Letter to the Editor: Lighting Science press release

June 16, 2010
The DOE’s James Brodrick comments on a recent press release about an LED lamp claimed to be equivalent to a 60W incandescent.
To: Tim Whitaker, Editor, LEDs Magazine

From: James Brodrick, Solid-State Lighting Program Manager, US Department of Energy

Re: Press release dated 13 May 2010:
Lighting Science unveils 9W LED A19 bulb to replace 60W incandescents

Dear Tim,

It was exciting to see so many LED replacements last month at Lightfair. While it is laudable that Lighting Science Group is bringing a lower-cost LED replacement for an A19 60 watt lamp to the market, it is important to clarify:

  1. The US Department of Energy’s minimum recommended lumen output for a 60W replacement is 800 lumens (Energy Star specification), with the high performance L Prize requiring at least 900 lumens. Labeling the Definity lamp a direct replacement, at 770 lumens, is somewhat misleading.
  2. Using the “DOE benchmark” tested 60W incandescent equivalent of 739 lumens as the target to beat could be a source of confusion, as (1) this benchmarked incandescent failed to achieve its rated lumen output of 780, and (2) this incandescent lamp also fails to meet the minimum lumen output of 800.
Are we setting the bar high for this new technology? You bet. It’s a good time to reiterate recommendations from DOE’s fact sheet referenced in the announcement above: early adopters of LED replacements lamps should be sure to evaluate samples of LEDs in their intended fixtures, review available LM-79 test data, note that performance and life are highly dependent on design and thermal management, and confirm the product warranty or return policy.

James R. Brodrick
Solid-State Lighting Program Manager
US Department of Energy