Light Up the Season with LEDs

 LED holiday lights

While outfitting your home or business with LED seasonal string lights is a relatively simple task, effectively applying LED lighting for indoor or outdoor area lighting is very challenging.  Unlike string lights that are generally individual mini LEDs, area lighting bulbs and fixtures are groups of multiple tiny light sources.  The light emitted from these bulbs and fixtures tends to be very directional and does not diffuse like the nearly obsolete incandescent bulbs and now-popular CFL bulbs and fixtures.

Although these lights have significant benefits for longevity and energy usage, they haven’t been used widely due to this challenge.  As manufacturers improve the photometric qualities of the fixtures by applying innovative diffusers and reflective enclosures, their use has become more widespread leading to higher volumes produced and lower unit prices. Retrofit kits are also becoming more readily available.

When properly applied by specialists such as those at Thayer Corporation, LEDs are increasingly becoming the preferred lighting technology for both retrofit and new construction for many applications.  There are other characteristics of LED lights such as the Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) that can be chosen to give spaces markedly different appearances and utility as well.  Increasingly, clients are asking us more about the “non-flicker” properties of LEDs.

Older fluorescent lights flicker at a rate of 100-120 Hz, which isn’t noticeable to most, except those with light sensitivity.  Some building occupants with diseases such as autism, epilepsy, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease and vertigo are especially impacted by the flickering, sometimes called the “beat effect.”  Anecdotally, building managers tell us that even some healthier occupants also suffer from chronic headaches and irritation due to the flickering.  Fortunately, LEDs have no beat effect at all.

Aside from their excellent life, low energy consumption, selected health and productivity benefits, low environmental impact (mercury-free) and efficacy, occupants really like how well-applied lighting can transform the appearance of a space.  Yet another benefit to consider, Efficiency Maine has excellent incentives to help defray installation costs in both their Prescriptive Rebate Program and even more generous Custom Program.

Like the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”  We have found the effective application of LED lights really calls for the experience and expertise of lighting specialists.  Call us today and ask to talk to our professionals for an opinion about the use of LEDs in your building.

Dan Thayer, P. E., CEM