The lighting efficacies of LEDs have been rising steadily and are poised to overtake CFLs. Fluorescents and CFLs still outshine LEDs with respect to general applications and cost of light, but LEDs are already superior for some niche applications and offer many new exciting illumination opportunities. Now we need to ensure that the reputation of this new energysaving lighting source won’t be undermined by a tidal wave of shoddy products. Tests for quality, efficiency, and durability of LEDs have been mostly established but it’s still a jungle out there in the marketplace. Here’s what a recent DOE report wrote about one LED:


Product 09-65 is sold in big-box retail stores and home improvement stores, but includes blatantly misleading product labeling, claiming to replace 40W incandescent lamps. In fact, initial testing (per LM-79) reveals that it only produces the light output of lower performing 15W incandescent candelabras. Longer-term testing reveals that it depreciates to a level of negligible light output after 1000 hours of continuous operation, negating all cost-savings claims on the packaging because they are based on 30,000-hour bulb life.1

This is incredibly valuable information (indeed, the whole report is excellent) but wouldn’t you like to know who manufactured that LED? Sorry, that’s not exactly confidential, but it does take further research. If a consumer buys Product 09-65, do you think that she will soon buy a second LED? Not very likely. Does this sound like the history of CFLs? This leaves organizations eager to promote energy-efficient lighting in an awkward position. They want to promote purchases of energy-efficient lights with endorsements, incentives, and tax breaks. But in a scenario similar to CFLs, these actions will only accelerate a race to the bottom in quality… and in efficiency. These groups desperately need to attach minimum levels of quality, performance, and efficiency to the incentives before the market is awash in LED junk. We need to take strong action now to protect the reputation of future LEDs. In fact, a second DOE-sponsored report describing the lessons learned from CFLs recommended:


Be aggressive about dealing with technology failures that affect main benefit claims.2

OK, let’s be aggressive. Let’s name (and shame) manufacturers and retailers of shoddy LEDs (and CFLS for that matter). Third-party testing should play a crucial role. At the same time, we need international action to quickly establish temporary performance specifications for LEDs. Europe, Japan, Australia, and China are also confronting underperforming LEDs, so the action must be global. LEDs are particularly attractive replacements for kerosene lamps and candles, so we want good lights in Africa, too. An informal global agreement could create interim specifications that would fill the void until the standards organizations and regulatory agencies catch up. These interim specifications won’t be perfect, but they will be far better than none. A simple quality mark must appear on all complying products. Consumers will buy more energy-efficient LEDs sooner if they are confident that the lights have consistent reliability, efficiency, and quality.

 

- Alan Meier


1. http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/cfl_le...
(page 25).

2. http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/cfl_le...
(page iii).

Views: 34

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Comment by Eric Wu on February 7, 2014 at 8:46am

LED lamps are better option than the old CFL with no warm up period.

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Mst. Fatema Aktar is now a member of Home Energy Pros
3 hours ago
Robert Leone added a discussion to the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
Thumbnail

Blower Door Package for Sale

Hi,I am selling my blower door with extras as a package or individually. These items are used but…See More
10 hours ago
Profile IconRobert Leone and Richard Vito joined allen p tanner's group
Thumbnail

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
10 hours ago
Richard Vito joined Sean Lintow Sr's group
Thumbnail

Best Practices (Residential)

Best Building, Retrofitting, or even Auditing Practices - what are they, what should change, what…See More
18 hours ago
Richard Vito joined James Sayers's group
Thumbnail

Marketing Energy Efficiency

Sharing ideas, tools and examples of promoting energy efficiency to consumersSee More
18 hours ago
Richard Vito joined Allison A. Bailes III's group
Thumbnail

HVAC

HVAC design, Manuals J, S, T, & D, Duct leakage, Air flow, ENERGY STAR new home requirements,…See More
18 hours ago
Richard Vito joined Kyle Brown's group
Thumbnail

Wrightsoft - Manual J / Manual D

If you use Wrightsoft to calculate loads or design ducts, you likely have questions.  Get answers…See More
18 hours ago
Jim Gunshinan commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal
"I had a revelation while attending Bruce Manclark's session of duct leak testing at the Energy…"
yesterday
George J. Nesbitt commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal
"Blower Door; the 2007 test was a depressurization test, and the 2014 a pressurization test, which…"
yesterday
George J. Nesbitt replied to Kaushal Bharath Raju's discussion Affordability & Deep Energy Upgrade/Passive House Retrofit in Berkeley, California.
"Plan, plan, plan, plan. The 1st step to is to understand the house, how it's built, the…"
yesterday
George J. Nesbitt posted an event

High Performance Windows - A Panel of Experts at Pyramid Alehouse`

April 26, 2014 from 3pm to 5pm
Join a lively panel discussion on high performance windows. We'll cover some basics, as well as…See More
yesterday
Kaushal Bharath Raju replied to Kaushal Bharath Raju's discussion Affordability & Deep Energy Upgrade/Passive House Retrofit in Berkeley, California.
"Hi David, Thanks for pointing out Martin Holiday's article. I do not wish to engage in the…"
yesterday

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service