New report reveals rapid development of LED lamps and shortcomings of estimated ecodesign savings

(eceee news, 23 Nov 2014) The market of LED lamps in Europe is moving much faster than was previously expected. A new LED test report shows that LED “clear incandescent look-alikes” are several years ahead of price and performance projections; and sheds new light on the Commission’s proposal to delay the 2016 ban on general service halogen lamps.

The Test Report – Clear, Non-Directional LED Lamps - presents a study that was undertaken by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Belgian government, CLASP’s European Programme and eceee. The report’s starting point is the new LED products introduced into the European market at low prices and claiming very high performance levels. The report presents a limited market study of the products available in the current European market and is based on tests of available products and comparisons of product data from a number of international databases.

Figure: Example of an AC Mains-Voltage Non-Directional LED Filament Lamp.

Furthermore, an updated IEA 4E benchmarking report shows that mains-voltage general service halogen lamps are being used as the primary replacement for incandescent lamps instead of CFLs, thus eroding much of the projected savings from the 2009 domestic lighting regulation.

Both reports can be downloaded from eceee’s ecodesign pages on domestic lighting

The new test study found that the real price and performance of mains voltage (MV) LED retrofit lamps had progressed at a much faster pace than was projected in a VHK/VITO report technical report from June 2013, published by the Commission.

Figure: Example of MV LED Non-Directional Retrofit Clear LED Lamps: Projections made in 2013 on price/performance ratio vs. real 2014 values.

Approximately 50% of the LED lamps purchased and tested in 2014 for the new test study already exceed the projected 2016 price and performance levels in the June 2013 report, and one model available on the European market in 2014 already exceeds the anticipated 2018 level on efficacy and the 2020 level on price. Thus, the market of LED lamps in Europe is moving much faster than was expected only about a year ago.

Postponing the ban of mains-voltage halogen lamps (stage 6)

The original ecodesign regulation 244/2009 introduces a final Stage 6 in September 2016, when clear halogen lamps (D-Class) would be banned in favour of more efficient technologies (e.g., B-Class halogens and LEDs).

However, the B-Class halogen lamps that were available in 2009 have disappeared from the European market. The Commission has therefore proposed a two-year delay of Stage 6 in order to give LED technology more time to develop as a viable alternative to D-Class halogen lamps.

Due to the fact that clear LED lamps were identified as an issue in the context of the Stage 6 review (because of the ability of tungsten filaments to create a “sparkle” effect in certain light fittings), the new LED study presented by Sweden, Belgium, CLASP and eceee focuses on testing clear LED lamp replacements, including several “LED filament lamps”. It also includes other clear LED lamp designs, such as those based around optical light guides offered by companies including IKEA, OSRAM and Philips.

The study tested 170 LED lamps (sample size of 10 units of 17 different models) and 10 halogen lamps (10 units of one model), and found a wide range of average efficacy values.

Halogens, not CFLs, have replaced incandescents in Europe

When ecodesign regulation 244/2009 was introduced in 2009, the Commission forecasted that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) would replace the majority of frosted non-directional incandescent lamps, which were phased out starting in 2010.

The IEA 4E Mapping & Benchmarking Annex published an update to their domestic lighting market study in September 2014, based on new GfK lamp sales data for Europe. Much of the anticipated savings from this regulation were based on this market forecast.

However, the IEA update shows that the recent GfK sales data indicate the non- directional household lamp regulation has failed to move old frosted incandescent market toward CFLs. Instead, clear and frosted incandescent lamp users have moved to clear MV halogen lamps, eroding much of the anticipated energy savings.

Halogen lamps are approximately 20% more efficient than incandescent lamps while CFLs are approximately 400% more efficient. Thus, the decision to allow MV halogen lamps to remain on the European market, and the market migration to MV halogen has significantly reduced the anticipated energy savings from this policy measure.

EU lagging in LED

From the coming IEA 4E Benchmark report – IEA 4E Mapping on lighting report for EU - it is also clear that EU so far is at the bottom of the international league.  Instead, Korea and Australia are the forerunners.

EU has a good reputation for MEPS and energy labelling regulations, but falls short in terms of lighting. At the Global Efficient Lighting Forum in Beijing it was also clear that the Economic Cooperation of West African States (ECOWAS), representing 340 million people in West Africa, probably will leap-frog directly to LED in their coming lighting regulations.

Both reports can be downloaded from eceee’s ecodesign pages on domestic lighting

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