ANSI – American National Standards Institute


ANSI is a non-profit that develops standards for government and member organizations on an as funded and as needed basis.

“The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has served in its capacity as administrator and coordinator of the United States private sector voluntary standardization system for more than 90 years. Founded in 1918 by five engineering societies and three government agencies, the Institute remains a private, nonprofit membership organization supported by a diverse constituency of private and public sector organizations.”

CIE – International Commission on Illumination


The CIE is to the world, what the IES is to the US…more or less.  The CIE is your international lighting authority.

“The International Commission on Illumination – also known as the CIE from its French title, the Commission Internationale de l´Eclairage – is devoted to worldwide cooperation and the exchange of information on all matters relating to the science and art of light and lighting, colour and vision, photobiology and image technology.
With strong technical, scientific and cultural foundations, the CIE is an independent, non-profit organization that serves member countries on a voluntary basis. Since its inception in 1913, the CIE has become a professional organization and has been accepted as representing the best authority on the subject and as such is recognized by ISO as an international standardization body.”

US Department of Energy – Energy Star and

DOE Energy Lighting Page

The website is dedicated to educating consumers about lighting and building materials that have met the Energy Star guidelines.

HO – High Output

Many Lamps/Bulbs come in High Output versions these days – flourescent and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are the first to come to mind.

NOTE:  The HO LED diode mainly used for white light production today, was invented by a Japanese scientist named Shuji Nakamura who worked for Nichia and won him the Nobel Prize in Physics.  Nakamura Nobel

This HO LED manufactures naturally at its brightest around 450nm (blue), which is also very close to the peak sensitivity of the Circadian System – called the Human Circadian Efficacy Curve, and is therefore very potent to us at night suppressing the expression of nocturnal melatonin brought on by the setting of the sun into darkness.  The expression of melatonin manifests as sleep in mammals.

Even if the LED is rated as a warm white (3000K) LED, if it is intended for use as a task light, and able to meet most energy efficiency standards including CA Title 24 and LEED, then it is generally the HO LED (blue rich) with a phosphor package on top of the diode.  The phosphor makes the light from the LED appear warm white to the eye, but the brain/skin still sees some of the remaining blue.

IALD – International Association of Lighting Designers



“Founded in 1969 and based in Chicago, IL, USA, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) is an internationally recognized organization dedicated solely to the concerns of independent, professional lighting designers. The IALD strives to set the global standard for lighting design excellence by promoting the advancement and recognition of professional lighting designers.”

The IALD has recently developed the CLD – Certified Lighting Designer Certification.

IDA – International Dark Sky Association


The International Dark Sky Association mission is to protect our night sky, parks and ecosystems.

The IDA/FSA rating on luminaires indicates a lighting device’s compliance with light trespass laws and standards as established by the International Dark Sky Association.  Light Trespass is a Level 2 carcinogen according to the WHO (World Health Organization) and therefore a public health risk.  Many municipalities have adopted legislation (see MLO below) to limit public exposure of this hazard in order to preserve health and protect our ability to view the night sky.  IDA compliance is mandatory for the LEED rating system established by the US Green Building Council.

IES/IESNA – Illuminating Engineering Society of North America


The IES is a US based non-profit comprised of members from across the lighting industry. It is the national technical knowledge hub where government, trade, and standards agencies seek answers to technical lighting issues when writing laws and standards.   There are local IES chapters available to educate.

LSPD – Linear Spectral Power Distribution

Refers to the distribution of a light’s output across the visible light spectrum (generally referenced at 380-720nm – nanometers), and its intensity within that range.

For sometime now, Linear Spectral Power Distribution has been defined generally for public consumption in the US as follows:

CCT – Correlated Color Temperature

(CCT is a color reference range primarily for white light lamps, and it refers to how a white light’s color appears to the human eye.  It is represented in Kelvin – generally 2700-6500K for white light.)

A CCT of 2700K is the yellow, more like candle flame light and is generally called warm white.  This color temperature is generally recommended for night time use.

A CCT of a higher number becomes more blue and approximates noon day sun around 6500K.  It is called cool white.  CCTs of 3500K and higher are recommended for daytime use.


CRI – Color Rendering Index

CRI on the other hand is a percentage reference (0-100%) for how well a particular lamp/bulb will render the colors of objects illuminated by it.

Its important to note that both of these reference ranges have their shortcomings, and so if you want to know how the brain sees the light energy of a particular lamp/bulb – you have to see a graphical representation of the lamp’s output via an LSPD graph like the one below.

The below is an illustration of an LSPD for a Philips Master Color Ceramic Metal Halide MR16 Lamp/Bulb.  Its CCT is 3000K, and its CRI is between 80-87.  However, that only tells you part of the picture, and other lamps with the same CCT and CRI can have much different looking light and LSPD graphs.

LSPD Philips 20W MR16 MH GX10 Master Color Metal Halide

NEMA – The National Electrical Manufacturers Association


“The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia. Nearly 400 members strong, its companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Total U.S. shipments for electroindustry products exceed $100 billion annually.”

NREL – National Renewable Energy Laboratory


“The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research. From scientific discovery to accelerating market adoption, NREL deploys its deep technical expertise and unmatched breadth of capabilities to drive the transformation of our nation’s energy resources and systems.”

MLO – Model Lighting Ordinance