So just how efficient are LEDs? LEDs use about 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and as much as 50% less than fluorescents. The amount saved with fluorescents will vary depending on whether you’re using a fluorescent tube or a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL). The efficiency of a light bulb is measured in lumens per watt and currently LED technology is providing higher lumens per watt than fluorescent sources. However, they are not practical for every application a fluorescent source is being used for.
One of the main problems with incandescent bulbs is they emit a great deal of energy as heat (that’s why you can burn yourself if you touch a lit incandescent bulb). This heat signifies that some energy is being wasted instead of being converted to light. On the other hand, if you touch an LED light it is typically cool to the touch. This is because more electricity is being converted to light.
LEDs have many advantages over CFLs. LEDs don’t produce any UV rays, so they last 5 times longer, save 20% in energy costs and are lead and mercury free. The most convincing advantage is that LEDs can have a lifespan of 50 times longer than other bulbs and have lifetimes ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 hours or more at constant operation. Depending on how many hours a day your facility is lit, this can equal a lifespan of anywhere from 10 – 30 years.
The Kelvin Rating and what it means for your lights
In order to differentiate the various hues of white, artificial light sources are labeled with either a color temperature (incandescent and tungsten halogen) or a correlated colour temperature (CCT) (nearly everything else), which are measured in degrees Kelvin. At a temperature of 2000K, you’ll see an orange-yellow color. As the temperature increases, the colour shifts to yellow, yellowish white, white and then a bluish white.
The higher the Kelvin Rating, the more blue you’ll see in the light, which tends to make your lights appear colder. Therefore, the lower the Kelvin Rating the warmer the light. People perceive the brightness of the lights differently based on preference. Generally, we hear from customers that lights closer to the middle of the spectrum appear the brightest (ie. 2000K with be dimmer than 6000K and 6000k will be just slightly brighter than 8000k).
Lighting Guidelines for your Commercial or Industrial area
Candlelight ranges from 1500–2000K, and to most people, the yellow-orange colour offers a romantic-feeling. Restaurants, and hotels who want a cozy feel may want to look toward colour temperatures that are 2400–2700K. Transitional spaces moving from cozy to a more productive space (like hallways) may opt for color temperatures in the 3000–3500K range.
We see a lot of commercial and industrial facilities trending toward 4000–5000K sources because the light more closely matches daylight, and they believe it makes a space feel more productive and business-focused.
People often perceive cooler light as “brighter” or producing more light than a source with a warmer colour temperature. Because of this increase in perceived light, shifting to cooler colour temperatures may also have an energy-saving effect for some businesses. This is because they can actually use less light than they could with warmer CCT sources. That’s an example of how efficient LEDs are.
If you’re just beginning your search for the perfect lighting solution consider the following questions:
What building/room are you trying to light up? eg. business, home, factory, office vs bathroom.
Do you require dark sky compliance? Are you in a highly residential area? For outside, you will need to consider the correct LED throw pattern (light distribution) for the application. If you wish to add lighting outside a window, keep in mind the contrast of the indoor lighting vs the outdoor lighting. This is what allows for visibility out the window. Not doing so may cause a potential “mirror” effect.
Don’t simply take the cheapest fixture and install it because ultimately you may do more damage than good. Rather, look for the best fixture for the application with reputable installation (warranty, professional work, etc.) – then consider price. When considering a fixture, look at whose LED chips are being used with what driver. This will play a huge role in determining your light quality.
Any retrofit or new lighting project should have a lighting study completed to ensure the correct type of light is being used for that application. We can help you with that! Reach VL Lighting Solutions at 1-800-495-2677
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