We’re asked many questions about LED Lighting, below is some of the more commonly used terminology. Let us know if you need to know anything more specific.
LED – Light Emitting Diode
The LED is the light emitting component of an LED fitting or luminaire. LED has traditionally been used for indicator lights, for example in mobile phones. It is only relatively recently that the technology has advanced enough to become a commercially viable alternative to ‘traditional lighting’ within the market.
The driver is the brains of the operation and is another important component within an LED fitting. The job of the driver is to convert the incoming electricity supply (~230v in the UK) to the much lower voltage requirements of an LED. This component is where most failures occur in LED fittings – and it’s usually down to heat!
You’ll hear this term used a lot if you are considering the change to LED. ‘Traditional Lighting’ refers to light fittings that pre-date LED luminaires. Such fittings include halogen, sodium, metal halide or fluorescent fittings that are both less efficient and higher maintenance than a Lampadina LED.
Lumens, put simply, are a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted from a light source. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light.
Lux is the standard unit of measurement of light level intensity. People often get themselves confused between lumens and lux which is understandable.
The easiest way to remember the difference is that lumens are the measurement of the amount of light emitted from a light source whereas lux is the amount of light at a particular point away from the light source i.e. 3,500 lumens gives 400 lux at x distance away.
A measurement of 1 lux is equal to the illumination of a surface one metre away from a single candle.
Efficacy (Lumens Per Watt)
Efficacy is a measure of how much light is produced per watt of energy put in to it.
This is normally expressed in lm/W (lumens per watt). It’s important to remember that not all LED fittings are the same and that there is a huge variety of quality and cost available, in the same way as there is with a car engine. Efficacy is without doubt one of the most important things to consider when choosing an LED light fitting.
High end products can reach around 150 lm/W or even higher whereas typically the budget end of the market can be as low as 70 or 80 lm/W, this means that it is quite often a false economy when buying cheap.
As an example, a 45w LED panel with 80 lm/W produces the same light output as a 30w panel with an efficacy of 120 lm/W. Have a think about what that means over say 5 years when saving a few £ per panel seems like a good idea.
Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT)
You may have heard of ‘warm white’, ‘natural white’ and ‘cool white’ when it comes to LED lighting – this is known as ‘colour temperature’ and is measured in Kelvin (K).
At the bottom of the scale, at around 3,000K is the warmer, more yellow coloured light, as you’d see in traditional halogen bulbs around the home.
Further up the scale are the bluer, colder temperatures (typically 5,500K+)
Broadly speaking, lower colour temperatures are less efficient but have better CRI whereas higher colour temperatures have higher efficacy and lower CRI. Speak to us about which colour temperature will be best for your environment.
The IP rating of a light fitting is expressed as a 2 digit code (from 00 to 68) and is a measure of how well the fitting is protected against solid objects and moisture. It stands for ‘Ingress Protection’.
The first number is on a scale of 0-6 (or X which means it has not been tested) and the second is on a scale of 0-8 (or again X). You don’t need to worry too much about the IP rating for domestic and office fittings but for anything that is to be fitted outside or anywhere there may be airborne contaminants or moisture that could damage the internal components of the fitting, the IP rating should be at least 54, preferably 65.
IK Rating (Impact)
This is a measurement of how well a product can withstand a physical impact and is rated from 0-10. This is not generally as important as an IP rating and is only really of concern where fittings are to be installed in areas where it is reasonable to expect there may be occasional impacts such as in a sports hall or in areas where vandalism may be an issue.
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