Aug 15, 2016

In his August “LED Watch” column in LD+A, James Brodrick discusses how accurate product comparisons for color tunable LED luminaires can a challenge for specifiers. An excerpt follows:

The appearance on the market of an increasing number of color-tunable LED lighting products underscores the innovative, game-changing potential of solid-state lighting. But it also illustrates some of the complexities that can come into play when new wrinkles are added to any technology. The wide variety of approaches different manufacturers use to achieve color tuning creates challenges for testing, controlling and specifying such products. Specifying them rests on the ability to make accurate product comparisons, but reporting performance values for color-tunable products is much more complicated than it is for other LED product categories. Indeed, the range of possibilities makes it more challenging to measure and communicate performance, and the standardized test procedures for these products only give you a snapshot of their performance, not the full range of their capabilities.

A U.S. Department of Energy study highlights a number of issues that make specifying these products particularly challenging. What follows are some guidance for manufacturers and specifiers, based on this study and other sources.

One problem is that relevant information may be missing from the product cut sheet. The following list outlines some of the information specifiers need but that’s not always provided:


Guidelines for performance testing and reporting of color-tunable luminaires have not yet been established by the industry. In the interim, manufacturers may consider providing the following data for the minimum, mid-range and maximum CCT settings:

Sample table of product performance data for color-tunable luminaires. (Does not represent actual products.)
Sample table of product performance data for color-tunable luminaires. (Does not represent actual products.)

Avoiding the problems listed above will result in more satisfied specifiers, clients, and users of color-tunable LED lighting products. It’s incumbent on the manufacturer to provide product literature and specification support that makes the process easier. For more information on color-tunable LED lighting products, visit

August 2016


James Brodrick

James Brodrick

James Brodrick is the manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Lighting program, directing solicitations, portfolio management, strategic planning, and quality performance. Drawing on extensive technical knowledge, Dr. Brodrick has designed a comprehensive DOE national strategy... More info »