This article assumes you are already convinced about going ‘LED’ but want some specific product ideas. In this article I would like to present 3 general product categories that can be used to begin your transition to LED lighting. Each idea is going to have more than one product possibility that can be tailored to your exact needs. Also, each individual product itself may various options. We will discuss some of these options and how you should go about selecting each. This is important as LEDs are a new technology and not everyone knows what options are available or even exactly how to choose them.
The first product category is LED PAR lights. The word PAR is an abbreviation for parabolic reflector. This is actually not applicable to LEDs since they have lenses and are no longer dependent on reflectors to create directional light. In fact the lenses on LED lights are much more efficient than reflectors. LED light is directional and can be controlled precisely with the use of lenses. As long as we are talking about lenses that is going to be the first thing you will have to make a choice on. LED PAR lights can be purchased with various lens angles. Usually you will have choices like 30, 45, and 60 degree lenses. The lens controls the angle of the light. The tighter the angle the more concentrated the light, and the wider the angle the more diffuse the light, but a greater area will be illuminated. A 45 degree angle is possibly most all purpose but aesthetically, and mathematically thirds are nicer or a 60 or 30 degree angle. Use 60 for general purpose and 30 for spotlighting.
Next when you order a PAR light you would have to select the color. One of the advantages of LEDs is that you can select precisely the color of the light. Common options are warm white 2,800 – 3,800K, commercial white 4,000 – 5,000K, and pure white 6,000 – 6,500K. Each color has its advantages depending on the situation. Warm white is best for creating atmosphere, while pure white is a bit brighter and produces more lumens per Watt. For security lighting you would use pure white, for a bar most likely warm white.
Finally, in the case of LED PAR lights you would have to select the number of Watts. I generally advise multiplying by 5 to 10 when comparing to incandescents. So a 5 Watt LED is like a 25 – 50 Watt incandescent. Technically the number should be 5 but in addition to producing more light LEDs focus it better, and this can increase the multiple to about 10. When making your selections keep in mind it is difficult to stock every possibility. If you want commercial white with a 45 degree lens you may have to put in a request. Try to plan in advance slightly, and the extra wait is well worth it.
The next category is recessed ceiling lights. LED recessed lights offer similar options on color and lens angle. In the case of ceiling lights you would have to choose the number of LEDs. Common is 3 Watt LEDs so for example you could get lights with 3 LEDs for 9 Watts or 5 LEDs for 15 Watts and so on. You can use the above multiplication to decide on the number of lights. LED recessed lights generally come in their own housing and so are easy to install. LEDs do not produce much heat, but remember to not put insulation directly on top of the light. I don’t think you were going to do that. LED recessed lights can have adjustable heads and hardened glass coverings. Using a grid of such lights to light a large area can create a nice effect. Properly placed LED recessed lights can be a nice addition to your home lighting.
Finally, I would like to briefly mention light bars, and light strips. These can be used for accent lighting, cabinet lighting, and wall lighting. Again properly placed these can be used to achieve some very nice effects. If you are designing a new addition to your house you may want to use light bars or light strips to highlight the features or add a more subtle lighting.
Before I go too long that’s it for this article. Properly used LED lighting can greatly enhance architectural features all the while offering a green solution to your lighting needs.