Illumination in Focus top 20 stories of 2013: Luminaires vie with lamps for top spots

Dec. 19, 2013
Surveying viewer traffic to the news articles and features we posted in 2013 reveals that LED sources dominated reader interest with both integral SSL luminaires and retrofit lamps sharing top ranking.

With the holiday season approaching and the new year looming, we again take a look back at the year 2013 and review the news stories and magazine feature articles that received the most web traffic. LED-based lighting completely dominates the list, but that's no surprise. While we had some interesting stories on efficient legacy lighting during the year, most of the news and new products were focused on solid-state lighting (SSL). And it's increasingly clear that LEDs will quickly become the predominant light source even in demanding applications such as retail and hospitality. Our top 20 list was split among stories on LED lamps and luminaires, and on projects that used SSL.

The Illumination in Focus web page view statistics were decidedly different from those over on our LEDs Magazine top 20. Retrofit lamps scored big in both places, but the lighting designer/specifier community that dominates the Illumination in Focus circulation has a far broader interest in product types and on design stories.

The theme in the retrofit lamp space was driving price to levels that will enable consumer acceptance. Cree and Philips drove that race starting with spring-time announcements of sub-$15, 60W-equivalent LED lamps. And as we close the year, Philips will likely go under $10 with their new SlimStyle product that launched too late to garner enough traffic to crack our top 20.

Cree omnidirectional LED lamp

Still, the more exciting developments were in the area of higher-quality lamps. We didn't have enough such announcements in 2013. As the US Department of Energy (DOE) reported in a recent Caliper report on A-lamps, there are only four 60W-equivalent products listed in the Lighting Facts program with a CRI above 90. Still, Cree innovated with the True White (TW) version of its soft-white lamp that offers a fully omnidirectional beam. And GE Lighting added a 90-CRI LED lamp in the Reveal line with a near omnidirectional beam.

GE Lighting's 90-CRI Reveal LED lamp

In luminaires, you the readers certainly like products that combine style with functionality. Cooper hit the list based on a Lightfair demonstration of its WaveStream planar-lighting technology that relies on edge LED lighting and light guide technology originally licensed from Rambus. We'd also note that several stories about GE Lighting and their Intrinsx-based planar luminaires fell just outside the top 20. Those products are also based on a Rambus technology license.

Acuity's Peerless brand scored with one of the most stylish offerings of the year in its Round 4 family that, as the name implies, has a round cross-section but linear form. The company offers the products in versions that deliver indirect, direct, or direct/indirect lighting.

Elegance and functionality aren't a combination limited to indoor products, either. Cree delivered a parking garage fixture with a striking design that provides uniform light and eliminates the glare often associated with LED fixtures mounted on the relatively low ceilings in a garage.

Beyond products, we have top stories showing that you the reader are thirsty for more knowledge about designing with LED lighting. We had a story on dimming LED fixtures with legacy controls that scored well. Moreover, a case history that demonstrated how LED sources could be used almost exclusively in a modern office was popular. And clearly educational articles such as one on remote-phosphor technology delivered a resonating message.

What's in store for 2014? We'd expect more emphasis on the value-add features of LED lighting including tunable fixtures and high-CRI implementations that may come with a corresponding slight drop in efficacy. Further price drops in LED lighting will happen. But it's clear that the value delivered by SSL makes it affordable today. Also expect controls to continue to play a starring role, although they were noticeable underrepresented in our top 20 for 2013.

Top 20 Illumination in Focus stories of 2013:

1. Cree announces LED retrofit tubes for fluorescent troffers with secure mounting
The UR Series upgrade kit securely fastens tubes in troffers and includes an external driver meant to be installed in place of the fluorescent ballast.

2. Cree and Philips drive LED lamp price toward $10
Cree delivers omni-directional 60W-equivalent lamp for $13 while Philips Lighting offers a $15 A-lamp in a snow-cone-style design.

3. Cooper Lighting demonstrates planar WaveStream lighting at LFI, nears commercial deployment
The planar-lighting technology that Cooper licensed from Rambus is coming to market first in products from the Metalux brand in recessed luminaires.

4. Cree launches high-CRI LED lamp that meets California regulatory spec
Adding its True White technology to its LED retrofit lamp design, Cree launches a 93 CRI product that can meet the latest regulatory requirements of the California Energy Commission.

5. Rambus announces LED retrofit lamp at CES
A19 LED-based lamp utilizes cylindrical light guides based on the MicroLens optical technology to deliver an omnidirectional beam distribution.

6. Philips 100W-equivalent LED lamp gets Energy Star rating, Ledalite announces BoldPlay
Philips Ledalite reports that new LED BoldPlay fixtures slash energy usage 28% relative to fluorescents, and Philips Lighting claims a win in the race to Energy Star approval for 100W-equiavlent SSL retrofit lamps.

7. 3M Architectural Markets will show innovative LED-based lighting at NeoCon
The materials and finishes specialist's light-guide and reflective-film technology enable unique SSL products including the Lightfalls decorative wall or ceiling lighting that can use a single LED source and spreads lighting across a ceiling or wall.

8. Understand compatibility, performance, and dimming issues in LED lighting (MAGAZINE)
Dimming LEDs can increase worker productivity, enhance the experience of diners in a hospitality setting, and save energy, but you have to correctly combine controls, drivers, and LED sources.

9. Philips Lighting expands Hue functionality and availability
Version 1.1 of the Hue app enables location-based control of the color-changing lamps, use of the lamps as indicators and alarms, and continuous control via an Internet service.

10. DOE issues fact sheet on LED lighting and the hazards of blue light
The US Department of Energy has proclaimed that LED lighting is no more hazardous than other types of sources in terms of the so called blue light hazard, although all lighting products should comply with photobiological safety standards.

11. Cree expands CR Series LED troffer family, increases efficacy

12. GE Lighting launches 90-CRI LED lamps in Reveal line

13. Remote phosphor brings higher efficacy to area lighting (MAGAZINE)

14. Philips delivers LED-based T8 tubes that work with existing ballasts

15. Cree announces glare-free LED parking-garage luminaire

16. Cooper announces Metalux ArcLine LED-based ceiling troffer family

17. Osram Sylvania announces new LED luminaires and retrofit lamps at SIL

18. Walmart launches sub-$10 LED lamps, and plans for low-cost GE Lighting lamp

19. Acuity's Peerless launches linear LED fixture with round cross-section

20. LED lighting shows versatility in office project (MAGAZINE)