In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy invited the top lighting designers and specifiers to a roundtable with a view of finding out how they approach different projects, and what products they would like manufacturers to focus on. The agency also sought to know if the professionals would appreciate a generalized lighting database that would be reviewed by independent parties in the mold of the DOE’s own LED Lighting Facts.
That last point was arguably the most important and suffice to say, the invited designers and specifiers did not disappoint. From that roundtable emerged a groundbreaking online platform that is primed to make it easier for lighting professionals to access, use and share relevant and credible information in regards to their line of work. In particular, lighting specifiers and designers will be able to perform custom searches for products from more than 1500 manufacturers and manage all their projects too. This platform is known as the LED Lighting Facts Specification Tool and was officially launched in 2016.
A key feature of the Tool is the customizable workspace that enables users to capture and save the details of all the products required in a given project and share the same with their colleagues. Some of the things users can do with this function include:
- Search (and filter) through the platform’s extensive database for information on desired products and save the results under a “favorites” tag where applicable.
- View the manufacturer’s contact details and give them direct feedback regarding their products.
- Create project fixture schedules and assign products to them.
- Create and assign tags to various products used in a project.
- Generate time-stamped notes to different products and projects, all of which will be accessible to other team members.
The lighting designers and specifiers who spoke at the DOE’s roundtable emphasized on the need for more driven data (specs, charts, sheets, etc.) and visuals (photos and videos) on different lighting products. They also desired a platform where they could effectively collaborate with their colleagues on aspects like creating project schedules and spec sheets and also communicate directly with manufacturers and suppliers.
After reviewing their appeals and finding them sensible, the DOE went to the drawing board and presented a beta version of the LED Lighting Facts at the 2016 LIGHTFAIR. After mostly positive reviews, the agency did some fine-tuning and launched the final version in November of the same year.
Notably, the Lighting Facts tool was designed to be highly dynamic and user friendly. To that effect, the product submission form underwent significant changes in March 2016 to make it more responsive and simple from both the manufacturers and user points of view. Additionally, the content submission processes were redesigned such that the tool would automatically update the featured information from standardized electronic files and reports instead of having it done manually. Consequently, the site receives 2000 new product submissions every month, which is tremendous considering some products, such as replacement lamps, are not featured.
The main goal of the Lighting Facts program is to avail as much data on lighting products as possible to industry stakeholders without adding a burden on manufacturers. The long term vision, however, is to make the data featured on the platform be as useful as possible to relevant users. It is for this reason that the Lighting Facts database mostly shows data relevant to the market at any particular moment. For instance, more than 40% of the data you’ll find therein was entered within the last 12-month period relative to your time of access.
Has the Lighting Facts project been a success? The answer is a resounding yes. For one, it doubled its database size within the first 2 years of going live as a result of many manufacturers buying into the idea. As a matter of fact, the tool has grown to become the unofficial way for manufacturers of lighting products to put themselves forward for the Next Generation Luminaries Design Competition, which is run by the DOE.
Simply put, the Lighting Facts database is the most extensive and useful in the global lighting industry and has opened lots of people’s eyes to new LED lighting solutions. The fact that the tool is free, fast, and readily available to all Lighting Pro Partners around the world only serves to make it more popular.
Referece: LD+A Magazine | February 2017 – ‘LED Watch’