students conducting a range of research activities, including lighting technology, design, and human factors, to influence lighting practice through multidisciplinary research, demonstration, and education. The Alliance for Solid-State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST) was established in 2002 by the LRC as a collaboration of global private- and public-sector organizations (25 members in 2012) to specifically address the needs of SSL to gain acceptance for general illumination purposes through research and education.

In a similar vein, the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) at the University of California, Davis, a collaborative effort among the California Energy Commission, the DOE, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (similar to the LRC), was established in 2003 to “stimulate, facilitate, and accelerate the development and commercialization of energy-efficient lighting and daylighting technologies” (UC Davis, undated). CLTC works within the SSL value chain making key market connections by providing practitioners hands-on opportunities to learn about energy efficient lighting technologies and lighting design approaches. In addition, CLTC coordinates outreach and support efforts downstream, with existing utility-based energy centers, offering touring exhibits, demonstration materials, and technical assistance in the adoption of emerging technologies.25


Supporting the widespread adoption of SSL requires the identification and consideration of possible unintended consequences in the application of such a new technology. The original goal for both industry and government in the development of SSL products was to save energy. It is worth noting, however, that seldom has a type of electric light source been discontinued during the more than 100-year-old history of electric lighting. The sulfur lamp from the 1990s, once installed to light the outside walking areas of DOE’s Forrestal Building, is one of the very few examples. Even though the high-wattage metal halide lamp was introduced in the 1950s to replace the need for inefficient mercury vapor lamps, it is only now—60 years later—that the mercury vapor lamp is finally being phased out.

One of the consequences of introductions of new light sources has been the ability to light new applications, leading to a higher overall lighting energy use. In the case of SSL, one can already anticipate the more widely spread lighting of such applications as stairs on staircases (to improve safety), under-cabinet and cabinet lighting (for aesthetics as well as visibility), or closet bars (for special effect), just to name a few.

Finally, today’s SSL products still typically have lower luminous flux than many of the light sources that they are intended to replace. The initial applications of these light sources in interior spaces may, therefore, be weighted more heavily than anticipated on the side of new applications that were never lighted before, raising the possibility of increased energy use for illumination.


Widespread adoption of SSL is dependent on a number of critical developments. The industry, still in its infancy, requires continued public and private funding and support for basic R&D to improve the efficacy, reliability, and color quality of SSL while simultaneously reducing costs. For SSL technologies to be deployed successfully in the lighting retrofit and replacement markets and in new building construction, several issues need to be addressed. First, SSL needs significant technological breakthroughs to improve products and lower costs. Second, the benefits of SSL in retrofit applications and in new lighting forms need to be well articulated and accurately assessed, based on rigorous and valid testing and in-field verification. Third, consumers need to have access to information relevant to inform decisions when selecting lighting solutions; products also need to be readily available where consumers shop. Lastly, public policy and public-private partnerships need to be focused to address needs as they exist and emerge along the industry’s value chain, as depicted in Figure 6.1.

The introduction of new technologies in the lighting sector is relatively rare. As we consider the deployment of SSL solutions, lessons can be drawn from the problematic introduction of CFLs for homes and businesses. As detailed in Chapter 2, first generation CFL products were expensive, had poor color rendering, started dim and achieved full brightness only after several minutes, and often flickered, creating poor and inconsistent illumination. Like CFLs, SSL can substitute for conventional screw-base lamps, including incandescent and HID lamps and will soon be able to replace linear tube fluorescent lighting. SSL can also complement conventional lighting by adding accent and point source effect lighting in buildings and in architectural illumination, as discussed in Chapter 5. While the largest market for SSL in the near term is replacing screw-base lamps in residential and commercial applications, complementary and new SSL light forms offer a pathway to gain a foothold into new lighting markets. While the screw-base replacement lamp market might be the most profitable for the lighting industry in the near term in the residential sector, greater energy savings potential exists in making product for the commercial sector. This could include replacement and new construction markets as well as new light forms, which can change the way consumers use and perceive lighting in buildings. New light forms can produce energy savings but will likely not reduce energy use if they are complementary to or used in new construction unless they otherwise displace conventional lighting. To avoid the fits and starts associated with creating a sustainable consumer market for SSL, thought


25 Further information is available at

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