By Srabani Sen
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the global leader in product safety testing and certification, has recently introduced a new level of credibility to the booming Indian LED lighting market, which was worth US$ 73.3 million in 2010, and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 45.5 per cent through 2014, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Acting on the request of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), UL has opened a dedicated energy efficiency testing laboratory at Manesar, Gurgaon. This is the first of its kind in India, and will provide energy efficiency and performance testing for Indian manufacturers in line with the Star labelling programme of BEE. “With the rising awareness about energy efficiency regulations and strict government norms, there is an increased need to check and validate the claims made by electrical companies. This lab has been set up in response to such a demand,” says Sajeev Jesudas, president, UL Verification Services.
The Lab has state of art equipment, which includes type C lighting goniophotometer, thermostatic integrating sphere, precession power meters, high bandwidth digital storage oscilloscope and data acquisition system. All devices are fully automatic with recording and analysis of test results and data. This is the first third party independent laboratory for testing LED based lighting products. This enhances the energy efficiency and performance in indoor and outdoor lighting, and helps to ensure accurate photometric, spectroradiometric and colorimetric parameters measurement.
The 1672.25 sq m (18,000 sq ft) lab, developed with an investment of US$ 2.2 million, will help manufacturers in the LED lighting, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industries to develop and test energy efficient and safer products. The lab’s facilities are in line with the standards and labelling programme of BEE.
Since the tests are not mandatory, will UL be able to recover its investment in the lab? Commenting on this, Sajeev Jesudas, says, “The expanding Indian economy is fuelling rapid growth in energy use, calling for an increase in generation capacity along with efforts to conserve energy. Energy efficient appliances and products are key to optimising the available energy resources. UL’s investment in the energy efficiency lab is testimony to our support of the government efforts in safe guarding our environment while enabling economic growth.” He said that demand for these tests will increase as competition increases among the players.
When asked about the need for such a testing lab, RA Venkitachalam, vice president and managing director, UL, says, “Every unit of energy saved equals a unit produced, especially in India where power requirements are growing rapidly. The lab is a part of UL’s contribution to a more energy efficient India and we are delighted to partner with BEE in this regard.”
Dr Ajay Mathur, director general, BEE, who inaugurated the lab, said that standards are important to ensure that products maintain a high quality and that their performance parameters are specified accurately to both end consumers and those in the trade. “These standards detail the colour specifications of LED lamps and LED light fixtures, and the test methods that manufacturers should use when testing these products for total light output, energy consumption and chromaticity,” he says. The Bureau of Indian Standards is expected to introduce standards for LEDs soon.