Red Arrow: LEDing the way

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Red Arrow explores the decision-making processes behind choosing the right LED product for the right application.

Choosing the right type of LED product for the right application is vital and can make a big difference in a commercial environment. 

Fortunately, their versatility means there’s an LED light source to suit almost any need, and their long lifespan and energy-saving qualities make them a good long-term investment. 

However, with some LED products failing to deliver on this promise and most consumers basing their purchase on price rather than suitability, Red Arrow explores how contractors can make the right decisions before every installation.

What is the purpose of the lighting? 

While aesthetically pleasing and creative installations are always welcome by customers, as contractors, it’s important to never take style over substance. 

By choosing lighting that suits the task in hand, while considering light levels, uniformity, colour temperature and colour rendition, you can save on future electrical and maintenance costs to the end user. 

Specific lighting is needed in a warehouse compared to a factory floor where people are working at fast-moving machines or in an office where people need to concentrate. 

Don’t just consider the design, think about the long-term objective – what is the purpose of the light application? And remember, not all LEDs are equal – a product that claims to be and look the same does not guarantee the same performance.

Where is the installation?

The environment plays a significant part in every installation. For example, if installing a chandelier 20 feet high or floodlights on the side of a tall building, how often will the LEDs and their fittings be cleaned and maintained? How much will a climate prone to dust or fumes effect the light reduction over time? 

Although LEDs come with extended longevity, they still require changing and cleaning to maintain a high performance – a dirty light fitting will not transmit as much light as a clean one! 

To help overcome this issue, always set the light level higher than the recommendation on day one of an installation, and factor in maintenance. Don’t assume LEDs will last forever – the components that run them will still need replacing even if they don’t.

Is a complete rewire needed?

Every installation is different, and it’s worth remembering that old light fittings may not need the same amount of required LED luminaires – instead, choose the number of luminaires to suit the wiring infrastructure. 

Sometimes, retrofitting may be a more suitable option than a complete rewire, but always check that when installing LEDs, the new number of light points doesn’t affect the quality of the light produced.

Do I need an occupancy sensor?

In some commercial settings, an occupancy sensor can offer many benefits, including energy and cost savings. But absence or presence detection come with different advantages dependent on the use and surroundings. 

How long will the lighting operate per day? Will dimming to a standby level be beneficial when areas are unoccupied? Will switching off completely be a better solution? How often is a light left unused in a building? 

Available daylight should also be considered – when coupled with a daylight harvesting device, your customer can always be sure of consistent light levels.  

How can I convince customers?

Convincing consumers to convert to LEDs from traditional lighting can be challenging for even the most experienced contractor, but this new technology comes with many different benefits. 

LED light sources are far more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lamps and have a long operating life – if installed correctly. 

Reducing the risk of fire, they also emit less heat than a filament bulb and have little to no UV. They are low maintenance, offer a better light quality and carry no harmful by-products (such as mercury) during disposal. 

They can also be used in a wide range of settings, including restaurants, offices, warehouses and factories.