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LED Lighting: Just the Facts, Please!

January 4, 2010 - 7:30am

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My June 16, 2009 blog gave tips on purchasing high-quality LED lights. Now there's another arsenal in the toolbox to help consumers find LED lights they can trust: the Lighting Facts label.

As part of the SSL Quality Advocates voluntary pledge program developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA), the label is similar to the familiar nutrition label found on most food products.

The label contains a lot of information that can help a consumer compare lighting products, including: light output in lumens; watts, the power the light consumes; lumens per watt, a measure of the product's efficacy (how efficient it is at converting electricity into light); and Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), displaying aspects of the product's light qualities.

SSL Quality Advocates pledge to use the Lighting Facts label and attest to the accuracy of the information listed on the label. Encouraging the development of high-quality products that perform as claimed is essential to buyer satisfaction and will help drive market acceptance of solid-state lighting (SSL) products.

The DOE Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting (CALiPER) program, which supports testing a wide array of SSL products available for general lighting, has shown that many LED products are displayed with erroneous and exaggerated information.

NOTE: The presence of a Lighting Facts label on a product doesn't necessarily mean that it will adequately meet your needs. What it means is that you can have peace of mind when checking out the label—that the information listed is accurate. You still need to do your homework to make sure it puts out the amount of light you'll need for the task, the quality of light desired, and that it is efficient enough to meet your satisfaction. After all, even if you trust a nutrition label doesn't mean the product is good for you. It can still be loaded with unhealthy fat and calories. But at least you'll know that before buying.

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