The challenges of lighting your home with LED.
Each room of your home requires a different lighting discipline depending upon the principle activity and layout. A good detailed understanding of the space in question and how you furnish can make a huge difference to the ulitimate outcome if the lighting is considered in some detail.
LED is the best and most economical way of lighting your home but there are considerations that it would be wise to consider before making a committment to product. One would generally recommend a qualified lighting designer if the project is substantial. Whilst fees for the design will be charged generally the savings can outweigh the cost and the resulting design will create a beautiful and parctical result.
To begin there are two methods of using LED lighting.
1. An LED bulb (lamp) or
2. An engineered LED luminaire where the light source (LED) is fixed within the luminaire (light fitting).
Using LED lamps can reduce the capital outlay and may be a good solution for lighting used less frequently. An example might be a guest bedroom or an occasionally used cloak room. A good quality lamp such as GE Branded will have a substantial life and a warranty. Avoid buying LED lamps from unbranded sources. Generally they can have non compliant electronics short life and may not be dimmable.
An engineered luminaire with LED will have a very long life which can typically be in excessof 50,000 hours. Using lighting in a pricipal room space where six hours a day is typical would mean a life of fifteen years or more! The lamp would not achieve this life span and therfore the cost of replacements would need to be taken into account. It may well be that the engineered luminaire is the least expensive over lifetime.
Individual circumstances vary and therefore your particular circumstances and budget will be imporatnt considerations!
Where LED is engineered into the luminaire it will also create greater design possibilities such as design, colour temperature, beam angle, intensity and colour rendition. This level of sophistication with lamps may not be available or very expensive over lifetime.
The requirement for lighting will vary from room to room. Consideration should be given to lighting levels and the ability to control by dimming or even pre programmed scenes. Best to have as much light as you can get and then dim for ideal activity, comfort levels and control atmosphere. All LED's are dimmable. The driver used in conjunction with the LED should also be dimmable if that is what you need.
The kitchen living room of your home this is the nerve centre! Food prepartion, eating drinking and entertaining all require good light levels and colour rendition. Imagine a lettuce that looks brown. Hardly appetising! Light has the ability to distort as well as enhance and this is where colour rendition is key to the ultimate result. All lamps and LED are classified with a CRI or RA. The higher the number out of 100 the better the rendition. Put simply, if we had all the colours of the rainbow printed on a piece of paper a high rendition number would mean we can see all the colours across the range with little distortion. With poor rendition some colours would apparently disappear. The greater the range of colour you have in your space the more important rendition becomes.
Colour temperature is also important and is described as degrees of kelvin. It is often simplified within lighting language to, very warm white (2700K), Warm White (3100K), White (4000K) and Cool White (6000K). Best colour rendition can achieved with Warmer Whites.
A consequence of improving light levels can often mean stronger shadow. It is therefore very important to have light and beam angle in the correct locations relative to the working plain i.e. worktop and table tops. Ceiling height would also determine beam angle. The higher the ceiling the narrower the beam angle required.
Linear lighting results are easily achieved using LED strip solutions as shown in the photo of the kitchen. An cove or channel or even dropped ceiling can be created. It is also possible to make this a colour change installation by using Red Green and Blue LED's and commonly referred to as RGB. It is therfore possible to have white light when required or a colour for party mode!
Be careful with this solution in the bathroom, generally the trick is to use light so we see accurate skin colour and not turn the wife green! Similarly for the bedroom which needs good light for the winter mornings and romantic lighting for the winter evenings!