ENERGY FACT: WORSHIP FACILITIES USING THE EPA’S PORTFOLIO MANAGER TOOL
TO TRACK ENERGY HAVE AN AVERAGE ENERGY STAR SCORE OF 50.
caught up to LED ( 30,000-40,000 hours
vs. 50,000-plus for LEDs), but they’re
moving in the right direction.
“OLED technology is still several years
behind regular LEDs, so a lot of the
things people are struggling with now
were solved for LEDs years ago,” Biery
adds. “However, the technology is rapidly
improving. A lot of that has to do with the
DOE – they’re pouring research and development dollars into incentivizing manufacturers to invest in better technologies
and equipment. OLEDs are still a few
years out from mass commercial adoption,
Ready to take the plunge and try out an
OLED fixture in your facility? Take these
tips into consideration as you compare
1) Don’t neglect electronics. “A lot of
the focus right now is on the neat things
OLED can do, but it all comes back to
the driver behind it,” Biery says. “If you
don’t have the right driver, the control,
system can vary. The driver is like the
transmission of the car – it makes sure
everything else is working. If you don’t
have that, the fixture is going to fail.”
2) Make sure your fixtures are sealed
properly. The organic materials in
OLEDs are more susceptible to environmental contamination and moisture than
LEDs, Biery explains.
Without proper sealing, these contami-
nants can degrade OLED components, so
make sure to evaluate potential purchases
to ensure good manufacturing practices.
3) Evaluate OLEDs just like any oth-
er light source. “Today, there are really
no technical challenges for using OLEDs.
It’s a cost budgeting consideration,” says
Wang. “In terms of installation, they’re
no different than other lighting products,
and the drivers are basically identical to
Adds Biery, “The questions to ask an
OLED vendor are the same ones you’d ask
a regular vendor – you’ll want to know
about performance and warranty.”
Janelle Penny janelle.penny@buildings.
com is senior editor of BUILDINGS.
Trumpeted as a solution for
high-end TVs, OLED (organic
light-emitting diode) technology
is beginning to emerge as a viable lighting
alternative for commercial applications.
The same properties that make it desir-
able for luxury flat-screen televisions
– namely, its brightness and super-slim
form factor – show promise for lighting
Indeed, lighting manufacturers are
starting to wade into the OLED market,
with Acuity Brands and Philips Lighting
each releasing thin OLED fixtures within
the last year.
OLED vs. LED
Both technologies are classified as
solid-state lighting, a type of lighting
system that relies on semiconductors that
convert electricity into light rather than
filaments or gases encased in glass bulbs.
However, the similarities end there.
Differences in the materials and manufacturing processes used to make the two
light sources lead to differing characteristics in the finished products.
“One of the main distinguishing characteristics of an LED is that it’s a point
source, which makes it a good choice
for directional applications. However, if
you were to look directly at the diodes,
they’re extremely bright – maybe up to
1 million candelas per square meter,”
explains Jeannine Wang, director of
business development for Acuity Brands’
OLED Business Group. “In order to be
able to use the light in a useful fashion,
glare control is a big consideration. You
OLEDs, on the other hand, are thin
sheets (less than 2 mm thick). Light is
produced by the whole sheet instead
of by a diode, but the light is less bright
than that of an LED, so it’s comfortable to
view directly without the aid of a diffuser
or other optics.
The thinness of the finished product
is increasingly leading manufacturers to
high-end architectural fixtures and task
lights – in other words, “following the
same path LED did before it,” says Ethan
Biery, LED engineering leader for Lutron.
Lifetimes for OLED haven’t quite
OLED Lighting: Switch Now or Wait?
THE FLEXIBILITY AND THINNESS of OLED sheets are helping establish the technology’s place in
the TV market, but lighting manufacturers are now using those same properties to create high-end
architectural fixtures and task lamps.