Between 6 and 20 percent of the electricity generated globally is used for purposes of illumination. LED lamps and energy-saving bulbs with the same luminous efficacy require as much as 80 percent less electricity than traditional lamps—an enormous potential savings. But are these figures correct? Are LED lamps truly as long-lasting and environmentally friendly as manufacturers promise them to be? That’s exactly what the TÜV SÜD Light Testing Laboratories are testing. “We give our clients all the information they need for a competitive and sustainable product.”
Vehicle lighting is being tested on the other side of the building complex. The walls, floor and ceiling are also pitch black. A car’s rear light is installed and sensors over 30 meters away measure its luminosity.
The Integrating spheres, in contrast, are blindingly bright—they are coated inside with the purest white available. It reflects 98 to 100 percent of the light and ensures that every point within the sphere—which can measure over 3 meters in diameter—has the same luminosity. Across from it are the test stands for energy-saving bulbs and LED lamps.
Up to eight thousand light sources are regularly turned on and off here in special environmental chambers, twenty-four hours a day. And at the end of the day, when the last of the twenty employees leaves the building, they may close the door behind them, but there’s one thing they never do: turn out the lights.