There once was a time when lighting industry experts hoped that one day we would get LED-powered light bulbs with an efficiency of 100 lumens per watt, that was the hoop dream. Following on their bleeding edge 152 lumen per watt lamp from last year, Cree has upped the ante once again with a new light bulb that bests it with 170 lumen per watt!
Now you may be thinking, we already have LEDs that perform up and over 160 lumens per watt but the efficiency that Cree is touting is delivering 170 lumens for every watt of power from the wall, after the driver and power losses are considered. The new 170lpw lamp uses seven watts of Cree TrueWhite technology to get a light output with a Kelvin temperature of 2800 Kelvin and a color rendition over 92. Now this particular lamp would look awful over any kind of reef tank, heck it may even be too yellow for some freshwater aquarists but this proof of concept hints at an exciting future of really efficient lamps, for our homes and our fish and corals.
For now aquarium LED lighting manufacturers are focused with making good looking fixtures and spotlights with a balance of performance and value, with a degree of controllability and sometimes with a thunderstorm mode thrown in for good measure. However, it’s only a matter of time before “lumens per watt” becomes an industry standard at which point the arms race to build the most efficient aquarium LED light will be on, like a branching green frog spawn. [Cree]