The world of LEDs is a crazy, busy, and sometimes confusing world. A recent TV commercial by Ace Hardware has a lady who is venting her frustration about LEDs right before the helpful Ace Hardware employee says that they are experts and can help.
I like Ace Hardware. I have a friend who owns and runs one. And as far as residential LEDs go, I suppose Ace is as good a place as any to buy A19 lamps for your house.
But if you own a commercial building and are trying to decide which type of LEDs to consider for your facility, big box stores are definitely NOT the place you want to go for advice.
LEDs are not all created equally. I get about a dozen emails a day from LED manufacturers, trying to get me to buy their latest LED off the assembly line. LEDs–like most things–fall into the category of “you get what you pay for.” If you want a cheap LED, then you’re going to get cheap performance and a short lifespan. But that does NOT mean that you have to pay an arm and a leg for a good LED.
Here are a few tips for choosing the right LED for your commercial building:
- Make sure the LED you choose is recognized by Design Light Consortium (DLC) or Lighting Design Labs (LDL). These two companies are the recognized authorities on the viability and value of commercial LEDs.
- Make sure the LED you choose is recognized by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL is a very common marking on most electrical devices. You’ve seen the UL sticker on toasters, refrigerators, radios, and now light bulbs. UL tests the safety and codes-compliance of most modern electrical equipment.
- Make sure the LED you choose is the correct Kelvin. Kelvin is the color temperature of light. The lower the number, the more yellow the light. The higher the number, the more blue the light. For example, 1900K is like candle light while 6000K starts to get a blue tint like some automotive headlights.
- Make sure the LED you choose produces enough lumens. Lumens is the total amount of visible light. This is usually translated into footcandles. Cheap LEDs do not produce nearly enough footcandles for most commercial applications. The IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) recommends certain amounts of light at the work space for different industries. See the chart here.
- Make sure you get some professional advice. Employee productivity and safety rely a lot on lighting. Don’t let a one-time decision on procuring lighting negatively affect your facility for the next 5-10 years. Partnering with an LED expert is usually worth the time and money invested. It definitely pays dividends.
If you need help navigating the confusing world of commercial LEDs, please let us know how we can help. We’re LED lighting experts!
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