LED Lighting Primer

Lighting influences not only the mood of a room but also the amount of money that you spend on your monthly utility bills.  When you want to enjoy efficient and beautiful lighting while saving money in the long run, consider the advantages that come with choosing LED lights.

What are LED Lights?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Simply put, it is an electronic semiconductor that is designed to emit light more efficiently and brighter than standard CFL or halogen light bulbs.

Because LED lighting is brighter and performs better when illuminating a room, it lasts longer than standard CFL lighting while using less energy. LED lights are typically smaller in size and do not contain dangerous chemicals or toxins found in regular halogen bulbs, nor do they emit dangerous UV rays found in CFL lighting.

How Much LED Lighting Do I Need?

LED lighting allows for more personalization and creativity when it comes to illuminating your home or business. In fact, one of your top priorities may center on selecting LED lights that provide the ideal amount of brightness in the room.  Following is a guide based on a room's function but first some definitions:

A Lumen is a unit of measurement of light e.g. brightness
A Foot Candle is how bright the light is one foot away from the source

To find out how many lumens you need to light a room calculate the room's square footage.  For examples a 10’ by 10’ bathroom is 100 square feet.  Next find your foot candle requirements based the room’s function:

Foot Candles / Room
10-20 Living Room
30-40 Kitchen General
70-80 Kitchen Stove
70-80 Kitchen Sink
30-40 Dining Room
10-20 Bed Room
05-10 Hall Way
70-80 Bathroom

The above 100 square foot bathroom example requires 70-80 foot candles so your lumen requirement would be around 7500 lumens total.  Note the lumen output of each LED bulb or LED fixture – in our example, the combined lumen value of all your LED light sources total approximately 7500 lumens.

Color Temperature and Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Along with brightness, lights can lend a certain warmth or vibrancy to a space.  This warmth is called color temperature and is measured in degrees Kelvin.  Color temperature is an important variable in lighting design as it allows you to control the effect it has on the emotional tone of your decor.

If you prefer warmer and more yellow lighting, choose LED lights around 2700K. For a cooler, whiter light, choose LED lights with a higher Kelvin rating of around 6000K.  LED lights with color temperatures of 4500K are considered neutral white.

Color Temperature | Spacecraft LED Lighting

Color Rendering Index is a measurement of how well the lamp will reproduce colors and ranges from 1-100 with 100 being perfect color reproduction.  A higher CRI equates to brighter, better quality, more reliable light.

LEDs use less energy than standard CFL or halogen lights – typically requiring only 15 percent of the power – and therefore operate at a fraction of the cost for the same amount of light. Additionally, because LEDs generate less heat than regular light bulbs – in some cases 90 less heat than standard light bulbs – they can last upwards of 20-30 years before needing to be replaced.

While a little more expensive up front, LED lights are safer, longer lasting, more cost effective and more eco-friendly to the operate in the long term.

Steven Swanson

Raised in a Middle Eastern desert and along the bayous of Louisiana, I studied film at USC and later programming, 3D, design, and business at the University of 4 o'clock in the morning. You can usually find me at Starbucks concocting new ventures.