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Troy, N.Y. -  6/14/2011

LRC's ASSIST Recommendations Provide New Methods for Evaluating Street and Roadway Lighting, Estimating Discomfort Glare

Outdoor lightingOutdoor lighting is a critical component for communities because it can provide visibility, promote a sense of security, deter crime and attract economic activity. Its selection and implementation have to be carefully considered, however, to optimize energy efficiency while minimizing undesirable effects, such as glare. Because new light source technologies promising greater efficiency are now coming to market for outdoor lighting applications, including LEDs and induction lamps, municipalities and businesses are re-evaluating what type of lighting works best outdoors.

To help specifiers and decision makers evaluate their choices in outdoor lighting, the Alliance for Solid-State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST) has published two new volumes in its ASSIST recommends series. The two issues—“Recommendations for Evaluating Street and Roadway Luminaires” and “A Method for Estimating Discomfort Glare from Exterior Lighting Systems”—offer new calculation methods for estimating efficacy and discomfort glare, respectively, from luminaires used outdoors.
With these two new publications, ASSIST continues its goal of helping LED technology improve and gain ground in the lighting market, said Nadarajah Narendran, Ph.D., ASSIST organizer and director of research at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Over the past 10 years, the LED and lighting industries’ leading stakeholders—through ASSIST—have been working with the LRC to identify barriers and overcome them,” said Dr. Narendran. “Through their active participation, these studies are being carried out to develop methods and recommendations for lighting decision makers.”
The two new ASSIST recommends are available for free download from the ASSIST web site:
Recommendations for Evaluating Street and Roadway Luminaires
In 2009, ASSIST published an alternative method for evaluating outdoor luminaires designed for parking lot lighting. The ASSIST metric, called luminaire system application efficacy (LSAE), is based on the concept of application efficacy in which efficacy is measured by the amount of luminous flux reaching the task plane that meets the application’s photometric requirements rather than all the lumens exiting the luminaire. For a parking lot luminaire, this meant counting the lumens reaching the parking lot ground that conformed to recommended illuminance and uniformity guidelines, and discounting everything falling outside the application area or not conforming to photometric requirements. This new volume of ASSIST recommends extends the parking lot LSAE metric to street and roadway luminaires.
As with the parking lot lighting metric, the adaptation of LSAE to luminaires for street and roadway lighting allows for all light source technologies to be compared on the same basis. The requirements for illuminance, luminance, uniformity and glare correspond to those recommended in RP-08-00, the IES’s American National Standard Practice for Roadway Lighting; however, other preset criteria could be substituted for the RP-08-00 requirements, noted Jean Paul Freyssinier, LRC research scientist and lead author of the ASSIST volume.
The calculation involves defining the task plane (i.e., a segment of the roadway area), setting the pole spacing and luminaire mounting height, determining the illuminance criteria for the given application (based on the roadway type and pavement classification), and then counting the illuminance in each cell of a grid placed over the task plane. Cells with illuminance values outside the pre-determined criteria are penalized in the final efficacy calculation.
“In general, LSAE provides a good correlation to lighting power density and can be used to rank order individual luminaires all the way up to a complete installation,” said Freyssinier.
A detailed description of ASSIST’s street and roadway luminaire evaluation method can be found online:
Recommendations for Estimating Discomfort Glare
Because outdoor lighting is utilized at relatively low light levels and because outdoor lighting equipment (e.g., lamps and luminaires) tends to be relatively bright, there is a substantial potential for discomfort glare in outdoor lighting applications. This volume of ASSIST recommends describes a calculation method for predicting discomfort glare from outdoor lighting systems, based on an existing rating scale and a published discomfort glare model.
Discomfort glare is defined as the annoying or even painful sensation from viewing a bright light, whereas disability glare is the reduction in visibility that a bright light might cause. “Disability glare and its mechanisms have been well understood for a long time, but discomfort glare is something less well known and no accurate method of measurement or prediction has existed,” said LRC senior research scientist John Bullough, Ph.D., lead author of the ASSIST volume. Current assessments typically use a subjective rating scale developed in the 1960s, called the De Boer rating scale. Recent LRC research has shown that De Boer ratings of discomfort glare are much more strongly related to the glare source’s illuminance than to its luminance. With this finding, the LRC published a model of discomfort glare in 2008 as part of an outdoor site-lighting performance system for assessing the potential of an outdoor lighting installation to produce light pollution.
The ASSIST calculation method is an extension of this model that incorporates the source luminance, resulting in improved predictions of the De Boer rating for a given lighting system.
A detailed description of ASSIST’s discomfort glare calculation method can be found online:
The Alliance for Solid-State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST) was established in 2002 by the Lighting Research Center as a collaboration among researchers, manufacturers, and government organizations. ASSIST’s mission is to facilitate broad adoption of solid-state lighting by helping to reduce major technical and market barriers. The Lighting Research Center conducts research, demonstration, and educational activities on behalf of ASSIST. ASSIST is sponsored by Acuity Brands Lighting; Amerlux Global Lighting Solutions; Bridgelux; China Solid State Lighting Alliance; Cree; Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd.; Federal Aviation Administration; GE Lighting Solutions; ITRI, Industrial Technology Research Institute; Intematix Corp.; LG Electronics; LG Innotek; Lighting Science Group; Lite-On; NeoPac Lighting; New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); OSRAM SYLVANIA/OSRAM Opto Semiconductors; Philips Lighting; POSCO LED; Sharp Laboratories of America; Seoul Semiconductor; United States Environmental Protection Agency; WAC Lighting.

About ASSIST recommends
ASSIST has developed a publication program called ASSIST recommends to provide a set of formal recommendations to the LED and lighting communities about issues important for the reliable performance of LED lighting and its comparison to other light source technologies. The publications include recommendations for LED life definition, testing and measurement, best practice guides for different lighting applications, and recommendations for selecting LED lighting. All ASSIST recommends publications can be found at

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.