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
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
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.