DOE quality program and lifecycle study will boost SSL acceptance

July 25, 2008
Two new efforts, a voluntary product labeling program and a lifecycle study for solid-state lighting, will help to accelerate the introduction and acceptance of LED-based lighting.
At its meeting in Portland earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced two new efforts in its Solid State Lighting Program.

SSL Quality Advocates

DOE is launching a voluntary product labeling program that is akin to the FDA label found on food packaging, says SSL Program leader Jim Brodrick. "While the DOE Energy Star Program will go a long way in helping consumers distinguish between LED products, our sense is that more understandable information is needed."

This Program, which was established jointly by DOE and the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA), is an effort to assure that LED lighting, as it reaches the marketplace, is represented accurately. "It is extremely important that early adopters of this technology have a good experience," said Brodrick. "Strong market penetration of LEDs will ultimately result in extremely significant energy savings, as much as 10 percent of national building electricity consumption.

Participation in SSL Quality Advocates will require manufacturers, retailers, utilities and other stakeholders to sign a voluntary SSL Quality Pledge that will require the affixing of a label either on the product, on the product packaging, or on product literature, providing essential performance information in five categories – lumen output, luminaire efficacy, power input, correlated color temperature, and color rendering index. The test methodologies for each of these areas will be established by DOE.

Life Cycle Analysis of SSL Technologies

DOE has also announced a new study on the Life Cycle Analysis of SSL Technologies. This study, under the direction of Scott Matthews, Research Director of the Green Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, will focus on a "soup to nuts" assessment of energy and materials costs associated with SSL technology.

The study will be performed in two phases. The first phase will define the parameters of the study including the identification of key energy and materials issues, the availability of relevant data, and a definition of the study’s scope and boundaries.

Matthews will be seeking to work with industry during this phase in both defining the parameters of the study and acquiring sources of data. This initial phase is slated to be completed this coming fall. The second phase will encompass a comparison of SSL to a couple of mature lighting technologies in both the residential and commercial markets. It will begin with a valuation of raw materials and evolve through the entire product lifecycle, ending with disposal.

Brodrick said, "I view this study as an important step in understanding how the advent of SSL will have an impact on energy consumption, energy and product economics, pollution prevention, and ultimately, environmental decision-making."

To learn more about either of these programs, email Jim Brodrick at [email protected].

Presentations from the Portland Meeting will be available soon on the Solid State Lighting Program website at