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Retrofit streetlamps fail independent quality tests

Streetlighting accounts for a quarter of the energy used for lighting in the US. Unfortunately not all the energy-saving retrofit products make the grade / Photo: Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of Nasa GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of Noaa NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, Nasa GSFC

Researchers in the US who tested 18 retrofit LED lamps designed for area and road lighting applications, found that only four met the requirements set by a voluntary certification body.

In tests conducted by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York state, most of the lamps failed to meet the standards set by the DesignLights Consortium – whose members include utilities and regional energy efficiency bodies – for its qualified products list.

The LRC tested the retrofit kits in area lighting and roadway luminaires. Lamps made by Differential Energy Global, Light Efficient Design and Premium passed all parts of the test, while other products from these same manufacturers failed, along with lamps from Bbier, Lunera, Living LED, New Sunshine, LEDtronics and Evluma.

Most of the failed products missed the targets for efficacy, while others fell short on colour temperature or electrical characteristics such as power factor and harmonic distortion. All 18 products met the requirements for light output and colour rendering.

‘Replacing HID lamps with those utilising LED technology could potentially provide a substantial reduction in energy use; however, there is a critical need for objective technical information regarding the many LED replacement options currently available,’ the LRC said.

The report was funded by an agency of the Department of Energy which administers hydroelectric power in the northwestern US, to assess the potential of LED lighting technology to reduce electricity consumption.

The LRC says there are 144 million high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps in the US, representing just two per cent of installed lamps, but consuming 26 per cent of lighting energy.

A second phase of the research is now underway, testing more performance factors of the LED lamps in representative luminaire types.