Boasting an exhibit hall of 160,000 sq ft and nearly 1,600 booths, Lightfair International, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center May 10-14, featured 498 international manufacturers — 94 of which represented countries outside of the United States. This venue offered more than 20,000 lighting professionals in attendance a chance to discover “game-changing” light sources, control products, systems, and strategic alliances. It was also an opportunity for attendees from 71 countries (including every state in the nation) to review activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) booth.

Because the DOE is the agency of record for all lighting-related legislation, provides research grants to light-emitting diode (LED) manufacturers, and runs a number of programs promoting the development of quality LED products, its influence is noteworthy. For example, the DOE’s CALiPER program has uncovered inaccurate and misleading literature for many LED products, the most frequent of which have been reported in the replacement lamps category.

According to the DOE and the major lighting equipment manufacturers, LEDs and other new sources will be able to replace many of the popular light sources in just about every application, within a few years. The LED-based products seen on the show floor were divided into two distinct categories: replacements for the incandescent A-lamps, which will cease production in the United States — 100W lamps can no longer be made after January 2012; 75W lamps after January 2013; 40W and 60W lamp sizes after January 2014 — and new luminaires designed around LED and organic LED (OLED) sources.

Additionally, 15 states and the District of Columbia have some form of lamp legislation. A California law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, looks forward to significant reductions in lighting energy consumption by 2018 — 50% in residential lighting, 25% in outdoor lighting, and 25% in interior and commercial lighting. Additionally, the law mandates a maximum allowable level of mercury in fluorescent lamps and a maximum allowable level of lead in incandescent lamps. A year ago, a Maine law took effect, requiring lamp manufacturers to share the responsibility and cost of recycling light sources containing mercury. Other states may soon follow suit.

Understandably, the biggest and most immediate market for LEDs is replacing the soon-to-be-banned incandescent lamps in millions of Edison-based sockets in the United States and around the globe. Thus, the major lamp makers are showing A-lamp type substitutes with about 400 to 450 lumens (a 40W equivalent), and low-wattage PAR 38/30 lamps, providing up to about 900 lumens. They are also poised to introduce higher wattage A-lamps (such as 60W and 100W lamps) and higher wattage reflector lamp replacements. Following are some highlights from the show that shed some light on this progress.

General Electric has an EnergySmart LED for replacing an A-lamp that offers 450 lumens, consuming just 9W over a 25,000-hr life; the LED Retail PAR 38 uses 16W to achieve an 860 lumen output over a 25,000-hr life, joining a list of other LED replacement bulbs.

Philips’ DOE L-prize candidate is rated at 40W using aluminum air channels for cooling and four separate LED modules for wide light distribution. Other lamps in the EnduraLED portfolio include 4W and 7W MR16 and PAR sources, as well as a dimmable A-19 retrofit lamp.

Osram Sylvania offers the Ultra LED A-line retrofit 60W lamp with 810 lumens, a 40W version with 430 lumens, and a retrofit A-line 40W with a GU24 base. Offering up to 900 lumens, the PAR30 and PAR38 lamps are replacements for PAR halogen lamps, and 8W and 10W LED lamps are replacements for 35W and 50W PAR-16 halogen lamps.

Lighting Science introduced the Definity line of A-line and PAR reflector LED replacement lamps in a range of color temperatures from 2,700°K to 5,000°K.

Cree offered its XM LED model at the show, which provides 160 lumens per watt (lm/W) with a drive current of 350mA. In addition to its line of replacement downlight fixtures, the company is also partnering with a number of firms on various luminaires that use its chips.

High brightness (HB) white LEDs can generate close to 200 lumens from a 1 mm2 die with an efficiency equal to fluorescent technology, and most “white” LEDs are blue LEDs with a phosphor coating, which converts the photons into a broad spectrum “white” light. Now, Renaissance Lighting claims to have a significant technological breakthrough with its use of a clear liquid phosphor as the primary light source. By combining the company’s Constructive Occlusion light delivery method with the phosphor-centric light generation, a 100 lm/W white light is achievable. Renaissance is partnering with NN Crystal U.S. Corp, a maker of nanocrystal-based products, on this business venture. This new source will be in the firm’s Revia family of 4-in. and 7-in. (round and square) downlight fixtures.

Two Japanese firms with wide experience in electronic products made their debut on the U.S. lighting market scene at Lightfair. Sharp’s initial launch consists of PAR 38 reflector lamps in two colors and three PAR 30 reflector lamps. These beam-controlled lamps are for display, retail, gallery, office, and general lighting applications. The lineup will be expanded rapidly to include A-19 replacements, indoor, and outdoor fixtures, such as solar-powered walkway fixtures and dimmable/color-changing remote-controlled lamps.

Toshiba, which has a 120-yr history in lighting, launched its E-Core LED product line that includes six reflector lamps in two colors and two A-19 units, also in two colors. Soon to be released is a 100W A-lamp replacement, offering 1,600 lumens and 260° distribution. The GX53 self-contained round 120V LED module using a lockable GX53 base has a rated life of 40,000 hr and is available in 40° and 100° beam angles. The E-Core 6-in. downlight is rated at 29W, achieving output of 1,080 lumens with a 5,000°K to 6,000°K color temperature.

LEDs: system or module?

A single, comparatively small LED die is only part of tomorrow’s light source; it has to be connected to a circuit board and mounted to a heat sink to remove the generated heat. It also needs a power supply (or driver), composed of integrated circuits (ICs), which works similar to a ballast for arc discharge sources, along with primary and sometimes secondary optics. To increase the lumen output, a number of LED dies are mounted in a single package, called an array or module — or what is called a “light engine,” although there is no exact definition of a light engine at present. Following is some of the big news related to modular LED products.

LED chip and array maker Bridgelux is partnering with Molex to introduce the Helion Sustainable Light Module, which uses a plastic base with pin-and-socket conductive terminals that make the electric connection to the LED light engine. By emulating a traditional lighting socket, the system simplifies the process of designing, building, replacing, and upgrading luminaires. A variety of beam spreads and outputs between 500 lumens and 1,500 lumens are available.

General Electric also has a module that integrates the LED array (from Cree) and the driver electronics in a removable module for a compact accent luminaire. The first products include a transformer in the base that steps the line voltage down from 277VAC, 240VAC, or 120VAC to 24VAC. A slide switch allows the selection of three different light level/wattage options. Janmar Lighting, Journée Lighting, Modular International, Inc., and Spectrum Lighting presently are taking advantage of this product, which addresses LED thermal and replacement/upgrade issues.

Osram has introduced PrevaLED Core, a range of “light engine” modules having an output from 800 lumens to 3,000 lumens for a system efficiency of up to 75 lm/W, with color temperatures of 3,000°K to 4,000°K, and a color rendering index greater than 90.

Interestingly, the lighting industry is recognizing the importance of driver design, since NXP Semiconductors’ model 2101 digital/analog power control device took the “Technical Innovation Award” from the International Association of Lighting Designers and Illuminating Engineering Society (IALD/IES) judging committee. Offering high efficiency, the device is aimed toward the replacement lamp market where dimming performance can be important.

Lutron’s Hi-lume A-Series LED driver offers smooth, continuous 1% dimming for virtually any LED fixture because it supports constant-current and constant-voltage outputs for LED loads up to 40W. It also provides constant-current reduction (CCR) or pulse-width modulation (PMW) dimming options.

Because LEDs presently are not the answer for many lighting projects, attendees had the opportunity to see numerous advances in linear fluorescent, metal-halide, induction (Osram Sylvania Icetron) and plasma lighting (Lumix) as well. Because LEDs are still in the early stages of their development, some lighting designers also prefer to specify proven lamp technologies as a hedge against risk and recrimination.

Fluorescent lamps and ballasts

Fortunately, both T5 and T8 fluorescent lighting systems (combination of lamps and ballast) have been making enormous strides in performance. For example, GE’s T5 Ultra Start WattMiser electronic ballast system uses four 47W high-output (HO) lamps for illuminating commercial warehouse and general high-bay applications. The firm’s UltraStart T8 0V to 10V programmed start dimming ballast offers parallel lamp operation and high-efficiency cathode cutout with full range dimming of 100% to 3%.

Osram Sylvania’s QHE T5HO/SS system ballast serves the Pentron FP54/47W HO lamps, delivering a 30,000-hr life with 92% of rated lumens. Pentron T5HO Supersaver lamps are direct energy-saving replacements for full-wattage T5HO lamps offered in 2-ft, 3-ft, and 4-ft nominal lengths. Octron XP Supersaver 23W lamps are direct replacements for full wattage T8 lamps, offering an average rated life of 42,000 hr when used with programmed rapid-start electronic ballasts.

Sensors and controls

Sensors and controls that chop away at wasteful energy use by applying occupancy-sensing, daylight-sensing, and other functions were at the forefront on the exhibit floor. Following are some highlights on this front.

Lutron offered its Energi Savr Node, a simple, programmable, completely scalable module for controlling light and saving energy in any commercial space. Three models are available for connection to wired or wireless occupancy/vacancy sensors, daylight sensors, and wall stations. The enclosure easily fits above a ceiling or into other small spaces, with line voltage and low-voltage wiring connecting to terminal blocks. Radio Powr Savr sensors and Pico controls communicate wirelessly, and the firm’s Softswitch relay is rated for any lighting load up to 16A.

WattStopper has added network capability to its self-configuring Digital Lighting Management (DLM) lighting control product line, enabling remote management of lighting controls throughout a floor, building, or entire campus. Also included are two digital photosensors for automatically switching or dimming up to three zones of lighting in daylight area, new control panels, and dimming features for wall switches. A DLM local network can serve room controllers, occupancy sensors, personal controls, and daylighting sensors, plus it can be hooked up to another control system by using a BACnet-compatible network bridge.

Leviton introduced a number of control products for a variety of residential, commercial, and institutional markets. The LevNet RF wireless, self-powered line of devices allows a lighting project to be completed faster and with simplified commissioning methods, serving a variety of applications in addition to occupancy detection. The LevNet RF Key Card switch signals a room’s electrical and HVAC controllers to automatically turn lights off and set back the HVAC when guests leave their rooms. The firm’s line of GreenMX Relay Control Panels offer an integrated system for centralized lighting control and supporting network protocols, such as Ethernet, BACnet/IP, and LumaCAN. The latching relay modules are rated 30A general fluorescent ballasts and 20A incandescent.

Cooper Controls Greengate brand has the ControKeeper touch-screen network light control for operation of up to 48 relays. The Architectural Lighting Controls brand has the “Venergy” Energy Monitoring Web tool system to achieve energy savings while promoting awareness by providing actual metered lighting energy use real-time on PC, touch-screen, or plasma/LCD display. Critical information is displayed for review.

The EnOcean Alliance, which was established a few years ago, has experienced the ongoing development of interoperable, self-powered, wireless monitoring and control products (for achieving lower cost ownership and operation of lighting, HVAC, and other functions) in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. These battery-less, bidirectional devices are powered by slight changes in ambient conditions, such as temperature and humidity, by ambient sunlight and manual operation of a rocker switch. In November 2009, the Alliance published the first EnOcean equipment profile (EEP) specification V2.0, signaling the continuing partnership with other standardized wiring bus systems, such as BACnet and LON, while looking forward to the creation of an open wireless standard. Seven EnOcean Alliance member companies displayed products at the booth, including Leviton, Echoflex Solutions, Illumra, and Verve Lighting Systems.

Because most LEDs are generally considered to be “native” DC-powered devices, Redwood Systems uses a network of low-voltage (Class 2) conductors to deliver constant-current DC power (350mA at 60VDC) directly to each LED ceiling fixture in a space from a centralized AC-DC converter, which also provides factor correction (PFC). The LED fixture’s ballast/driver then provides DC-DC conversion to the LEDs in the ceiling fixture. The centralized AC-DC converter, called an engine, also supervises communications, processing, and policy control for up to 64 LED fixtures by supporting a simple propriety network protocol for both light control and sensor data collection. A sensor device, installed adjacent to each ceiling fixture, incorporates ambient and task light sensors, a 360° PIR motion sensor, an ambient temperature sensor, and voltage/current sensors. Because multiple engines can be networked for any sized structure, the data gathering and control network can optimize lighting, HVAC, plug loads, and window shading. Redwood is initially partnering with Acuity Brands Lighting on early field trials of this system.

Outdoor lighting

Based on what attendees saw at the show, outdoor lighting looks like the first general illumination application for LED lighting systems.

The DOE recently launched a consortium to assist municipalities exploring LED street and parking luminaires, and colleges and similar campus environments are also studying general and accent lighting applications that shape the perception of a night environment. Because LEDs are an instant-on/instant-off technology with no start-up or restrike time, combining LED roadway luminaires with a light control system can potentially provide many new options for light dimming during low usage hours — facilitating maintenance, extending luminaire life, and reducing operating costs. Following are a few examples of products in these types of applications.

General Electric’s Evolve LED Series Roadway Medium Cobrahead has the photometric distribution of the LED array optimized for street lighting.

Cooper Lighting’s McGraw-Edison Ventus LED area luminaire can serve roadways, building areas, or parking lots. The LED LightBar technology offers a 50,000-hr rated life, achieving appreciable energy savings compared to HID systems.

Philips’ Guth HandiLiter LED luminaire optical system delivers light evenly in a long and narrow asymmetric or symmetric pattern in parking garage applications, while offering a 60,000-hr life.

Beta LED continues to expand products in The Edge and LEDway lineup of products for a variety of outdoor lighting and parking garage applications.

Carmanah’s 1620 EverGEN luminaire, suitable for parking lots, residential streets, and site lighting, uses Beta LED’s NanoOptics system. An integral electric generating solar panel and 5-yr-rated battery offer minimum maintenance for off-grid installations.

Everbrite Lighting’s PSL125 LED parking structure luminaire features indirect lighting in either a 45W or 90W downlight or a 98W down/uplight version, using patented optical technology. The modular LED arrays are easily changed out from below via the hinged lens.

Schreder unveiled its Owlet Nightshift product, a “telemanagement” system for monitoring, controlling, metering, and managing outdoor roadway lighting systems. Each fixture is fitted with a controller and Zigbee wireless transmission capability, allowing operating statistics, such as energy use and possible failures, to be reported and stored in a central database with exact time stamp and geographic location.