Whether you’re upgrading your current office lighting or designing the office space of a new development project, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of LED Lighting for a commercial lighting application. Here are 5 important points of analysis when considering LED Lighting to Fluorescent:
- Initial Investment
- Life Span and Warranty
- Fluorescent Ballast and Lamp Replacement Costs
- Features: Color Rendering & Dimming
- Design Aesthetics
Depending on the fixture type, whether troffers or architectural linear pendant fixtures, LED fixtures can be slightly more expensive than fluorescent fixtures. However, this is not always the case and LED fixture prices are rapidly becoming more competitive with fluorescent alternatives especially if you need features like dimming and EM (Emergency Back-up). Choose one fluorescent and one LED fixture design that you like then compare features and cost.
Life Span and Warranty
Once you’ve compared fixture costs, you’ll want to compare the life span and fixture warranty claims (usually outlined on the product manufacturer’s specification sheets – see example). One of the main benefits of choosing LED lighting, apart from energy reduction, is their 10-25 year expected life spans. LED manufacturers also provide a 5-10 year fixture warranty that covers replacements for fixtures that die within the warranty period. Fluorescent fixtures are rarely covered under any warranties. Alternatively, LED lighting fixtures provide extensive life spans.
Fluorescent Ballast and Lamp Replacement Costs
Fluorescent fixtures have two components: a lamp and ballast, which runs the lamp. Fluorescent lamps cost $5-$15-depending on the lamp type-and need to be replaced every 6 months – 3 years depending on their use. Fluorescent ballasts cost between $20-$30 and need to be replaced every 3-6 years depending on use. Also consider the time and labor involved with replacing fluorescent lamps and ballasts. LED fixtures require no lamp or ballast replacements.
Features: Color Rendering & Dimming
The CRI (Color Rendering Index) rating of LED lighting is much higher than fluorescent lights. The higher the CRI of a light source, the more accurate representation of the colors displayed under the light. This is why art galleries prefer LEDs to any other light sources. Also, LED fixtures dim much smoother than fluorescent fixtures which tend to flicker and are generally offered as a standard feature of LEDs as opposed to being a premium and often costly option for fluorescent fixtures.
Given that the initial investment of LED lighting is now generally equal to or less than fluorescent lighting, there are conceivably no advantages to choosing fluorescent lighting fixtures for your office space. That said, certain fluorescent fixture designs are now deemed “retro” by some designers and preferred over new LED fixtures. Here are a few designs of these “retro” fluorescent office lighting fixtures for commercial applications.
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The science of measuring light, photometry, specifically applies to light in a space. Photometrics gauges how humans perceive light — its coverage area, where light cuts off and the intensity of light in relation to distance from the light source. In practical terms, photometrics shows whether a lighting plan meets the qualitative and quantitative lighting requirements for a project.
Products can demand attention with the help of proper lighting. This means an open floor plan with tactical attention to lighting fixture placement, brightness, color temperature, and CRI. The ability of LED Lighting to meet these technical requirements is what makes it the #1 choice of lighting designers and architects.
If the work of lighting design was just left to services engineers to meet regulation-determined illuminance criteria per application, then interior and exterior architectural spaces would become soulless environments. Using qualitative measurements, architects and lighting designers can make sure the architectural intention and aesthetic character of a space is not compromised.
At Alcon Lighting’s LA headquarters, co-founder David Hakimi adopted a 12 year-old dog named Nano and decided to bring him into the office every day. Let’s just say it garnered some attention. It quickly became clear that Nano, who’s now 14 years old, relishes a long nap. Nano likes to hop and curl up in an easy chair, resting his head on the arm, drifting into slumber. In fact, David says this is Nano’s favorite activity.
“98% of what gets built today is sh**. There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.” – Frank Gehry. Fun fact: One of Frank Gehry’s most famous works as an architect is his own private Santa Monica residence.