These are amazing times to work with light. The lighting industry is changing rapidly, largely due to advances with LED technology. This technology is becoming increasingly more readily available to the general public. LED lamping is a viable option for both the interior and exterior.
But what is LED lighting and how has it evolved to become the leader in consumer lighting ?
LED or (Light Emitting Diodes) are a semi-conductor light source that emit light when electrical current flows through them. White light is obtained by using multiple semiconductors or a layer of light-emitting phosphor on the semiconductor device.
LEDs are the most energy efficient lighting option available to date. To produce the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb, an LED light only uses 10 watts. This is because LEDs use almost all of their energy as light, whereas incandescents give off most of their energy as heat.
Like early versions of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, they were once expensive and available in limited colors. However, rapidly advancing technology has made them available at accessible prices, in a wide range of color temperatures, and with excellent (CRIs) color rendering indexes.
Robert Biard and Gary Pittman invented an infra-red LED light in 1961 while working at Texas Instruments.
In 1962, Nick Holonyak, Jr. invented the first LED that produced visible, red light while working at General Electric,in the USA.
Throughout the 1960s, researchers and engineers continued experimenting with semiconductors with the goal of producing more efficient LEDs. As they experimented with different chemical substrates, bright red and orange LEDs came into production.
In 1972, M. George Craford, while working at Monsanto, used one red and one green diode to create a pale yellow light. Craford also invented a LED that was about ten times brighter than Holonyak’s. Monsanto became the first company to mass produce LED lights.
Scientists continued to experiment with substrate materials, producing bright green, orange-red, orange, and yellow LEDs by the early 1990s.
In 1994, Shuji Nakamura invented the ultra-bright blue LEDs that served as the foundation for today’s common commercial LEDs. Scientists then created white LEDs by coating the blue LEDs with fluorescent phosphors.
The earliest commercial LEDs were only available in blue-white light. Today, LEDs are available in warm, golden color temperatures 2700K-3000K) as well as crisp, blue-white (5000K) depending on architectural application and the users preferences.
Soft white (2700K) is ideal for lobbies, guest spaces, and residential living areas
Bright white (4000K) is preferred for workspaces, like kitchens, garages, and warehouses.
Daylight (5000K) encourages productivity and is great for reading, working, and any spaces that require attentiveness and high energy.
The higher the Color Rendering Index (CRI), the better. A high CRI helps your eye differentiate between colors. CRI is measured on a scale of 0-100, with a perfect score of 100 indicating colors appear as they would in natural sunlight.
Lights with CRI ratings of eighty or above are considered acceptable for most applications.
Lights with CRI ratings of ninety or above are considered high, and are ideal for situations where color accuracy is crucial.
When choosing lighting for an interior it’s very important to take into consideration the above indexes but also other factors such as pre-existing lighting and the presence of natural lighting, these factors will affect the added light. Also be aware that natural light will change throughout the day and this may affect artificial lighting.
Lighting is an extremely important factor to consider for any modern interior. Where artificial lighting is installed, how it is directed coupled with the type and quality of the light is crucial to the successful illumination of any interior.
If you are unsure about how your lamps will integrate into your interior feel free to ask us and we will be happy to assist with advice.