With the development of LED technology in lighting, choosing the lamp of intensity and color appropriate to our environments and our aesthetic tastes seems to have become very complicated.
To avoid making mistakes, it has become customary to rely heavily on the opinion of the seller who, more often than not, recommends the most sold and marketable lamps and the type of lighting.
In truth, LED lighting, in addition to energy-saving, has many other advantages that should not be underestimated. With LED lighting we can choose the color of the light and the intensity of the light: two characteristics not to be underestimated especially from the point of view of interior design since in function of these two parameters each environment takes on particular aesthetic characteristics.
Let’s now see in detail what are the characteristics of a LED lamp to choose the correct LED lighting for your environment without being forced to rely on the seller.
The characteristics of an LED lamp
How many of you during the purchase of a light bulb received the following question: “what kind of light do you want? Warm, cold, natural?” And again: “how many lumens?”
And how many of you have had difficulty answering these questions?
Well, with this article you will understand what lumens are, what kelvins are, the difference between watts and lumens, how many lumens correspond to watts, what is the color temperature, and how to choose the perfect LED lighting for each environment.
Let’s get some clarity straight away.
Difference between watts and lumens
A watt is a unit of measure of power, i.e. the frequency with which energy is produced or consumed and does not correspond to the luminous flux produced by a bulb (expressed in lumens).
In the past, with the use of incandescent lamps, the watt was conventionally used to indicate the luminous flux produced and the energy consumption for the operation of the lamp, learning how much light a 100w lamp emits compared to a 60w lamp and choosing accordingly.
With the arrival of the LED, things have changed considerably because, with this new technology, a lamp can produce a very high luminous flux and consume less energy during operation. So with the LED it is necessary to distinguish the watts (energy consumption) from the lumen (emission of luminous flux).
If you want to perform an approximate conversion from watts to lumens, it is necessary to consider the first incandescent lamps and multiply the number of watts by 10. For other types of lamps, for example, halogen lamps, this calculation is no longer valid!
As mentioned above, the conversion from watts to lumens is indicative because another unit of measurement, the kelvin, comes into play in LED lighting, which affects the luminous flux produced (lumens) for the same energy consumption (watts).
What is the color temperature and the Color Rendering Index
The color temperature indicates the color of the light emitted by a lamp and its hue.
Kelvin is the unit of measurement for color temperature.
In non-led energy-saving lamps you could choose between warm light, cold light, and yellow light.
In LED lamps, in addition to choosing the color, you also choose the color tone. These two parameters are measured in degrees Kelvin and vary from 1000 K to 10000 K.
The lower the value, the warmer the light tends to orange, the higher the value the colder the light and tends to white until it turns blue and blue.
In the conversion from watts to lumens, the warmer the light, the higher the lumen value must be compared to the calculation previously indicated to emit the corresponding light emitted by an incandescent bulb.
Let’s take a concrete example:
if we want a color temperature equal to that of the incandescent lamp (2700 K) and a luminous flux equal to that produced by a 100 Watt incandescent lamp, we must purchase a 1600 lumen lamp.
If instead we prefer more natural light, but always warm, therefore a color temperature of 3500 K, and a flow always equal to that produced by a 100 Watt incandescent lamp, we must purchase a lamp between 1000 and 1200 lumens.
As we can deduce, the conversion from watts to lumens can only be indicative and not effective.
Including what the color temperature is and how to measure it, we understand well what the Color Rendering Index (IRC) is
The color rendering of a led lamp indicates how a light source reproduces colors compared to daylight. So it is an index of color fidelity.
Since the color rendering index of daylight is 100, the best-LED lamps must have an IRC between 80 and 90. LED lamps with a color rendering index of 90 to have a very high luminous efficiency and therefore excellent color reproduction.
How to choose a led lamp
Now that we understand what Watts, Lumens, Kelvin and Color Rendering Index are, we know that to choose a good LED lamp we must first look at:
- the value of the IRC (color rendering index)
- the color temperature we want (Kelvin)
- the value of the luminous flux needed to illuminate the environment (Lumen)