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LED lightbulbs are already available on the market, such as the one shown here (manufactured by the C. Crane Company, available from discoverpower.com) which retails for $34.95 and lasts ten years. DiscoverPower advertises that you can run it 12 hours a day for a cost of 80 cents a year.  (Source: DiscoverPower.com)
New work blazes the trail for LED lighting to take a place in the consumer market

DailyTech has been following the field of solid state lighting.  Solid-state lighting, or using LEDs instead of traditional filament incandescent or fluorescent tube designs, promises long bulb lives, energy savings, and monetary savings thanks to the lower power consumption.  The light bulb, largely unchanged for decades, is finally on the verge of evolving.

Leading the way in the lighting renaissance is the U.S. Department of Energy, which announced millions in prizes in its new "L Prize" competition for solid state lighting.  Its programs also encompassed working with standards organizations to develop certifications and standards for the new devices.

Now researchers with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) working with experts worldwide have delivered two key standards.  These standards will help legitimize the form of lighting in the commercial industry.  The more recent of the two was completed last month.  The new standards dictate color specifications of LED lamps and LED light fixtures and testing methods for determination of total light output, energy consumption and chromaticity, or color quality.

NIST scientist Yoshi Ohno, who chairs the groups that developed the standards, explains how a little solid state lighting will go a long way, stating, "Lighting uses 22 percent of the electricity and 8 percent of the total energy spent in the country, so the energy savings in lighting will have a huge impact."

The new solid state designs will be twice as efficient as the touted fluorescent bulbs and ten times as efficient as incandescent bulbs.  To put it in perspective, current models can deliver 12 hours of light over an entire year for only 80 cents.  Further, they last ten years.  Over its lifetime, one bulb is advertised to provide consumer savings of over $370.  While most manufacturers are currently in the prototype phase, the technology is incredibly promising.

One additional benefit of LED lighting is color.  Solid state lights can produce a richer more full color than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.  This can not only help with visibility, but has been shown to psychologically improve mood among many.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has partnered with NIST to achieve the goal of reducing energy consumption by lighting by 50 percent by 2025, by helping to establish LED lighting in the market.

The first standard was the work of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).  The all-encompassing standard on testing details required environmental conditions, applicable test apparatus, methods of measurement, and how to stabilize and operate the lights during testing.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) created the second standard C78.377-2008, which covers color standards.  It offers recommendations for color of cool to warm white LEDs with various correlated color temperatures.

This fall the Department of Energy (DOE) will begin certifying LED designs with its Energy Star certification.  This process will be assisted by the NIST-developed standards.  Says Ohno of the need for more standards and the new standards that work towards this end, "More standards are needed, and this will be the foundation for all solid-state lighting standard."

Ohno and other scientist are continuing to work hard on developing more standards.  They hope to soon release a standard on LED lifetime.  Further, they hope to develop an additional standard about performance measurements of high powered LED chips and arrays.





"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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