DOE releases summary results from Round 7 of Caliper testing

The report describes a steady increase in efficacy and color quality for SSL outdoor lighting, downlights and replacement lamps, but half the products are still hyped or under-reported in literature.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has completed Round 7 of product testing through the DOE Solid-State Lighting (SSL) CALiPER (Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting) program. A Summary Report containing the results from Round 7 testing is available for download on the DOE SSL website at:

Products tested in Round 7 represent a range of products for three application areas: outdoor lighting, downlights, and replacement lamps.

Key points of the report include "a steady increase in efficacy, color quality, power factor, and accurate manufacturer reporting for SSL products. Unfortunately there is still a wide range in performance for products on the market today—as evidenced by outdoor SSL streetlight efficacy results varying from 19 to 71 lm/W, and SSL downlight efficacy results ranging from 9 to 48 lm/W."

Accuracy of manufacturer claims
In Round 7 of CALiPER testing, more cases of accurate and complete product performance reporting were observed than in previous rounds of testing. Still, 50% of the products tested were incorrectly or insufficiently characterized in manufacturer literature, the report found.

Specifics of testing
Round 7 was conducted from September 2008 to January 2009 on 29 products, representing a range of product types and technologies.

"One series of tests included eight streetlights—five SSL luminaires, one 'typical' HPS cobrahead fixture, and two fixtures using fluorescent induction lamps. For outdoor lighting, CALiPER also tested three bollards from the same product line, lamped with SSL, compact fluorescent, and metal halide sources.

"The series of tests on nine downlights (eight using SSL and one using CFL) included a wide range of luminaires that could potentially be used for downlighting, including: track lights, a surface-mounted luminaire, recessed downlights, volumetric-recessed lighting, and a 2 ft x 2 ft flat panel fixture. The replacement lamp category included nine different SSL products, including: MR16s, some larger directional lamps (PAR20, PAR30, and PAR38), and A-lamps," the report said.

A few conclusions from the summary report's "Key Points" follow. Read the complete report for more information. Detailed test reports for Round 7 will be available soon through the searchable on-line CALiPER system.

Bollards: "Two different side-by-side comparisons of like products using different sources have shown compelling results. Direct comparison between a CFL, a MH, and an SSL version of a bollard reveal that the SSL version has better luminaire efficacy than both CFL and MH."

Streetlights: "A series of tests on outdoor streetlights reveals a variety of performance characteristics—in luminaire efficacy, light output, light distribution, and color characteristics....These results underscore the need to require and examine complete photometric test data from luminaire testing (as opposed to relative photometry) to best compare streetlight options."

Downlights: "With test results from nine various downlight products added to earlier CALiPER downlight testing, it is clear that at equal output levels, SSL products surpass incandescent and halogen products in efficacy, and that most SSL products can compete directly with CFL downlights for luminaire efficacy."

Replacement lamps: "While many SSL replacement lamps still suffer from inaccurate performance claims or insufficient color quality, some of the replacement lamps that were tested would nevertheless be competitive when compared with low-wattage incandescent and halogen lamps."

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