SSL Lighting Facts program again faces phased shutdown (UPDATED)

D+R International is planning an end to the Lighting Facts program that the DOE used to bring credibility to LED-based lighting products in the early ‘Wild West’ days of the SSL revolution.

Mar 6th, 2019
DOE announces new SSL research funding, formally ends Lighting Facts program
DOE announces new SSL research funding, formally ends Lighting Facts program

D+R International is planning an end to the Lighting Facts program that the DOE used to bring credibility to LED-based lighting products in the early ‘Wild West’ days of the SSL revolution.

Environmentally-oriented consultancy D+R International has contacted stakeholders in the Lighting Facts program announcing that a phaseout of the program began on Mar. 1 and will culminate at the end of the year. The transition of Lighting Facts to a solid-state lighting (SSL)-manufacturer-paid services model has clearly not brought sufficient support from the industry for it to continue.

But Lighting Facts will go down in history as a critical program launched by the US Department of Energy (DOE) that brought truth in advertising and credibility to a nascent LED lighting sector and helped hasten the move to SSL in general illumination. For the first time after the advent of Lighting Facts, buyers could trust the claims of SSL manufacturers on matters such as light output, color quality, and expected lifetime.

The move by D+R International to shutter the Lighting Facts program is the second instance in a year where the program moved toward a certain end. One year back, the DOE announced that it would end the program, with speculation that funding cuts were behind the move. A few months later, the DOE announced that the website and Lighting Facts database would be shut down Jun. 1, 2018.

D+R had essentially created and managed Lighting Facts under contract to the DOE. And the company stepped in during May 2018 to save and even expand Lighting Facts, including plans to reintroduce lamps into the program. The reprieve, however, came with the caveat that manufacturers would have to pay to have their products listed in the Lighting Facts program.

We would not expect another reprieve. No other program exactly replicates the breadth of Lighting Facts. But the SSL industry has matured, and such a program is no longer required for the health of the industry. Meanwhile, market transformation programs including the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) and Energy Star will still be available to recognize quality and energy-efficient products.

D+R has said that current manufacturers with a subscription to the service will be able to add product listings through the end of March. But no updates on listed products will be accepted going forward and D+R will accept no new subscribers. D+R will issue refunds to annual subscribers. The database and the ability to print Lighting Facts labels will be available through the end of 2019.

You can find more details about the planned phaseout on the Lighting Facts website. There is a webpage dedicated to the program closure with a FAQ list.

The DOE SSL program has undergone a tremendous transformation in the past year, in part because of the Trump Administration and its refusal to acknowledge climate change and the need for environmental efforts. Late in 2018, we reported on the retirement of Jim Brodrick who had directed the DOE SSL program and indeed was a key driving force behind a broad move to LED sources in general lighting. The agency is also embroiled in a controversial move to revoke prior policy expanding the scope of lamps subject to elevated energy-efficiency requirements. We will have more on that story as the matter progresses. The DOE recently held a meeting on the matter in Washington, DC. The dueling constituents spoke on their opposite positions. But we still don’t know how the matter will be resolved.

*Updated Mar. 8, 2019 2:37 PM for correction to the LED Lighting Facts label. Thank you to our diligent reader for advising us of the correction. LEDs Magazine regrets the error.

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