Cree drives troffer and street-light efficacy advance with improved LEDs

Jan. 30, 2013
The third-generation silicon-carbide-based LEDs from Cree are behind recent efficacy improvements in luminaire products including the new CR High Efficacy troffer series that hits 130 lm/W.

Cree Lighting recently announced additions to two existing solid-state lighting (SSL) product families with the primary news being increased efficacy delivered by the latest in the company's LED components. Indeed, the company announced the CR Series High Efficacy (HE) troffers that deliver 130 lm/W system-level efficacy including the driver, and that are now rated for 100,000 hours of life. Moreover, the latest XSP Series street light – the XSP2L – delivers 35% more lumen output than the original products announced last April.

Cree CR Series Troffers

On the component side, Cree spent much of 2012 rolling out upgraded X-Lamp LEDs in a number of its package sizes in single-emitter and multi-emitter flavors and in a variety of forward-voltage configurations – offering components tuned for optimum performance in specific applications. The common theme throughout most of the announcements has been the transition to the company's third-generation, silicon-carbide manufacturing platform that it calls SC3 (SC cubed). The consistent messaging has been that the latest manufacturing platform delivers more lumens per dollar and watt.

Efficacy improvements

The new CR troffer products make the point clearly in the context of a finished SSL luminaire. Cree originally announced the CR Series in April 2011 with system efficacy of 90 lm/W with the option of 100 lm/W in some configurations. Now Cree Lighting has made 100 lm/W the standard across the mainline CR series and is offering the CR Series High Efficacy (HE) products at 130-lm/W efficacy for a price premium of 15-18%.

Cree XSP Series street lights in Hollywood, CA

"First cost may not be a primary concern," said Cree product portfolio manager Jeff Hungarter about buyers of the HE products. "[Customers] might want to be LEED Platinum."

The newest CR Series products are based on Xlamp XT-E LEDs that Cree announced in February of 2012. Those LEDs were among the first based on the SC3 platform. At the time of the LED announcement, Cree said that XT-E LEDs delivered three times the lumen output at the same efficacy level relative to prior-generation XP-E LEDs in the same form factor.

Back to the troffer announcement, Cree also announced a new CR Series High Definition (HD) troffer that delivers only 80 CRI, whereas the standard CR and CR HE products use TrueWhite technology to deliver 90 CRI. The HD troffers cost 15-18% less than the standard CR series. For more on the troffers, see our detailed coverage in an article on our Illumination in Focus website.

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Cree XSP2L street lights

Moving to the street-light segment, the newest XSP Series products are a continuation of Cree's work with larger LED sources, and larger total internal reflector (TIR) optics, in SSL street lights. The new XSP2L luminaires deliver the lumens needed to replace 400W metal-halide and high-pressure sodium lights.

Cree says that the new luminaire delivers 30% more lumens per dollar. The products carry a ten-year warranty and are rated for 100,000 hours of life.