Lighting accounts for 20 percent of the nation's energy use. The U.S. Department of Energy selected PNNL to build the Lumen Maintenance Test Facility to test next generation light bulbs received in response to the PNNL designed and managed DOE Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize, or L Prize, competition. The competition spurs the development of new, ultra-efficient lighting products to replace common light sources. The goal is to realize significant lighting energy savings through widespread adoption of the technological and product innovations developed in response to the competition.
The Lumen Maintenance Test Facility has two automated light bulb test apparatuses able to test over 200 light bulbs each. A fully automated measurement system designed and built by PNNL measures energy use, light output, and light color over an extended period of time in a temperature controlled environment. The light bulbs developed by the lighting industry in response to the L-Prize competition, and tested at PNNL, were able to generate the same amount of light as a 60watt incandescent light bulb using less than 10watts. According to the Department of Energy, the nation could save $3.9 billion if every 60W incandescent bulb in the U.S. were replaced with an LED bulb. In addition, PNNL testing has demonstrated a service life of over 35,000 hours. By contrast, incandescent bulbs typically burn for 750 to 1,000 hours before burning out.