LED Lighting – What Selection Criteria is Most Important?
Everywhere you look LED technology or Solid State Lighting (SSL) is becoming common place. Time and again we hear about how much money a business or homeowner will save in lower electricity bills by converting to SSL but is saving money really the primary motivation for selecting LED lighting?
As it turns out there a many factors to consider when choosing a lighting solution and using less electricity, although important, is not always the most critical element in making the decision to switch to LED technology. For lighting designer’s a universal premise exists – how does an introduced light source enhance human vision when natural light is inadequate or unavailable? Designing light solutions for interior and exterior spaces is centered on enhancing human health and visual performance above all else.
LED lighting holds a special spot in the evolution of artificial lighting. SSL allows for the manipulation of light in ways never before available including flexibility in spectral densities, lumen output and variations in color selections that allow a space to exhibit completely unique characteristics.
Initially, energy saving performance was ranked as the highest priority in selecting SSL but over time other factors came into focus that created a paradigm shift in prioritizing how and why LED lighting should be selected over other illumination options. Considerations can be classified into three groups: light performance, aesthetic appeal and financial.
Light performance includes color rendering, a quantitative measure of a light source to reveal the colors or various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source and Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) a specification for white light sources used to describe the dominant color tone along the dimensions from warm (yellow to red) to cool (blue) measured in degrees Kelvin. Other factors used in evaluating light performance are distribution uniformity and light intensity. In many instances it is the desired effects created by these factors that are most important to property owners and occupants.
Aesthetic appeal involves the creation of an emotional state brought on by visual stimuli. Examples include mood ambiance at your favorite restaurant, flashing lights at a concert, emphasizing the architectural features of an interior or exterior space, creating an optical art display, presenting a marketing message about a brand or company and creating a safe and healthy work environment that promotes the well-being of occupants and improves productivity and safety. Light projection directly on an object, as a background feature, or as a source that is integrated into viewing from a reflective surface such a lake or river is increasingly included into design practices.
Financial considerations include cost expenditures associated with investment in new lighting and installation, cost savings from reduced energy use and lower maintenance cost, and economic incentives resulting from government tax programs and utility rebates. Environmental and health benefits also occur with reductions in carbon footprint and light pollution as well as supporting stewardship programs for a sustainable planet.
SSL is traveling at light speed as the new standard for illumination. The rush to market to fill vast opportunities presented by building owners and others transitioning to LED lighting is enormous. There are a variety of considerations to take into account when selecting a lighting solution in which saving money is only one factor.
Remember, not all SSL manufacturing quality and performance standards are equal, which can lead to inferior performing lights, excess cost for the buyer and a general dismissal of the benefits of SSL.
EcoCentricNow LLC distributes a wide selection of LED lighting that is Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (cUL) and Design Light Consortium (DLC) listed. Contact us to learn more about our selection of lighting and how we can provide superior interior and exterior LED illumination to you.