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Solid State - the answer to the economic downturn?

issue 45 Oct / Nov 2008

Government LED Tsar, Geoff Archenhold, sees solid state light in the economic darkness

September appears to be the perfect storm in a global economic downturn that many are comparing to the 1930’s depression. However there appears to be a silver lining for the Solid-State Lighting industry with the launch of a new procurement project that aims to accelerate the adoption of LED lighting in the public sector. With eco-friendly and ultra energy efficient light sources that are rapidly maturing, LEDs offer the general lighting industry a safe haven during challenging times.

White LED technology is maturing rapidly
It has been a busy couple of months for leading LED manufacturers with the launch of a new range of compact, high efficiency white LEDs from CREE called the XLamp XP-E and XP-C. The new XLamp LEDs shown in Figure 1, measuring just 3.45mm square by 2mm high, will enable new applications including backlighting, signage, outdoor, indoor and portable lighting, due to their small size and low profile. At launch the available bins for XLamp XP-E LEDs include minimums of 100 lumens at 350mA in cool white (5000K - 10000K) and 80.6 lumens at 350mA in warm white (2600K - 3700K) although in reality the warm white products will not be available to purchase from distributors until the end of 2008.

The rapid pace of White LED technology also witnessed the record for lumen per Watt efficacy of high power LEDs shattered recently by OSRAM Semiconductors. By improving all the technologies involved in the manufacture of LEDs, OSRAM development engineers have achieved new records for the brightness and efficiency of white LEDs in the laboratory. Under standard conditions with an operating current of 350mA, brightness peaked at a value of 155lm, and efficacy at 136lm/W. The record was achieved with new prototype white LEDs having 1mm2 chips and the light produced had a correlated colour temperature of 5000K. Figure 2 shows a graph of efficacy and luminous flux for a single LED against forward current.

The key to success was the efficient interplay between all the advances made in materials and technologies. A perfectly matched system of optimised chip technology, a highly advanced and extremely efficient light converter, and a special high-performance package combined to produce the world record - 155lm for brightness and 136lm/W for efficacy.

The semiconductor light sources are also suitable for high operating currents and at 1.4A they can produce up to 500lm of white light.

This is a significant breakthrough for white high power LEDs as the development indicates how the near term LED performance will be achieved as it usually takes between 12-18 months for LED research to be available in production quantities. What is more impressive is the scalability of the LED up to 1.4A forward current to produce 500 lumens with a very small fall off in performance as shown in figure 2.

If an LED fixture manufacturer wanted to achieve a highly efficient product they could operate more of the LEDs at lower forward currents, or if they want to achieve a certain amount of Lux for a fixture they could compromise a little on the efficacy and increased the flux by operating a fixture at higher forward currents.

What’s very impressive is the current prototypes from OSRAM could be run at 200mA forward current and achieve an efficacy of 150 lumens per watt and still have approximately 100 lumens from a single LED. Thus, in theory, to obtain a 1000 lumen light output with the prototype OSRAM LED the light engine would only need 6.7 Watts of energy and 10 LED emitters – a significant saving over Halogen or CFL technology. Alternatively, just 2 of the same prototype LEDs could be used to achieve 1000 lumens with a light source efficacy of approximately 90 lumens per watt – still a tremendous saving and slightly less expensive as only 2 LEDs are required!

Next year will see many of the new production LEDs from the top three or four LED manufacturers achieve between 100 and 120 lumens per watt for their high power cool and neutral white products which will help to accelerate the adoption of white LEDs in general lighting applications.

Government becomes switched on by energy savings of White LED technology
The rapid pace of white LED technology has meant challenging times for traditional lighting companies as they first had to realise and accept that this new technology wasn’t just a fad that would not meet the hype. Secondly, lighting companies have to re-skill as the new technology is substantially different to what has been used for the last 60 years eg; electronics and thermal performance rather than just electrical design; and finally they have to decide how to commercially develop new business models that handle the new technology whilst maintaining older technologies such as Halogen and CFL’s in their product portfolio.

There are still many traditional lighting companies grappling with these challenges so think how difficult it must be for Governments to decide how to support new technologies such as LEDs. After working with the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) over the last four months I can tell you it is challenging from their perspective. You only have to place yourself in their position, who would you ask to get an understanding of when and how they should support such a technology?

Obviously it would be industry I hear you cry, well which industry I would say, is it the traditional lighting industry struggling to understand the technology itself or is it the LED lighting community who on many occasion over-claim their LED lighting performance levels! Having been working with Government and seeing firsthand how they have to make decision on supporting new technologies is not an easy task but they have to start somewhere.

The following is a brief introduction to the current UK Government support that is going to help support Solid-State Lighting over the next few years through a variety of mechanisms such as Forward Commitment Procurement and Capital Allowance schemes.

Forward Commitment Procurement – Customer Driven Procurement

The Forward Commitment Procurement (FCP) approach was pioneered by the business-led BERR / DEFRA Environmental Innovations Advisory Group (EIAG) to accelerate the development and market entry of cost effective environmental solutions which includes lighting.

It involves providing advance information of a customer’s future needs, early engagement with potential suppliers and - most importantly – the incentive of a Forward Commitment: an agreement to purchase a product that may not currently exist, or is unaffordable, once they are available and at a price commensurate with their benefits, providing it delivers agreed performance levels and cost and can be delivered in an appropriate timeframe.

The FCP approach was one of the recommendations of the Sustainable Procurement Task Force in its report to UK Government published in June 2006 ‘Procuring the Future’ and was subsequently adopted by the Government in its Sustainable Procurement Action Plan. It is also a key recommendation of the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance (CEMEP) in the report to Government published in November 2007.

BERR has adopted the FCP approach to drive lighting innovation by asking large procurement customers such as the NHS to specify their desired outcomes rather provide procurement and supplier lists as usually is the case.

The level of forward commitment available for The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust would be for the supply of lighting solutions for 26 wards over 7 years (2009-2016), with an estimated value up to £2 million. The outline of the lighting requirement opportunity will be discussed at a special market sounding workshop at the Business Design Centre on the 29th September.

Market sounding is a way of “assessing the reaction of the market to a proposed requirement and procurement approach, in order to bring supplier perspectives to public sector procurements at an early stage” (ref: Early Market Engagement: principles and examples of best practice, Office of Government Commerce Guide 2006). This offers potential benefits to both the market place and the procuring organisation.

Such early supplier engagement is recognised best practice in procurement, particularly where, there are new requirements that may need innovative solutions, or where currently available solutions cannot deliver the required outcomes

This market sounding exercise is the first phase of a market consultation exercise being undertaken by The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust in order to communicate a specific requirement to the market, and provide a framework and mechanism for the supply chain to respond.

It is anticipated that the second phase of market consultation will take the form of a concept viability workshop, to which a cross section of the supply chain will be invited. This will facilitate further exchange of information between the partners and the supply chain and enable the development of a procurement strategy and specifications for the Future Ward lighting project.

The reason the NHS is interested in new efficient lighting design is due to the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy launched on 29th May 2008 by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health. The final document will be published in the autumn. The Strategy challenges the NHS to be leaders in the public sector and presented a united front to address climate change and improve the sustainability of its operations. As such the NHS resolves to at least meet, and strive to exceed, the Government’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2060.

Lighting is one of the areas that the NHS is targeting. The NHS is a 24/7 environment, and lighting accounts for a significant proportion of the electricity used by a hospitals. On average 37% electricity in the NHS is used for lighting, accounting for 21% of primary energy use. In some situations this is much higher and offers the best return on investment.

The Rotherham Foundation Trust Hospital has developed a user requirement list as follows:

• Innovative, value added, smart, ultra efficient lighting systems that can deliver the Trust’s vision for Future Ward lighting, meet the operational requirements and provide added value functionality, in a cost effective way.

Specifically the solutions are required to:
• deliver cost effective carbon reductions
• provide a high quality patient centred user experience
• provide a high quality working and clinical environment
• maximise energy and resource efficiency, with improvements in product performance over the life of the Future Wards project, in particular in relation to energy efficiency
• provide added value through operational benefits, such as reduced maintenance
• meet the necessary industry lighting standards, the required lighting levels over the lifetime of the product (refer to CIBSE SLL LIGHTING GUIDE 2: Hospitals and Health Care Buildings - 2008 version due for publication September 2008).
• highly controllable e.g. Individually switched and controlled.

The lighting component of the Future Wards project is seen as an important contributor to the performance of the healing environment. The scope of the Future Ward lighting project includes the whole of the ward facility:
• individual bed units (including comfort lighting, reading light, light for bedside examinations and treatment, night / observation lighting, orientation lighting)
• general ward lighting and day room lighting
• lighting in en-suite facilities
• lighting for reception areas / nurses stations / communications
• offices
• corridors
• general orientation and night lighting
• emergency lighting (with self testing and central reporting capabilities for test results and faults found).

All relevant documentation can be found at:

The FCP process is not limited to just Rotherham FT Hospital and there are several other NHS organisations wishing to pursue energy efficient lighting schemes including:
• Chesterfield NHS Foundation Trust
• Tees, Esk and Wier Valleys NHS Foundation Trust
• Walsall NHS PCT
• East of England Strategic Health Authority

Enhanced Capital
The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme is a key part of the UK Government’s programme to manage climate change, and is designed to encourage businesses to invest in energy-saving equipment

The scheme provides a tax incentive to businesses that invest in equipment that meets published energy-saving criteria. The Energy Technology List (ETL) details the criteria for each type of technology, and lists those products in each category that meet them. In the UK, the ETL is managed by the Carbon Trust, on behalf of the Government, and has two parts:

• The Energy Technology Criteria List (ETCL), which is reviewed annually to ensure that it reflects technological progress. It sets out the qualifying energy-saving criteria for each class of technology.

• The Energy Technology Product List (ETPL), updated at the start of each month on the website, lists the products and technologies that are eligible for an ECA.

The key features of the ECA scheme include:
• Open to all businesses that pay UK corporation or income tax, regardless of size, sector or location.

• Provides 100% first-year capital allowances on investments in energy-saving equipment against taxable profits of the period of investment.

• All the products listed on the ETPL must meet the energy-saving criteria, published in the ETCL.

• Only spending on new and unused energy-saving equipment can qualify for ECAs.

• Capital allowances are available for spending “on the provision of” plant and machinery. This can include certain costs arising as a direct result of the installation of qualifying plant and machinery such as; transport of the equipment to the site, and some direct installation costs.

For the first time in the 2008 budget the ECA included white LEDs that are specifically designed to provide white light by means of solid-state lighting devices, for use in amenity, accent and display lighting.

White LED lighting units are products that consist of one or more white LEDs, a light fitting (or luminaire) and associated electrical drive gear. The luminaire generally also includes an optical system that reflects and/or focuses the product’s light output onto the item(s) being illuminated.

The ECA Scheme covers six categories of products:
1. Recessed down lighting units
2. Spot lighting units
3. Task lighting units
4. Other directable lighting units
5. Linear display cabinets lighting units
6. Exterior flood lighting units

Investments in products containing white light emitting diode lighting units for amenity, accent and display lighting can only qualify for Enhanced Capital Allowances if the products meet the eligibility criteria set out below. The individual products purchased do not need to be named on the Energy Technology Product List.

To be eligible, LED products must:
• Include one or more solid-state LED devices, luminaire and associated electrical drive gear.

• Provide white light with colour rendering index that equals or exceeds Ra 80, group 1B.

• Have a forward beam angle light output ratio greater than or equal to 0.95.

• Use electrical drive gear that complies with BS EN 61347-2-13:2006 and BS EN 62384:2006.

• Have a power factor that equals or exceeds 0.7 at all levels of product light output.

• Not consume electricity when the LED unit is switched off.

• Be CE Marked.

Interestingly, there were no white LED products listed on the ECA website and looking at the eligibility criteria above it is not surprising because if the criteria were applied to CFL’s or Halogen light sources they would not be listed either. I am not sure how such stringent criteria were created and agreed but in order to encourage energy efficiency adoption they need to be revised as every month that goes by where quality LED products are not being deployed the more carbon is emitted to the environment and defeating the aim of any Government support. The majority of the criteria can easily be achieved by many of today’s white LED products however two of the criteria more difficult to meet are those of CRI and Light Output Ratio.

Today many of the LED products are based around the products offered by LED manufacturers so most LED products today rely on a CRI of 70 (cool white), 75 (neutral white) and 85 (warm white). Of course it is possible to add RED or RED/ORANGE LEDs to a white LED array to increase the apparent CRI and meet the criteria however with the improvement in phosphor technology all white LEDs will be able to meet the CRI criteria by the end of next year without the need for integrating RED LEDs.

The second criteria which seems to be unjust is that of the Light Output Ratio (LOR) as the value is unrealistic at 0.95 for acceptable lighting. For example most CFL downlighters have a downward LOR of between 0.45 and at best ~0.68! For an LED to achieve an LOR of 0.95 then it has to use a single reflector as one surface will lose about 4% reflectivity unless expensive reflective materials are used. However, using an LED with optics and a diffuser would not be practically possible to meet the criteria and even if it could there is a significant possibility that the lighting product would not meet the Universal Glare Index (UGI) as individual LED would be viewed directly as well as an issue of blue light hazard limits being exceeded.

The other criteria can be easily achieved and perhaps should be made more stringent, for example the power factor correction should be increased from 0.7 to 0.8 or even 0.9.

Performance criteria: All LED products must:
• Provide a light output (i.e. level of illumination) when tested after 100 hours of continuous operation that is greater than, or equal to, the thresholds set out in Table 1 below, which vary with product category.

• Have an efficacy (i.e. lighting efficiency) that is greater than, or equal to, the thresholds set out in Table 1 below, when tested after 100 hours of continuous operation.

• Be able to provide a light output (in lumens) after 4000 hours of continuous operation that is not less than 96% of their light output (in lumens) after 100 hours of continuous operation.

• Efficacy is defined in terms of lumens of light output per watt of electrical power consumed.

• The electrical power consumed is defined as the total power consumed by the whole lighting unit from main circuit connection point to ‘lamp’, including losses in the power supply and constant current source, and losses due to the effects of temperature. It is not the ‘rated wattage’ of the LED chip.

• The product must perform at the minimum required efficacy at each drive current for which the product is designed to operate, when tested after 100 hours of continuous operation.

• For the avoidance of doubt, test data should be presented to zero decimal places. As an example, an efficacy of 45 Lumens per Watt for a task light unit would be deemed to be a fail.

Once again the performance criteria is perhaps flawed because setting a single Lumen per Watt figure makes no real sense for LED fixtures. For example, it is fairly straightforward to design a low wattage LED downligher (approx 6-11 Watts) with an efficacy >65 Lumens per Watt that meets the criteria and offer significant advantages over Halogen lighting. However to achieve above 45 Lumens per Watt for higher wattage LED fixtures (>20 Watts) is challenging yet most CFL downlighters only achieve 25-35 Lumens per Watt efficacy as tested and validated by the Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting (CALiPER) programme used by the Department of Energy in the USA. Again it seems as though the UK may miss out on energy saving technologies that could replace highly inefficient lighting products such as Halogen and CFL due to poor selection criteria suggested by the ECA. The rest of the performance criteria are straightforward for quality LED fixtures to achieve.

Expenditure on the provision of LED plant and machinery can include not only the actual costs of buying the equipment, but other direct costs such as the transport of the equipment to site, and some of the direct costs of installation. Clarity on the eligibility of direct costs is available from HMRC.

The growth of the white LED market will be stimulated by several new Government initiatives using slightly different processes. One will use straightforward customer requirements to meet an unmet demand through energy efficient lighting, whilst the second is a subsidy in the form of capital tax allowances. The latter process seems to be suffering from a rather difficult start as the performance and eligibility criteria seem unfair and plainly discriminates against new technologies such as LEDs whilst allowing lower efficiency technologies such as CFL’s to be subsidised in the marketplace. Therefore, it is important that the criteria is revised in order to support innovation and a clear consultation process between Government and the UK lighting community is developed as current processes are obviously not strong enough to enable criteria to be set accurately.

The rapid increase in White LED performance over the next 12 months in terms of lumen output, CRI improvement, reduced CCT binning complexity and LED efficacy will ensure the LED lighting community will survive any downturn as new green technology products are introduced to the marketplace to provide quality light fixtures demanded by a more knowledgeable client that wants to save energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint concurrently.


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