USA: To ensure the long-term success and widespread market adoption of LED lamps, Soraa late last week urged the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program to address light quality, specifically color rendering, in its new lamp specification.
Support for higher color rendering has been expressed by the California Lighting Technology Center; Profs. Shuji Nakamura and Steven DenBaars; the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD); Northeast Utilities Companies (NSTAR); and lighting designer Chip Israel; who all filed formal comments on EPA’s Draft 3 product specification for LED lamps.
“Poor light quality ruined many consumers’ confidence in compact fluorescents,” said Mike Krames, CTO of Soraa. “The ENERGY STAR qualification must be associated with LED lamps that provide a better quality of light; otherwise, the program will start to lack credibility with end-users and the low adoption rate history of CFLs will be repeated by LED lamps.”
In comments filed with the EPA on May 17th, Soraa told EPA that while ENERGY STAR is not a mandatory standard; the Agency must recognize that it has become a de facto standard for utility rebate dollars critical to lowering the initial cost of LED products.
In absence of a second high color rendering index (CRI) tier, it is likely that, similar to the historical situation with CFLs, the vast majority of lamp products will be engineered to perform close to the lower boundaries of quality requirements as set in the ENERGY STAR lamp specification for cost reasons (see Figure). Left unaddressed, this lack of high color quality lighting products will lead to a stalling in consumer adoption of energy efficient lighting technology, similar to what has been observed to date with CFLs.