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Smart lamps not always energy smart

12Oct

Smart lamps not always energy smart

Topic: Lighting

Energy efficiency gains from LEDs at risk

Smart lamps are an exciting new family of products combining wireless communication, intelligent controls and light emitting diodes (LEDs) to offer end-users features like colour tuning, dimming, remote control, motion-sensing control, daylight control and other features.

However, energy efficiency gains from households switching to LED technology may be compromised by the standby power consumption of these lamps, which require energy even when not providing light.

These are the initial findings from a study by the International Energy Agency’s 4E SSL Annex on lamps used in the domestic sector.  The findings will be used to inform the E3 Program’s consideration of the need for minimum energy performance standards for LEDs.

The IEA 4E SSL Annex launched its study on the energy performance of smart lighting to better understand smart lighting and provide policy guidance for governments.

“Policy-makers who are looking at lighting products are concerned that these ‘smart’ lamps may end up creating new, high levels of standby power consumption in households.” said Dr Peter Bennich, chairman of the SSL Annex’s Management Committee and representative of the Swedish Energy Agency, one of the Annex’s member countries.

“We are concerned that these ‘smart’ features will offset some of the energy efficiency gains from switching to LED technology.”

Tests conducted on a limited number of smart wireless LED lamps used in the domestic sector reveal that these products can have substantial standby power use – which, depending on hours of use, can be even higher than the energy consumed when the light is switched on.  These test results are similar to experiences with standby consumption for other products where manufacturers initially focused on new features before turning their attention to reducing the standby power consumption.

When the lamp is not emitting light, the power is still connected as the lamp switches to a standby mode waiting for a signal from the end-user to switch on again or the lamps may, in commercial buildings, also serve as part of a local wireless network. This means that the lamps are consuming energy even when they are not emitting light; and the standby power consumption for domestic products varies widely, from 0.15 to 2.70 W – indicating that design improvements or shift of protocol to reduce standing losses are possible.

For more information about this report, and to download a copy, click on this link to visit the SSL Annex website.