IEA Annex releases draft SSL performance tiers

Nov. 11, 2011
A solid-state lighting program run by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released draft performance tiers for four different SSL product types.
The Solid State Lighting Annex of the IEA’s Efficient Electrical End-Use Equipment (4E) program, known as the IEA-4E Annex on SSL, has published a proposal to define minimum performance levels for four categories of LED-based products. For each product type, the performance is graded in four tiers (see below).

The Annex will be collecting suggestions and comments from all stakeholders from November 1, 2011 until February 1, 2012. It will then revise the performance tier levels, definitions and criteria based on feedback received. More details on submitting comments on the SSL Performance Tiers can be founding the Annex’s cover letter.

The Annex was established in 2009 to help its member countries to implement quality-assurance programs for SSL lighting. Its aim is to build consensus between member governments and to provide guidance to interested stakeholders.

This international collaboration brings together the governments of Australia, Denmark, France, Japan, Sweden, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA. A Chinese laboratory (NLTC) is also involved in the process of establishing the performance tiers.

Marc Fontoynont, the Operating Agent for the IEA-4E SSL Annex and a professor at the Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University, discussed the Annex at the recent Strategies in Light Europe conference.

The four categories of SSL products are:

  • SSL Omnidirectional replacement lamps
  • SSL Directional replacement lamps
  • SSL Downlight fixtures
  • Linear LED fluorescent replacement lamps
For each category, four performance tier levels are defined:
  • Tier 0: Minimum acceptable performance for off-grid applications
  • Tier 1: Minimum Acceptable Performance for grid-connected applications
  • Tier 2: Performance required by established quality programs
  • Tier 3: Current highest commercially-available performance
The IEA is keen to stress that the Annex is not a standards-making organization, and that the proposals for performance tiers should not be considered a proposed performance standard. “The creation of performance standards is the responsibility of organizations like the IEC and ANSI,” says the IEA, adding that “National governments are also responsible for national performance standards, minimum efficiency programs or energy-efficiency programs like Energy Star.”

The draft performance tiers have been developed with the assistance of twenty technical experts from nine countries including China, and represent “early-stage proposals.” They do not reflect an agreed position by member governments at this stage, says the IEA, but are issued “to provide a basis for meaningful engagement with industry and other stakeholders.”