Jul 28, 2021

Ecodesign Directive. No Fear Here.

Category: Illumination

The European Union’s approach to reducing carbon emissions includes a characteristically methodical and far-reaching program of energy efficiency legislation. Within the framework of the ‘Ecodesign’ directive, the program’s impact is now being felt in the lighting industry as the new Single Lighting Regulation comes into force. This regulation substantially broadens the coverage of EU law to affect almost all types of lamps, to which it applies strict new efficiency requirements. Alongside it are new information requirements for light sources and control gear under the Energy Labeling Regulation.

So, the question of how best to comply with the new regulation is high on the industry’s agenda.

Now Lumileds is stretching out a helping hand, providing comprehensive information alongside its LED products to facilitate manufacturers’ own compliance efforts, and with some products entirely removing the burden of compliance from the shoulders of the fixture manufacturer.

Let’s look at what the new regulation means for manufacturers and how Lumileds helps.

New rules for white light emitters

With the Single Lighting Regulation, the EU has found a way to apply efficiency targets to almost all types of white light luminaires. Whereas before, EU regulations set efficiency targets for specified types of lamps (that is, end products), now the targets are applied a level down, to the ‘light-emitting part’ of the fixture, regardless of which type of luminaire it is.

The regulation includes a definition of the term ‘light source’: it is the smallest unit in the luminaire which can be removed for verification. And the regulation applies solely to white light emitters – light sources that only produce non-white colors are exempt.

In practice, a light source is the PCB on which the unit’s LEDs are mounted, an integrated LED module, or a CoB LED. An individual LED chip or die is not a light source for the purposes of the regulation.

The regulation specifies a minimum requirement for efficacy, of course, since the regulation is part of the EU’s response to climate change. But there is far more to the regulation than efficiency – it specifies standards for color rendering, color consistency, flicker, lumen maintenance, and many other parameters. It has also introduced a new principle that the light source should be replaceable – a nod to the EU’s growing commitment to the idea of the circular economy.

These requirements can all be readily met when using the latest LEDs from a reputable supplier such as Lumileds. Nevertheless, the time and effort involved in testing, validating, and documenting a light source before releasing a lighting product to the market are considerable. So what can be done to reduce the burden of compliance?

Compliance: someone else’s problem?

The Single Lighting Regulation is in force as of September 1, 2021. From that date, any lighting fixture put on the market in the EU – that is, shipped to a distributor, retailer, or directly to a customer – must have a compliant light source and be correctly labeled according to the Energy Labeling Regulation.

But the fixture manufacturer is not obliged itself to build, test and validate the light source in its products: it can avoid all the effort and expense entailed in compliance by using a pre-certified light source supplied by a third party.

For example, Lumileds standard, off-the-shelf CoBs comply with the Single Lighting Regulation. Similarly, Lumileds customers can choose solutions from Lumileds’ Matrix Platform. Matrix modules – which count as the light source in a fixture – are also supplied pre-certified for compliance with the regulation.

Regulatory information about LED chips

For manufacturers that need the flexibility to create their own light source from packaged Lumileds LEDs, a dedicated technical data page for each product family is available on the Lumileds website. This new EU Ecodesign Tool provides product information to support manufacturers when they design, test, and validate products for compliance with the Single Lighting Regulation. Users may search the database by part number or by keyword.

So whichever approach a manufacturer takes to designing and building end products, help is at hand either to do all the compliance legwork on the manufacturer’s behalf or provide supporting information to reduce the time and effort involved in certifying a light source. There’s no fear here.