L-Prize Update: Prototype Phase Open

December 19, 2022 | By: Owen Kavanagh

The second stage of the United States Department of Energy’s Lighting Prize (or L-Prize) competition opened on Jun. 30, 2022. The intent to submit deadline is Jan. 13, 2023, with the final submission deadline being May 1 at 5PM. Winners of the protype phase will be announced in July of 2023, and up to six winners will receive awards from a $2,000,000 prize pool.

The prototype phase (and phase three) of the L-Prize will feature two tracks, luminaire and connected systems. Competitors may submit to one track or the other, or separately to both. The DOE will each track submission independently. Winners will be selected based on efficacy, quality of light, connectivity, and product life cycle. In all cycles, extra points will be awarded to entrants based on performance exceeding contest requirements by the contest’s Expert Reviewer Panel.

The L-Prize

The L-Prize is a contest held by the US DOE to encourage innovation in the lighting industry. The previous L-Prize competition held in 2011 was won by Philips 940 lumen, 10-watt LED bulb. The DOE began a new L-Prize competition in 2021 with three main phases.

  • Phase 1: Concept – The first phase of the 2021 L-Prize competition rewards concept systems that meet energy efficiency, lighting quality, connectivity, and product life cycle requirements that exceed currently available commercial products. Up to 10 entrants win $20,000 for their designs. Four groups won.
  • Phase 2: Prototypes – The second phase of the L-Prize competition seeks technological innovations through product prototypes. Entrants are encouraged to think outside the box and look at novel forms and materials in their designs. Phase 2 has a $2,000,000 prize pool for up to 3 winners. Phase 2 is anticipated to open Feb. 15, 2022, with an anticipated deadline of Dec. 15, 2022. Phase 2 winners will be announced Feb. 2023.
  • Phase 3: Manufacturing & Installation – The third and final phase of the L-Prize competition rewards entrants based on U.S. manufacturing, installations, and additional life cycle and operation considerations. Phase 3 will award up to two entrants from a $10,000,000 prize pool.

Luminaire Track Requirements

The requirements of the Luminaire (a complete electric light unit or fixture) track requirements are broken into efficacy, quality of light, connectivity, life cycle, technical innovation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Extra points will be awarded based on exceeding efficacy requirements. The quality of light requirements are chromaticity (color quality), dimming range, glare control, spectral power data, color rendition (extra points available), flicker (extra points available), and the how white-tunable the luminaire is (option/points only). Connectivity requires standards-based digital drivers (software integration), and standards-based sensor port and connectors (sensor integration).

The requirements for product life cycles involve driver lifetime, chromaticity maintenance, lumen maintenance (extra points available), circular design (points available), and the optional category materials and sustainability innovation (extra points only). Technical innovations are optional and only award extra points in application efficiency, form factor and aesthetics, and value proposition and cost. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion considerations only award extra points as well, and are based on DEI plans and protocols, DEI gaps and opportunities, and DEI deployment and application.

Connected System Track Requirements

The requirements of the Connected System track requirements are broken into connectivity, life cycle, technical innovation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Requirements in the connectivity section are standards-based luminaire or system controllers, interoperability, addressability, energy reporting, lighting control strategies, system resilience (with extra points available), fault detection and diagnostics (extra points available), and grid services capable (extra points available).

Product life cycle requirements give extra points based on the life cycle and sustainability innovations of the connected lighting system. The technical innovation requirements of this track award extra points based on technical innovation, ease of installation and use, compatibility and interoperability and, value proposition and cost. Extra points can also be earned through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion considerations, specifically around DEI plans and protocols, addressing gaps and opportunities, and deployment and application.

What to Watch, and Where

To learn more about the ongoing prototype phase of the L-Prize competition, you can read the full Prototype Phase rules and Manufacturing and Installation Phase Draft Rules at this link (amercianmadechallenges.org). This ruleset was originally released June 30, 2022, and these rules were updated on September 1, 2022. The breakdown of the Luminaire Track point scoring can be viewed at this link (herox.com). The Connected System track’s point breakdown can be viewed at this link (herox.com). Public comment on the rules of the third and final phase, the Manufacturing and Installation Phase, will close on January 13, 2023. Submit your comments using this form (herox.com). Follow the L-Prize updates page for immediate information on the Prototype Phase and third phase of the L-Prize contest, and join us right here on CRE Insight Journal for more information on lighting in CRE!

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