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Over 200 business owners and managers were asked: ” Do you believe there is sufficient standardization in the LED bulb industry (ENERGY STAR, etc)?” in a recent poll. Less than a quarter responded that standards were sufficient, while the majority (31.5%) were not sure if standards were sufficient. 20.3% believe standards are insufficient.
Since the answer phrase specified “…enough to distinguish quality” these results tend to imply that standards should include quality of light. The poll reinforces a call for a higher standard in design and manufacturing, including quality of light, as first suggested by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). “This is the goal: lighting quality, achieving the optimum balance of the practical and the aesthetic issues of the built environment. Quality of light is essential to the quality of life.” 
The new California Quality Specification takes the view that there needs to be a standard for quality. We discussed the California Specification in a previous blog post, What is going on in California: Does the “California Quality” Specification ignore energy efficiency?
This new poll indicates that an added quality standard will be of value to business owners and managers in choosing an LED bulb. The California Quality Specification takes the view that energy efficiency in LED bulbs is a given–especially under the standards enforced by ENERGY STAR–and that customers place higher value on performance and quality. Business owners in this poll tend to align with this view.
Our latest poll, put to a randomized panel of non-Leapfrog Lighting customers, was compiled by an independent research group. Across all the cohorts of the study—by gender, region, income-level and status as business owner or manager—the responses were consistent, with some notable differences.
“We undertook this study, in part, to verify our assumption that business owners and managers value standards and also quality of light,” explained Stephen Naor, CEO of Leapfrog Lighting, a manufacturer of spec-quality LED lighting designed specifically for business applications.
The poll indicated that only 22.5% of business owners and managers believe current standards are sufficient. Another 25.8% gave a qualified thumbs up to the current standards, but indicated that “more standards are desirable.” A slight majority of respondents were uncertain or did not believe the standards were sufficient—a combined total of 51.8%.
Notably, in the new poll, there is minimal deviation between the opinion of business owners and business managers, although business managers were more likely to answer “no”, indicating insufficient standards.
“Quality standards would go a long way to reassuring business owners that energy-saving LEDs can deliver sophisticated lighting solutions in terms of glare, light distribution, and color,” said Mr. Naor of Leapfrog Lighting. “Until there are universal standards that include quality of light, business owners and managers will likely tend to acquire spec-quality bulbs—the bulbs specified by architects and designers.”
In the poll, there were some deviations in opinion when segmented by age, with 55-64 year-olds most likely to be “uncertain” of standards, at 65%. 35-44 year-olds were the most likely to answer “no” to sufficient standards, while the youngest cohort, 18-24 year-olds were the most likely to be satisfied with the current standards.
Lifestyle or urban density was also a factor, with rural business owners and managers most likely to be uncertain of sufficient standards, at 47.6%. Suburban business owners and managers were more likely to answer affirmatively to current standards (24.7%) or “yes, but more standards desirable” (33.3%). Urban were most likely to indicate standards were insufficient at 26.1%.
LED lighting standards continue to evolve, and currently include ENERGY STAR qualification—which focuses on energy costs and other economic factors such as durability—and the standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), known as standard LM-79. There are also voluntary standards, including a notable one from the California, the Voluntary California Quality LED Lamp Specification.
The blind, randomized poll included the opinions of over 200 business owners and managers, with data collected by a research company on behalf of Leapfrog Lighting.
The poll is considered statistically accurate, subject to an error rate of 3.92%. It was conducted as a random sampling of business owners. 2372 responses to the poll were collected. The poll had an average absolute error rate of 3.92 and a confidence level exceeding 95%.
 Quality of Light is Essential to Quality of Life, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) http://www.ies.org/PDF/Education/Qual_Light_nospread.pdf