Winners of the first annual Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) awards, launched at Lightfair in May 2008, were announced on Feb. 19 at the Strategies in Light conference in Santa Clara, Calif. Sponsored by the DOE, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), and the International Association of Lighting Designers, the competition recognizes efforts in the design of energy-efficient LED commercial lighting luminaires. "The NGL contest was an opportunity for a panel of lighting designers and others from lighting-related fields who work with LEDs to see illuminated samples installed as intended, review construction, and analyze testing data for a wide range of white-light solid-state luminaire products," says Michael Hennes, a judge for the NGL competition and senior associate at Cline Bettridge Berstein Lighting Design in New York.

A panel of 14 judges made up of architectural lighting design professionals selected the winners from the 68 entries. The submissions were evaluated for color appearance, color rendering, application efficiency, serviceability, appropriate illuminance, appearance, and style. "I think you had the best of the best lighting designers in North America reviewing these products," notes NGL judge Avraham Mendall Mor, partner at Lightswitch Architectural's Chicago office and president of the Chicago section of the IESNA. "I also think it was amazing how each one of us had one particular issue they were searching for an answer to—I was looking for maintainable products, while some were concerned with glare, others with illuminance."

While some products submitted received high scores in terms of design, they didn't meet the performance threshold. Of the 68 entries, 22 received recognition in the market-ready category, and three of those fixtures (from manufacturers GE, Journée Lighting, and Winona Lighting) also were chosen as "best in class." In addition, five products were selected in the emerging category as noteworthy. A complete list of winners and luminaire profiles for the 2008 competition are available online. The call for entries for the second annual competition will begin in May 2009, and all entries will be due in October 2009.

The judges included:

  • Gregg Ander, chief architect of Southern California Edison
  • Nancy Clanton, founder and president of lighting design firm Clanton and Associates
  • Frank Florentine, lighting designer at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
  • John Gebbie, a lighting systems integrator managing the New York Systems Division for Barbizon Lighting Co.
  • Stefan Graf, founder of design firm Illuminart
  • Michael Grather, president of Luminaire Testing Laboratory in Allentown, Pa., and chairman of the IES Testing Procedures Committee
  • Michael Hennes, senior associate at Cline Bettridge Berstein Lighting Design in New York
  • Ronald Kurtz, senior lighting designer at Randy Burkett Lighting Design
  • Samantha LaFleur, a senior lighting designer and associate for the environmental design consulting firm at Atelier Ten
  • Jeff McCullough, senior research engineer with the DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Naomi Miller, princpal of Naomi Miller Lighting Design in Troy, N.Y.
  • Avraham Mendall Mor, partner at Lightswitch Architectural and president of the Chicago section of the IESNA
  • Melanie Taylor, head of the Lighting Design Studio for the WSP Flack + Kurtz office in Seattle
  • Charles Thompson, founder of lighting design firm Archillume.