April 9, 2013…The US. Department of Energy (DOE) has released an exploratory CALiPER study on the problems and benefits likely to be encountered as LED products are intended to replace linear fluorescent lamps. The DOE noted that LED-based replacement of fluorescent lamps have become increasingly popular. Eighteen lighting designers and facility engineers compared 24 identical pairs of troffers in a simulated office space. Three of those pairs involved fluorescent benchmark troffers, and the remaining 21 were LED products.
The products were evaluated in terms of photometric distribution, uniformity of light on the task surface, and suitability of the light output for the task, as well as flicker, dimming performance, color quality, power quality, safety and certification issues, ease of installation, energy efficiency, and life-cycle cost. The lighting designers and facility engineers concluded that lighting quality is of some concern for the LED products, but no more so than with the linear fluorescent lamps that they are intended to replace.
The LED products in the CALiPER study that were complete LED-based troffers (not just the retrofit LED-based tubes or non-tube retrofit kits) were reportedly competitive with and beat fluorescents in terms of efficacy. Among those tested, the LED replacement tubes and non-tube retrofit kits were found to be as efficacious as their fluorescent counterparts. However, there were concerns about color consistency, glare, dimming, flicker, installation issues, and code approval.
The DOE advised that for this reason, that lighting designers should create a mock up and visual evaluation of LED retrofit products before ordering them for large installations.