Lighting has always been a key topic for us to track here at EC&M magazine. In addition to our regular monthly focus and ongoing new product coverage on this particular segment of the electrical market, we step up our coverage once a year with a lighting-themed issue that coincides with Lightfair International — by far the biggest architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference in the United States. If you want to get a crash course on the latest lighting standards, regulations, design trends, and new products available in the market, then I suggest you take part in this event. But don’t worry, if a trip to Vegas in early May isn’t in the cards for you, we’ll share our findings shortly.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who designs, installs, or maintains lighting systems and luminaires that the development of solid-state lighting (SSL) products has been the center of attention for the past five years or so. As I’ve reported to you in the past, activity on the SSL standards front occurred at breakneck speed. Manufacturers are now scrambling to try and secure an Energy Star label for their LED products. In addition, they’re working hard on improving color rendering index and color temperature values, as well as focusing their efforts on controlling and dimming LED light sources. For the most part, these efforts have produced positive results.

Round 13 of the DOE’s CALiPER testing program shows that SSL products can match existing sources in some commercial and light industry applications, such as 2×2 troffers, high-bay luminaires, and wallpacks. In an effort to help you make more accurate comparisons between LED products and traditional light sources, the DOE recently released its second Lighting Facts Product Snapshot. Key findings from the report show how LED luminaires really perform in indoor (under-cabinet/shelf-mounted, downlight, and troffer) and outdoor (area, roadway, and parking garage) applications.

Despite all the progress that’s been made on the SSL front, it’s still going to take some time for this technology to gain widespread adoption. End-users and installation contractors are a cautious bunch. As such, the installation of halogen, fluorescent, and HID lamps remains strong. Manufacturers of these lamp types continue to work hard and develop higher efficacy lamps to stay one step ahead of the latest energy standards.

As T12 linear fluorescent lamps disappear from the market, look for a ramp up of new-generation T8 and T5 lamp/ballast systems to take their place and for halogen lamps to replace traditional incandescent lamps. Halogen lamps use less energy, are dimmable, offer the same color temperatures, and meet new efficiency standards. Lastly, look for additional research and field testing to improve LED technology and slowly expand its reach. For more specifics on which lighting technologies are being phased out, turn to Staff Writer Beck Ireland’s cover story: http://ecmweb.com/market_trends/what-lamps-will-be-phased-out-20120401, for some leading lighting industry experts’ take on the new standards for lamp efficiency.