The LRC's Demonstration and Evaluation of Lighting Technologies and Applications (DELTA) program has a new addition to its family of publications. DELTA Field Tests will join DELTA Portfolios and DELTA Snapshots.
Sandra Vasconez, DELTA Program Director, says, "The other DELTA publications show products or technologies that are already in the marketplace." DELTA Portfolios cover several applications on a single site, such as a gymnasium, a cafeteria, and a classroom at a school. DELTA Snapshots cover only a single application or lighting technology per issue and provide less detail than Portfolios. "With DELTA Field Tests," says Vasconez, "we're looking at products in the prototype stage--before they get to the market. We'll evaluate them and then report back to the manufacturers and sponsors. We hope to help manufacturers develop products that will succeed once they reach the market. Energy-efficiency programs trying to encourage the public to use new products will benefit, too."
DELTA's mission is to design, evaluate, and publicize energy-efficient solutions to real-world lighting problems. DELTA selects sites and evaluates their lighting systems for energy use, human response, cost, how well the technologies work, and how easy they are to maintain. DELTA then presents this information as a series of case studies in publications available both as hardcopy and online.
Vasconez says the number of early adopters for any new product or technology is generally small. Most lighting specifiers and end users prefer to wait and see how a new product performs before they buy it for themselves or select it for their clients. DELTA Field Tests will help consumers build confidence in new products more quickly. "People are apprehensive about purchasing untested products," Vasconez says, "but they will feel more comfortable buying a lighting product that has been independently tested under real-world conditions."
Vasconez is looking for manufacturers and other organizations to participate in the program. She outlines some of the benefits: "We will test products for program sponsors. They will also benefit from the testing done for other members. Field testing can be quite expensive, and manufacturers do not always test new products this extensively. They might test the performance of a product on its own, but maybe not when it's installed and interacting with the other systems present and with the people who will use it. We will evaluate products in the contexts in which they will be used. We can save manufacturers money by pinpointing potential problems a product might have in the field."
Public dissemination of testing information will occur only if the product prototype is successful. Vasconez says, "If the product needs improvement, we will report to the manufacturer and our advisory board so they can improve it before manufacturing it. If the DELTA Field Tests evaluation is successful, we will distribute a full-color publication similar to our DELTA Portfolios and DELTA Snapshots. Products featured in DELTA Field Tests will be of good quality and can be trusted to work correctly."
The program is in its early stages. The first two products being evaluated are an integrated skylight and an energy-efficient luminaire for staircases. "We're especially looking for products and demonstrations in New York State," Vasconez says.
For more information about DELTA Field Tests, to suggest a product for testing, or to join as a supporting member, contact Sandra Vasconez at firstname.lastname@example.org.