New CALiPER Snapshot on LED Downlights

June 29, 2016

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DOE’s CALiPER program has released a new Snapshot report on LED downlights. Among the key findings of the new Snapshot, which is based on DOE's LED Lighting Facts® database: 

  • Across all products listed with LED Lighting Facts, average efficacy gains continue to track at about 10 lm/W per year.
  • The efficacy of LED downlights is lower than that of most of the LED luminaire types but higher than that of downlights using conventional sources. The mean efficacy for LED downlights has increased by just 8 lm/W over the past 20 months.
  • Most of the listed LED downlights fall into traditional lumen-output ranges for residential and commercial applications, but a wide variety of performance is available.
  • In contrast with other LED luminaires, the mean input power has dropped for LED downlights over the past five years, and the mean output has only increased slightly.
  • LED downlights tend to offer better color fidelity than other LED product types, with 38% offering a CRI greater than 90.

The lower performance of LED downlights relative to other luminaires is at least partly due to different optical requirements in downlights, but the relatively low performance of conventional halogen and CFL downlights provides less incentive for continued efficacy gains in LED downlights, compared to luminaire types competing against linear fluorescent or high-intensity discharge incumbents.