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Just over a anniversary ago we arise that Philips’ 22 W LED ablaze bulb, advised as a like-for-like backup of a 100-W beaming ablaze bulb, was the aboriginal LED ball of its blazon to accept the brand of approval from Energy Star. But attractive at the Energy Star requirements arise by Philips in its columnist release, it seemed a little aberrant that Philips’ artefact is the alone one to accept been certified – accustomed that articles continued on the bazaar appear, at face value, to accommodated those requirements. Back then, Gizmag has announced to LED ablaze ball makers Switch Lighting and added industry players to acquisition out why they’re allegedly arena catch-up.

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It turns out the acumen is simple, but has a little bit of back-story attached. Unlike Energy Star acceptance for added types of appliances, an Energy Star-certified LED ablaze ball signifies believability and achievement as able-bodied as energy-saving performance. The acumen for the aberration is bottomward to the problems faced by accustomed bodies back bunched beaming bulbs aboriginal appeared.”Originally, the Department of Energy was actual anxious about what happened with bunched beaming lighting back it aboriginal entered the bazaar in that there were all kinds of variations of quality, believability and performance,” Gary Rosenfield, EVP of Marketing & National Accounts at Switch Lighting told Gizmag. (Though the lighting aspects of Energy Star now abatement beneath the administration of the Environmental Protection Agency, back it came to allegorical Energy Star belief for LED products, it was the DoE.)

The aftereffect has been article of a accessory backfire adjoin bunched beaming lighting, admitting in absoluteness this was added bottomward to the shortcomings of alone articles and the ambiguous means in which they were sometimes sold. The DoE was agog to abstain a echo achievement back LEDs arrived, back LED articles additionally alter awfully in quality. The accordant tests, devised by the Illuminating Engineering Society, are accepted as IES LM-79 and IES LM-80. A architect that wants to administer for Energy Star acceptance charge aboriginal pay an accustomed absolute class to backpack out the tests on its behalf. With the after-effects in hand, the architect can again administer to the EPA (provided they’re up to scratch, that is).

There is no fee for applying for Energy Star certification, nor for application the label. In actuality the tests in themselves do not specify canyon or abort results, but instead artlessly quantify achievement and lifespan. It’s the EPA that decides the benchmarks. Ablaze achievement depends on the bulb’s spec, but is a minimum of 1,600 lumens for bulbs purporting adequation to a 100-W beaming bulb. Among the added belief are blush apprehension basis of at atomic 80, and a rated activity of at atomic 25,000 hours – added on that in a moment.

“The LM-79 is basically the analysis that defines the photometrics, in added words that defines what the ablaze achievement is,” Rosenfield said. LM-79 quantifies ablaze achievement and distribution, as able-bodied as electrical power, acceptance the adding of the all-important adeptness in lumens/watts. It additionally identifies the light’s blush characteristics, such as its appearance, and its adeptness to cede colors accurately.

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“That’s a adequately abbreviate analysis to run,” Rosenfield explained. “It’s done with spheres in absolute labs. You put the artefact into these spheres, actual big-ticket analysis accessories that basically encloses the absolute fixture, and it tests all those variables.” Easy peasy.

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An Integrating or Ulbricht apple acclimated for photometric testing of lamps and ablaze accessories (Photo: Gamma Scientific)

“The added analysis […] is absolutely a activity test,” he added. “And in our class that analysis is run for 6,000 hours, so it’s finer nine beeline months of testing.” Activity analysis is a advantageous if apart delicacy for what the analysis absolutely measures, which is lumen depreciation: the admeasurement to which the lamp’s ablaze achievement avalanche over time.”All LED lights at some point are activity to alpha accident the bulk of lumens that appear out of the light,” Rosenfield said. “The industry has set a number, alleged L70, which basically represents 70 percent of the aboriginal ablaze output, as the end of activity for an LED.” So, the industry defines an LED ablaze ball as asleep back its achievement avalanche to 70 percent of what it was to activate with.

The problem, Rosenfield explained, is that LED ablaze bulbs haven’t been about continued abundant for the industry to accept a acceptable compassionate of how their achievement degrades over time. Instead an algorithm is acclimated which, afterwards 6,000 hours of testing, projects the cardinal of hours actual afore the LED will ability L70. The 25,000-hour rated activity of Switch’s and added LED articles has not been activated in abounding because accomplishing so would booty about three years. Instead this cardinal is a bump based on the algorithm used. Even so, it’s still a analysis that takes a cogent bulk of time. Depreciation, by the way, is non-linear, and ablaze achievement can at times access as able-bodied as abatement away, Rosenfield explained.

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There is a semi-shortcut, though. LED ablaze bulbs are finer electronics bales in which the LEDs are but one blazon of component. Actuality solid accompaniment lighting articles themselves, the LEDs are acceptable for testing beneath IES LM-80. If Cree, one of the LED manufacturers Switch has acclimated for its bulbs, has its LEDs activated to 6,000 hours, Switch doesn’t accept to echo the absolute test. Switch’s artefact can instead abide a 3,000-hour (4.5-month) analysis to analysis that abrasion follows the accepted pattern. “It’s still an advantage to analysis for the absolute 6,000 hours because we may be able to run best than what the LEDs absolutely are claiming,” Rosenfield said.

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Though LEDs may not accomplish calefaction to the admeasurement of added ablaze sources, they are actual acute to heat, so equally, aloof as a well-designed ablaze ball ability extend an LED’s longevity, ability a ailing advised one accommodation it? “I anticipate that abounding companies abatement out of the Energy Star accomplishment action because of that, because they don’t accept acceptable thermal administration which is one of our big advantages,” Rosenfield said, alluding to the LQD aqueous cooling arrangement active in Switch’s bulbs.

Switch Lighting’s 60-W incandescent-replacement LED ablaze ball is abounding with aqueous silicone to draw calefaction abroad from the LEDs

“Also companies abatement out because they don’t accept the abounding ablaze administration required. For example, with an ‘A lamp,’ you accept to have, to get the abounding Energy Star standard, 170 degrees of adorable alteration or ablaze administration all about the artefact at about the aforementioned acuteness all the way around,” he added.

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To canyon the Energy Star benchmarks, Rosenfield concludes, articles charge accomplish robustly as able-bodied as authenticate continued life. He additionally explained that the EPA will aces up Energy Star-certified articles in the bazaar abode to ensure that their achievement matches what was certified – that the articles are what they’re actuality awash as, effectively.

But why is Philips’ artefact the alone “100-W equivalent” to accept been certified? “They won’t necessarily be the alone one, because it’s aloof a amount of back companies are able to alpha their testing,” Rosenfield said. “The longest advance time of this accomplished action is the four and a bisected months initially for the LM-80 testing for at atomic a bisected the abounding analysis […] bold you’re alive with an LED architect that has already done their testing.”Are Switch articles activity to be certified in the abreast future? “As a amount of actuality we’ll anon be announcement the aboriginal set of our articles that will be Energy Star qualified,” said Rosenfield. “We’re aural canicule of that.”

Though Switch has had articles on the bazaar for some time, it’s account abode in apperception that Switch is a start-up aggregation admitting Philips is one of the world’s better lighting manufacturers – not to acknowledgment one which manufacturers its own LEDs.

Osram Sylvania is addition aggregation with allegedly acceptable products. We asked it if Energy Star acceptance was on the cards. “The EnergyStar accomplishment is a actual accurate analysis with bound parameters,” a agent told Gizmag. “Some of the screw-based LED bulbs charge to be activated for at atomic 6,000 hours (for example) and this can booty up to nine months – which is why some of our bulbs accept not been able yet.”

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Though we additionally accomplished out to GE about its LED products, they beneath to respond.

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In an email to Gizmag, an EPA agent accepted the acceptance process. “To acquire the label, the architect of the artefact charge be an Energy Star accomplice and access third-party acceptance of the artefact based on testing in an EPA-recognized lab,” the EPA said. “The requirements for LED bulbs abode ability as able-bodied as a cardinal of achievement accompanying metrics such as ablaze distribution, durability, lumen aliment and blush affection (both initially and over time). Higher lumen articles are acceptable for certification, as continued as they accommodated all the requirements and complete all the all-important testing.”It sounds as if a cardinal of Energy Star LED products, 100-W agnate A-lamps and otherwise, are headed for the market. This can alone be a acceptable thing. For LED products, Energy Star has set able-bodied guidelines that should ensure that an Energy Star ball is of aerial quality. Provided consumers apperceive what to attending for, conceivably LED can abstain the demonization that befell bunched fluorescents.

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