DOE Releases Report on SSL Adoption in Museums – Selection Process Confusing

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new GATEWAY report that summarizes the results of a survey regarding conversions to solid-state lighting in museums. The survey was sent to members of the museum community who had requested a copy of “The Guidelines for Assessing Solid-State Lighting for Museums,” the pivotal resource co-authored by Jim Druzik and Stefan Michalski in 2011.

Among the results:

  • From “almost none” in 2009, LED is now the principal lighting type in 40% of museum workplaces, versus 51% for incandescent, 13% for compact fluorescent, 11% for linear fluorescent, and 22% for “other,” which includes metal halide, halogen, and daylight.
  • Of those using LED, 71% indicated that they would consider and implement another LED installation, 32% already had, and only 6% would not.
  • Main considerations in lamp selection included color, spectral power distribution (SPD), and damage potential, with lamp efficacy, initial cost, and form factor following.
  • While 75% of respondents experienced early LED product failures, the maximum failure rate reported was only 2.5% of the installed lamps or fixtures.
  • Perceived barriers to adoption included potential high cost; a selection process made confusing by the variety of products and rapid technology advances; resistance to change; and technology limitations, such as poor dimming performance.
  • In color evaluation, almost all respondents considered color rendering index, with target values greater than 85; two-thirds considered correlated color temperature (CCT), with target values between 2700 and 3000 K; and 60% evaluated the light source SPD.

Although the energy savings from LED conversion are well known, lower damage potential to artwork and sensitive artifacts and increased possibility for controls are other incentives for museum adoption. In general, white LEDs pose no special issues in color rendering or increased damage potential for works of art, compared to an equivalent CCT halogen or fluorescent source. Lighting controls can increase energy savings and would enable the museum lighting designer to specify lighting exposure (illuminance, spectrum, time) to minimize damage while providing optimal viewing conditions.

The report is available for download at To learn more about the DOE GATEWAY demonstration program, visit

13 Jan