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LED FAQs and Resources


How LED Bulbs Work

An LED is what's called a "solid-state lighting" technology, or SSL. Instead of emitting light from a vacuum (as in an incandescent bulb) or a gas (as in a CFL), an SSL emits light from a piece of solid matter. In the case of a traditional LED, that piece of matter is a semiconductor.

LED Lighting Terms

Candela

  • The SI unit used to measure the brightness of a source of light (its luminous intensity).

Color Rendering Index:

  • Color Rendering Index also known as CRI, is a measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the color of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. The CRI simply rates the color rendering out of 100, the higher the index the better the color rendering.

Color Temperature:

  • Color temperature is a measure of how warm or cool the light given off by a lamp appears. ‘Warm’ colors appear tinged with yellow and generally feel soft and cozy. Cool colors are tinged with blue and appear whiter; making them a more ‘honest’ and unforgiving light more suitable for working environments than relaxing. The way to measure light is through the Kelvin Temperature scale.

Efficacy

  • A metric used to compare light output to energy consumption. Efficacy is measured in lumens per watt.

Footcandle

  • A measurement of the intensity of illumination. A footcandle is the illumination produced by one lumen distributed over a 1-square-foot area. For most home and office work, 30–50 footcandles of illumination is sufficient. For detailed work, 200 footcandles of illumination or more allows more accuracy and less eyestrain. For simply finding one's way around at night, 5–20 footcandles may be sufficient.

Illuminance

  • The amount of light arriving at a surface, expressed in lumens per unit area; 1 lumen per square foot equals 1 footcandle, while 1 lumen per square meter equals 1 lux.
Light Emitting Diode
  • Light Emitting Diode, also known as LED, a small electronic device that lights up when electricity is passed through it. LED’s have a very long life and come in a variety of colours, the most common are Warm White, Cool White, Red, Green and Blue.

 Lighting or Illumination

  • Lighting or illumination is the deliberate use of light to achieve a practical or aesthetic effect. Proper lighting can enhance task performance, improve the appearance of an area, or have positive psychological effects on occupants. Indoor lighting is usually accomplished using light fixtures, and is a key part of interior design. Lighting can also be an intrinsic component of landscape projects.

Lumen

  • A lumen is a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source. Lumens are related to lux in that one lux is one lumen per square meter. As reference, a 100-watt incandescent lamp emits about 1600 lumens.

Lux

  • The metric unit of measurement for illuminance of a surface. One lux is equal to one lumen per square meter.

Luminous Flux

  • The flow of light measured in lumens. With light bulbs, it provides an estimate of the apparent amount of light the bulb will produce. Depending on the application, much of an incandescent light is wasted because it's emitted in every direction. LED bulbs, on the other hand, put out directional light, sending all of the light exactly where it's needed.
  • In practical application, when buying a light bulb, we should look for bulbs which produce more light but consumes less energy. Understanding lumens as a measure of brightness makes it easier to select the most efficient bulb for your application. This is also important.

Benefits of LED

Energy Consumption

  • A standard 50W halogen lamp turns 90% of electricity used into heat with only 10% into light. The benefit of LED Lights are that they use only 15% of the energy a standard halogen uses, provide up to 85% of the light output and create less heat making them so cool to touch. This makes LED Lights not only energy efficient but extremely cost effective as air conditioning use can be lowered. Some LED Lights can be operated by mains power, but when used with a Low Voltage LED Driver, LED Lights will produce more light output per watt.
  • Lumens per watt (lm/W) measures efficiency. The higher the number, the more efficient the product.
  • Watts measure the energy required to light the product. The lower the wattage, the less energy is used.

Environmentally Friendly

  • The benefit of LED Lights is that they are an eco-friendly form of lighting as they do not contain mercury or other harmful gasses or emit any harmful UV rays. For example, a 13w LED light emits 68% less CO2 than a standard 40w incandescent bulb running 10 hours per day.
  • LED lights contain no toxic materials and are 100% recyclable; they’ll help you reduce your carbon footprint. One LED light bulb can save material and production of 25 incandescent light bulbs.
  • LED illumination produces little infrared light and close to no UV emissions. Because of this, LED lighting is highly suitable not only for goods and materials that are sensitive to heat, but also for illumination of UV sensitive objects or materials from artwork in museums to plastics in a kitchen.

Durability

  • Because LEDs are not made of glass and are hollow inside, they are far less fragile than both fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. This makes them much more durable, less likely to be inoperable due to being dropped, and can withstand harsh conditions. Because LED lights are resistant to shock, vibrations and external impacts, they make great outdoor lighting systems for exposure to weather, wind, rain or even external vandalism, traffic related public exposure and construction or manufacturing sites. For freezer rooms and iceboxes, they are the perfect bulbs.

Heat Reduction

  • LED Lights do not give off any radiant heat, but they do need to get rid of conductive heat in order to achieve long life.
  • LED Lights are cool to touch and give off no radiant heat in the direction the light is being dispersed. Behind the LED Light, in the circuit board or heat sink, the energy that is being turned into heat is being dispersed. LED Lights need proper thermal design, which is why some can come with heat sinks. The heat emitted by LED Lights is 90% less than the heat emitted by halogen lights. With the advancement in technology, LED Lights will become increasingly efficient by enabling more light output per unit of energy, which will emit less heat and reduce the need for heat sinks.
  • Conventional light bulbs waste most of their energy as heat. For example, an incandescent bulb gives off 90 percent of its energy as heat; while a compact bulb wastes 80 percent as heat. LEDs remain cool. 

Long Life Span

  • The life of a high-power white LED is projected to be from 50,000 to 75,000 hours, compared to 750 to 2,000 hours for an incandescent bulb, 8,000 to 10,000 hours for a compact fluorescent and 20,000 to 30,000 hours for a linear fluorescent bulb. LED lifetimes are rated differently than conventional lights, which go out when the filament breaks. Typical lifetime is defined as the average number of hours until light falls to 70 percent of initial brightness, in lumens. LEDs typically just fade gradually.

Light Quality

Color temperature

  • Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) measures light color. “Cool” colors have higher Kelvin temperatures (3600–5500 K); “warm” colors have lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K). Cool white light is usually better for visual tasks. Warm white light is usually better for living spaces because it casts a warmer light on skin and clothing. Color temperatures of 2700 to 3600 K are recommended for most general indoor and task lighting.
  • The color of the light source, by convention, yellow-red colors (like the flames of a fire) are considered warm, and blue-green colors (like light from an overcast sky) are considered cool. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) temperature. Confusingly, higher Kelvin temperatures (3600–5500 K) are what we consider cool and lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K) are considered warm. Cool light is preferred for visual tasks because it produces higher contrast than warm light. Warm light is preferred for living spaces because it is more flattering to skin tones and clothing. A color temperature of 2700–3600 K is generally recommended for most indoor general and task lighting applications.

Color rendition

  • Color Rendering Index (CRI) measures the effect of the lamp's light spectrum on the color appearance of objects. The higher the number, the truer the appearance of the light on objects. Incandescent lighting is 100 on the CRI.
  • How colors appear when illuminated by a light source. Color rendition is generally considered to be a more important lighting quality than color temperature. Most objects are not a single color, but a combination of many colors. Light sources that are deficient in certain colors may change the apparent color of an object. The Color Rendition Index (CRI) is a 1–100 scale that measures a light source's ability to render colors the same way sunlight does. The top value of the CRI scale (100) is based on illumination by a 100-watt incandescent lightbulb. A light source with a CRI of 80 or higher is considered acceptable for most indoor residential applications.