undercabinet luminaires, the three SSL products tested in this round clearly meet or exceed performance levels of fluorescent undercabinet products, as demonstrated by direct comparison to three RLF ENERGY STAR undercabinet fixtures. As with fluorescent products, the SSL undercabinets exhibit a wide range of performance characteristics, with different color characteristics, different efficacy levels, different levels of light output, and different geometries, so buyers and specifiers would be wise to demand LM-79 test results or choose products that have obtained the ENERGY STAR rating.
Two examples of products tested in Round 8 highlight the importance of careful versioning of SSL products. With the lack of standardization in LED source technologies and the rapid rate of change at various levels of SSL product components, ongoing evolutions in production processes and subcomponents may significantly impact the end performance of an SSL product. These evolutions may result in significant performance variations from one generation of a product to another or from one production run to another. Such variations may impact the suitability of a product for some applications and may cause confusion for buyers and specifiers, ultimately resulting in reduced credibility for a particular product or for SSL technology in general. Manufacturers are urged to be aware of these issues, to ensure that changes in product performance are reflected in specifications and in versioning, to avoid misleading or disappointing consumers.
All original CALiPER Summary Reports including the most recent Round 8 Summary Report can be downloaded from the DoE Homepage at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/reports.html.