Lighting is an important part of your home. Nice ambient lighting can make you feel comfortable and good task lighting in the right areas is essential. Talk to us about how we can improve your lighting
Types of lighting
- Good lighting in a home or workplace can make a difference to how you feel. Lighting which is too bright or the wrong colour can be overwhelming whilst lighting which is too dim makes it impossible to read or cook dinner.
- General purpose lighting
- Recessed downlights, wall lights, pendants and surface mounted fittings like battens, buttons and batten holders can all be used for general purpose lighting. When we talk about general purpose lighting, its main task is to illuminate a room and the type of light used depends on what the room is used for and how bright it needs to be. For example, a couple of LED batten fittings are perfect for a garage because they put our a lot of light in all directions but they are not so great for your living room or bedroom because they produce alot of glare and most of them cannot be dimmed down.
- Task Lighting
- Task lighting is a light fitting which has been installed in a specific position for a special purpose. We usually install a light above or beside the bathroom mirror because it gives the best light onto a face when someone is trying to put on make up or shave their beard. A downlight overhead in this instance will produce shadows on their face and therefore not as good as a light installed at head height. (There is a way around this by using multiple downlights in the ceiling to reduce shadow if using a wall light is not possible, talk to us for more information)
- Other examples of task lighting would be a light over the kitchen bench, a desk lamp or a light inside your pantry. These are all installed for a specific purpose
- Accent Lighting
- Accent lighting builds on general lighting. It is used to highlight a specific feature in a room or to provide some mood. Examples of accent lighting are cabinetry lighting which illuminiates a vase, a light mounted in the ceiling or on the wall to illuminate art or a spike light in the garden used to illuminate a plant.
Know whats watt.
Most people will look at the power (watts) of a light fitting to compare it with another fitting. This is not the correct way to compare light fittings. Lumens is the unit used to measure light and the higher the lumen output of a light fitting, the brighter it will be. Brighter is not always best though. A downlight which produces 1200 lumens is great if you have a high ceiling stud height or a large room which needs alot of light but it wont be so nice in a 3×3 bedroom with a 2.4 metre stud height.
Recessed downlights come in varying beam angles. A wide beam angle is between 90 degrees and 110 degrees. These types of light fittings are good for general purpose lighting in bedrooms, hallways, kitchens and bathrooms. The light produced should be wide enough so you can have less fittings in a room and if specified correctly, illuminiate the walls so the room does not feel like a cave. A narrow beam angle would be considered 40 degrees or less and these types of fittings are used for accent lighting- illuminating art and sculptures or creating mood in hallways. Then there are the fittings which sit in between these two and the most common fitting is a 60 degee downlight. These fittings are a good compromise between wide and narrow. They produce a wide enough beam angle so the room feels less cave like but also not lit up like a christmas tree. There is a good variety of fittings on the market so they are available in standard form, low glare, ultra low glare and also tilt.
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a scale from 0 to 100 percent indicating how accurate a “given” light source is at rendering color when compared to a “reference” light source. The higher the CRI, the better the color rendering ability. 85- 90 CRI are considered good but anything below this and the colour red will not be as prominant therefore timber flooring, food and artwork can look quite dull. High CRI fittings of 97+ are used to illuminate art when it is important that all colours of that artwork can be seen clearly.
Blue light is natural and a healthy part of our everyday lives – it helps us be more alert and active. In the evening however, excessive blue light can affect our circadian rhythms. Some people may have more difficulty sleeping after excessive exposure to bright blue light sources (especially from LED screens). Sunset Dimming models are ideal downlights for minimising potential effects on our circadian rhythms, as they dim to a warm and softer glow that may even enhance sleep cycles. Only some manufactuers produce sunset dimming, Halcyon and Switch Lighting in particular. Their links are at the bottom of this page.
Insulation and LED light fittings
There is a common misconception about LEDs not producing heat. They dont produce as much as the old halogen and incandescent fittings but they still produce a little bit. Heat will kill an LED fitting prematurely and the light fittings need to be specified and installed correctly in order for the fitting to have a long and happy life. A driver is an electronic component much similar to a transformer which is used to change the voltage and current of the mains supplied to the light. In New Zealand, we have strict regulations about how the light fittings and drivers can be installed and some light fitting manufactuers require these to be installed above the insulation, which means a hole needs to be cut in the insulation which is designed to keep the heat in the room! Its like winding down the window a little bit in the car while the heater is on, all the heat escapes out that gap! Talk to us about specifying the right LED light fitting.
Click these links to see catalogues from our prefered suppliers