March 20, 2013…The fifth annual Next Generation LuminairesTM (NGL) Solid-State Lighting Design Competition has recognized 28 commercial LED indoor lighting products for excellence. The winners were announced at the LEDucation 7 lighting conference in New York. The US. Department of Energy (DOE), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the International Association of Lighting Designers sponsored the NGL, which was launched in 2008 to promote excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaires for general illumination in commercial lighting applications. The competition began evaluating indoor and outdoor products separately in 2012.
NGL’s judging panel, which is drawn from the architectural lighting community, evaluates and judges the lights based upon lighting quality (including color, illuminance, light distribution, and glare), appearance, serviceability, efficacy, value, and dimming. According to the judges, the 2013 NGL indoor winners show significant color improvement compared to previous years, and efficacies continue to improve. This year’s winners average 75 lm/W compared to 65 lm/W last year and 37 lm/W in 2008.
Track-mounted accent luminaires and linear pendants each had a large number of recognized products. However, there were few successful entrants in categories that were previously well-stocked, especially downlights and grid ceiling luminaires. One prominent option that almost all of this years entries had was dimming. While most products used familiar optical designs and luminaire form factors, there were several novel uses of fully shielded or edge-lighted optics, and new approaches to recessed installation.
A total of 156 products were proposed for submission to the 2013 NGL indoor competition. However, only 99 actually made it to the judging phase with market-ready samples and the required documentation (including luminaire and component specification sheets, LM-79 test reports, lumen maintenance projections, warranty statements, and marketing materials). These documents help make sure that actual performance matches what’s claimed. This year, for the first time, the documentation was submitted through DOE’s LED Lighting Facts® program, in order to reduce the entry effort and ensure consistency of data.
Behind the scenes, NGL reviews all product documentation, including photometry, power quality, and lumen maintenance projections. For the last several years, NGL requirements have become increasingly demanding, reflecting improvements in LED technology and product design – and the bar was raised even higher this year. “Recognition by the NGL judges is not given lightly,” said DOE Solid-State Lighting Program Manager Jim Brodrick. “So winning speaks volumes about a product.”
At the facilities of Intelligent Lighting Creations in Arlington Heights, IL, all 99 products were judged over the course of two days in their characteristic installations. The installations included varying mounting heights and ceiling conditions. The judges identified 28 products as Recognized, that were considered worthy of specification in the application for which they were designed. Of the 28 recognized products, three were given the additional designation of Best in Class. These stood out significantly above the other recognized products in their category. Four additional products, which were not otherwise recognized, were designated by the judges as Notable for their ability to adjust color temperature in typical white-light applications.
The Best in Class winners came from three different manufacturers. They also covered three areas of lighting. Juno Lighting Group was selected for its Trac-Master T254L Cylindra™ track-mounted accent luminaire, Digital Lumens for its XLE-3-10 Xpress high-bay industrial luminaire, and Acuity Brands/Lithonia Lighting for its W Series LED stairwell luminaire.
In the “Recognized” category, Amerlux Global Lighting Solutions, Intense Lighting, Juno Lighting Group (three fixtures), and Journée Lighting earned praise for their track-mounted accent luminaires. Linear luminaires were also popular, with designs by Acuity Brands/Lithonia Lighting, Cooper Lighting, Cree LED Lighting, Finelite, Inc., GE Lighting Solutions, and Acuity Brands/Peerless Lighting (two fixtures) all receiving recognition for their linear pendants. A recessed linear luminaire by Axis Lighting and a surface-mounted linear fixture from Samjin LND rounded out this category.
Albeo Technologies/GE Lighting and Acuity Brands/Lithonia Lighting (two fixtures) were recognized for high- and low-bay industrial lighting, while Acuity Brands/Peerless Lighting was recognized for its grid ceiling fixture. Two undercabinet luminaires were recognized – one from Cooper Lighting and the other from Finelite, Inc. – while Koncept Technologies Inc. received recognition for its personal task luminaire.
Amerlux Global Lighting Solutions was recognized for its wall-recessed indirect fixture, with Selux Corporation commended for its wall wash fixture and GE Lighting Solutions recognized for its utility luminaire.
The four additional entries that were designated by the judges as Notable for their color-adjusting capabilities included a healthcare luminaire from Visa Lighting, a grid ceiling panel from Samjin LND, and two downlight families of color-dimming products from USAI Lighting.