The event the development of LED technology continues the LED manufacturers have achieved the magical 100 lumens per watt of light output for the LED making it “suitable” to be used in domestic lighting applications. In these days of high energy costs it is vital that we all try to avoid wasting energy and one way of achieving this is the use of high output, low energy consumption LED lights.
The primary features of LEDs when used in lighting are that the minimum amount of electrical power is used to create the utmost light output and the minimum amount of heat. Conventional lamps use plenty of power to create light and heat at the same time. With LEDs there isn’t a ultra violet (UV), infra red (IR) and minimal forward projected heat. Compare this to the 35W halogen lamp pushing out around 500-600 lumens of light and vast amounts of forward heat, you would not want to touch one whereas an equivalent in LED may use around 8 watts of electrical power which supplies a substantial saving on energy consumed. How many times have you ever been in a store that has hundreds of halogen lamps for display purposes giving out masses of heat and the staff have the air conditioning at maximum to get rid of the heat within the shop. The use of LEDs would significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed and also reduce the necessity for the air conditioning to be up at high levels giving another saving in energy consumption. There are savings to be made both within the commercial and domestic environments.
After i first became involved with LED lighting in 2001, the light output of the LED in cool white was around 20 lumen per watt and as stated above it has now reached 100 lumen per watt in cool white. The range of white LEDs available now includes cool, neutral and warm white with colour temperatures starting from 2700 to 8000+ k giving significant options to be used in domestic application reminiscent of kitchens. The use of RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour changing LED light units also enables the usage of mood lighting in other living areas comparable to TV rooms, home cinema rooms and bedrooms.
The range of LEDs on the market include small surface mount componets operating at 20mA through to high output LEDs reminiscent of Luxeon or Cree operating from 350 to around 2000A. These units are usually operating within the region of 1 to three watts per LED. The sums are fairly simple at 1W the LED in cool white gives out approximately 100 lumens of light and the usage of multiple LEDs in light units makes high lumen output units available to match with 35 or 50W halogen units which we see in everyday use.
LED strip lights with excellent outputs can be found for use in areas where discreet lighting is required similar to under cabinet lighting in kitchens and replacement LED lamps are available to replace conventional “bulbs”. I’ve installed LED strips in my kitchen at home and I’ve high output cool white strips under my wall cupboards shining down onto the work surfaces and a series of Cyan strips above the wall cupboards that are use to create a mood lighting scene in the on evening. The entire energy consumption for all of these strips is less than 40W.The collection of lamps and accessories is developing week by week.
Among the features to check when searching for LED light units is the operating voltage, the lumen/light output, the drive current required, the IP rating that shows if the unit is suitable for internal or external use, driver or transformer requirement and compatibility with existing lamp housings or power supplies if choosing replacement bulbs.
The control of LED lighting, especially colour change systems could be achieved using many of the control systems available in the marketplace at the present time. These include simple push button or rotating switch controls through to wall mounted digital display units, some with infra red remote control. In this area you do get what you pay for.