Throughout the summer of 2016, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) has been developing revisions to the technical requirements for their Qualified Products List (QPL). This list is a directory of LED lighting products that qualify for rebates and other incentives.
Incentives for DLC QPL purchases are generally issued by utility companies and other energy authorities to commercial and industrial buyers. However, the list also serves as a resource for the consumer market as its technical requirements dynamically reflect the continually improving quality of energy saving and lighting performance that is technologically and commercially available.
The QPL’s new Technical Requirements Table version 4.0 (TRT v4.0) includes allowances for special-use luminaires, a new provision for evaluating the color rendering abilities of a light source according to the Illuminating Engineering Society’s TM-30-15 standards. Most notably, it also sets higher efficiency standards across all lighting categories.
The DesignLights Consortium’s TRT v4.0 has officially gone into effect as of September 1st 2016. LED Waves is pleased to report that their new 1×4, 2×2, and 2×4 foot LED panel lights meet the relevant v4.0 requirement of 100 lumens per Watt. At 107, 110, and 118 lumens per Watt (respectively), the company’s entire Skylight 2.0 Ultra Thin LED Panel collection qualifies for use as Luminaires for Ambient Lighting of Interior Commercial Spaces under the Indoor – Troffer category.
As indoor troffer replacements, the entire Skylight collection comes ready to simply drop into existing ceiling grids. Additional accessories are available for surface/flush mount, drywall/recessed, ceiling suspension, and gap mount installations.
Other products from LED Waves which continue to qualify for DLC QPL status under the new technical requirements include
the SMART Tube (fluorescent ballast-compatible 4-foot LED T8 replacement)
the Marquee series (outdoor floodlights in modular packs of 1 to 10 LED boards)
the EZ40 LED Wall Pack (complete luminaire replacement for outdoor E40 wall pack fixtures)
All new product submissions must now meet the new requirements in order to earn a spot on the Qualified Products List. LED lights that qualify only under the previous technical requirements (v.3.1 and earlier) will maintain DLC QPL status through February 2017.
You might have heard the terms “lumen maintenance” or “lumen depreciation” or (if you’re more advanced) “L70” in reference to lighting – particularly LED lighting. These terms have to do with lifespan, which is particularly important for lighting for commercial, municipal, educational, healthcare, or industrial applications, where short operating lives come at a higher premium.
Like the metal halide (MH), high pressure sodium (HPS), and fluorescent/compact fluorescent (CFL) technology typically used in these settings, LEDs decrease in brightness over time. L70 is a calculation of when the output of a light source dips down to 70% of the initial lumens – after which point, the bulb or luminaire is considered no longer useful, and should be replaced.
L70 values for LED lighting are determined by testing samples at different temperatures for thousands of hours, then multiplying the damage exponentially. LED drivers/power supplies generate heat, and if not managed properly, they can dramatically accelerate lumen depreciation. This is why we place such heavy emphasis on the heat sinks and other thermal management systems on all products designed and assembled by LED Waves.
The above chart maps the typical trajectory of lumen depreciation across many professional-grade lighting technologies compared to LEDs. L70 at 50,000 hours is the baseline for everything we carry; however, most of our newer industrial products such as LED high bays are rated to last two to ten times longer.
(Note that halogen/incandescent bulbs fail suddenly, or catastrophically, rather than slowly fade in brightness. This is because their light comes from filaments, which simply burn out, rather than from the gas-based chemical reactions of the ballasted lighting technologies, or from the electricity conducted through solid state Light Emitting Diodes.)
The slow lumen depreciation of LEDs is significant for several reasons. The most obvious one is that it supplements energy savings towards a return on investment. By saving on bulb replacements and on maintenance workers’ time – which is an especially important consideration for the workplace – LED lights pay for themselves. And the advertised lifespan of, say, a fluorescent T8 tube, is not as relevant if one third of it is spent transmitting dim, flickering light.
Secondly, lumen maintenance is worth noting when comparing the brightness of different lighting technologies. People are slowly disabusing themselves of the idea that Wattage measures brightness, and instead they are looking at lumen counts.
However, the advertised lumen output of a MH, HPS or fluorescent bulb is not an accurate indication of how bright it will be, since that value declines so drastically and so quickly. Occasionally, fluorescent lighting suppliers advertise a mean (average) value in addition to initial lumen output. When this is not available, one should determine their own value based on their needs and capabilities. For example, if you replace bulbs at the L70 mark, the lumen output at 85% initial lumens (or the halfway point between 100% and 70%) may provide a more accurate picture of how bright a fluorescent, MH or HPS light source will be.
Thus, exact matches in lumen output or advertised lifespans are somewhat irrelevant when comparing other light bulbs with LEDs.
Navigating this information may be a little confusing at first, but satisfyingly powerful with just a little bit of research. And our experts here at LED Waves are happy to help you make the proper lighting evaluations and choices along the way.
Last week London spectators saw a giant glyph of pulsing orange LED light strips in the sky. The bright symbol whizzed around in the night, making special appearances over the Thames River and other London landmarks. The cryptic light show was a media stunt from Microsoft promoting the launch of a new game, the highly anticipated Halo 4.
“(T)he glyph… was 50-feet in diameter and weighed 3.2 tons. It took a team of 50 designers, engineers, and fabricators… eight weeks to design and construct the glyph, which was covered with 455 LED light strips mounted on the 37 panels. There were 113,096 LEDs of pure orange color consuming 20KW of power. The dynamic lighting effects were controlled using an onboard computer and remote mounted on a boat following the glyph. The helicopter flew at a height of 600 feet and the glyph itself was 350 feet above the river.”
We’re seeing LED lighting in a lot more promotional applications these days, as the cost of materials continue to fall and designers make use of the enhanced controls, effects, and eye-catching appeal of the technology. Was this stunt effective at generating Halo 4 hype? I’ll ask my roommates if they ever un-glue themselves from the XBox 360 they’ve been on all week.
Hot off the heels of Exhibitor in Las Vegas, today through Thursday LED Waves is in Baltimore for the National Facilities Management & Technology Expo. (Find LED Specialists James and Tim at NFMT Booth 1600.) The Expo gives us a chance to showcase a different range of products – retrofit LED lights that are in facilities all around you!
Fluorescent T8 tube lights are big in this sector, and for that we created the Genesys 1.0 LED T8 Tube. Each 4 foot tube consumes only 19 Watts – and since these are often installed in multiples, those energy savings add up quickly! The Genesys is a DOE LED Lighting Facts Product.
The Genesys 2.0 is the same basic design as its predecessor, but instead of FR4 it’s built with a reflective aluminum board. This gives it a pop of about 50 extra lumens!
For facilities with drop ceiling tiles, our Ultra-Thin LED Panel Light is the perfect low profile, energy-saving solution. It produces remarkably bright yet diffuse light. Available in 12×12”, 24×24” or 12×47.5” units and in warm, neutral or cool white, the Ultra-Thin Panel is taking the world by storm with its versatility!
Whether you’re a Facility Manager or just looking for sustainable solutions for the home, we have the high end, low cost LED lights for your project! Email us for a project quote.
A Washington school made local headlines last week when it switched all its overhead lights to LED panels. The conversion at James Monroe Elementary is believed to be the first one of its scale in a US public school.
According to King 5 News, “Many teachers at the school say the LED light is a ‘warmer light,’ better for teaching and learning. One kindergarten teacher said she no longer needs her reading glasses in the classroom.”
Each LED panel light is estimated to last 15 years, so school officials are excited about the return on their investment with the replacement costs and energy savings. The new lights also offer controls – unlike fluorescent technology. Dimming does not affect the LEDs’ color temperature – unlike incandescent technology.
It’s always great to hear about schools joining the LED revolution because they stand to save so much on energy. When you think about the electricity-powered devices in an average grade school classroom, there isn’t a lot beyond HVAC and lighting. (Except for the few occasions when a teacher pushes in the AV cart and everyone gets to watch a video – by the way, that ruled! But only a little bit more than energy-efficient lights.)