Energy Star Wars: the Phantom Menace
The decision by EPA to include LEDs in its Energy Star specification for residential lighting fixtures has resulted in widespread disapproval. Tim Whitaker and Brian Owen report.
Energy Star is a voluntary labelling scheme that recognizes energy-efficiency products that meet criteria set by either EPA or DOE. Before getting into the details of the dispute, it’s worth noting that this is mainly relevant to the U.S. and Canadian markets. Lighting designers at a meeting in mid- June in the UK were not much interested in the news from across the pond. But perhaps they should have been; one of the biggest benefits of the Energy Star program is, through the promotion of energy-efficient products, to prevent the insidious infiltration of low-quality products into the marketplace. The phantom menace indeed. This is a particular problem for the SSL market, at a time when the DOE’s own CALiPER program — which tests commercially available SSL luminaires - has highlighted a worrying tendency for some manufacturers to vastly overstate the performance of their products. To quote Kevin Dowling of Philips/Color Kinetics, “Nothing will kill an industry faster than expectations that cannot be met. Performance must be realistic and factual.”
This article was published in the July/August 2008 issue of LEDs Magazine.
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