What is LED? A beginners guide to LED lighting

LED Lighting

LEDs have become the most efficient source of lighting available, using up to 90% less energy than incandescent lighting and 60% less than fluorescent lighting. However, LED lighting has not always been the cost-efficient alternative that it is today, with the first LEDs costing around $200 each. Since the first visible LED was created in 1962 the technology has grown rapidly, with LED lights becoming an extremely popular lighting solution in recent years.

So, what exactly are LEDs and how could you benefit from installing them throughout your business premises?
A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is an electrical light source that only allows an electrical current to flow in one direction. LEDs contain two conductive materials that are placed in contact with each other – once electricity is applied to the diode, the atoms in one material become charged with energy. This energy is then released in the form of electrons into the other conductive material – this release of energy is what creates light. The process of generating light is what distinguishes LEDs from traditional lighting, as regular incandescent bulbs produce light by creating heat.

Benefits of LED Lighting

LED lighting boasts various benefits when compared to traditional solutions.

  • Energy-efficiency: LED bulbs are far more energy efficient when compared to the traditional alternatives with energy savings of 80-90% over incandescent or halogen technologies and up to 50% in comparison to fluorescent lamps.
  • Longer lifespan: LEDs last 2 or 3 times longer than fluorescent bulbs and over 50 times longer than incandescent lamps. The typical lifespan of an LED is up to 50,000 hours, further slashing replacement and maintenance costs.
  • Instant light: many fluorescent lights can take a while to ‘warm-up’ and reach their full brightness, however LEDs light up immediately.
  • Eco-friendly: LED technology has the potential to dramatically reduce carbon emissions as around 20% of the world’s electricity is used on lighting, so finding a more energy efficient solution will reduce this. Additionally, as LEDs don’t contain mercury, disposal of the bulbs is much easier and cleaner.
  • Lower heat output: unlike filament bulbs, an LED lamp does not project infrared heat in its beam, making them more suitable for lighting heat-sensitive items like artworks or food. As LEDs emit less heat they are also ‘safer’ than traditional bulbs, reducing the risk of fire caused by high temperature bulbs.
  • Added durability: LEDs are a solid state form of lighting, meaning they are able to withstand lower temperatures and higher levels of vibration and shock in comparison to incandescent or fluorescent lamps.

Replacing traditional lights with LEDs

Retrofit LED bulbs look like traditional incandescent or halogen lamps, and can be used in the same fittings as traditional bulbs. These types of LEDs are suitable for a majority of scenarios, however, close attention needs to be paid to the heat dissipation of the bulbs, especially when being used in enclosed light fittings. Alternatively, speciality LED light fittings can be designed with non-replaceable LEDs, as due to the extended lifespan of LED bulbs they do not need to be replaced regularly. In these scenarios the whole fitting is replaced once it comes to the end of its lifespan. These fittings can be designed to achieve the highest level of efficiency possible, as they are custom designed to the building to reduce the amount of wasted light.

How much can you save by converting to LEDs?

When comparing LEDs to traditional lighting technology, the increased energy efficiency and extended lifespan result in a substantial long term savings. As previously mentioned, LEDs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent (including halogen) and 60% less than old fluorescent lighting, resulting in instant energy cost savings. On top of this, the extended lifespan of LED bulbs means they need to be replaced far less regularly, further reducing any additional maintenance costs. Investing in a full LED conversion may seem daunting initially due to the investment required. However, the subsequent savings will mean any initial investment is soon repaid. Our blog post on the savings that can be made by converting to LEDs includes a great example of exactly how much a business could save by making the switch.

A bright future for LEDs

LED lights are an energy efficient, long life, eco-friendly alternative to traditional lighting. For businesses looking to reduce their long term energy costs and carbon footprint, LED is the way forward.

Outdoor lighting advice for hotels, restaurants and bars

outdoor lighting

For owners of restaurants, hotels, bars, and other such establishments, getting the right lighting is important both inside and out. However, whilst indoor lighting is an essential component of interior design, outdoor spaces are more frequently underutilised, or overlooked entirely. Much like an indoor space, a well-lit outdoor space – be it a garden, courtyard, or rooftop terrace – can completely transform the ambience of an establishment, and provide a number of practical benefits besides.

First impressions

One of the best ways to tempt customers or guests into a establishment is to make it stand out. Utilising floodlights to illuminate a building’s frontage can be a great way of capturing the attention of passers-by, while simultaneously highlighting any key aesthetical or architectural features. When a more subtle lighting solution is required, strategically placed wall lights can be used to frame key areas such as entrances and doorways, whilst sign lighting is the ideal solution for highlighting signage or other important information.

Feature lighting

Feature and decorative lights are a brilliant way to embellish an outdoor space. From LED planters to outdoor floor lamps, feature lighting comes in a wide range of styles, and can fulfil a wide range of purposes – even if that purpose is to stand there and look pretty. For example, the Assisi LED Planter acts as a decorative focal point that would look at home in any establishment, whilst costing very little to run.

Festoon and fairy lights

Incorporating fairy lights and festoons throughout a garden or courtyard can help create a chilled-out atmosphere, providing ambient lighting that will allow patrons to enjoy a relaxed drink or meal after dark. Festoon and fairy lights are incredibly versatile and work perfectly under trellises and pergolas, throughout plants and trees, or as a solution for framing doors and windows. Whatsmore, with so many shapes, sizes, and colours available, there’s a festoon and fairy light to suit every style and occasion.

Safety and security

As well as providing many aesthetical benefits, lighting also plays a functional – but extremely important – role in health and safety. For example, post or bollard lights can be used for illuminating paths and drawing attention to uneven ground, whilst stake lights or floodlights are useful for highlighting potential hazards such as steps or curbs. With regards to security, floodlights with built-in PIR motion sensors and cameras act as effective deterrents to would-be thieves, and can also be placed in car parks to provide a sense of safety amongst patrons and guests.

With very minimal effort and financial investment it is possible to create an outdoor space that customers will want to visit time and time again. Check out our full range of outdoor lighting solutions or get in touch today to see how we can help you.