When searching for the best lighting option for any application, there a lot of elements that need to be looked into if you want to make the best choice. Luckily, LED lighting offers a variety of different types and styles to choose from, so you’ll be able to get the light that suits your needs. Here’s everything you need to know about LED lighting.
Overview of LED Lighting
Long gone are the days of incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tube lights, and any kind of halogen. Instead, advancements in technology combined with an environmental need for “greener” lighting options have paved the way for the popularity of LED lighting.
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are a type of semiconductor that allows electrons to pass through, ultimately turning into light. They are constructed of compound semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide and gallium phosphide. When the light is emitted, heat is released. In incandescent bulbs, around 80% of the energy used to create light is lost to heat, but in LED lights only about 10-20% of the energy used is lost to heat. To achieve this high efficiency, most LEDs use what is known as a “heat sink” plate that helps redirect the heat away from the individual diodes. Usually, this plate is made from aluminum, but other materials are sometimes used.
It is important to keep LED lights out of enclosed fixtures since this inhibits the ability of the heat sink plate to do its job and move the heat away. If the heat can not be removed from the air around the bulbs, they will begin to overheat, which drastically reduces the life of the light.
Benefits of LED Lighting
The advantages that LED lighting brings to the table in any area, be it residential or commercial, are many. Here are just a few of the top benefits:
- LEDs stand out from other types of lighting because they are highly efficient. They use much less energy, produce much less heat, and offer full brightness as soon as they are turned on.
- LEDs come in all ranges of colors and temperatures, with many of them being changeable with the touch of a button. There are also dimmable options for further flexibility.
- Environmental friendliness. These lights don’t contain any toxic chemicals like mercury, and because they’re so efficient, you’ll need to replace them less often. This means that fewer bulbs will be ending up in the landfill.
- While the immediate investment may seem large, LEDs will lower energy bills my massive amounts, so you’ll see a return on your investment in a short time.
Types of LED Lighting Distribution
Light distribution refers to how the light being emitted from the bulb is projected outwards. There are two main types of these distribution patterns: indoor and outdoor. Here’s what you need to know about them.
1. Indoor Lighting
Indoor spaces usually need lights that aren’t as strong as outdoor ones. Because of the presence of walls, floor, and ceiling, there are a lot of surfaces for the light to land on. Indoor LED light distribution comes in a variety of options, so it’ll depend on your specific needs. Typical “beam spreads” for indoor lighting are ones like an 8-degree spot, 30-degree floodlight, or 270-degree omnidirectional. The smaller the number you see, the more narrow the light distribution and the further the light will travel. For example, the 8-degree option is a tight light that will be able to illuminate a faraway object with very bright light. On the other hand, the 270-degree omnidirectional will emit more of an ambient light spread around in all directions.
2. Outdoor Lighting
LEDs are fast becoming a popular choice for outdoor lighting in residential, commercial, and urban areas. The light distribution patterns of outdoor lighting indicate how the light will be emitted and spread out from the fixture itself. There are five key varieties of these specific distribution patterns for outdoor LEDs:
- Type I. Most common for illuminating pedestrian-heavy areas, this type of distribution is often seen over sidewalks, paths, and other types of pedestrian walkways. It is generally placed in the middle of a pathway for optimum lighting even in narrow paths.
- Type II. This type of distribution is a bit wider than the previous type, but it is still best for slightly narrow areas like larger pathways or narrow roads. This is the type of distribution that you might see on side streets or popular jogging/cycle paths in parks.
- Type III. This type of pattern is still wider than the previous two types and offers a lot of illumination for main roads and neighborhood streetlights.
- Type IV. A semicircle of light is the result of this type of light distribution pattern, making it perfect for use on commercial building exteriors. Connected directly to the outside wall of the building, this light helps illuminate entrances and exits as well as the perimeter of the parking lot.
- Type V. The broad pattern of Type V distribution makes it an excellent option for large, open areas like parking lots or major intersections.