The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new snapshot report from its Caliper program that neatly summarizes the performance characteristics of omnidirectional LED A-lamps that are listed in the agency's Lighting Facts program. The report provides an easy to digest summary of the technological advancement of LED retrofit lamps and compares the A-lamp with all other lamps types and with other solid-state lighting (SSL) products such as luminaires.
The snapshot report focused specifically on what have been called omnidirectional lamps in Lighting Facts and since the August 2013 revision to the program are now called A-lamps. The intent is to separate lamps that emit in all directions using the ANSI-specified A shape from directional lamps including the so-called snow-cone LED styles that have a bulb shape but radiate light only in the forward direction.
The Lighting Facts program currently has 312 A-lamps listed — a small number compared to 2703 other lamps and 6665 luminaires listed. But the DOE noted the importance of the A-lamp in that it is the product type that consumers are most likely to purchase. Moreover, the A-lamps are the category most impacted by the EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act) regulations on the maximum power that various classes of bulbs can consume — often referred to as the incandescent bulb ban.
The report charts the efficacy advancements in A-lamps on a quarter-by-quarter basis going back to Q3 2009 when median efficacy was 40 lm/W. For Q3 2013, mean efficacy is 78 lm/W. Moreover, the mean efficacy for all A-lamps in the Light Facts program that are still being actively sold is 69 lm/W. The bulk of the products meet existing Energy Star efficacy requirements and the stricter standards that will be enforced next year.
Some of the more interesting data came in the area of light quality rather than efficacy. For example, 91% of the listed A-lamps have a CRI in the 80s. That doesn’t sound bad and compares well to the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) space. But as the DOE points out, consumers are accustomed to the higher CRI of incandescent lamps. Only four A-lamps currently listed have a CRI over 90 that would be required to meet the Voluntary California Quality LED Lamp Specification.
There remains a shortage of available LED A-lamps listed in the program that can replace 75W and 100W incandescent lamps, despite the fact that those were the first categories in which EISA regulations took effect. Today 14 listed lamps deliver on the lumen output specified by Energy Star to replace 100W lamps, and only 18 meet the same requirements for 75W lamps.
For more information you can download the full report in PDF form. The DOE LED Lighting Facts website lists the newest report on top of a list of several snapshot reports.