WEB EXCLUSIVE: LEDiscovery…they Learned, they Engaged, they Discovered!

April 17, 2009
The recent LEDiscovery event provided a forum for dialogue and discussion for those involved in the procurement and specification of SSL technology in lighting.
The second annual LEDiscovery event, held in Toronto, Canada last week (mid April 2009), attracted over 300 attendees. Hosted at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, the location of the first solid-state lighting roadway pilot in the city, the event provided a forum for dialogue and discussion for those involved in the procurement and specification of SSL technology in lighting.

This year billed as “Learn, Engage, Discover,” LEDiscovery brings together purchasers and manufacturers to engage with each other, learn and discover the technology and requirements of the marketplace. This year, over 30 manufacturers were represented, covering both indoor and outdoor applications. Interest from both attendees and manufacturers in the event has increased over last year. Sponsoring this year’s event was OSRAM Sylvania Canada, who unveiled a range of new SSL products.

“LEDiscovery is an opportunity to foster networking of LED luminaire manufacturers and agents with prospective purchasers or specifiers,” said Chantal Brundage, greenTbiz Program Manager and LEDiscovery coordinator. "With advances in LED technology and an increase in attendance this year, we saw a flurry of discussions around potential projects. It is our hope that LEDiscovery will act as a gateway to increasing adoption of LED technology in Ontario." Brundage noted that attendees came from as far away as the Province of Manitoba to the west of Ontario, in this case representing Manitoba Hydro.

Recent arrivals in the industry, and new to exhibiting at LEDiscovery, included Cyclone Lighting, well-known for incumbent lighting technology and now offering LED models for outdoor lighting that allow for modular replacement of LEDs and tool-free maintenance. Also present were LDI Technology Group, exhibiting their line of SSL high-bay fixtures for large indoor manufacturing and warehousing spaces, a definite "next up to bat" application for SSL. Also of note was the display of beautiful well-designed fixtures and luminaires from Illumineer; all 3 of these companies are based in Canada.

Speed dating

The LEDiscovery forum model is somewhat unique. Each manufacturer is guaranteed an audience of the attendees to introduce their products and highlight their strengths. From these presentations, attendees determine who they wish to spend more time with or contact in future. This form of industry "speed-dating" is more successful that other models seen to date, as it allows the individuals to determine their path based upon initial impressions.

A number of events -- including last fall’s IALD conference in Cancun, Mexico and the recent Energy Star Lighting Partner Meeting in San Antonio, Texas -- have employed "speed-dating" in some form to develop multiple cross-connecting opportunities. The day’s program also included opening and closing plenary remarks from Chantal Brundage and a luncheon, which featured Brian Owen of greenTbiz and LEDs Magazine, as well as Venkat Venkataramanan from the University of Toronto as keynote speakers.

During the luncheon, Owen revisited his presentation from the Energy Star Lighting Partner Meeting with additional reflections on the local market. Owen opened with a comment made by Seth Meyers from a recent episode of the NBC comedy show, Saturday Night Live; “When Michelle Obama was photographed wearing clothes from J. Crew; they sold out of the clothes she was wearing. “Now if someone could just get her to drive a Chrysler.” With Owen adding, “Now; all we have to do is get her to use LED!”

He reaffirmed the importance and relevance of DOE programs, such as Energy Star, CALiPER and Quality Advocates, which promotes the Lighting Facts labelling of SSL products. While Owen outlined that not all product can qualify for Energy Star at this time, and that product must be "on the radar" to be tested by CALiPER, there is no legitimate reason why a responsible and trustworthy manufacturer of quality SSL products would not take the Quality Advocates pledge and label their product in collateral and packaging to offer side-by-side "apples to apples" comparison reviews by purchasers.

Owen also gave a review of the current Energy Star situation between the DOE and the EPA, as reported in LEDs Magazine and that a resolution supported by Congress is close at hand, expected by month end before LightFair 2009 in New York.

Resources and tools

Owen highlighted resources and tools available through greenTbiz and LED City Toronto, including those developed by manufacturers displaying leadership, such as CRS Electronics and betaLED/RUUD. Both these resources, offering Questions to Ask when reviewing manufacturers and products, as well as other examples, including myths, truths and untruths will be a part of an upcoming LEDs Magazine feature article reporting on industry, manufacturer and energy program developed education and tools to assist the potential buyers, influencers and specifiers.

greenTbiz was also pleased to be able to display the most recent revisions to the DOE Fact Sheets, now available on the DOE SSL website. In closing, Owen asked everyone, when looking at lighting options to consider SSL in the course of their review and to look at the application and specify SSL where it is financially feasible and technically practical, stating that if manufactured soundly, SSL performance is predictable and there is a case to overcome 1st cost and ROI concerns.

Supporting SSL in Canada

Of special note was the luncheon keynote presentation given by Dr. Venkataramaran, Head of Scientific Operations for the Institute for Optical Sciences at the University of Toronto. In the fall of 2008, Brian Owen and Chantal Brundage met with Venkataramanan, who outlined plans with respect to new initiatives underway to support the SSL industry in Canada. This was very exciting to learn and greenTbiz has developed an alliance and collaboration with the U of T in these efforts, bringing these announcements to the LEDiscovery event.

In his talk, Venkataramanan highlighted recent SSL industrial projects and research conducted at the U of T, including absorption and damage issues in polymers for automotive headlights for a large automotive manufacturer, 2 projects involving HB LED for medical illumination devices, flat-panel LED lights and HB LED architectural lights.

While there will be focus on developing accredited laboratory testing facilities in order to assist manufacturers, the network will also provide access to intellectual property, technology and end-user education, seminars and workshops, access to a talent pool and advocacy. Participants will derive partial direct cost recovery through laboratory usage, course fees or consultancy time giving a direct payback.

In order to facilitate this initiative, a start-up company as a spin-off from the University has been formed, named Lumentra. The company will offer photometric, electrical and thermal characterization facilities to the industry and will have strong technical expertise, backed up by cutting-edge research at the U of T.

Lumentra will maintain collaborations with leading research groups and national labs, participation in ANSI, CIE and ISO standards bodies. There are plans to obtain ISO 17025 and NVLAP accreditation and talks with US Department of Energy to qualify as CALiPER testing lab and conduct Energy Star testing. Further information can be obtained by contacting Dr. Venkataramanan by sending an email to [email protected].

Currently, accredited testing laboratory facilities exist in Canada at BC Hydro in British Columbia, at Lighting Sciences Canada in Waterloo, Ontario and at Spectralux in Montreal, Quebec, but none are yet accredited to test for the CALiPER program or qualify SSL products for Energy Star. Having additional accredited support services and technical testing facilities, as well as the network could also stimulate and foster green local economic development and further enhance the development of the SSL industry in Canada.

Next up…Energy Star workshop

Later this year, after LightFair and the long-awaited resolution between the US DOE and the EPA, greenTbiz, along with Lumenta and the SSL Network, will be hosting an Energy Star workshop, entitled, "Hitching your SSL decision to Star! ... Understanding Energy Star for SSL." This workshop will focus on current standards and testing regarding SSL and how both affect product coming to market and resultant market transformation, first in the commercial marketplace, followed closely by that in the consumer residential marketplace. The workshop will discuss, ‘Is the application correct for SSL? and if SSL is being considered, ‘Is it financially feasible and technically practical? The workshop will also cover programs, resources and tools available to allow prudent and successful decision-making regarding the procurement of SSL products. As well, the workshop will cover developing a payback equation and justifying return on investment, including the application of incentives and rebates.

Participants will be given a working understanding of Energy Star for SSL including history of the development and relativity of the criteria in Luminaire Performance and Selection. As well, participants will learn about the importance of relative photometry and LM79 and LM80 data. Participants will learn how to read a Photometric Report and understand the aspects and attributes.

Participants will be educated as to what Question to Ask manufacturers and their representatives when reviewing SSL products or product collateral. Participants will also learn about available Incentive and Rebate programs offered by Government Agencies and Utilities (Local Distribution Companies or LDCs in Ontario and or Energy Efficiency Program Sponsors or EEPS in the US).

greenTbiz suggests that those who should attend this workshop would include Architects, Builders, Building Managers, Electrical Engineers, Electricians, Energy Efficiency Organizations and Program Sponsors (EEOs & EEPS), Energy Managers, Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs), Government Agencies, Interior Designers, Lighting Designers, Manufacturers - Agents / Distributors / Representatives, Property Managers, Public Works Officials, Renovators, Retail Buyers, Utilities (Local Distribution Companies - LDCs), Virtually anyone in an Energy Conservation, Demand Management / Response or Energy Efficiency, Lighting Procurement or Promotion Position. Further information can be obtained by sending an email to [email protected].

Plans are already underway for next year’s LEDiscovery event and those interested in participating, reserving display space or sponsorship should contact Chantal Brundage, greenTbiz Program Manager.

LEDiscovery … taking you to the next frontier in SSL.