Next Generation Luminaires Design Competition

Judging Process

The NGL judging is an intense process that combines both the personal evaluations of professionals from across the architectural lighting community and their interactive deliberations, as well as objective measures of luminaire performance.

Products are installed in their typical applications. Observing lighted performance, taking "field" measurements, and inspecting the luminaires directly, the judges first evaluate entries in each category, one luminaire at a time. Using tablet computers to record their evaluations and specific comments, the judges consider eight key criteria: color, illuminance, glare control, light distribution, dimming control, serviceability, value, and appearance.

For the Indoor competition, manufacturers were required to submit luminaires with digital dimming drivers (DALI, DMX, or a proprietary digital protocol) for dimming evaluations. Analog or phase-control devices were not permitted. With driver types standardized, a master control permitted dimmed performance to be evaluated both visually and quantitatively on a consistent basis, using criteria such as range, gradient, flicker, and lowend behavior. For the Outdoor competition, a wireless control system was used to evaluate dimming in collector roadway and parking lot luminaires.

To evaluate serviceability, manufacturers submitted a tabletop sample, which was closely examined using criteria such as ease of access, ease of component replacement, and clarity of labeling. Judges looked specifically for simplicity, clarity, plug-together components, and fewer fasteners in their evaluations.

2015 judging photos


Color Tuning Evaluations

Color tuning luminaires, which have the ability to create different shades of white, as well as other colors, for different applications and scenes, received special emphasis in the indoor competition this year. There were generally three kinds of color-tuning luminaires for architectural lighting represented in the NGL submissions.

Color Tuning products (also referred to as RGB, RGBA, or RGBW) have multiple LED colors that can be combined in output to produce white light. The output of each colored LED can also be adjusted to deliver distinctly colored light. One application could include an office lobby downlighting system that delivers white light during the workday, but be tuned to wild colors for an evening cocktail event.

Dim-to-Warm products are suited for hospitality and entertainment venues such as restaurants and theatres, where there is a desire to mimic the behavior of incandescent lamps. When delivering maximum light output, the color is white, but when lighting is dimmed, the CCT drops to simulate dimmed incandescent or candlelight. Judges observed that the color quality in the submitted product was stellar, even at the lowest end of the dimming range.

White Tuning luminaires can be adjusted along the black body locus to deliver warm-color light up to cool-color light. Most manufacturers accomplish this with a combination of warm-color LEDs and cool-color LEDs, strategically dimming or raising the output of each to achieve the desired CCT. Judges applauded separate controls for CCT and light output, especially with an intuitive user interface. The most “natural-feeling” controls exhibited a more linear relationship between dimmer setting and light output, rather than a power-law curve. They envisioned many uses for white-tuning capabilities.

Judging Process Videos

View behind-the-scenes videos of the 2015 NGL judging process.


Indoor Competitions

Past Competitions