LED Lighting System Purchase and Procurement: 3 Best Practices

LED Light Strips

The world is calling for help.

The environment is changing because of what man has done and continues to do. Water is getting scarce and energy resources are getting depleted. If we go on and do business as usual, there will come a time when our needs far exceed what the planet can give. And where will that take us?

The obvious answer will shake you to your roots. Hopefully, we will not need grim reminders such as water, food, and energy scarcity to remind us to take better care of the world we live in. Shouldn’t we take action now before it’s too late?

A light at the end of the tunnel

Governments, private institutions, and environmental agencies are all working towards solutions that will curb waste and wasteful behaviors to help Mother Earth. Policies aimed at protecting the environment are made, tons of research are conducted, and information are being disseminated — all moving towards a goal of saving what is left of our land.

While you may think that you are inconsequential compared to global efforts and worldwide movements facilitated to counter the effects of a dying planet, you have to think again. Your willingness to help, however insignificant you think it is, is a crucial contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint of our everyday life.

If you want to help save the earth, then start in your own backyard. By shifting to a more environment-conscious lifestyle, using recycled or nature-friendly materials, and adapting a sustainable way of living, you can already do your share to make this world a better place.

Take, for instance, your choice of home lighting system. The choices you make as to what kinds of lighting to use to illuminate your home will spell a world of difference. From traditional fluorescent lamps, the latest lighting trend is to use Light Emitting Diodes (LED) not only for their flexibility and creativity in lighting venues, but also for their efficiency and cost-saving advantages.

Lighting up lives

About 20 percent of the total energy usage worldwide is due to lighting needs. That is approximately 1,944 TWh (terawatt hours). If the world switches to LEDs, we can save up to 348 TWh in electricity by 2027. Just think of this amount as the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants producing 1000 megawatts each. This translates to energy cost savings of more than $30 billion based on current electricity prices.

Shifting to LED lighting significantly improves energy efficiency, reducing the impact of global warming, and cutting down your electric bill. LEDs also often have longer lifetimes and emit less heat compared to their lighting predecessors. This means you can reduce energy and maintenance costs. It may come at a premium at first but over the long run, you will see savings if you’re switching to LEDs from less efficient incandescent lights.

To light your way, here are some useful things to remember when choosing LED lighting technology:

1. Location counts

Knowing where you will install the lights will greatly help you in terms of how to choose the best LEDs for your home.

If you’re building a house or even simply renovating, it is best to consult your architect, interior designer, or contractor about what types of lighting fixtures or luminaires are needed for specific areas in your property.

LEDs are generally all right to use in most areas of the house. The different types just need to be matched with how you will use the light. For example, if you need to read recipes or cook in the kitchen, LED downlights or panel lights may be best. For walkways or stairwells, recessed downlights or flexible strips may be more suitable.

Some LEDs can be used in fully enclosed fixtures; however, bear in mind that enclosed or recessed lighting may damage LED bulbs. Even if LEDs emit lower amounts of heat, they are still highly susceptible to heat damage. To address this, channel the heat away with a heat sink, a metallic base that keeps heat away from the sensitive parts of the LED bulb.

Be careful in using LEDs in garages as well as they may confuse old garage door and sensors. The vibration may also cause damage to the diodes over time.

Most LEDs can work outdoors but cannot get wet. It is better to read the labels and instructions from manufacturers to know if the LEDs are specifically designed for outdoor use. Make sure to stick to mild-temperature locations when using LEDs and veer away from extreme heat (it will fry your average LED bulb cluster) or freezing temperatures.

2. Fine features

LED lights have also come a long way and manufacturers can offer a variety of features for you to choose from.

LEDs are semiconductors and, as such, integrating additional electronics in the bulbs provides the bulbs supplementary features such as occupancy and daylight sensors connected to a network interface, and can work for your home’s security and efficiency systems.

These automated lighting systems can work as follows:
· Automatic dimming when there’s sufficient natural light in the room.
· Automatic light adjustment when it senses people (or the lack of ) in the room or area.
· If your house is equipped with a sophisticated building management system network, LEDs can serve as the foundation to alert other systems such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It the LED light system senses the area is not occupied, then it can signal other systems to adjust the temperature or shut off the air conditioning, for example.
· Color tuning and precise light distribution is also possible to set the mood of a room. For instance, LED lights can mimic a sunny day even if it’s dark and gloomy outside.

Keep in mind, it is advisable to choose LED fixtures that work with your current dimmers. Also keep in mind the depth and position of your old sockets when shopping for LED lights.

3. Learn the lingo

Before you go to the LED aisle, it is best to learn the basic terms. Here are a few:

●  Lumens is the measure of how bright a bulb is. The more lumens, the brighter the bulb. If you want light that’s as bright as a 60-watt incandescent, choose an LED light that’s around 600 lumens.

●  Color Temperature tells you the color of the light. For example, 2700K and 3000K (K is for Kelvin temperature) are both warm white, with 2700K being warmer (deeper yellow). Meanwhile, 4000K has a tinge of yellow, 5000K to 5500K is pure white, and 6000K has a tinge of blue. As color temperatures further increase, the composition of blue increases.

●  Color Rendering Index (CRI) indicates how accurately colors appear under the bulb’s light, ranging from 0 to 100 (incandescent bulbs are 100). Sunlight is considered as the purest form, hence its rating of CRI 100. All other lights are measured in comparison accordingly. Higher CRI is known to affect mood, and also is preferred by branded retail stores to emit the most possibly accurate colors of their products. For example, Nike has patents of certain colors for their clothing. In such a situation, they will prefer using lights with the highest possible CRI, such as above 95.

Always read the labels to see the indicators for brightness, color, energy use, estimated energy cost, and expected life.

Bask in the Light
Having these considerations in mind, you are now ready to stride into the light store and choose your most preferred LEDs. You can glow in the knowledge that while you enjoy your new, energy-efficient lighting, you are also doing your share in making the world a brighter place to live in.
Have any other questions regarding LED lighting and what solution is best for you? Get in touch.