Archive for the ‘Lighting’ Category

EPBD changes affecting Part L in 2013

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Approved Document L – Conservation of fuel and power

The current version of ‘Approved Document L: Conservation of fuel and power’ is split into four parts, click the links below to access the individual parts or the archived versions:

EPBD changes affecting Part L in 2013

DCLG has published the 2013 Amendments to Approved Documents for use with a number of current Approved Documents.

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The changes listed in this document for Approved Documents L1a, L1B, L2A, L2B are made to take account of a recast of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Directive 2010/31/EU) with amended guidance for:

  • Energy Performance Certificates that comes into force on 9 January 2013; (all 4 ADLs)
  • the analysis of high efficiency alternative systems for new buildings occupied by public authorities on 9 January 2013 and for all other new buildings on 9 July 2013; (ADL1A and ADL2A)
  • the major renovation of existing buildings that comes into force for buildings occupied by public authorities on 9 January 2013 and for all buildings on 9 July 2013. (ADL1B and ADL2B)

The changes also take account of the introduction of a new Approved Document 7 that comes into effect on 1 July 2013, this has been updated to reflect the European Construction Products Regulation which will come fully into force on 1 July 2013. (common to all ADLs and other ADs)

UK Lighting market flickers, but remains bright

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

A report by AMA Research estimates that the UK market for lighting was worth around £1.4 billion at manufacturers selling prices in 2009. Being a mature market, it mostly relies on replacement purchases which, generally, results in moderate growth or decline in line with the economy. However, the recession saw a market decline of 10% in 2009, and is forecast to fall a further 4% in 2010.

This will result in the lighting market struggling somewhat in the short term, but trading conditions in the longer term still remain positive.

In 2009, the lighting market was dominated by sales of luminaires, which accounted for 67% of the market, with lamps accounting for a further 26% and lighting controls the remaining 7%, although in the long term it is expected that lighting controls will gain share.

Growing sectors in the lighting market include LEDs, which represent a growing threat to more traditional products. Product development in LEDs will continue to offer this sector greater differentiation and it is expected that this will result in an increased market share in the medium to long-term.

Energy efficiency also continues to grow in importance, driven by legislative changes and increasing fuel bills. The government remains committed to promoting the use of energy efficient products, promoting use within public sector projects and through the introduction of energy conservation and monitoring legislation. Indeed, AMA has undertaken a more detailed study into the energy efficient lighting products market which has remained bouyant as a result of legislation, public information campaigns, and a high level of subsidisation (particularly in the domestic sector) which has largely offset the general economic decline and slowdown in housebuilding and construction activity.

The market for energy efficient lighting comprises lamps or bulbs, luminaires and lighting controls, and in 2009 it accounted for 36%, in value terms, of the greater UK lighting market, up from just 21% in 2005.

Some of the most notable trends in the sector include energy efficient lamps being designed to fit most standard luminaires, and growth in the luminaires and controls sector is therefore increasingly mirroring growth in the lamps sector – a trend likely to become even more noticeable as technology advances even further.

The value of the UK energy efficient lighting market is expected to reach £969 million in 2014, and the rate of growth – which slowed down slightly in 2009 – is expected to remain buoyant.
Given the projected decline in the use of non-energy efficient lighting solutions, largely as a result of legislation, AMA Research expects that the share of energy efficient lighting in the overall UK lighting market – 36% in 2009 – will reach 63% by 2014.

Copies of AMA Research’s “Energy Efficient Lighting Products Market – UK 2010-2014” and “Lighting Market – UK 2010-2014” reports are available from

RIOE and Philips Show Transparent OLED Prototypes at Tokyo Fair

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009


Philips Electronics and other companies researching future display technologies got together at the Big Sight lighting fair in Tokyo to unveil cool new OLED prototypes, including the latest builds of transparent displays.

Philips Research mainly used the event to show its recently announced OLED light display grid, the Lumiblade, a basic, super-bright lamp slab that had previous problems with ‘luminance variability.’ Apparently, that’s been worked out (the lamps light up evenly) and they should start being sold by the end of the year in Europe, most likely for businesses.

But Philips reps apparently had to start talking up its transparent screens (above), since The Research Institute for Organic Electronics (RIOE) stole the show with its own transparent screen window display. The screens, measured at 70-75% of transparency, provide owners with the ability to let light in during the day and then use them as image panels at night.


RIOE hasn’t officially revealed its secret sauce behind the transparency, but it should follow the process of its other OLED screens. Mainly, they place an organic EL device layer on a glass substrate and then use heat and ‘radiating functions,’ a voltage type, generating an energy reaction that lights the panels. RIOE also showed a bright OLED that consumes only 15 watts for hours at a time, perfect for saving some money and electricity.

Last year, Sony and the Max-Planck-Institute in Germany created some of the first transparent displays that rendered moving images, and they did it through the chemical process of photoexcitation. That reaction is caused when rapid-fire lasers excite photosensitive chemicals embedded in a polycarbonate transparent sheet.

As for Philips, they also haven’t revealed exactly how they’ve created their own transparent displays, though it’s obvious from the previous examples that an organic polymer layering process is likely used.

For now, none of these prototypes have a price and most (except the Lumiblade) won’t be available for another 3-5 years.

Check out the RIOE OLED layer process after the jump.

DMX – Whats that?

Friday, June 12th, 2009

DMX512-A is an EIA-485 based communications protocol that is most commonly used to control stage lighting and effects and LED lighting control.

Developed by the Engineering Commission of USITT, the standard started in 1986, with subsequent revisions in 1990 leading to USITT DMX512/1990. In 1998 ESTA began a revision process to develop the standard as an ANSI standard, including a Public Review process. The revised standard, known officially as “Entertainment Technology — USITT DMX512–A — Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories”, was approved by ANSI in November 2004. This current standard is also known as “E1.11, USITT DMX512–A”, or just “DMX512-A”, and is maintained by ESTA.

DMX512 was originally intended as a ‘lowest common denominator’ protocol for use between interfaces supporting proprietary protocols. However, it soon became the primary method for linking not only controllers and dimmers, but also more advanced fixtures and special effects devices such as fog machines and moving lights. DMX512 is unidirectional and does not include automatic error checking and correction, so it is not safe to use for applications involving life safety, such as controlling pyrotechnics or laser lighting display where audience or performer safety is involved. MIDI is sometimes used for this task.

LED Solid-State Lighting technology AC – DC Drivers, or direct mains driven (AC-LED) device?

Friday, June 12th, 2009

The increasing strength of a new Solid-State Lighting technology that could eventually take its place alongside conventional LED technology. However, will AC driven LEDs actually displace DC driven LEDs – that is the real question!

The impact of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) on the general lighting industry has only just started with tremendous revenue growth seen during 2007 for white LEDs. However the rapid pace of LED development continues unabated in early 2008 with the release of Seoul Semiconductors Z-Power P7 single LED emitter package emitting up to a maximum of 900 lumens from just 10 electrical watts and up to 995 lumens maximum from a 15W device from LEDEngin Inc.

The latest LED emitter packages to be launched onto the lighting market include the new class of AC driven LEDs that do not require AC/DC LED drivers and offers the promise of simplifying LED luminaire design.

The latest LEDs are more efficient, usable and environmentally friendly than CFLs.

At the end of the first quarter of 2008 several manufacturers have launch new LED emitter packages onto the market all exhibiting common characteristics of increased light output, greater efficiency and lower LED thermal resistance. Indeed, these latest “digital” LEDs have now exceeded the raw lumen output of most typical Compact Fluorescent Lighting devices and at a much higher efficacy at much higher levels of light quality and with a lower carbon footprint meaning LEDs should now become the light source of choice.

The P7 Series compared to general 60-watt incandescent lamps, which provides an efficacy of approximately 11 lumens per watt, emits light at up to 900 lumens and has a maximum efficacy of 90 lumens per watt. The colour temperature of the P7 is 6300K meaning that it is only available in cool white and the colour rendering index (Ra) is low at 70. However this lighting breakthrough is happening at a time when oil prices have exceeded $107 per barrel and the environmental waste aspects are fuelling interest for energy efficient systems all around the world.
In addition, the P7 Series shows remarkable performance compared to compact fluorescent lamps with a typical CFL consuming 15 watts and emitting light at 930 lumens delivering an efficacy of 62 lumens per watt, while the P7 Series’ efficacy is nearly one-and-a-half times higher at 90 lumens per watt. Therefore, for the first time a single LED emitter package in a space of only 18.4mm x 12mm x 6.54mm can produce the same raw lumens as a 15W CFL bulb which is pretty impressive!

As known by many in the lighting industry, the maximum performance of a P7 (derived from a manufacturer’s datasheet) should not be used to predict the total system efficacy due to thermal performance in standard operating conditions but even the typical luminous flux for a P7 is rated at 700 lumens providing a typical efficacy of 70 lumens per watt (still better than that of a CFL).  The data sheet gives the total forward current as 2.8A, with forward voltage of 3.6V, so one can assume each chip is driven at 700 mA (or around 2.5W). When the device is driven at 1400 mA (forward voltage = 3.3V), or 350 mA per chip, the typical output is 400lm, corresponding to an efficacy of around 86 lm/W.

The configuration of the LED chips within the P7 is structured so that they operated in parallel, which is rather unusual for two reasons:
1. Running LED chips in parallel without any voltage or current balancing can create uneven current paths that could result in a variety of issues from uneven chip illumination where one LED has more current flowing through it so it has a high lumen output compared to the others through to rapid failure if one LED chip fails because the current through the other 3 LEDs has to take the current meant for 4 LEDs.
2. There is currently very little choice for high current LED drivers especially those that can drive currents up to 2.8A so the industry will need to wait until a large number of drivers become available at these higher currents.

Perhaps, it may have been more prudent to design the P7 so that all of the LED chips were connected in series which would mitigate any of the issues highlighted and would provide a choice of drivers from 350mA up to 700mA. In fact, the LEDEngin LZ4 10W and 15W LED devices have gone one further by providing direct access to each LED chip, within the package enabling the lighting manufacturer to decide whether to control each LED individually, connect them in series or similar to the P7 in parallel.
Although the luminous efficacy of the LEDEngin product range is lower than that indicated by the P7 it offers a smaller package of just 7mm by 7mm and comes in a wide range of colours and cool, neutral and warm white colour temperatures with a CRI as high as 90 as shown in Tables 2 and 3.

Referring to P7 4 chip LED emitter with the equivalent sized single chip emitters there is clearly a significant step change in performance. This performance increase is due to improved LED packaging resulting in a lower thermal resistance of just 3°C/W for the P7 and the LED chips are operated at a lower forward current.
It is clear that the P7 will create a new trend of multi-die, high luminous output emitter packages at affordable costs and it is certain other LED manufacturers will follow with low-cost variants ensuring the rapid deployment of LEDs in general lighting markets.

AC LEDs – What are they?
The vast majority of LEDs sold in the market place are DC driven LEDs however a new class of LEDs that are driven directly from the mains supply are being touted as an alternative to traditional DC LEDs. DC-driven LEDs have several disadvantages including:

  • AC/DC power supplies add extra cost and require more space.
  • Design difficulties to accommodate space and thermal dissipation requirements for DC-LEDs make it less viable as a replacement for conventional incandescent bulbs or building structure lightin
  • Waste materials from the converter causes environmental pollution
  • 80% efficiency of AC/DC converter causes 20% of electricity loss
  • When using an AC/DC converter in small or enclosed area the heat from LED and converter interaction can accumulate heat causing a reduction in lifespan
  • Overheating can cause a fire concern which will require safety plans
  • Cannot be easily configured or linked together in long chains

While the lifespan of DC-driven LEDs sold in the market is 50,000 to 100,000 hours, the AC-DC converter needed for its application to lighting fixtures only has a lifespan of 20,000 hours. The need to change the AC-DC converter several times over the life of the LED is a major shortcoming of DC-driving LED technology, and can limit its appeal for lighting fixtures.
In classic textbooks on electronics or physics it will state all LEDs are DC devices, so how can an LED be driven directly from an AC supply at  220-240V? The answer is fairly straight forward; the AC LED device is actually made up of two strings of series-connected die, connected in different directions; one string is illuminated during the positive half of the AC cycle, the other during the negative half. Thus, the device is essentially non-polar. Since the strings fabricated on the substrate are formed from many p-n junctions in series, the total forward voltage of each string is very high, and approaching the AC mains input voltage.
Therefore, an AC LED must be designed for a specific voltage range and at this stage cannot be interchangeable between say 110V or 220V.
Like any LED, proper mounting to a thermally conductive surface is critical. You’ll also need to be mindful that the leads and traces will be carrying high voltages and so care must be taken for fixture design.
The reason AC LED emitters have not been successful to date is due to several factors including:

  • Not as bright as DC LEDs
  • Not as efficient as DC LEDs
  • Low number of manufacturers so reduced availability and choice
  • Reliability is susceptible to voltage variations
  • Intensity variation with over or under voltage on AC mains
  • Switching frequency is limited to mains frequency (50/60Hz) so not suitable for many applications eg; TV lighting
  • Systems are designed around mains voltages
  • The AC LEDs cannot be dimmed easily
  • Available in only low wattage emitters (<10W)

Due to significant research by two companies, Seoul Semiconductor in Korea and Lynk Labs in the US, several of the disadvantages holding back AC LEDs are now being addressed. For example, Seoul Semi announced in February that their AC LED known as the Acriche, had achieved a lumens per watt efficacy level of 80 lm/W although the system is still only available in 2W or 4W versions.
The high reliability of the Acriche AC LED is shown in figure 5 where 70% of initial lamp lumens is reached after 20,000 hours of operation at a junction temperature of 80°C. Similarly to DC LEDs the lifetime of the AC LEDs increases as the junction temperature decreases.
A second company Lynk Labs offers a range of AC driven technology evolved from a core technology layer called No Return Path “NRPTM” technology. NRP and other AC LED technology has been integrated into Lynk Labs AC-LED devices, assemblies, drivers and system solutions for solid-state lighting applications.

The rapid increase in LED luminous efficacy is continuing unabated and today the total light output from a small 10W LED emitter package is essentially equal to that of a 15W Compact Fluorescent ensuring that it is a matter of time before the LED will displace the majority of conventional light sources. The technical barriers are rapidly being overcome one by one and soon a single emitter package will break the 1000 lumen output in a cost effective manner (eg; <$5).
It is less clear to predict the impact of AC driven LEDs against a market dominated by DC LEDs especially as the technology is still so young however AC LEDs are ideal for applications where LED drivers are impractical to install, quality mains voltages are available and no dimming is required such as signage illumination.
The future will see both AC and DC LED systems co-exist within the general lighting market as both techniques have advantages and disadvantages however as the market has already adopted DC LED systems it will be a significant time before AC systems can claim the number of AC LED shipped.