TM-30-15: a cowardly response from NEMA

NEMA, representing the big lighting manufacturers, issued its response to the IES’s TM-30-15 proposed standard, and I’m frustrated by their position.  It’s classic corporate sandbagging — the legacy lamp manufacturers are clearly trying defeat any new standard, just like they’ve done to every previous proposal to replace the classic CRI Ra measurement.

The reason is pretty blatantly expressed in the NEMA position paper:  They fear that a new quality metric will soon become a mandatory quality standard for many government codes, rebate programs, etc.

OMG!  Someone might try to protect the customer!  The horror of it!

Let me express my position clearly:  I’m personally in favor of governments and energy programs setting aggressive quality standards, especially in consumer products.  Consumers don’t have the foggiest idea about how to pick lighting quality…if we want to drive adoption of new technologies, the industry must be forced to adhere to high quality standards that compete effectively with the clear, unambiguous standard set by legacy incandescent sources.  Compact fluorescent lamps were not held to quality standards, and the results for the industry were disastrous.  For the few consumers that did buy CFL, did anyone ever actually like the sub-par quality of consumer-grade CFL?  And now NEMA wants to repeat the same damn mistake.

A more stringent color metric is exactly what manufacturers need to differentiate on quality.  The irony here is that the lighting manufacturers are trying to torpedo the key thing needed to foster real price differentiation on quality…they are defeating their own intentions because they selfishly want to control the quality levels marketed to the industry.

A new quality metric is desperately needed by specifiers, end users and consumers.  The customers must force their hands.  I strongly urge the IALD to step up and take a clear position on TM-30-15 (and I hope this will be in clear support of the IES’s position!).  Maybe a clear call to action from a major customer association will be the wake-up call the lighting manufacturers need.