This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.


The Next Energy Star Draft

The fourth and penultimate draft of the Energy Star requirements for LED lamps is out.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working for a year and a half to develop an Energy Star standard for lamps (i.e., light bulbs). Last month the agency released the fourth draft of a planned five, with the final spec due out later this year. It will replace the existing Integral LED Lamps and Compact Fluorescent Lamps specifications.

LEDs Magazine has a good summary of what is new and changed in this iteration vs. draft 3, and what the EPA chose to do with the suggestions in a few of the 28 comments sent in by stakeholders after the third draft.

A collection of lighting manufacturers, trade organizations, and academic institutions led by Soraa had proposed last January that the EPA relax the efficacy requirements for lamps with a CRI above 90. LEDs Magazine quotes Soraa co-founder (and inventor of the blue LED) Shuji Nakamura explaining that the underlying physics of SSL dictates that each point increase in the CRI will cost about 2 percent in luminous efficacy.

Soraa and its allies suggested that the EPA create a new category for lamps above 90 CRI, and drop 10 lm/W from the required minimum efficacy for such lamps. The agency declined to do so in draft 4, but said that comments on the decision were still welcome (the comment period closed on May 17). The agency cited as rationale the existence of products meeting the proposed spec already in the current Energy Star program and listed in the of DOE's Lighting Facts program.

Beam distribution
The EPA somewhat relaxed the proposed requirements for uniformity in beam distribution for lamps designed to be omni-directional. Earlier drafts had specified uniformity within 20 percent from the top of the lamp (0 degrees) down to an angle of 135 degrees toward the base. Draft 4 sets this requirement at 25 percent uniformity, and relaxes the rule further by allowing 10 percent of measurements (in 5-degree increments) to be discarded.

The EPA said it was relaxing omni-directional beam distribution because even some incandescents didn't meet the earlier standard, and consumers couldn't perceive distinctions that subtle anyway. The agency said that the relaxation will provide a wider range of Energy Star products on the market.

Funny, where was that argument when it came to high-CRI lamps? Relaxing the efficacy requirement as Soraa and others had proposed would also have resulted in a wider range of Energy Star products from which to choose.

LEDs Magazine reports, without naming any names: "Some lamps makers that have developed compliant product with prior drafts believe that the EPA is bowing to pressure from other makers who have struggled to deliver compliant products."

— Keith Dawson Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page, Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting