DOE’s Caliper Report 15 compares diverse group of flood lights

June 8, 2012
The latest Caliper report on LED flood lights has indicated that the range of lumen output and available luminous intensity distributions must expand to better match conventional flood lights.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it has completed Series 15 testing of a group of 10 LED flood lights. The summary of the results has indicated there are several key areas in which LED flood lights should be improved to make them more competitive with conventional flood lights. These include higher lumen output, narrower spot distributions and a wider range of accessories to allow customization. The summary report is available at the DOE SSL website.
Lumen output vs. efficacy The 10 LED flood lights tested represent a broad range of conventional luminaires designated as flood lights. As a result, performance varied greatly among the products. The LED flood lights performed well in terms of efficacy but most did not match the lumen output of the benchmark metal-halide lamp. CRI of the LED flood lights was in the range of typical metal-halide and CFL lamps, but the correlated color temperature (CCT) of several products exceeded that of conventional products (>5000K). In terms of luminous intensity distribution, the majority of the LED flood lights had wide distributions. Producing narrow spotlights with LED fixtures has proven difficult according to the report.

Jim Brodrick, the US DOE’s lighting program manager highlighted many findings from the tests in a recent SSL Postings. In talking about flood lights, Brodrick said “the focus this time was floodlights -- not an easy category to nail down, given its broad and ambiguously defined nature. For that reason, drawing absolute conclusions regarding the performance of the 10 LED products tested in Series 15 (and compared with a benchmark conventional floodlight as well as data from an extensive review of manufacturer literature) would be inappropriate, as each could be effective for a given application.” He added, however, that relative to competitive flood lights, including high-intensity discharge (high-pressure sodium or metal halide) or CFL, where outputs can exceed 20,000 lm, only one LED flood light in the Caliper study reached 8000 lm. Regarding customization through the use of modular lamps, reflectors and accessories, only some of the Series 15 flood lights offered this flexibility to specifiers. In addition, four of the ten lamps tested had at least one manufacturer’s claim that proved false in Caliper testing.

Brodrick noted positive results as well, including the high efficacy results noted above, considerably better power factor than that of conventional lamps and better lifetime, though this last metric was not specifically measured during the tests. To sign up to receive Brodrick’s SSL postings, go here.

Other DOE application reports

Beginning in 2012, each Caliper summary report focuses on a single product type or application. Caliper Report 14 involved the testing of 11 6-in round LED downlights, which performed well in comparison with 60W to 100W incandescent downlights and 13W to 32W CFL downlights.

Prior to that, Report 13 included the test results from a variety of products including LED and benchmark high-bay luminaires, LED wallpack luminaires and LED and benchmark 2x2-ft troffers.

The DOE has selected particular products for testing with the intent of capturing the current state of the market, a cross section ranging from expected low- to high-performing products, with the group designed to reflect the average of the range.

Detailed test results for each flood light included in the Series 15 report will be available soon through the searchable online Caliper system.