Why Change to LED Lighting?
WHY CHOOSE LED LIGHTING – THE FACTS ABOUT LED’S
LED bulbs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, last 40 times longer and produce the same level of light – Why not swap to LEDs in your home/business today!
Not only do LED lights offer up to 90% energy savings compared to traditional halogen or incandescent bulbs, they also have a vastly superior life span – lasting 10,000s of hours compared to a traditional bulb which may last only 1,000 hours.
Even comparing LED bulbs with the older style CFL low energy lighting there are clear advantages – as you flick on the light switch, an LED light will instantly offer full illumination, while the CFL would still be warming up.
LED lighting can also be manufactured to produce a range of different colour temperatures and quality of light (known as colour rendering).
Now while the benefits of LED lighting are now fairly well recognised, what a lot of consumers don’t understand is that LED LIGHTS VARY MASSIVELY IN QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE.
The majority of LED lighting manufactures all promise unparalleled performance, in terms of lifespan and the quality of the light the bulb produces, but they can’t all be right can they?
As well as Quality of components, design of the product, knowledge and experience accumulated over years of LED manufacturing are key to a product “doing what it says on the tin”
KEY THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALITY LED PRODUCT.
One of the most critical requirements of an LED product is its ability to KEEP THE LED CHIPS COOL.
A common misconception is that LED bulbs or fittings don’t get warm, however this just isn’t the case. They don’t get nearly as hot as incandescent or discharge lamps, but a percentage of the power used by the LED’s is turned into heat and has to be removed away from the LED to maintain reliability and performance.
LEDs can’t radiate this heat away in the same way as an incandescent or discharge lamp, so rely on thermal plastic or aluminium heat sinks to move the heat to the surrounding environment.
If the heat sink is of poor quality or design and does not perform correctly, the LED or electronic driver can overheat and the lifespan or performance of the LED bulb or fitting will be reduced
Good thermal management is critical to ensure that the LED product performs as stated.
There are lots of different designs for heat sinks, which is why the appearance of LED bulbs changes so much between brands.
You may be familiar with the metal fins on some LED bulbs – higher performance LED products will have aluminium fins or ceramic heat sinks.
The ceramic fins in many cases can be more effective than any metal heat sink, since they possess lots of tiny pores, which provide an even greater surface area to dissipate the heat from compared to metals.
Ceramic heat sinks have a very low thermal capacity, but the highest surface area to maximise heat loss into the surrounding environment.
LED Chip performance
Whilst heat dissipation is important – the quality of the LED chip used to convert electricity to light is also really important.
A poor chip will generate more heat, and will therefore not provide as much light or last as long. Better quality bulbs and fittings will use a chip with a known performance and reliability built up over a number of years of experience.
Good quality chips generate less heat and convert more energy to light – it goes with out saying, you get way you pay for, and this is 100% true with LED lighting, if you buy a GU10 for £3, you should probably question the quality of the LED chip used.
The driver regulates the power entering the LED’s, ensuring that the bulb operates optimally. In an MR16 style lamp, this low voltage device will be found in the existing lighting system, GU10s have an inbuilt driver and therefore do not need an external device.
Unlike traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs that tend to produce a warm white light, LED lights are available in many different colours – this is known as the colour temperature of the bulb. To replicate the colour temperature produced from a halogen GU10, you would need to opt for a warm white coloured bulb. If you prefer the cooler light often associated with office spaces, then you would probably prefer the neutral white light bulbs. The diagram above shows the different types of light available with their equivalent colour temperature.
Lumens – The amount of light produced by a bulb or fitting.
Aside from the colour temperature, LED bulbs and fittings also come with varying brightness’s. Gone are the days when you can compare the wattages of bulbs to distinguish, which bulb will be brighter – instead now you need to think Lumens.
The reason for this is that a 50w halogen GU10 spotlight can be replaced with an equivalent 5w LED GU10 spotlight – the lower wattage is the main reason households and businesses can achieve such massive energy savings from LED bulbs and fittings – you just need to ensure that the lumens are similar between the two types of bulb to make sure you are going to get the same sort of light intensity.
Colour Rendering is the ability for a light source to give a true reflection of the colours of the object it is illuminating. That is a bit of a mouthful, but essentially the higher the colour-rendering index the closer to daylight the bulb is (daylight portrays objects perfectly – it has a CRI of 100%).
If the lights are used a lot, then you want to go for an LED product with a CRI of 80+, however if the bulb is just used for emergency lighting for instance it can be 70+.
The higher the CRI of the LED, normally the more expensive it will be to buy, but if you are into painting for example, you will want to pay more to ensure the bulb has a CRI of 90+ to ensure you are getting a more accurate view of what you are painting.
The final thing to consider when buying LED bulbs or fittings is related to the beam angle. This is something that you might not have considered before, but if you are swapping from halogen spotlights over to LED’s, it’s actually quite important.
Halogens tend to produce a wider angled light than is suggested on the pack, so simply swapping a 35 degree angle bulb for the equivalent LED will create a very narrow angle of light. If you have a low ceiling or need an even spread of light across the room, it is really important to look for a wide 100+ degree angled LED. If you have high ceilings or need a narrower, focussed light, you should go for a lower angle beam.
Quality is Key
With LED lighting, as with many products, quality is absolutely key. Whilst you may be able to find an LED in the shops for £3 a bulb, chances are that it will produce poor light and not last for the lifetime quoted. We recommend spending a little more on a quality bulb and getting one that will last for years, give off a quality light and actually saving you money.
The most important thing is to shop around, work out exactly what you require and please give Solid State Lighting a call for any help or advise you may require in finding the best product for your money.