DOE releases two new Caliper benchmark reports

Nov. 21, 2008
The reports address the mixed-results performance of 1) incandescent A-type and decorative lamps and LED replacements, and 2) halogen incandescent MR16 lamps and LED replacements.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has published its first two Caliper Benchmark Reports to allow easier comparison of LED products with conventional lighting technologies. Benchmark reports supplement the detailed test and summary reports of the DOE Caliper program, which was established in 2006 and is currently in its seventh round of product testing.

The benchmark reports offer detailed analysis of test results for both traditional and LED products for a given application, comparing a range of standard lighting measures (e.g., power usage, light output and distribution, efficacy, correlated color temperature, color rendering index). Potential performance and application issues indicated by Caliper testing results also are examined.

Some report results
1) Performance of incandescent A-type and decorative lamps and LED replacements:

The report states "The light output of these replacements for omnidirectional incandescent sources has increased steadily and now rivals that of 40-W incandescent products in some cases. Unfortunately, a huge range of performance can be observed in LED replacement lamps sold today, and performance claims in product literature often are highly overstated or misleading.

"Light output is a critical metric for A lamps in particular, which are relied upon as a general lighting source in fixtures ranging from floor and table lamps to recessed downlights. LED replacement lamps are available that approximate the warm appearance and good color rendering of incandescent A lamps, with significantly higher efficacy and potentially longer service life. LED replacements with a cooler appearance also are available....Unfortunately, some LED replacement lamps on the market are sold as white light sources but actually produce yellowish, greenish, bluish, or pinkish light."

2) Performance of halogen incandescent MR16 lamps and LED replacements
The report said, "In Caliper testing to date, the performance of LED MR16 replacement lamps varied greatly. Power usage for the LED replacements is considerably lower than for halogen MR16 lamps. However, light output and intensity for the tested LED products falls significantly short of the halogen benchmark levels, limiting the usefulness of LED MR16 lamps as a one-for-one replacement in typical highlighting and accent applications."

However, "LED performance will continue to advance, and MR16 lamps represent an excellent potential application for this inherently directional light source as the technology progresses."

Detailed results are available for download at