posted on Thursday, 26th April 2012 by Ajay Vasdev
We are now in an exciting period in relation to LED lighting. Advancements in technology are enabling lighting designers to create multifunctional spaces with a level of control and emotional impact unobtainable with more traditional forms of illumination. In this article I'll explain why I think that LED is now the best option for both residential and commercial assignments.
Although the LED market is not heavily regulated, two voluntary standards monitor LED lamp efficiency and therefore usability: LM80 and LM70. These deal with lumen maintenance (and life) and how that performance is in turn measured over life, respectively. Manufacture and consequent lamp performance is therefore something that whilst officially unregulated, has some semblance of control and expectation within the industry.
Typically, LED lamps operate under lower temperature than traditional filament and tungsten fittings (now rapidly decreasing in popularity). If the temperature rises in an LED fitting, the chip will eventually fail, and usually, the internal mechanism of the lamp will operate at no more than 25 degrees. By way of contrast, poor efficiency means filament and tungsten fittings are steadily being banned across much of the European Union, and it stands to reason that with technological progression in terms of LED construction and performance, LEDs are set to eventually replace the vast majority of these. In my opinion, the current popularity of LED means this ban, or indeed, replacement operation, is not particularly far off in its entirety.
Making a multifunctional space
From a design aspect, space purposes differ - not just from one another, but actually within themselves. A single space may serve many purposes. Therefore, when designing lighting requirements, there is an obligation for the designer to strongly consider the concept of 'mood' as a fundamental issue.
High quality LEDs are capable of achieving CRI of 85-95 in fourteen varying colours, making them a desirable choice for aesthetically pleasing and efficient installations. Designers can easily introduce colour change and mood lighting to create a multifunctional space for use at different times of the day and different purposes.
It's now also possible to dim LED's to various criteria, enabling seamless integration with lighting control to meet the end brief for the effects our clients may wish to achieve in a given space.
A warm reception
The fact that sought after warmth in colour temperature from LED has now been reached is revolutionary. In the past, this was not especially possible using LED lighting solutions, as the colour temperature erred on being far too cold. While cool lighting in certain situations may feel appropriate, a warm, inviting mood is often preferable.
Today, the difference between a warm LED lamp and a traditional MR16 lamp is minimal. A member of our staff recently attended a training course with one of our suppliers, and the group of professional lighting designers present actually identified an LED lighting effect as being halogen. Therefore, by way of using the right products, warm temperatures can absolutely be attained with LED; the proof is clearly out there. LED lighting can now be considered completely capable of providing a desirable and interchangeable ambiance.
Low energy benefits
In a practical sense too, LED has become a viable and often preferable option for both domestic and commercial consumers. With low cost and low energy benefits, it satisfies the parameters of financial control and environmental awareness. Given the wide variety of products on the market, this technology is now especially affordable to the end client who may well be working to a budget.
But confusion still exists. With LED light output now achieving or even surpassing halogen equivalents, the information regarding the output of an LED remains a mystery to many. This is understandable, as the wattage of an LED lamp does not equate to the light output of that same lamp. The performance is based on a number of factors which include the quality of its components, such as the LED chip, and how effectively the LED can dissipate heat. At the present time there is no regulatory control over this. As a basic guide using the lumens per watt can give a good indication as to the efficiency of the lamp.
The extensive lifespan of LED lamps is also a very desirable aspect in choosing to utilise them in a lighting design scheme. Some manufacturers claim up to 100,000 hours of use before lamps need changing. Whilst concrete studies to support this claim have yet to be presented, it is generally accepted that LED lamps will last a number of years before requiring replacement, and this ease of maintenance is an attractive prospect for any consumer.
Ajay Vasdev is a tenacious property sector entrepreneur with a number of successful pioneering enterprises in his portfolio including his flagship business Asco Lights - an award-winning, national, end-to-end lighting design and supply company.