DOE Publishes Exploratory CALiPER Study on Commercial Ambient LED Lighting

April 4, 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released an exploratory CALiPER study on the problems and benefits likely to be encountered as LED products intended to replace linear fluorescent lamps become increasingly popular. Eighteen lighting designers and facility engineers compared 24 identical pairs of troffers in a simulated office space. Three of those pairs involved fluorescent benchmark troffers, and the rest were LED products.

The products were evaluated for photometric distribution, uniformity of light on the task surface, and suitability of the light output for the task, as well as flicker, dimming performance, color quality, power quality, safety and certification issues, ease of installation, energy efficiency, and life-cycle cost.

Among the conclusions:

  • While lighting quality is of some concern with the LED products, it’s no more so than with the linear fluorescent lamps they’re intended to replace.
  • LED dedicated troffers can compete with (and beat) fluorescents in terms of efficacy.
  • LED replacement tubes and non-tube retrofit kits are as efficacious as their fluorescent counterparts, though there are concerns about color consistency, glare, dimming, flicker, installation issues, and code approval.
  • For this reason, it’s advisable to mock up and visually evaluate LED retrofit products before ordering them for large installations.