Why 2008 was the Year of LED Standards

In the first of a series of articles, Kevin Dowling explains the importance of standards for LED lighting and looks at the significant progress that has been made so far.

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Chromaticity diagram for ANSI C78.377
In an era of rapid performance improvement, 2008 is likely to be remembered as the Year of LED Standards, which are a critical ingredient in the market use and adoption of LED lighting technology. Last year saw the publication of several performance standards as well as guidelines that required the use of these standards — in effect, standards based upon standards. It is a good start, but only a start. However, many other standards are in process, and remarkable progress has been made.

Importance of standards
Standards are very important for several reasons. Without standards, comparison is difficult or impossible. In many cases product specifications are not traceable to an authoritative reference, making all such data suspect at best, and disingenuous at worst. Furthermore, some manufacturers play specification games; this is unacceptable. Without standards, customers and specifiers are uneasy about specifying and purchasing LED-based products. Emplacing standards lessens this issue and, as this community grows comfortable with the standards-based approach, they will specify more, not less. The market grows; adoption increases and the results benefit both users and manufacturers. Subsequently, LEDs can also provide societal benefits in terms of energy saved and carbon footprints reduced. This chain of reasoning is not to be taken lightly. Without standards, LED lighting will become a “Wild West” of disorder and confusion.

Standards finalized in 2008
Chromaticity: ANSI C78.377-2008
“Specifications for the Chromaticity of Solid State Lighting Products” (see figure 1).

Luminous Flux: IESNA LM-79
“Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products”

Lumen Maintenance: IESNA LM-80
“Measuring Lumen Maintenance of LED Light Sources”

Definitions: IESNA RP-16 Addendum A
“Nomenclature and Definitions for Illuminating Engineering”

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This article was published in the April 2009 issue of LEDs Magazine.

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