The fifth annual Next Generation LuminairesTM (NGL) Solid-State Lighting Design Competition has recognized 28 commercial LED indoor lighting products for excellence. The winners were announced on March 20, 2013, at the LEDucation 7 lighting conference in New York.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the International Association of Lighting Designers, NGL was launched in 2008 to promote excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaires for general illumination in commercial lighting applications. The competition began evaluating indoor and outdoor products separately in 2012.
The 2013 NGL indoor winners show significant color improvement compared to previous years, and efficacies continue to climb, with this year’s winners averaging 75 lumens per watt vs. 65 lumens per watt last year and 37 lumens per watt in 2008. While track-mounted accent luminaires and linear pendants each had a large number of recognized products, there were few successful entrants in categories that were previously well-stocked — especially downlights and grid ceiling luminaires. Almost all of the entries offered dimming as an option, and although most products used familiar optical concepts and luminaire form factors, there were several interesting uses of fully shielded or edge-lighted optics, and new approaches to recessed installation.
The idea behind NGL is to make it easier for lighting designers and specifiers to find LED lighting products that are worthy of specification. This means recognized products have to measure up on many fronts. NGL entries are evaluated by a panel drawn from the architectural lighting community and are judged on lighting quality (including color, illuminance, light distribution and glare), appearance, serviceability, efficacy, value and dimming.
Behind the scenes, NGL reviews all product documentation, including photometry, power quality and lumen maintenance projections. For the last several years, NGL requirements have become increasingly demanding, reflecting improvements in LED technology and product design — and the bar was raised even higher this year. “Recognition by the NGL judges is not given lightly,” says DOE Solid-State Lighting Program Manager Jim Brodrick. “So winning speaks volumes about a product.”
Judging and Results
A total of 156 products were proposed for submission to the 2013 NGL indoor competition. However, only 99 actually made it to the judging phase with market-ready samples and complete documentation (including luminaire and component specification sheets, LM-79 test reports, lumen maintenance projections, warranty statements, and marketing materials). These documents help make sure that actual performance matches what’s claimed, and this year, for the first time, they were submitted through DOE’s LED Lighting Facts® program, in order to reduce the entry effort and ensure consistency of data.
Using the facilities of Intelligent Lighting Creations in Arlington Heights, IL, all 99 products were judged over the course of two days in their characteristic installations, including varying mounting heights and ceiling conditions. The judges identified 28 products as Recognized, meaning that they were considered worthy of specification in the application for which they were designed. From the 28 recognized products, three were given the additional designation of Best in Class, meaning that they stood out significantly above the other recognized products in their category. Four additional products, which were not otherwise recognized, were designated by the judges as Notable for their ability to adjust color temperature in typical white-light applications.
The Best in Class winners came from three different manufacturers and covered three areas of lighting:
-Juno Lighting Group was selected for its Trac-Master T254L Cylindra™ track-mounted accent luminaire
-Digital Lumens for its XLE-3-10 Xpress high-bay industrial luminaire
In the “Recognized” category, Amerlux Global Lighting Solutions, Intense Lighting, Juno Lighting Group (three fixtures) and Journée Lighting earned praise for their track-mounted accent luminaires. Linear luminaires were also popular, with designs by Acuity Brands/Lithonia Lighting, Cooper Lighting, Cree LED Lighting, Finelite Inc., GE Lighting Solutions and Acuity Brands/Peerless Lighting (two fixtures) all receiving recognition for their linear pendants. A recessed linear luminaire by Axis Lighting and a surface-mounted linear fixture from Samjin LND rounded out this category.
Albeo Technologies/GE Lighting and Acuity Brands/Lithonia Lighting (two fixtures) were recognized for high- and low-bay industrial lighting, while Acuity Brands/Peerless Lighting was recognized for its grid ceiling fixture. Two undercabinet luminaires were recognized — one from Cooper Lighting and the other from Finelite Inc. — while Koncept Technologies Inc. received recognition for its personal task luminaire.
Amerlux Global Lighting Solutions was recognized for its wall-recessed indirect fixture, with Selux Corp. commended for its wall wash fixture and GE Lighting Solutions recognized for its utility luminaire.
The four additional entries that were designated by the judges as Notable for their color-adjusting capabilities included a healthcare luminaire from Visa Lighting, a grid ceiling panel from Samjin LND and two downlight families of color-dimming products from USAI Lighting.