The California Energy Commission (CEC) is establishing a new requirement to color quality in the LED industry, under Title 20, which already regulates efficiency in performance of electrical appliances, including LED lighting and lighting appliances. The CEC regulates chromaticity, color rendering, light distribution, product life, and power factor. The possible new regulations regarding color quality apply to the next generation of consumer LED Solid-State Lighting products, specifically general-service A-lamps and small directional lamps, with the intent to ensure that consumers will not be misled in a race to the bottom by manufacturers who are apt to cut quality lighting for higher lumens and cost-efficiency.
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) measures the level of perception and quality of color rendered under different lighting exposures. CRI is determined by the spectrum of a light source, the higher the CRI, the wider the range– and therefore the clarity– of color is achieved.
CEC is looking to make a CRI of 90 the standard for future LED consumer products, guaranteeing that color quality will not be dismissed or over-looked in an effort to meet higher lumens with lower production costs. Currently, LED products on the market fall around an average of 72 CRI. The highest possible CRI value is 100 (daylight), and HIZASHI‘s LED Light Bulbs already sit at 90+ CRI– above the household standard– delivering the highest standard of color rendering on the consumer market.
The importance of higher color rendering is substantial. Flesh tones, foods, woods, fabrics, medical facilities, and exhibited art all heavily rely on long red wavelengths, the end of the visible color spectrum that will be muted and diminished in lower CRIs. But the controversy falls on whether or not all lamps should be required to reach these high CRI levels, when not all bulbs are used in settings where CRI is most appreciated: hallways, stairwells, and storage facilities may not need True Color (90+) vibrancy, and therefore the consumer cost of those bulbs becomes superfluous.