Energy Department Announces Next Phase of L Prize Competition to Create Innovative Energy-Saving Lighting Products

March 8, 2012

Washington, D.C. – As part of the Energy Department's commitment to driving innovation in U.S. manufacturing and helping American businesses and consumers save money by saving energy, the department today launched the next phase of the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition. The L Prize competition challenges the lighting industry to develop high performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs.

The competition announced today will spur leading-edge companies to build innovative LED replacements for conventional parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR 38) lamps, commonly known as spot or flood lamps, which are in widespread use in retail businesses and as outdoor security lights and track lights.

"The L Prize competition challenges the best and brightest engineers and scientists across America's lighting industry to drive innovation in new, more efficient products and boost our nation's competitiveness in manufacturing," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "The winning products will help expand lighting choices for consumers, reduce our nation's energy use, and save money for American families and business owners."

There are approximately 90 million PAR 38 light bulbs installed in the U.S., in both residential and commercial applications. The Energy Department estimates that replacing them with bulbs efficient enough to win the L Prize would save the country 11 terawatt-hours of electricity per year—approximately equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Washington, D.C.—and avoid 7 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

The L Prize was established by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. The Energy Department launched the L Prize competition in May 2008 to spur development of exceptionally high-performance, ultra-efficient LED alternatives for two of the most widely used light bulbs: 60-watt incandescent lamps and PAR 38 halogen lamps. The first L Prize was awarded in the 60-watt category in August 2011 to Philips Lighting North America. The winning product is expected to hit retail store shelves in spring 2012.

The rigorous performance testing needed to win the L Prize ensures that the performance, quality, lifetime, costs, and availability of winning products meet expectations for mass manufacturing and widespread adoption. U.S. sourcing remains a key part of the commercial production requirements, generating jobs for U.S. workers. For the PAR 38 category, at least 50% of the LEDs must be produced in the U.S., and all of the assembly must be done in the U.S.

For more information on the L Prize competition, including full specifications and requirements for the PAR 38 replacement category, see www.lightingprize.org. DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.