With the market for LED lighting products in a major expansion phase as more buildings and public spaces undertake energy-efficient lighting upgrades, the Lighting Council of Australia has responded to concerns some products may not meet Australian electrical safety standards by releasing a guide to assessing LEDs and LED suppliers for commercial users.
“While the technology has developed rapidly in recent times and there is now excellent product available, the fact remains that there are many sub-standard LEDs in the Australian market,” Lighting Council of Australia chief executive Bryan Douglas said.
“Sadly there are also many sub-standard suppliers peddling LED wares who know little and care less about Australia’s regulatory environment for lighting products. There are also many products in the market which fail to meet the performance claims of their suppliers.”
The guide includes checklists, resources and specific technical advice for assessing the safety and performance specifications of LED luminaries, and also their compatibility with components, warranty and installation.
Electrical safety is a key area of concern with substandard LED products, so the safety section provides specific details of which Australian Standards apply, what the registration requirements are under the new Electrical Equipment Safety Scheme, and how to check product certification.
The first step the guide recommends is checking the registration of the supplier and external LED driver at the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council website.
The performance section explains how to verify power consumption, light output and effectiveness, and details some of the key testing methodologies and the associated certifications. It also explains key aspects users should consider such as longevity, colour temperature and colour rendering index.
The section on component compatibility provides information on assessing whether the LED will work with components such as dimmers. There is a cautionary note that using incompatible luminaires with dimmers can cause failures or fires.
The LCA has also developed a voluntary labelling scheme to verify manufacturer product claims. The Solid State Lighting Quality Scheme includes product labels that show energy efficiency, light output, colour temperature, colour rendering index and dimmability. All products are also registered in a database at the LCA website.
Another verification source is a state government rebate scheme, such as the New South Wales and Victorian state governments’ energy efficiency schemes. All luminaries registered as approved under the schemes have their product testing scrutinised.