As LED luminaires become more prevalent in the marketplace, designers and manufacturers alike need ways to evaluate market-ready specification-grade product offerings. One such vehicle is the Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) Design Competition. Launched in 2008, this program for commercial and solid-state lighting fixtures is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Illuminating Engineering Society, and the International Association of Lighting Designers.

The recent class of winning luminaries was announced Feb. 23 at the Strategies of Light Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. This year's competition received 328 submissions; last year's total was 265. However, because the of the NGL's strict documentation requirements, only 138 fixtures were actually able to advance to the judging stages. Fixtures that did not advance were eliminated either because they were not market ready or because the manufacturer could not provide adequate LM-79 and LM-80 performance test reports.

Sixty-one different manufacturers were responsible for the 138 products reviewed by the judges. From this group, 33 of the products were selected as Recognized winners, indicating that they are specification worthy. In the group of 138 products, 11 fixture categories were represented: accent tracklighting, recessed accent lighting, wall washing, wall grazing, recessed downlighting, decorative pendant lighting, decorative wall lighting, general illumination, industrial lighting, in-grade lighting, and street and area lighting.

Four fixtures were chosen Best in Class, indicating that they stood out both in terms of aesthetics and technical performance. These were the Lighting Quotient's fraqtir, a linear concealed LED covelight; Philips Color Kinetics' eW Burst Powercore, a façade luminaire; Koncept Technologies' Equo LED desk lamp, a tasklight; and USAI's NanoLED, a recessed accent luminaire.The NGL jury also created a new category this year, Notable, to recognize those fixtures that are not specification ready but have "at least one outstanding characteristic deserving of recognition." Manufacturers receiving this mention were Zumtobel, Philips WideLite, Liton Lighting, and Landscape Forms.

The NGL products are reviewed over a two-day period by a jury of 12 individuals representing a cross section of the lighting design, manufacturing, and research communities. This year's judges were Nancy Clanton, Melanie Taylor, Avraham Mor, Barbara Horton, Kevin Houser, Mary Matteson Bryan, Richard Wyton, David Ghatan, Randy Sabedra, David Malman, Gabe Arnold, and Glenn Heinmiller. For compete information about the competition and an overview of all the prize-winning fixtures, go to ngldc.org.