Updated test report confirms rapid development of LED lamps

(eceee news, 19 Mar 2015) The market of LED lamps in Europe is moving much faster than was previously expected. LED “clear incandescent look-alikes” are several years ahead of price and performance projections, and an updated report reflecting 1000-hour tests confirm that quality of the new products is acceptable. The updated report also provides a detailed discussion of LightingEurope’s critique of the original November report.

The original November study–by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Belgian government, CLASP’s European Programme and eceee–was undertaken because new LED lamps have been introduced into the European market at low prices and with claims of very high performance levels. ( see article covering the original November report ).  The updated report provides test results on the samples following 1000 hours of use.

The findings of our original report still hold true” said Nils Borg, eceee’s Executive Director. “LED products are introduced into the European market at much lower prices and much better performance levels than the European Commission anticipated in June 2013. We see that approximately 50% of the LED lamps purchased and tested for this study already exceed the 2016 price and performance levels that were anticipated by the Commission, and one model available on the European market in 2014 already exceeds the anticipated 2018 level on efficacy and the 2020 level on price.”

Figure: 1000 hours and counting. Clear LED lamps undergoing lifetime testing in the Swedish Energy Agency’s test lab .

When ecodesign regulation EC No 244/2009 was drafted, the Commission anticipated that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) would replace the majority of frosted non-directional incandescent lamps, which were phased out starting in 2010. Clear mains-voltage halogen lamps were allowed to remain on the market as a replacement for clear incandescent lamps and they were expected to constitute a relatively small share of total sales for non-directional lamps. New evidence has become available that has shown the market did not behave in this way, and instead halogen sales have quadrupled while CFL sales have declined.

The final stage of EC No 244/2009 (“Stage 6”) would take effect in September 2016 and phase-out D-Class clear halogen lamps in favour of more efficient technologies (e.g., B-Class halogens, CFLs and LED lamps). In June 2013, the Commission published a review study to assess the feasibility of Stage 6. Taking the findings of that review into account, the Commission proposed a two-year delay to Stage 6 in order to give LED technology more time to develop.

This June 2013 Commission review provided a projection of LED lamp price and efficacy in the EU from 2012 to 2030. However, in mid-2014 it became clear that these projections were too conservative, and that LED technology was already outpacing those expectations. For this reason, Sweden, Belgium, CLASP and eceee launched this new study to look at price and performance of LED lamps, to provide a new evidence base for policy makers considering Stage 6.  Due to the fact that clear LED lamps were identified as an issue because of the importance of creating a “sparkle” effect in certain light fittings, this study focused on clear LED lamps (example of one to the right).

To make a comparison with the Commission’s June 2013 review study, the prices paid for all the lamps purchased, including taxes, were normalised to Euros per 500 lumens of light output using currency exchange rates at the time of purchase. The normalised prices of the LED lamps ranged from €6.16 to €28.42 per 500 lumens and the halogen lamp was €2.29 per 500 lumens. The figure below shows the price and efficacy projections from the June 2013 review study drawn as solid lines from the X-axis (price) and the Y-axis (efficacy). The red dots provide the price and measured efficacy of the LED lamps purchased in August/September 2014 for this study.

The original study from Sweden, Belgium, CLASP and eceee was criticised by LightingEurope for building its case on lamps that were allegedly non-compliant with EU legislation. This updated report issued today provides a detailed discussion on LightingEurope’s critique, most of which were concerns about labelling and information provided with the lamps rather than the lamps themselves.  In principle, this is easy for market surveillance authorities to address and get packaging and informational violations into compliance. Those issues aside,  the actual LED lamps themselves – after 1000 hours of testing – the authors found 15 out of 17 (or 88%) of models tested are compliant with the product performance requirements of EU No 1194/2012 so far.  On-going lifetime testing of these lamps continues, with a further 5000 hours to go (see photo of some of the lamps under test above).

Figure: Example of MV LED Non-Directional Retrofit Clear LED Lamps: Projections made in 2013 on price/performance ratio vs. real 2014 values.
The above figure shows that approximately 50% of the LED lamps purchased in 2014 and tested for the Belgium/Sweden/CLASP/eceee study already exceed the 2016 price and performance levels that were anticipated by the Commission in June 2013, and one model exceeds the 2018 level on efficacy and the 2020 level on price.

The original and the revised report can be downloaded from eceee’s ecodesign pages on domestic lighting.

Direct link to the report here

See also: LED Prices and Efficiency Performance Already Exceed Expectations for 2016.

For further information please contact

General enquiries:
Nils Borg
eceee Executive Director

+46 70 585 31 74

Technical questions:
Michael Scholand
Clasp’s European Programme

+44 7931 701568