Lighting Manufacturers, Designers, Academics, and Utilities Ask Energy Star to Address LED Lamp Light Quality

  Lighting Manufacturers, Designers, Academics, and Utilities Ask Energy Star
  to Address LED Lamp Light Quality

Business Wire

FREMONT, Calif. -- January 22, 2013

To ensure the long-term success and widespread market adoption of LED lamps,
the lighting sector late last week urged the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program to address light quality, specifically
color rendering, in its new lamp specification. In addition to Soraa, the
California Lighting Technology Center; Drs. Shuji Nakamura and Steven
DenBaars; the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD);
Northeast Utilities Companies (NSTAR); and lighting designer Chip Israel as
well as a number of other prominent North American lighting designers all
filed formal comments to the EPA on their ENERGY STAR program product
specification for LED lamps in support of higher color rendering criteria.

“Many consumers will make their first LED lamp purchases in the next few
years, and the market is entering a critical window for making a positive
impact on consumers’ first impressions of LED technology,” said Eric Kim, CEO
of Soraa. “However, for LED lamps to achieve significant market share,
consumers must be confident that these lamps can give them the light quality
they need and want. With the emergence of next generation LED technology,
these performance benchmarks have now been reached.”

McKinsey’s 2011 Lighting the Way report suggests that consumer and commercial
lighting purchase decisions are driven as much by light quality, as they are
by the cost of the light bulb. Twenty percent of the residential respondents
in the McKinsey report rated light quality as the most important decision
criterion for lamp installation – which is on par with the 22 percent who
rated purchase price as the most important factor. In all other market
segments, light quality was by far the most important criterion.

“The slow market adoption of CFLs over the last 20 years demonstrates that
simply because a product produces enough light, saves energy and is
cost-effective, broad market adoption of that technology is not ensured. To
persuade consumers to purchase LEDs instead of incandescent lamps, LED lamps
must be seen as high-quality products worth the initial higher price
differential. Therefore, LED lamps must closely replicate the color rendering
and color appearance of the incandescent and halogen lamps that they replace,”
said Carlos Alonso-Niemeyer, Energy Efficiency Program Manager of NSTAR a
Northeast Utilities Company.

EPA correctly pointed out in their latest draft lamp specification that lack
of LED lamp color quality is a potential barrier to broader consumer adoption
of energy efficient lighting. However, EPA went on to say that it will
continue to monitor the market and explore opportunities for improving color
quality and consistency of lamps in the future. Given the critical importance
of this issue to increased adoption of LED lighting, groups told EPA that the
time to address higher color rendering is now.

“Designers should have the flexibility to select the appropriate source for
their applications and end users should have their right to purchase high
color rendering or full spectrum lamps for their spaces,” said Chip Israel,
President of the Lighting Design Alliance.

Since lamps that meet consumer color quality expectations will provide
significantly more energy savings than the limited adoption of the highest
efficacy lamps; manufacturers, designers, academics, and utilities strongly
recommended that EPA provide some easement for the luminous efficacy targets
of high CRI LED Lamps, which are fundamentally more challenging than low CRI
products. Specific proposals were submitted to the EPA last week.

“Fundamental physics research shows that there is a ~2% penalty in luminous
efficacy per point of CRI. So, going from a CRI of 80, where most LEDs
operate, to a CRI of 90, there is a ~20% penalty in lm/W,” said Dr. Shuji
Nakamura, Professor of Materials Department and Co-Director for the Solid
State Lighting & Energy Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

About Soraa

Pioneering lamps using LEDs built from pure gallium nitride substrates (GaN on
GaN™), Soraa has made ordinary lighting extraordinarily brilliant and
efficient. Soraa’s full spectrum GaN on GaN™ LED lamps have superior color
rendering and beam characteristics compared to lamps using LEDs created from
non-native substrates. Founded in 2008, Soraa is located in Fremont
California, where it manufactures its GaN on GaN™ LEDs in the company’s
state-of-the-art facility. For additional information, please visit


Soraa Media:
Andy Beck, 202-288-6862
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