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LED Lighting and You

Buc Fitch says LED offers benefits but isn’t a panacea

Posted by Charles “Buc” Fitch

A friend told me he’s contemplating going into the LED home lighting business. Seems relevant to me for radio stations too.

A few comments about LED lighting … a lighting source whose moment has come.

Lighting has many qualities that affect its application and determine user satisfaction level, including:

color temperature
color balance
color quality rendition

It may be hyperbole to say so; but it feels as though LED outputs have doubled and prices halved each year through the last decade. Their unique life as merely a low-level near-infinite indicator is now coming to an end.

However, I sense a parallel in LEDs with fluorescents. When that technology appeared that there were limitations in the qualities I listed as well.

Some people would like us to think we now have a lighting panacea at hand. But at the moment, LEDs are more raw illumination than a panchromatic highly diffused light. LEDs have more distance to travel to perfection.

I am starting to specify LEDs for hard-to-maintain locations where people and material spend limited time and activities require no detail work or long duration of occupation.

The ideal situation is a long corridor or staircase in a parking garage. Back-up lighting in the high ceiling of a gymnasium is another, for when power is interrupted and you have to restrike the HID fixtures. You don’t want to leave people in the dark.

LEDs come on quickly … are efficient so they don’t raise the demand factor that much … LEDs are also perfect for exit lights etc. where you do not want the illuminator to burn out.

But they’re not for every situation or need. At the moment I’m not spec’ing any for study desk lights in libraries and that sort of long-term occupancy situation until we optimize diffusion and color rendition. I welcome comments from others on this as well.