FINDING: A technology-neutral specification for lighting would “raise the bar” for energy efficiency without putting the government in the position of picking and choosing which technologies should be included in ENERGY STAR®. Rather, those technologies that meet the specified criteria (e.g., luminous efficacy, color temperature, color rendering) would qualify for ENERGY STAR® labeling.
RECOMMENDATION 2-5: The Environmental Protection Agency should develop technology-neutral specifications for lighting that are based on performance rather than the type of lamp to provide the most objective and evenhanded standards for energy efficiency.
FINDING: The ENERGY STAR® program provides useful information to residential consumers on energy efficient lighting products. While the ENERGY STAR® program also has a commercial and industrial segment, that program focuses on overall building efficiency rather than the certification and labeling of individual products (with the exception of luminaires in commercial buildings subject to federal procurement). Many other government and industry organizations address lighting product standards for the commercial sector.
FINDING: The EISA 2007 requirements for phasing out inefficient lighting have sparked significant resistance by some legislators, states, and citizens in advance of the implementations of the requirements.
FINDING: Given the currently available lighting technologies, LPD allowances for commercial buildings have reached their practical lower limits, according to lighting professionals. In the long term, SSL may permit LPD allowances in building codes to be reduced further.
FINDING: Minimum building energy standards and model codes are steadily improving. Nevertheless, their adoption, as well as uniform and effective enforcement of adopted energy codes, would result in significant energy savings.
FINDING: Model energy codes for residential buildings only address the efficacy of light sources, not their number or their use. The approach taken by the California residential energy code may be more likely to improve energy efficiency.
FINDING: Non-regulatory incentive programs may play an important role in the adoption of energy efficient lighting technologies.
RECOMMENDATION 2-6: The Department of Energy, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, should conduct a study to determine the effectiveness and impacts of incentive program designs in fostering adoption of efficient lighting technologies.
FINDING: Other countries are following similar regulatory pathways as the United States in phasing out incandescent lamps, although at different schedules and with some delays.
FINDING: Disposal of mercury-containing CFL lamps and perceived health impacts are causing concern by some citizens and states. Federal legislators and other actors promoting CFL lamps failed to adequately anticipate these perceived risks and concerns.
RECOMMENDATION 2-7: Policy makers should anticipate real or perceived environmental, health, and safety issues associated with solid-state lighting technologies and prepare to address such concerns proactively.
FINDING: The experience with CFLs provides a number of lessons for SSL, including the following: (1) the quality, reliability, and price of initial products will be a critical factor in the success and consumer uptake of the product; (2) market introduction and penetration take time; (3) manufacturers and others should take care not to over promise; (4) consumer education is critical; and (5) ENERGY STAR® and other credible performance standards can play important roles in raising quality and confidence.
FINDING: LEDs and OLEDs are complementary lighting sources that can together offer a wide range of lighting solutions. OLEDs can provide large-area diffuse lighting, while, in the same venue, LEDs form intense point sources, useful for spot illumination and downlighting. The committee finds value in supporting rapid developments in both technologies, because they both represent large possible markets, new applications, and tremendous energy savings.
FINDING: LED and OLED efficiency and performance are still limited by fundamental materials issues. Improvements in efficiency at the device and materials level, as targeted by the Department of Energy (DOE) SSL roadmap, will have a “lever effect”—influencing the design, performance, and cost of the luminaires. Therefore, improvements in efficiency and performance of the entire SSL system are linked to further fundamental investigations in core technology on emitter materials.
FINDING: Current LED dies used in SSL lighting suffer from inhomogeneities in the light output, color, and operating voltage that necessitate “binning” (hence testing) of dies from a single wafer. This variability severely constrains the yield of the manufacturing process and raises the cost of the technology. These inhomogeneities are in turn related to fundamental materials and materials growth issues.