Emergency Lighting – Helping you get out – FAST

Emergency lighting is a crucial element in the rapid evacuation of any kind of building in an emergency situation. No matter how large and unobstructed the emergency exits, or how well thought out the emergency evacuation procedures may be, if the building is suddenly plunged into darkness, escaping becomes near impossible. Exits cannot be located, best laid plans collapse, the exits are rendered useless and wholesale panic ensues. It’s a fair bet that more fatalities will occur because of that than because of the original emergency.

In these situations light is life! Fortunately we live in a time and place where the law of the land does not allow us to turn an emergency into a total disaster in this manner. Any establishment that welcomes the general public in through its doors is required by law to provide adequate means of getting them out again quickly in any emergency, including the provision of adequate emergency lighting.

It’s more than mere compliance

If all you want to do is comply with the regulations in the cheapest way possible then emergency lighting can be provided in the most basic form. However the kind of premises that are under an obligation to provide emergency lighting are frequently those whose patrons expect them to offer a stylish ambience rather than the most basic facilities.

That being the case you probably go to considerable trouble and expense to provide an elegant and sophisticated venue. Crudely designed basic emergency lighting will rather detract from that impression of suave sophistication and there is no need to put up with that.

Eye catching save lives

Modern, well designed emergency lighting is eye-catching without being intrusive. People should notice it as a reassuring indication that the place is well managed without feeling intimidated by it.

Some excellent examples of tastefully designed and effective emergency lighting can be found on here on Lyco. An emergency LED bulkhead light is a neat rectangular unit with legend boards indicating route to safety, whilst this emergency sign box incorporates a 4 Watt LED to perform a similar function.

Signs like these that show the way to get out and remain illuminated when the power fails are vital but you need lights in the area where the customers are gathered that also stay on or come on when the electricity supply goes down. Likewise any passageways leading to safety will need to remain illuminated at least until everyone is out of the building. Several of Lyco’s emergency lighting products are ideally suited to these situations. The 3W LED compact emergency downlight in a white finish is one such product. Only 40mm in diameter it fits unobtrusively in the ceiling gently glowing green when all is well and providing a bright white light if the mains power fails.

If you already have low energy or low voltage down lights installed, the Low Voltage Halogen to Emergency Downlight Kit might be just the thing for you. It converts low energy mains or low voltage downlights into emergency lighting and there is also an LED option available.

The lighting that a venue has to have in place to ensure compliance with the law and to help save lives in an emergency doesn’t need to be purely functional. The aesthetic appeal of the place can be enhanced by installing good looking emergency lighting.

Take a look at Lyco’s full range of Emergency Lighting

Looking for more information / inspiration? Check out our Lighting Advice section.

Do I go for sticks and spirals or covered shape bulbs

Back when there were only incandescents, choosing a bulb was fairly simple – get the right fitting, shape and wattage and you were pretty much sorted, even if you did occasionally end up with a reflector bulb looking a bit odd in a lampshade.

However, since the advent of energy-saving bulbs, there seem to be any number of permutations, as manufacturers find ever new ways of bending fluorescent tubing into strange shapes. A lot of this is just slight variance between manufacturers though, as there are basically three main types of energy-saving bulb – sticks, spirals and ‘covered’ bulbs.

stick bulb has a number of small, straight fluorescent tubes rising vertically from the base, and tends to be longer and narrower than a traditional bulb. A spiral bulb, meanwhile, has one continuous spiral tube that forms a round balloon shape like a traditional bulb (or a stylised ice cream cone!).

So is there any difference between these two types of bulb? To put it simply, not a huge amount. Spiral bulbs have more density of tubing, so they can give off somewhat more light than stick bulbs. Also, due to their more traditional outline, spirals can be better suited to traditional fittings where space is limited, or where you want to achieve a traditional ‘bulb’ look. Sticks, on the other hand, can make a real statement when used in modernist or minimalist light fittings, and are often better suited to long, narrow fittings, as they’ll provide light further along the length of the reflector or diffuser. In case you think these bulbs are only available as replacements for standard bulbs, however, you can also get them to suit golfball and candle fittings.

All of which brings us to covered bulbs, such as the GLS CFL bulb (GLS stands for ‘general lighting services’, i.e. the traditional bulb shape, while CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp). This type of bulb looks much more like a traditional incandescent pearl bulb, with a single bulb shape rather than any visible tubes. As with spirals and sticks, these bulbs are also available in candle and golfball styles

A GLS CFL bulb works in exactly the same way as a stick or spiral, however, as underneath the translucent covering is a stick or spiral tube, just like one of those bulbs. Although it may look very tempting to get this type of bulb for tradition’s sake, there are a couple of reasons to choose a stick or spiral instead. Firstly, stick and spiral bulbs don’t have to squeeze into a cover, so have more length of tube, and hence give off more light. Nor do they have a diffusion layer, which again saps some of the brightness. GLS CFL bulbs tend to be somewhat pricier as well.

Basically, if your light fittings make the bulb visible, and you or the person you’re fitting them for is adamant about having traditional-looking bulbs, go for a covered bulb. Otherwise, for maximum light output at minimum cost, it’s worth choosing a spiral or stick.

Looking for more inspiration, news and advice? Try our Lighting Advice section.

What makes a good value LED bulb?

One of the greatest things about LED light bulbs is that they last for eons – tens of thousands of hours if you pick a good-quality LED bulb. That’s a fistful of years in real-world terms. However, we often hear of people who have complained that LED lighting isn’t quite the revolution promised. Disappointing lifespan and inconsistent light tone are the most common causes for concern.

Why doesn’t my LED bulb always last?

What’s the problem? Are people using them wrong? Are cheap LEDs no good? Or are LED bulbs in general just not as good as they’re cracked up to be?  Look a little further into the lingo of the LED lighting world, and you can easily avoid getting stuck with a bad bulb.

It all boils down to one simple truth – not every LED bulb is the same. Just as with any mass-produced product, if you opt for the bottom rung, cheap option you may end up spending more in the long run as bulbs can give up the ghost much earlier than expected. And, also like anything electrical you’d find on a high street shelf, LED light bulbs undergo testing before they end up in our warehouse.

A tale of two tests

There are two types of test that may go into earning a bulb the claim of 25,000 hours. If a bulb’s rating is measured using the B50 standard, there’s a small chance an LED won’t last as long as expected. The B50 test involves seeing how long 50 per cent of 100 LED bulbs fail, where a fail is a bulb not producing any light whatsoever. A bulb emitting 1% of light is still classed as working and in some cases LED lightbulbs could even have failed within the first ten minutes.

There’s a higher-grade test, though, which is soon to be ratified as the standard by the government. The L70 is altogether more practical than the B50, failing a bulb such as the top-notch Philips Dimmable MasterLED once its light output falls below 70 per cent of what it puts out fresh out of the packaging. The standard measure of brightness is lumens, and a high-quality, more powerful LED light bulb like the Megaman 11W model will provide in excess of 1000 – a seriously powerful light-flinger.

Test it for yourself

If the budget is of vital importance, though, there’s a third way to check out whether you’re buying the right bulb. Divide the claimed hours by the cost of the bulb itself and you’ll get what we like to call the cost per 1,000 hours figure. If a £20 bulb is certified to last for an average of 25,000 hours, it’s actually better value than a £10 bulb that’s expected to last for 10,000 hours.   A longer-lasting premium bulb is also likely to offer more consistent performance over its life.

Other factors

It’s not just the lifespan of the bulb that you need to consider, either. Colour temperature is also extremely important. This is measured in so many thousand kelvins – yes, the same unit as temperature. A rating of around 2,700k is standard for “warm white”, which has a touch of orange for a less clinical look. Cool white sits at around 4,000k, with a slight blue hue giving a sharper finish.

However, just like stamina ratings, these figures are not absolute. In a premium LED light bulb, you can expect the actual colour temperature to be with around 100k or 150k of the stated one. That’s pretty accurate. Cheaper bulbs with less strenuous quality assurance may only promise to stay within 500k of the intended shade – way off a bullseye. A 2,700k warm white bulb that’s actually a 2,200k bulb will appear very orangey. Getting the right look is extremely important when a high-grade bulb like the Philips 5.5W MasterLED Spot GU10 will last for years, if not more than a decade. Many of our white LED light bulbs are available in both warm and cool variants.

For all the testing and grading measures that go into LED-making, though, you can’t beat first-hand experience when it comes to choosing a bulb. If you’re out to kit out a whole house or business with low-energy, long-life LED bulbs, our top advice is to buy yourself a bulb or two to see exactly what they offer. There are a lot of great bulbs out there. Pick the right one and you’ll save a lot of time and money.

Lyco quality assurance

Lyco’s range of LED bulbs have all been put through their paces with exhaustive testing. Whether it is our full range of market leading performance LEDs or the more price sensitive LED bulbs, such testing ensures that we only offer the best selection of high quality LED light bulbs around as well as the best performing models amongst the lower priced LED bulbs on the market

Checkout our full range of LED Light Bulbs.

Looking for more inspiration, news and advice. Try our Lighting Advice section.

New Build Part 1 – (Living Room & Hallway Lights)

There’s something special about the process of taking a set of plans and turning them into a finished house, but installing your choice in lighting is one of those pivotal moments when a house turns into a home. It’s important, then, to get it right, and in the first of a series of features on choosing light fittings for a new build home, we look at some key advice and top product suggestions for illuminating the living room and hallway.

Whether you’re designing a house from scratch, fitting an existing build according to a client’s brief, or looking to make a change to a new build before moving in, the impact of your choice in lighting is huge.

There’s the obvious functional benefit of light – there’s little worse than a poorly lit home after all – but there’s also the aesthetic value of lighting too. And there are few spaces in the home where getting that balance right matters more than in the living room and hallway. They’re typically the first two rooms you experience when entering a house, and both serve a vital function within the home too.

The living room, after all, is where the entire family will look to relax and spend time together, while the hallway is the main artery running through the home, linking bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas together.

So what should you think about when choosing living room and hallway lighting? Let’s take a look, and then check out a couple of great product suggestions that fit the bill.

Living Room Lighting

Because the living room serves such a multitude of uses these days, getting the lighting right can be easier said than done. A lot of the finer touches will come down to the placement of things like lamps or cabinet lighting, but there are also some fundamental considerations worth thinking about long before that point.

Size

Especially with a new build, it can be difficult keeping a sense of perspective between the size of your light fitting and the size of the room. It can be tempting to choose a striking ceiling light to make a bold style statement, for instance, but you don’t want to end up completely overpowering the room.

Balance

Does your choice and placement of light fitting create an even balance of light throughout the room? If possible, try to make sure you’re left with no problem areas with insufficient light, or areas that are too bright for that matter – neither is ideal in the living room.

Direction

If you’re planning to install wall lights, be aware of where the TV is most likely going to go. It’s important that the screen isn’t the only source of light in the room, but you certainly don’t want the two competing against each other.

Up or down

Traditional ceiling lights are the most popular and visually noticeable style of lighting for your living room, but if you want a more understated approach or want to draw attention to the ceiling itself, wall-mounted uplights are an elegant alternative.

Hallway Lighting

The hallway may not be a room in the strictest sense of the word, but don’t overlook it – there’s every chance the hall lights will spend more time switched on than any other light in the house. It’s an oddly shaped space, and unlike any other in the house it’s purely used to walk through, and so should be lit with both those points in mind.

Quantity and placement

The typical hallway is long and narrow, and is unlikely to have a natural light source of its own. This means you’re relying solely on artificial lighting to keep the hallway feeling light and open, but you also don’t have much space to work with. The solution is to install more than just one light – ideally about three to four metres apart.

Safety

The hallway is a busy place in any home, and there’s every chance it’ll be linked to a staircase too. This area needs to be well lit, and should have light switches at both the top and bottom.

Style

Discreetly placed track lighting is both effective and elegant – especially for long hallways – while matching wall and ceiling light fixtures from the same product range can be combined unobtrusively to provide sufficient light without getting in the way. Consider the height of the ceiling too. If you’re designing a new build from scratch, recessed wall lighting is a stylish way to get around that, but otherwise opt for a flush ceiling fitting suitable for hallways with low ceilings.

Recommended: Zaragoza pendant and wall light set

It’s easy to see why the Zaragoza range is so popular, not just in the hallway but elsewhere in the house too. The combination of classic styling, polished chrome finish and simple yet elegant cream, red or black ridged shades makes this an enduring favourite.

The 400mm Three-Light Pendant looks understated, but with three 60W bulb fittings it’s more than up to the task of lighting the dimmest of hallways, and can be partnered by the equally capable semi-circular Standard Wall Light.

The Three-Light Table Light continues in the same vein should you be looking to break up the visual impact of a longer hallway with a well-placed table, while you can add a touch of class to wider or irregularly shaped hallways or entrance halls with the simple yet stylish Standard Floor Light.

Conclusion

Choosing the interior lighting for any new build involves taking a good number of practical considerations into account, but make the right decisions from an informed perspective and there’s still plenty of room for expression and creativity.

This concludes part one of our focus on lighting a new build 2-bedroom home. In part 2 we focus on the bedrooms and bathrooms and in part 3 we concentrate on kitchen/diner lighting as well as other interior and exterior spaces.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, news and advice, please check out Lighting advice.