With such a broad scope of products now available, getting it right at the specification stage is the first step to a successful commercial LED install. Billy Knight, trade director at LED Hut, shares his insight on what contractors need to cover off as a starting point.
- Identify the key lighting objectives
The ultimate objective of commercial lighting is to provide enough illumination to complete tasks safely and without strain – but when working with LEDs this is often matched by secondary concerns, like lifetime running costs, energy savings and maintenance requirements. It’s important to understand all the influential factors at play before specifying a solution – once you do, you can then find an LED scheme that’s truly fit for purpose.
- Consider a technology upgrade
It’s important to take a bigger-picture approach to the system and its components. For example, whilst retrofit is often the best option, for some applications completely replacing the fittings could deliver better results in the long term. For others, a voltage system upgrade might be beneficial (e.g. upgrading a 12V system with a 120V one to remove the fail point of the 12V driver). If specifying a dimmable LED system, investigate whether new controls are necessary (a trailing edge dimmer switch tends to work best, rather than the leading edge used with halogens) – ask your manufacturer for specific advice.
- Assess planning and controls
Depending on its scope, the job may require a brand new lighting plan.This should be carried out by a trained design professional. If in doubt, seek support from your LED supplier (for example, all LED Hut Trade account managers are fully Relux-trained and can providecomprehensive scheme design).
- Choose the right colour levels
When it comes to lighting hue, correlated colour temperature (CCT), colour rendering and kelvin levels are all key concerns. As a rule of thumb, at LED Hut we classify warm white as 2,700-3,000k, daylight as 4,000-4,500k and cool white as 5,500-6,000k. Getting a minimum CRI (colour rendering index) score of 80 is also important, as this helps ensure the colour appearance of objects in the space is as close as possible to their actual likeness. The higher the CRI, the more natural the colours will appear.
- Consider brightness and coverage
The lumen output is key to the functionality and aesthetics of your scheme. Remember that too much light can be as bad as too little – causing unnecessary glare issues. Beam angles are also a consideration. If replacing halogens with LEDs, it’s best to opt for a wider-reaching beam. Halogens tend to offer broader coverage than they claim, so matching angles like-for-like could leave you with a beam that’s too narrow.