January 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released analysis findings for markets where light-emitting diodes (LEDs) compete with traditional lighting sources (e.g., incandescent and fluorescent). The January 2011 report provides estimates of current energy savings, plus potential savings if these markets switched to LEDs overnight.

DOE analyzed the following markets:

  1. Four general-illumination applications
    1. PAR, BR, and R replacement lamps;
    2. MR16 replacement lamps;
    3. 2-foot by 2-foot troffer fixtures; and
    4. general service A-type replacement lamps
    5. Four outdoor applications
      1. roadway,
      2. parking,
      3. area and flood, and
      4. residential
      5. Four applications for consumer electronic displays
        1. televisions,
        2. laptops,
        3. monitors, and
        4. mobile handsets.

LEDs in these markets saved approximately 3.9 terawatt-hours in 2010, equivalent to the electricity needed to power more than a quarter-million average U.S. households.

If these markets switched to LEDs overnight, the energy savings would be the equivalent of taking 21 million residential households off the grid based on 2010 performance level.

If LED replacements within each market improve according to DOE’s predictions for 2020, the energy savings would be equivalent to taking nearly 32 million households off the grid.

To download a PDF of the report, go to www.ssl.energy.gov/tech_reports.html.

Ht: Jim Brodrick, www.doe.gov


California passes a new law that takes effect January 1, 2011 requiring improved energy efficiency in all light bulbs in the State.

California consumers also will save money buying LED lighting.  Eaglelight.com has the best in energy efficient LED lights and now there is much more reason than ever before to change your lighting to LEDs.

A new federal law will start saving consumers money by improving the energy efficiency standard for incandescent light bulbs sold in California on or after January 1, 2011.

The standard – Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) – will save California consumers money with new bulbs that offer the same amount of light while using less power. Passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, EISA created new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. The law is designed to reduce energy use and associated pollution and make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. While the country will adopt this standard on January 1, 2012, California was given authority to implement the national standards one year earlier to avoid the sale of 10.5 million inefficient 100-watt bulbs in 2011 which would cost consumers $35.6 million in higher electricity bills*.

Reducing energy use in California also results in improved environmental quality by avoiding the construction of new power plants and air pollution from burning fossil fuels.

The standard in California states that a 100-watt bulb manufactured on or after January 1, 2011 must use 28 percent less energy (i.e. a 100-watt bulb may not use more than 72 watts). The new 72-watt replacement bulb will provide the same amount of light (i.e. lumens), use less power, and cost less to operate.

New lighting technology has become more efficient than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Approximately 90% of the electricity used by traditional incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat instead of visible light. Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with more efficient halogen, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs will save consumers money while still offering same amount of light.

The new standard is technology neutral and allows consumers to choose among a variety of high-performance products for their replacement lighting. Additionally, it does not affect the existing supply of incandescent light bulbs stocked in retail stores or incandescent light bulbs already in use.

This standard builds on the California Energy Commission’s long and successful reputation of saving consumers money though energy efficiency standards. Since 1978, California’s appliance and building efficiency standards have saved more than $56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs.

For more information and Frequently Asked Questions, please go to: www.energy.ca.gov/lightbulbs/lightbulb_faqs.html or www.energysavers.gov/lighting

A Bright Redesign for LED Lights

Illumitex’s new optical design makes LEDs brighter and more energy efficient. by Erika Jonietz

Illumitex, an LED-manufacturing company based in Austin, TX, launched its first product line earlier this month. The startup’s first LEDs are designed for general-purpose lighting and emit a uniform, narrow beam of white light that is almost two times brighter than any white LED on the market. The founders, all of whom have backgrounds in optics rather than solid-state lighting, achieved this by redesigning the package around the semiconductor chip that actually converts electricity into light.

Traditionally, LED manufacturers have enclosed the chips inside a dome in order to control the light output. Illumitex’s LEDs ship in a flat, square package that eliminates the cost and energy efficiency issues that come from using secondary optical lenses and reflectors. Cofounder and chief scientist Dung Tien Duong, who is the company’s primary inventor, won’t say much about how the unique package allows Illumitex engineers to extract more light from the LED dies, but he does say it takes “intuitive” advantage of physics principles. “If the chip is square, the light beam should be square,” he says. While the company is mum on the exact physics behind its achievements (patents are still pending), it has published data sheets for both its 16-die and 4-die LEDs, including some data verified by third-party testing companies.

Illumitex’s LEDs have a unique flat, square package that allows engineers to extract more light from the semiconductor chips at the heart of the diodes. (c) Illumitex

Illumitex sells its packaged LEDs to companies that make LED-based light bulbs. CEO Matt Thomas says the startup already has several customers that sell products for outdoor lighting (e.g., streetlights) and commercial “high-bay” lighting (typical in warehouses or convention centers), as well as one company working on an LED replacement for the fluorescent tube lights usually found in offices. Only one customer is public at this time, Singapore-based LED Works,  which has designed lighting for several famous casinos and hotels worldwide, as well as for the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest Ferris wheel. Thomas says LEDWorks is incorporating the Illumitex LEDs into “a PAR30 replacement,” referring to the most popular floodlight-style bulbs used in indoor lighting, that could deliver 500 lumens for only 7 watts. A commercially available compact-fluorescent PAR30 bulb typically puts out 750 lumens of light at around 16 watts, while a halogen version might deliver 600 lumens for 50 watts of power.

Thomas says that in addition to their brightness and energy efficiency, Illumitex LEDs offer one advantage completely unique to its package design: the beam angle–that is, the angle at which light emerges from the package–can be tailored from 10° to 90° with limited light loss. This allows manufacturers to design systems that provide consistent, directed lighting without the dark spots or “spillover” typical of most lighting systems. For instance, picture a typical block of street lights: there are alternating bright and dark patches, and perhaps 25 percent or more the light “spills over” into the windows of homes and stores along the street. Although LEDs allow designers to direct the light, conventional domed LEDs still end up wasting a fair amount of energy on spillover. In contrast, Illumitex has created computer models that show its LEDs can be used to design a system that would provide consistent illumination along the sidewalk and street with only minimal spillover.

A 16-die LED illuminated in one of Illumitex’s onsite testing labs. (c) Credit Technology Review

The company has pilot manufacturing facilities and extensive R&D and testing equipment in its south Austin office space. Full-scale manufacturing, however, is done in Asia. Though the actual LEDs in Illumitex’s first chips are “industry standard for white LEDs,” says Thomas, the company is extending its research beyond packaging and into actual LED design in its efforts to continue improving the efficiency of LEDs for general lighting.