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Shedding Light on New Standards and Data Requirement for Testing & Certification of Horticultural LEDs

As the farming industry is making the shift from traditional farming methods to commercial greenhouse operations and vertical farming, the rising operating costs – mostly due to increased electricity requirements for the necessary lighting – continues to be a challenge. One potential solution is the use of LED lighting. However, LED lighting must meet key performance and safety standards and the technical requirements for horticultural applications are more extensive than those for general applications.

As standards continue to evolve in response to advancing technologies, those available for horticultural LEDs are no different. As the standards emerge, so too does requirements for new data and LM-80-15 is the perfect example. LM-80 is the standard by the Illuminating Engineering Society that outlines the approved testing method for lumen maintenance measurement. Lumen maintenance is the comparison of the amount of light produced from a light source when it is new to the amount of light output at a specific time in the future. This measurement data will be a requirement for testing to an important upcoming standard from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Recognized worldwide as a standards developing organization for food, agricultural, and biological systems, ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. With more than 260 standards currently in publication, they added to this number in 2017 with the publishing of the first in a three-part series of standards relating to LED radiation measurements for plant growth and development. This document – ANSI/ASABE S640 Quantities and Units of Electromagnetic Radiation for Plants (Photosynthetic Organisms) sets the stage with definitions and descriptions of metrics for plant growth and development. Building on this foundation, the next two standards will focus on measurement and testing of LED products for plant growth and performance criteria for LED systems used in horticulture.

So what does this mean for manufacturers of horticultural LEDs?

In simple terms, it means that it is more important than ever that you seek testing and certification services that are “one-stop”, meaning they understand new and upcoming standards, required data, and can offer a range of required testing at both the component and fully assembled product levels.

CSA Group is here to help. We have a long history of expertise in both standards and testing for lighting. We understand the sweeping changes that impact the industry and the critical importance of meeting demanding requirements for safety and energy efficiency. We are leading the market in the development of standards in lighting products that help ensure consumer safety, as well as operability, efficiency, reliability, and performance of the electrical system.  Our testing & certification programs have include testing to CSA, UL/ANSI ENERGY STAR, CEC, and other North American regulations. Together with our expertise in standards development, we can respond to evolving market needs quickly and efficiently, to help ensure that new products can reach your target markets and that conformity assessment does not impede the introduction and adoption of new technologies.

In more technical terms, we can test at any point in the horticultural testing process. At the component level, we can test monochromatic LEDs commonly used in horticultural applications as well as useful life per LM-80-15, data required for the upcoming ASABE standard as previously noted. We can also test Wet High-Temperature Operation Life (WHTOL) and High-Temperature Operation Life (HTOL), as well as radiometric and Umole characterization.  With regards to fully assembled products for use in horticultural applications, our testing capabilities include  Horticultural Gantry System (HGS) testing to find PAR, Planar Photon Flux Uniformity, PPF Efficacy, & Yield Photon Flux Efficacy, nearfield application distance specific .ies files, and integrating sphere measurement with horticulturally converted data (Photon Flux, PAR, etc).