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Frequently Asked Questions

A properly designed and installed lighting system will not only save you money it will improve your working environment.

Whilst recent developments in compact fluorescent and other similar technologies have improved lighting efficiency, LED goes one better. Efficiency is further improved, the unpleasant side effects of flicker and long warm up time have gone together with harmful ultra violet radiation, glass tubes and toxic heavy metals.

Q: Is LED the answer to all my lighting needs

A: LED lighting is now a practical alternative to most conventional light sources. However there are situations where other types of energy efficient lighting may be appropriate. Deciding to use LED low energy lighting will depend on a number of factors such as the design life of the project, existing infrastructure, visual and decorative considerations.

Q: What is different about LED?

A: LED lighting technology is a form of semiconductor technology. The light source is made to extremely precise specifications and then a number of them are assembled into a light fitting that has been purpose built.

Unlike traditional lamps that rely on a reflector to distribute the light, each LED can have its own set of optics, so light distribution is more precise. A simple analogy might be where traditional lights are like a torch bulb and LED lights are more like a lighthouse.

Q: Why is it important to have a lighting scheme designed?

A: The design produced using lighting design software takes the guess work and uncertainty out of the project. The design will show how many fittings are required and where to fit them to achieve the required result. There's nothing worse than a corner so dark it can't be used or one where you are paying more than you need to light it!

Q: Why no just replace the lamps and not the fittings?

A: Light fittings are designed to use specific lamps so changing to an LED lamp will change the way the fitting distributes the light. Although lamp manufacturers will give an indication of the output of the lamps; say compared to a 100W traditional light bulb; this give little indication about how the light will be distributed. In commercial premises light levels need to be appropriate to the task in hand. Replacing the lamps will require careful consideration if the original light levels and overall light distribution are to be maintained.

It is unlikely a retrofit LED lamp or light fitting will deliver the best overall energy saving solution which, over say a 7 year plus life of the installation, means your bill will be higher than for a well designed solution

Q: Can I just replace the fittings

A: We are able to design around existing infrastructure. As LED lighting takes less power and can be installed with remotely controlled drivers, it is not always necessary to make big changes to the wiring. It may even be possible, in a larger warehouse to reduce the number of circuits.

An LED lighting scheme offers the opportunity to reduce dazzling bright spots and soften dark shadows, so common in traditional lighting, as well as deliver a substantial energy saving. However this usually means new positions for the fittings. As the installation should have a life of 7 years plus and with energy prices rising it is worth looking at all the options.

Q: How do I know how bright the light needs to be?

A: The Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) has developed a Guide to lighting design. The Guide lists a wide range of situations and activities and gives recommended lighting levels to make the area safe and comfortable for the users.

Q: Are there other ways to save energy with LED lighting?

A: Most forms of low energy lighting needs to warm up before they become effective. Gas discharge lamps are even more difficult as the control gear requires time to reset after they are turned off. LED lighting on the other hand can be turned on and off on demand and even dimmed, opening up a range of further saving opportunities.

Occupancy sensors and timers can be used to dim LEDs to emergency levels or turn them off. Where natural light is available daylight sensors can be used to balance the light as dawn, dusk and the weather dictate. The lighting will be switched on and off so as to deliver even light levels for those in the building. Warehouses, stores, welfare facilities all have potential for simple occupancy sensors, while offices, shops and leisure facilities would benefit from light sensors. There is no greater saving than turning the lights down or off when not needed.

Q: What about Emergency Lighting?

A: Because LED lighting uses so little energy, powering them with batteries is not a problem. Emergency Packs can be installed as part of the main lighting to leave sufficient fittings operating in the event of a power failure. This should be specified at the design stage to ensure adequate emergency lighting.

Q: What about CCTV?

A: CCTV works best with white light so white LED is ok. Now more CCTV is being set up for remote monitoring LED lighting adds more benefits. By linking the drivers for the LED lights to the same network as the CCTV as well as the local controls, the remote monitoring station can increase the lighting to look at an incident and have the site properly illuminated for the arrival of the emergency services. Ask us for more information.