LED Nutrition Label

LabelAnatomyAs educated consumers when we shop for food most of us will reach down, pick up the product and scan the nutrition label to see what the food contains in calories, fat, carbs, or protein to help us decide if that food is right for us. For awhile now, LED’s have had a very similar type of performance label called the “Lighting Facts” label. The bag of chips you throw in the cart knowing that the nutrition label is not really meeting you nutrition needs does not carry the same consequences as specifying an LED fixture that does not qualify to carry the LED “Lighting Facts” label.

In April of 2010 under the Energy Star program the current Department of Energy program known as “LED Lighting Facts” was born. Back in 2010 there were 17 companies representing 19 brands and 300 products that had passed the Energy Star LED certification. Today the program contains 544 manufacturers, 7,590 products that have been certified and lab tested to meet the IESNA LM-79, Approved Method for the Electrical and Photometric Testing of Solid-State Lighting.

Just to clarify the DOE’s program for LED’s is called “LED Lighing Facts”, the label is referred to as a “Lighting Facts” label, and the website is lightingfacts.com. In true government form in January of 2012 the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) came out with a similar label for all general service medium base screw lamps. The name the FTC gave their label is also “Lighting Facts” although similar in design the content of the FTC label has a different purpose and look.

Before I jump into all the cool and useful tools the lightingfacts.com website offers anyone interested in finding or validating an LED specification let’s focus in on the importance and ease of the “Lighting Facts” label. The label contains the following significant lighting information: light output, wattage, efficacy (also known as LPW, or simply light output/wattage, sort of like mpg on a car), CCT (correlated color temperature), and CRI (color rendering index). These five lighting items are important to the label and your selection of an LED fixture. The five items represent a way of validating the visual and electrical performance of an LED fixture. Without a review and understanding of these items the specifier runs the risk of having an installation that has poor color rendering qualities, or maybe does not implement any cost savings to generate an actual payback on the reduced wattage.

Similar to our food nutrition labels, the “LED Lighting Facts” program protects the reliability of the information by requiring all lighting manufacturers to test each complete product to the IESNA’s LM-79 standards, and they must register each product with the program to receive the required “LED Lighting Facts” label. There is a very comprehensive selection of approved fixtures in the database. The fixture types that are not permitted and are excluded from certification include: light strips, light rolls, and any product prototypes. Products must be market ready and represent a complete fixture to start the certification process.

As promised, the really useful part of the program is the website, in particular the product search area. In the search area you can set the criteria as a range for any of the 5 elements: light output, watts, LPW, CRI, and CCT along with the fixture type (recessed, cove, replacement, etc). I did a sample search for an MR16 LED replacement that had a CCT (color temperature) between 2800 and 3500. The search came up with 301 possible lamps for me to select from. I then have the option to print out the information or export to an excel file. Another nice feature when you click on a lighting selection some of the manufacturers listed an additional URL to download the manufactures specification sheet.

The “LED Lighting Facts” program is based on each individual manufactured product and not the manufacturer as a whole. The next time a rep or a manufacturer brings in the greatest LED fixture you have ever seen, you have an easy resource to pull up that fixture online, check out the 5 important criteria then compare their greatest LED fixture ever against the other same type fixtures to see how it really stacks up.

In addition to the link to the website listed below there is a link to my dropbox account where you will find my search results for the replacement MR16 along with other resources I was able to download from the “LED Lighting Facts” website that support and explain the program.




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