Caliper 2012 year in review

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a year-in-review of its Caliper program, and suggests that LED products are becoming more efficient, less costly, and producing more light than ever before.

In 2012, Caliper reports focused on a single product type, rather than using a number of different lamps and luminaires in a single summary report. By doing this Caliper could provide more in-depth analysis of the performance baseline of conventional products and the expectations for LED products.

The LED products that were examined in 2012 included floodlights, AR111/PAR36 lamps, downright retrofits, BR30/R30 lamps, linear pendants, wallwashers, and PAR38 lamps.

The DOE has reviewed years of Caliper data and highlighted some trends, although the agency warns that some of the points may not be statistically meaningful. Still the comparison shows where the SSL segment is trending.

One trend the DOE has noticed include the rise of luminous efficacy over the years, though 2012 saw a drop of 3 lm/W (from 55 lm/W) that may have been caused by the inclusion of recessed downlight wallwashers, which generally have a lower efficacy regardless of their light source. Other trends include a steady rise in CRI, with the average rising 2 points this year to 82, increased availability of appropriate CCTs, and an increase in input power from a mean of 7.7W (lamps only) in 2011 to 14.2W (lamps only) in 2012.

Caliper has also identified some of the possible limitations current LED offerings have. These limitations include LED products lacking the modularity of conventional products, a lack of lumen package options, the initial cost of LEDs, and inaccurate manufacturer claims.

When compared to other years, the 2012 Caliper reports suggest that price is being reduced, and the lumen output of LED lamps is increasing. The Caliper data shows that, while LED products have gotten much more competitive since 2006, there is still constant improvement in quality, cost effectiveness, efficacy, and control features.

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