DOE Launches ENERGY STAR Program for Solid-State Lighting

January 09, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Last month the Department of Energy (DOE) launched an ENERGY STAR program for solid-state lighting, and developed technical criteria allowing qualified solid-state lighting devices to carry an ENERGY STAR label in order to provide guidance to buyers of lighting products. The DOE announced that it is seeking comments on the draft criteria by January 19, 2007, and will hold a stakeholder meeting on February 8, 2007, for further discussion and comment review. The DOE will finalize the criteria during the Spring, to become effective nine months later.

By running an electrical current through semiconductor materials, light can be produced in a wide range of colors and intensities. DOE research efforts have focused on increasing the energy efficiency of solid-state lighting, with a program goal to achieve efficiencies more than twice that of fluorescent lamps, and eight times that of incandescent lamps.

The ENERGY STAR criteria apply to general illumination products, such as under cabinet kitchen lights, outdoor pathway lights, downlights and task lamps. The first solid-state lighting products to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label will be at least as efficient as fluorescent systems. Later, as the technology improves, qualifying products will be far more efficient than fluorescent systems.

To make the new ENERGY STAR criteria possible, DOE worked closely with lighting industry standards organizations such as the National Electrical Manufacturers Association , the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the American National Standards Institute, among others, to develop new performance testing procedures and other industry standards to support solid-state lighting technology.

The ENERGY STAR criteria are part of a comprehensive solid-state lighting technology commercialization program recently launched by DOE, intended to leverage a $100 million DOE investment in developing solid-state light technology, and to increase DOE's research investment with commercial success for American businesses and energy savings for American consumers.