A Bright Idea: Quality Standards for LED and CFL Lighting

Manufacturers who meet standards eligible for incentive program

Emerging Technologies (ET) has teamed with the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center to develop performance standards for LED and CFL lights.

Great Leaps for LED lighting

Testing is complete and the results are in: replacing fluorescent lights with LEDs in refrigerated cases cuts energy use by nearly half. And since there are thousands of cold cases in California, the potential for savings is great.

Working with partners EMCOR Energy Services and a major grocery chain, 36 fluorescent lights were replaced with 60 LED lights in six large freezer cases. The results of this test showed that in addition to over 40% energy savings, switching to LED lights also meant more consistent lighting, lower maintenance cost, and longer product life.

However, while testing these LED lights, it became apparent that the various LED products on the market did not provide equal function or longevity, and no current manufacturing standards existed. Although the Department of Energy has released ENERGY STAR ™ specifications for LEDS, it does not cover LEDs used in refrigerated cases, and test protocols to measure overall LED performance are still months from release.

To provide a faster solution, ET worked with the CLTC to establish qualifying standards for LED refrigerated case lighting that will ensure the LEDs perform effectively long-term. These energy saving and quality standards are now part of California's (PG&E’s) Efficient Refrigerated Case Lighting Options (ERCO) Program. Manufacturers who comply with these standards are eligible for incentives.

Building a Better Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb

Inexpensive and unobtrusive, recessed downlights are one of the most popular choices for residential lighting. Today’s green builders often recommend compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) for downlighting systems. However, testing at the CLTC revealed that heat build-up in CFLs reduces light output as well as lamp and component life.

In response, ET recommended implementing codes, standards, and utility incentives that encourage CFL manufacturers to redesign their products to avoid heat build-up and premature failure. As a result of these evaluations, there are ongoing discussions at the California Energy Commission, in close collaboration with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, regarding modifications to Title 24 that will address performance improvements.