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: 47

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

Alfie Davis posted a blog post

Tiles Flooring – A Better Choice than Concrete Flooring

This article can change one’s perception about flooring and can act as an excellent guide in…See More
15 minutes ago
Charlie Hewitt posted a blog post

Residential Electric Load Disaggregation

“What gets measured gets managed” is a quote often attributed to the venerable management expert…See More
11 hours ago
Kurt Albershardt replied to Larry Schaffert's discussion How to correctly insulate exterior wall in a 1900 house?
"Balloon framed houses make for easy upgrades IME.  We cover the open bays from the sill plate…"
12 hours ago
Kurt Albershardt replied to William Fisher's discussion Can tankless water heaters provide hot water even when the groundwater is fairly cold?
"There are a number of approaches that can work depending on the specifics of your situation. What…"
12 hours ago
Bob Mariani 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
22 hours ago
Bob Mariani replied to William Parlapiano's discussion Equipment for Sale Updated April 9, 2015 in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"I would be interested in a package deal for the items marked as "Available"  Email…"
22 hours ago
Steven Lewis replied to William Fisher's discussion Can tankless water heaters provide hot water even when the groundwater is fairly cold?
"Look at reducing the ambient humidity in the home.  The dew point is the key to the…"
Friday
Olivia Taylor posted blog posts
Friday

© 2015   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service