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Commentary: The Challenge of the 'Tween' LED Lights
... Kermit the Frog's famous one-liner was, "It isn't easy being green..." inspires us to suggest that, "It isn't easy being tween" here in the solid state lighting world. By 'tween' we mean sitting in the nether-world of purpose-built lighting that is conveniently enabled by LED lighting. A big opportunity...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this page is a back issue, go here...

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Solid State Lighting Design is here to serve the information needs of lighting designers, specifiers, and decision makers, along with luminaire designers, lighting system integrators and lighting subsystem developers with application, product and market news updates for this rapidly evolving technology. Our readership also includes LED packagers, technology enablers and service companies seeking the answers to how best to meet their customers' needs.

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The Challenge of the 'Tween' LED Lights

... Kermit the Frog's famous one-liner was, "It isn't easy being green..." inspires us to suggest that, "It isn't easy being tween" here in the solid state lighting world. By 'tween' we mean sitting in the nether-world of purpose-built lighting that is conveniently enabled by LED lighting. A big opportunity...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

Philips Acquires Luceplan in Italy
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 17, 2010...Royal Philips Electronics of The Netherlands has reportedly agreed to acquire Italy-based Luceplan SpA, a consumer luminaires company in Europe's lighting design market. Under the terms of the transaction to take place in the second quarter of 2010, subject to certain conditions, Luceplan will become part of the Consumer Luminaires business in the Philips Lighting sector. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Luceplan’s portfolio of luminaires includes table, suspension, wall, and ceiling products for residential and commercial applications. The company was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Milan, Italy where it employs about 110 employees. Royal Philips Electronics News Release SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

GE Wins Five Awards in Department of Energy Competition
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 17, 2010...GE was among the award winners in the U.S. Department of Energy's Next Generation Luminaires design competition. In fact, GE says that the NGL Competition recognized five of GE's LED systems this year and two last year. Recognition of five GE LED systems in this year's DOE/IESNA/IALD Next Generation Luminaires(TM) Competition and two GE LED systems last year demonstrates the company's deep commitment to lighting technology innovation, understanding applications, and delivering quality

GE Lighting Solutions, a unit of GE Lighting, says it has earned more awards than any other company in this year's Next Generation Luminaires(TM) (NGL) Competition, including a Best-in-Class award for the GE Evolve R150 LED Cobrahead Luminaire, a new LED street and roadway light. Four other GE LED lighting systems for refrigerated display, architectural and outdoor applications were recognized. The competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the International Association of Lighting Designers, cited GE for its excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaries for general illumination lighting. GE Lighting Solutions News Release SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

VizorLED Luminaire from Philips Electronics Named "Best in Class" in NGL Competition
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 17, 2010...Philips Electronics reports that its VizorLED luminaire, a parking, lowbay and under canopy lighting solution, was named “Best in Class” in the ‘Next Generation Luminaires’ (NGL) competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the International Association of Lighting Designers. According to Philips, the new VizorLED delivers a unique optical solution that minimizes glare, improves volumetric lighting uniformity, maximizes efficiency, and creates an inviting and comfortable environment for people to park and walk through. 

The NGL competition recognizes and promotes excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED commercial lighting luminaires. Philips points out that the VizorLED was one of only four products out of 126 entries to receive “Best in Class” recognition from the Department of Energy. The award was announced at the Strategies in Light conference, a leading event for the LED Lighting industry.

Philips contends that most direct-view LED-based parking garage luminaires produce extreme glare and create a claustrophobic ‘cave-like’ effect, which can limit visibility and make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe. To address these concerns, Philips Wide-Lite’s engineers set out to develop a solution to provide uniform lighting not only on the ground and on vertical surfaces as well.  The engineers incorporated Luxeon Rebel LEDs from Philips Lumileds to achieve the light output and reliability required. Philips developed a proprietary Non-Direct View (NDV) optical system that it says allows VizorLED to operate in a wide variety of ambient environments, reduce energy consumption and operating expenses, while providing a visually attractive and inviting environment. “At Philips we are constantly trying to enhance life with light, to deliver new LED lighting solutions that can address energy efficiency desires while simultaneously enhancing an environment through more attractive lighting. With the VizorLED we have been able to deliver innovation that does just that, and we are pleased to have received such high praise from the U.S. Department of Energy,” said John Campsmith, General Manager, Philips Wide-Lite. The U.S. Department of Energy also recognized the Evolaire Street and Area LED Luminaire by Philips Hadco and the Calculite Solid-State Downlight from Philips Lightolier in this year’s NGL competition for achievement in energy-efficient lighting systems. Philips Electronics News Release

Toshiba Introduces Tiny High-power White LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 17, 2010...Toshiba Electronics Europe has introduced three new high-power white LEDs. Operating with a drive current of 350mA, the new TL12W03-D white, TL12W03-L warm-white, and TL12W03-N neutral-white LEDs provides typical luminous flux ratings of 90 lumens, 75 lumens and 100 lumens respectively. The company says that they provide efficient, reliable alternatives to incandescent, fluorescent and halogen bulb technologies in general lighting designs. The new LEDs are supplied in miniature surface-mount packages measuring just 10.5mm x 5mm x 2.1mm. All of the devices are suitable for both indoor and outdoor lighting applications operating at temperatures between -40C and 100C.

The company notes that the package technology was designed to ensure a low thermal resistance and improved heat dissipation characteristics. This simplifies thermal management in the target lighting design. All of the new LEDs are rated for a maximum forward current (IF) of 500mA and a typical forward voltage (VF) at 350mA of 3.3V. The company rates the maximum power dissipation for the LEDs at 1.95W. Toshiba News Release

Dialight Retrofit Fixtures Installed for Scotland’s First LED Street Light Trial in Edinburgh
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 11, 2010...Dialight worked in co-operation with the Edinburgh, Scotland's City Council to make Princes Street the location for Scotland’s first LED street light trial. Princes Street, considered by some to be among the most beautiful city streets in the world is a World Heritage site. To date there have been just a handful of LED trials in the United Kingdom making the Princes Street trial the most high profile deployment of smart and cost effective LED lighting technology in the UK.

After 18 months of consultation, a team of LED specialists from Dialight retro-fitted four units of its latest generation of LED light head into the existing street light fixtures. Dialight Worked with Edinburgh's City Council, the World Heritage Trust, and Lothian and Borders Police to identify Princes Mall as an ideal location for the LED street light trial. Dialight News Release SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Luminus Devices' PhlatLight LEDs Now Available in Warm White
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 11, 2010...Luminus Devices, Inc. of Santa Clara, California USA, has made warm white versions of its PhlatLight LEDs available. Warm white is a critical color for indoor commercial and residential lighting applications. Warm white PhatLight LEDs are part of the company’s SST-50 and SST-90 product lines. The new offering of LEDs have a minimum CRI of 80 and a typical CRI value greater than 85. The company contends that these CRI standards for the new PhatLight LEDs will ensure that the color quality standards set by Energy Star can be achieved.

“Today, our rapidly expanding product line now includes high quality warm white PhlatLight LEDs well suited for commercial and residential lighting applications, including retrofit bulbs and indoor lighting fixtures,” said Keith T.S. Ward, president and CEO of Luminus Devices. “Luminus is committed to providing market-leading performance and the ability to use fewer warm white PhlatLight LEDs in the new lighting applications of the future.” Company News Release

Arizona State University Commits to LED Lighting Use
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 11, 2010...Cree, Inc., reports that Arizona State University (ASU) has made a commitment to help accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient LEDs across their campuses. ASU has equipped six parking structures with more than 2,000 LED fixtures and has replaced 6-inch incandescent downlights in the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law rotunda with energy-efficient LED downlights.

The Princeton Review in its Green Rating Honor Roll, an annual rating of environmentally friendly institutions, named ASU one of the nation’s “greenest” universities for the second year in a row. The university of approximately 80,000 students, faculty and staff, has continued to excel at energy conservation and sustainability programs. Adding LED lighting solutions across its campus is the university's latest sustainability program. Cree News Release SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

PG&E Approves Sunovia's LED Cobra Head Street Light for Rebate Program
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 11, 2010...Sunovia Energy Technologies of Sarasota, Florida announced that its EvoLucia-brand 75W LED cobra head has been sanctioned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for inclusion in PG&E's LED Street Light Rebate Program. PG&E Street Light Rebate Program will now qualify customers who install EvoLucia LED cobra head fixtures or replace existing fixtures with an EvoLucia LED cobra head fixture for both a lower monthly billing rate and a substantial rebate.

Sunovia says PG&E's Street Light Rebate Program allows customers to significantly accelerate their payback period of the EvoLucia cobra head LED fixture (LED lighting payback periods refer to the time required to recover the costs of the new fixture through the improved energy efficiency and extended lifetimes of the LED fixture.) Sunovia notes that the rebate program combines with the savings from EvoLucia's extended product life times and warranties. Sunovia Energy Technologies News Release SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Valdez, Alaska to Convert All Street Lights to LEDs
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 9, 2010...Valdez, Alaska, a small town of fewer than 5,000 that was made infamous for an Exxon oil spill, is taking steps to change its image into a green and environmentally-friendly place. Cree, Inc. reports that the city has chosen to switch its street lights to LEDs. The city will reportedly be installing 343 new LED streetlight luminaires produced by BetaLED. The BetaLED luminaires are powered by Cree LEDs.

The BetaLED fixtures, which can be operated at three light levels, will initially be operated at a higher setting for maximum light output during the winter months, when snow removal activities require high light levels. City officials can later choose to switch the lights to a lower operating level, depending on actual light-level requirements, which can potentially increase energy savings to 60 percent.

“We project we can achieve 45-percent or higher energy savings with the new BetaLED fixtures we are installing, compared with the high-pressure sodium lights we are replacing,” said Mayor Bert Cottle. “As we look ahead and anticipate rising energy costs, investing in LED technology becomes even more attractive. Community feedback on the initial lights has been overwhelmingly positive. Valdez citizens like the quality and color of the new LED lights and they are happy about the projected energy and maintenance cost savings.”

Valdez initially installed two trial street lights outside City Hall in January 2009 and solicited feedback from the community. The city began replacing the first one-third of its streetlights in December 2009 and expects to complete the full conversion by 2011. The new LED lights are expected to last ten times longer than the high-pressure sodium lights currently in use. Cree News Release

Cooper Lighting Introduces Extensive Offering of LED Outdoor Solutions
SSLighting Design News Staff

February 9, 2010...Cooper Lighting of Peachtree City, Georgia USA, has introduced an extensive variety of LED luminaires for outdoor lighting. Among the new product offering are solutions for streetlighting, area/site, wall mount, parking garage, canopy, and pathway applications. The initial rollout includes 16 new energy-efficient luminaires featuring Cooper Lighting’s patent pending modular LightBAR technology and AccuLED Optics. The company contends that LightBar technology and AccuLED optics provide unmatched optical performance and superior light quality.

The company says that the new outdoor luminaires can provide up to 75% in energy savings over traditional High Intensity Discharge (H.I.D.) outdoor sources. They are represented across four of Cooper Lighting’s company brands including Invue, McGraw-Edison, Lumark, and Streetworks.

“Cooper Lighting is committed to providing industry-leading lighting solutions with traditional lamps, LED systems, and controls to deliver operating cost savings and environmental benefits for the end-user customers and our channel partners,” said Neil Schrimsher, President, Cooper Lighting. “Cooper continues to invest heavily in each of these areas with strategic acquisitions, internal product development and best-in-class infrastructure. The acquisition of Illumination Management Solutions in 2009 added leading technology and IP to Cooper Lighting’s already vast application, luminaire and channel expertise. We are excited to launch this industry-leading LED outdoor product offering highlighted by superior scalability, performance and reliability.” Cooper Lighting News Release, SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

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Commentary & Perspectives...

The Challenge of the 'Tween' LED Lights
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

February 2, 2010...Kermit the Frog's famous one-liner was, "It isn't easy being green..." inspires us to suggest that, "It isn't easy being tween" here in the solid state lighting world. By 'tween' we mean sitting in the nether-world of purpose-built lighting that is conveniently enabled by LED lighting. A big opportunity for the LED lighting world is to put light, or particular kinds of light, in places and form factors where it didn't work (easily or cost-effectively) before. Examples could include the world of color changing, as well as "flat" lights, glowing panels, multi-directional and semi-omnidirectional bulbs and luminaires.

Color changing, and even fixed color RGB sources, are very understandable in what they do and why they work well. If you can generate a 'native' light color, instead of filtering a wider spectrum source, you'd expect to get a lot more efficient solution. Present a source with a full or nearly full spectrum (think halogen or metal-halide) and then throw a blue colored lens in front of it, and I've been told that you're effectively disposing of 90% of the lumens that you started with. Feed a current to a blue LED, and you get 100% blue photons from start to finish, and at efficiencies that are as good or better than the full spectrum source was for generating all its light. It's a no-brainer to understand why Hollywood, theater and entertainment lighting leaped onto LED-based sources from early on. We all know red-green-blue generates what our eyes perceive as "white" since true white is simply a real healthy mix of the full spectrum. The funny thing is that an RGB solution is still a little "peaky", and while our eyes appreciate the rich color it returns, the instruments do not. That shows up as a penalty when you compare RGB-generated white-lumens to incandescent, or in the case of fluorescents, phosphor-generated lumens. This isn't about the "CRI" thing (an important ongoing discussion on its own), but about the "white energy" in my layman's terms.

A good example of this comes to mind in the projector applications. About a year and half ago, we reported on our subjective experience with a Samsung pocket-projector powered by one of Luminus Devices PhlatLight LEDs. In case you're not familiar with it, the Luminus chips are around half a business card sized monsters that contain big red, green and blue LED die that are about a quarter of an inch square. They scale up and down from there, and also have phosphor converted white solutions as well, but the RGB family made it's mark in the DLP television wave as the source that provided much richer colors, and a 50,000 to 100,000 hour life, instead of the optimistic 5000 that your standard metal-halide through a color wheel solution did. What my eyes saw from this 200-ish lumen RGB LED projector was overall brightness perception that came a good way towards matching our 2000 lumen conference projector. When it came to color quality, there was no contest at all. The movie on the LED projector didn't have that washed out color look, and it just 'felt' better. Mark McClear of Cree, in a talk at last summer's DOE meet in Chicago, posed the question, "Why can't the standards acknowledge what we see with our eyes?" Namely that LED light can provide a higher quality that currently isn't reflected in the numbers.

There are other interesting "tweens" that we're having to come to grips with now. Most recently, we've seen several new Edison-based A-lamp designs hit the market. When we think A-lamp, we picture our very familiar 60, 75 or 100w incandescents, with the visible addition of the heat sink there between the base and 'globe' in the designs of most LED challengers. With the virtual completion of the DOE-generated "Integral LED Lamp" Energy Star specification, there is finally a reference point on what a "replacement" for a number of standard incandescent Edison-based bulbs should do. The spec is pretty comprehensive, and places the emphasis in the right places. For PAR/R replacements, generally recognized as the easiest 'replacement bulb' challenge for LEDs to tackle, the standards are about smoothness in the distribution, the width of the beam angle, and the brightness (center beam candle power) on the target. The MR specs follow the same approach, and since you can measure those characteristics for the 'average' incandescent solution, the bar was set to meet the distribution and output, and do it at X number of lumens per watt or better. PAR/R/MR lamps need to beat 40-45 lm/watt (the lower number for the smaller lamps), decorative/candelabra base need to beat 40 lm/watt, and A-lamps need to beat 50 lm/watt for less 10w of LED power, or 55 lm/watt for those greater than 10w. (You can see PDF slide copies of the presentation that Marc Ledbetter of the DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory gave at the January 2010 LA SSL Summit here).

Then there's the tweens. They have the same efficacy requirements as the A-lamps, but drop the requirement for a particular distribution which allows things like A-lamp shaped directional lamps, as a very specific 'for instance'. Why would you want one of those? For one big reason, to replace standard incandescent A-lamps, and CFLs in the zillions of pendants and cans that they have found themselves in. Would R's work as well? Seems like they would, but for whatever reason, whether for looks or cost, or because the fixture had an attractive way to leak some of the light out in other directions, omnidirectional lamps are in there, and mostly being asked to send light in one direction. What an ideal fit for LEDs, since they really do like to send light out directionally, and those sockets are being served by 10-40lm/watt omnidirectional solutions right now (I'm guessing the light loss is likely on the order of 25-50%, so consider the range to be 5-30lm/watt out of the fixture). Here's the part that's not easy when being tween... describing it.

Humans seem to have gotten really used to the whole "Watt" thing, and the Energy Star specs acknowledge that by setting guidelines for what you can claim as an equivalent to incandescents of different wattages. And they have clearly set them with the intention that a consumer is not disappointed by the amount of brightness that they observe from the equivalent. Challenge number one comes in the form of potentially more perceived brightness coming from the higher quality LED solutions. There's already anecdotal evidence of people needing to "step down" in what they thought would be an equivalent in order to get the same overall impression of light and color. Challenge number two comes when you're a tween, such as the A-lamp form factor that is tailored to downlights. Or similarly, the one that will result from "a bulb really optimized for use in a table lamp" as Marc Ledbetter put it. (That would be one which cast the majority of its light downward towards the floor or book reader, with correct doses of side lighting to illuminate the shade and up lighting to give a nice ambiance to the room... in other words, "smart design"). But how do you describe the equivalence. If you say, "equivalent to a 75w incandescent in downlight applications" you an expect a knock at the door from the Energy Star police (not yet elevated to czar status) because you don't have a PAR/R or A-omnidirectional type of distribution. "Don't make the comparisons if you're 'other'," says the spec. Oh my. Do you not worry about being Energy Star, or not make the comparison? Tough choice. As an industry, let's keep giving it deep thought for ways to both draw the comparisons, as well as educate the coming masses that it's not about the watts anymore. Lumens and efficacy... lumens and efficacy... lumens and efficacy. Once we get that, hopefully we'll be ready to re-flash their programming to cover the whole "perceived brightness" thing. (Sigh).




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