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Tagged with 'led lighting'

LED Lights: What is the difference between Warm White and Cool White?

sharp led downlight kit

If you want to replace your old, traditional incandescent or halogen lights with LED lights, or if you are planning on building a new space with LED lighting you need to choose your light colour.  If you are not yet familiar with LED technology or have seen confusing terms such as "3000K vs 4000K" then this article will make you fully informed. We’ll discuss the difference between Warm White and Cool White LEDs as well as the ideal situations when you should use them. First, let’s take a short look at what LED is all about.

LED Lights - The Benefits And What To Look For


Premium LED downlight with large heatsink

LED is the latest lighting technology and far superior to traditional incandescent and halogen lights.  The key benefits of LED lighting over traditional lighting is it is designed to last much longer (decades usually), consumes far less power (80%+ less usually), and is far safer (low operating temperature so greatly reduced fire risk).

Traditional light bulbs pass electricity through a wire filament (encased in sometimes dangerous gases) which then glows hot to provide light.  LED technology involves passes controlled electricity through a solid-state semiconductor (a Light Emitting Diode or LED chip) which emits light of a certain brightness and colour.  The heat produced by a LED is far less than incandescent lighting so the lights do not produce dangerous heat if installed properly.

LED chips, just like laptop computer chips, still need to be kept cool so their intended lifetime is preserved,  This is why LED downlights have a rear heatsink.  Premium LED downlights often have larger heatsinks to provide greater heat dissipation - these are usually only warm to touch even if the light is on all day, but they still serve an important function in lowering the operating temperature of the LED chip.

If you’re convinced that LED is the technology for your lighting needs, check out our page on choosing and installing LED lights and our large range of LED downlights.

 

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LED Colours


Technically, LED chips can be made to emit a specific light color and from the red, blue, yellow, and pure white light spectrum.  This is why LED technology is applied to various applications.  The terms warm white and cool white are references to the low and high end of this white light color spectrum.

Warm white - is a comfortable white color that is used in living areas and residential applications.  It is what we are used to in Australian households.  More than 95% of domestic lighting is warm white and most households opt to install 100% warm white.

Cool white - is an artificially whiter light that is normal in retail shopping centres, offices, and useful in household work areas like laundries and garages.  Cool white, and it slightly less harsh "Natural White", are much lower demand than warm white for domestic use.

The technical measurement of light color is in Kelvins, and this is discussed below.  As many LED lights are sold with a Kelvin color specification it might be useful for you to read our simple explanation of the Kelvin light color scale below.

Warm White or Cool White?

Kelvin ScaleThe Kelvin Scale


LED color temperature is measured using the Kelvin scale represented by numbers followed by a “K”.  Manufacturers and retailers can differ in their definition of the light range titles, but typically:

    • Warm White is around 2700K to 3500K,
    • Natural White is around 4000K to 4500K,
    • Cool White is around 5000K to 6500K.



As an example, consider the color temperature of other light sources:

    • Candle flame: around 1850K
    • Traditional incandescent lights: around 2700K to 3300K
    • Moonlight: around 4100K



Warm White and Cool White are the most commonly used colour temperature in LED applications.

I want to match the light colour of my old lights


If you are replacing incandescent lights or halogen downlights almost all globes sold for general household purposes in Australia have been warm white.  You can always check the model number of the globe if you are unsure.

One difference in light colour you will be likely to notice is when you dim lights.  When you dim incandescent or halogen lights the filament would become increasingly orange (warmer).  With LED chips, however, the light colour will always remain the same regardless of the brightness.  So if you dim a LED light only its brightness will reduce.  This is easy to get accustomed to, and regarded as an improvement by most of our customers.

I have seen LED lights that are colour adjustable


Some manufacturers and retailers are promoting lights where the color of the light can be changed - often with a remote!  Renovator Store does sell such a light.   What is actually happening is the light fixture usually includes a warm white LED chip set AND a cool white LED chip set.  To change the color you are actually switching between the two or using a combination of both.

Whilst this might sound attractive as you do not have to select your light color upfront, the combination of two LED chip sets either materially increases the cost of the light, or the quality of the chip sets are reduced to keep the price competitive.  In my experience, customers that have selected such lights eventually switch them to warm white and never touch them again - therefore I believe the gimmick will eventually disappear from the market.

Which color temperature is best for me?


It all depends on your needs.  Work out what the function of the space is and then select your light color.  IMPORTANTLY: you should not mix light colors in a single space as the difference would be quite evident.

COMMERCIAL LIGHTING AND TASK LIGHTING - If you are fitting a factory or a hospital, Cool White is the best choice for you because its "whiter than white" color exaggerates colors and is ideal for working and task-based lighting.  It is sometimes called "icy white" and is equivalent to the light you get from the normal fluorescent tube lighting in offices and commercial buildings.

In the home, we recommend cool white (or natural white which is between cool and warm) for work and task areas such as home offices.  Although not common, some people choose natural white (about 4000K) for bathrooms and kitchens for task lighting.  However, if your kitchen is integrated with living spaces you should not mix light colors and would utilize a light color that suits the living spaces throughout.

LIVING AREAS - Warm White is by far the more practical and popular color temperature for home installation, especially if traditional light bulbs are to be replaced.  As you can see in the image below warm white is a very normal light for the home.  People usually tend to stick with the kind of lighting they already have and warm white LED lights to offer a similar lighting color. Warm white is regarded as almost essential for living spaces as anything above this is generally regarded as too harsh.

OUTDOOR LIGHTING - Selection of light color for outdoor lighting is a matter of preference. We recommend warm white for outdoor living, warm white is also more popular for outdoor lighting fixtures.  The exception might be specialized security lights and access lighting.

Of course, if you would like further advice please ring Renovator Store on 1800 RENOSTORE or (03) 9544 3003.

warm white led lights are perfect for living rooms

Why are my LED lights flickering?

LED lights and their transformers are sensitive to a number of electrical and environmental factors. This article can assist you determine what might be causing your LED lights to flicker.

LED light flickering?


If you are experiencing strobing or flickering it is typically one of three things:



  1. Incompatible dimmer on the circuit

  2. Electrical interference

  3. Environmental problems (e.g. dampness or very high heat)




Incompatible dimmer

incompatible-led-light-dimmer-switch

In almost all domestic cases flickering is caused by an incompatible dimmer.  Most LED lights work best with an LED dimmer and some will not perform properly with leading edge, trailing edge or universal dimmers.  Whilst dimmer manufacturers will tell you their dimmers are likely to be compatible with LED lighting, if they are not specifically for LED lighting they can cause a number of performance issues from a reduced dimming range, to flickering and failure.  In my experience, the older the dimmer the more likely there is to be issues.  Essentially an LED dimmer is made to recognise and work with the very small loads of LED lighting - even if there is only 1 light on the circuit.   A regular dimmer often cannot recognise the small load unless there are a number of LED lights on the circuit.  This can cause reduced dimming ranges or flickering at upper or lower end of the dimming range.



Electrical interference

different-light-bulb-types-affect-power-flow

This is a more difficult problem to identify.  LED light drivers are sensitive to power quality.  Any interference in the power (such as harmonics) can cause performance problems like flickering and can lead to light failure.  As the instructions highlight the light cannot be installed with other electrical devices on the circuit (like exhaust fans), nor can you mix different types of lights as  this is likely to cause performance issues.

To address this issue ensure the light circuit includes no other devices and all lights are the same and check the quality of your power source.



Environmental issues

led-lights

Dampness, heat and/or lack of airflow will cause issues with LED transformers and/or lights.  Ensure that the environment for these lights meets the requirements for installation in the instructions.  The lights typically cannot be covered by insulation or this will reduce their lifetime as the heatsink will be unable to dissipate heat.

70mm or 90mm Downlights? Choosing LED lights

When shopping for LED downlights you need to consider what size lights are best for your situation.  Recessed ceiling lights, or downlights, are the most popular form of residential lighting as they are minimalist in design and sit flush with your ceiling line. The two common sizes for residential lights are:

  • For a 70mm diameter ceiling cutout, and

  • For a 90mm diameter ceiling cutout.


Read on to find out whether 70mm or 90mm is best for you.


70mm-LED-downlights-sale-promo


Size generally determines brightness


Generally, the larger a LED downlight the larger the LED chip or chips are, and that means the brighter the light.  The following brightness ranges are typical for each LED light size:





















Light size
(cutout diameter)
Watts Lumens Halogen light equivalent brightness
70mm 9W to 12W 500 to 900 35W to 50W
90mm 12W to 18W 800 to 1100 45W to 60W

led-downlight-frame-compare-size

What brightness is required for my space?


There are some rules-of-thumb, as listed below, but adjustments should be made for higher ceilings, darker furnishings, light escaping the space, and room shapes.

For areas that do not need high brightness, such as dining rooms and hallways, a  target about 150 to 200 lumens per square metre (at floor level) is normal. So a 8m x 1.1m hallway (about 9 square metres) will need up to 1800 lumens.  Therefore 3 x 90mm lights would be excessively bright, but 3 x 70mm lights would be ideal.

[caption id="attachment_10986" align="aligncenter" width="630"]hallway-lighting-led Photo courtesy of http://www.architectureartdesigns.com/23-beautiful-hallway-lighting-design-ideas/[/caption]

For areas that require higher brightness, such as kitchens and workspaces, about 200 to 600 lumens per square metre (at floor level) is normal.   So a 5m x 3m kitchen (15 square metres) will need up to 9000 lumens.  Therefore and array of 8 x 90mm lights (i.e. 4 x 2 layout) would be ideal, but if you were using 70mm lights you may need 10+ lights (ie 5 x 2 layout).

Some workspaces and commercial food preparation spaces seek much higher brightness than the above – and I would always recommend you get specialist advice for specialist applications.

LED-lighting-bedroom-bright-90mm

When would I use a 70mm downlight?


[caption id="attachment_10990" align="alignright" width="200"]Light-bright-led-70mm-study Photo courtesy of www.depositphoto.com[/caption]

Replacing 70mm lights - If you are replacing halogen downlights that had a 70mm cutout then it is simpler to use LED downlights for a 70mm cutout.  Then you will not need to have all the ceiling holes resized!

Smaller spaces – Hallways, bathrooms, smaller rooms and alcoves do not require very bright downlights.   Generally 70mm lights are better for such narrow and smaller spaces so that glare and over-brightness is not experienced.

Spaces that do not need high brightness – dining rooms, hallways, media rooms and some relaxation living rooms generally do not need high brightness, and 70mm lights may be more appealing.

To achieve even brightness - Often you can get a more even light spread from using 70mm lights than 90mm lights in some spaces.  If you opt for 70mm lights they can be closer together and therefore the light beams overlap more to provide a more uniform room brightness.  For example, in a compact 4m x 4m bedroom here are the light array options:

  • 4 x 90mm lights - would be too bright for the space and an LED dimmer would be essential to moderate the brightness.

  • 2 x 90mm lights – overall brightness would be satisfactory, but wall shadowing and evenness of brightness may be a problem

  • 4 x 70mm lights – my preference as the brightness would be perfect and the overlapping of the four light beams would create very even brightness for the space



When would I use a 90mm downlight?


Replacing 90mm lights - If you are replacing halogen downlights that had a 90mm cutout then it is simpler to use LED downlights for a 90mm cutout.  Then you will not need to have all the ceiling holes resized!

Spaces requiring high brightness – as 90mm lights provide higher brightness using these in such areas will be more efficient (as less lights will be required)

Larger spaces – Large living areas and kitchens and spaces with higher ceilings can benefit from larger brighter lights as you can use less lights.   For example, a large 8m x 6m lounge room could use 3 x 2 array of larger brighter 90mm lights, whereas it might require a 4 x 2 array of 70mm lights to achieve the same result.

[caption id="attachment_10991" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Massive living room with chunky white sofas Photo courtesy of www.depositphoto.com[/caption]

 

The Future Is Now: Practical Tips for a Sustainable Home

For some time now, our society has been aware of the damage the human race has inflicted on our Earth.  They have also developed a sense of awareness and have realised that we need to take drastic measures to right our wrongs. An example of such a measure is green living. Although, nowadays the need for a sustainable household has become much more than just a vehicle to reduce carbon footprint -- it has become a trend in architecture and a way to increase the value of your property. So if you wish to discover practical tips for a sustainable home read on...


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Eco-Friendly Insulation


No matter how technology changes, insulation will always be the best way to save energy and lower your heating bills. It is also an ideal way to boost your green profile. There are various types of insulation to choose from, but the three types we recommend are recycled-content insulation, cellulose insulation or formaldehyde-free insulation. Furthermore the thicker the insulation, the better, as it traps more heat.

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Using Sun’s Energy




Humans have always looked up to the stars for answers, and the brightest of them all has the solution to your problems. Using the newest solar panel designs and technology you too can use the suns radiation to power your home.

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Double Glazed Windows




Single glazed windows provide minimal thermal and noise insulation. Opting for retro-fitted double glazed windows can significantly improve the quality of life in your home, and reduce green house gas emissions. This in turn cuts your energy costs, and increases the value of your property. Luckily enough, you don't even need to replace the entire window, but can simply can get it installed to fit your pre-existing design. 

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“Green” Lighting


vintage-led-lighting-bedside-hanging-retro

You would be surprised how much energy can be saved if you simply replace your old light bulbs with new, energy-efficient ones. For example, LED light bulbs can reduce energy bills up to 90%, and most have an expected lifespan of 20 years. Nowadays LED lights come in multiple styles and range significantly in price, allowing them to be incorporated into every decor style and match every budget. 

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Vintage = Eco-friendly


[caption id="attachment_10890" align="aligncenter" width="663"]vintage decor Source: nunussecrets.blogspot.com[/caption]

The beauty of vintage décor is that it can be pulled off through the eco-friendly practice of repurposing. This of course requires you to take some trips to markets to acquire unique furniture and accessories. Overall, you get to both save cash, and reduce the volume of your waste.

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Try Minimalism


[caption id="attachment_10888" align="alignleft" width="698"]sustainable home, decor Image source: fabryshouse.com[/caption]

On the other hand, modern minimalist décor can also be “green”. Just imagine the ultimate combo of that funky table made of recycled wood, and hanging LED lights. Essentially just remember less is more, and again opt for second-hand items. 

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Literally Make Your House Green


garden_green_feature_wall_renovation_interior

Green walls are trend initially made famous by A-list celebrities, but now you too can have one in your home! Not only does it improve the quality of your air, but incorporating nature into indoor spaces has also been found to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. The wall is also visually appealing, and can add a well need pop of colour into a dull space. 

Overall, theres no point in looking back to the past. The future is just ahead of us, and its time we take action to make it as green as possible.

 

The Environmental Benefits of LED Lighting

At WhichLEDLight.com we don't just want to help you save money but also want to help you do your bit for the planet. So are you ready to save the world but don't know where to start? Switching to LED lighting could be the easiest sustainability choice you can ever make.



 

Renovator Store Vintage LED Light GlobeRenovator Store Vintage LED Light Globe

When all traditional white light sources are switched to LED we will reduce energy consumption by 1000TW per year, this is the equivalent to 250 500MW coal plants and reduce emissions by 200 million tonnes.

Better still, switching to LED lighting is a one-time behaviour change. Once you make the switch you can effectively forget about it for years. How many years? Well typically LED light bulbs can last anywhere from 15,000 to 50,000 hours depending on the brand and the particular light. Depending on your usage this means you can expect an LED light to last for at least 25 years before needing to replace it. This means no messing around looking for the ladders once a year when that kitchen GU10 down light blows. LED lights use much less energy because of the way they work which is based around efficiency. This means lower electricity consumption and in turn carbon emissions. Who said that saving the world had to be expensive? With LED lighting you can do your bit for the planet and save your pocket in the process.

Are there any other sustainability benefits from LED lights? Yes! Low energy CFL light bulbs are packed with mercury. Mercury is a hazardous substance meaning that low energy CFL light bulbs cant just be thrown out in the trash (though that's not to say people don't!). Electrical waste is a major problem. Countries in the third world have issues based around electrical waste being shipped out there and disposed of in questionable ways. LED lighting is mercury free meaning they have less of an impact when it comes down to disposal. Again due to a massive lifetime LED light bulbs also need to be disposed of much less frequently. A double whammy when it comes to environmental benefits.

So there you have it, you can save the world just by changing a light bulb. Led lights have clear environmental benefits due to their efficiency, lifetime, and lack of toxic elements.

The Economics of LED lighting

So you are considering making the switch to LED lighting because you have heard these lights can help you control that electricity bill. A quick Google search will confirm your thinking. LED lighting is a cheaper option for your electricity bill. However there is one sticking point the upfront price of the light.



Stylish home interior with LED lights and outdoor table

Is LED lighting really cheaper?


The big question is will switching to LED work out cheaper when including the cost of the light bulb?

epistar-9w-led-light-sale

The short answer is yes. For a fair head to head comparison we need to compare the up front cost of the light bulb and the cost to power it over the lifetime of the light for both LED and incandescent options.

stylish edison led light bulbs

LED Lighting's high efficiency is the key


First off pricing. Incandescent light bulbs are the cheaper option. Whilst incandescent light bulbs are much cheaper to buy than LED lighting, the upfront cost saving hides a dark secret when it comes to efficiency.

 

When it comes to powering the lights Incandescent lights burn 90% more electricity than LED lighting options. The reason incandescent light bulbs generate light is through heating a wire filament to the point it glows and casts off light, therefore the majority of electricity passed through the light is as heat. This means that you are quite literally burning money through out dated inefficient lighting technology. With LED lighting technology light is generated directly with minimal heat generation. In short this means with LED lighting you get all the light for 10% of the running costs.

Renovator Store Vintage LED Light Globe

LED light maintenance - what maintenance?


The next aspect is to consider lifetime and what the lighting industry call ‘maintenance’. Who maintains a lightbulb? Well dear homeowner, every time you change a light bulb counts as maintenance. If you have out-dated halogen down lights maintenance is that trip to the supermarket and a journey up the stepladders to find, buy, and fit a replacement every 2,000 hours. LED lights commonly have lifetimes around the 25,000-hour mark, and its not uncommon to find LEDs with a 50,000-hour lifetime. If you use those lights for 4 hours a day that means these lights could last for 34 years!

Kitchen_renovation_DIY_lighting

The total cost of owning LED Lights


Putting all these factors together you get the total cost of ownership and that's the important factor to consider when making the switch. Whilst the purchase cost of incandescent lights is much lower because of their inefficiency the total cost of ownership is much higher than LED. How much higher? Well we are talking hundreds of dollars a year higher and over ten years this could mean a couple of trips abroad or a deposit on a car.

limelight led lights

LED lighting - a no brainer opportunity 


Finally, one big question we hear is should you wait to switch? It’s madness to wait until those incandescent lights blow. Why? Well like we already alluded to, you are literally burning money every minute those incandescent lights are switched on. LED lights typically pay for themselves within under a year because the energy savings start from day one.

LED lightbulbs are therefore one of the easiest long term changes you can make to reduce your energy bills with minimal fuss. With a long lifetime and equivalent quality light and a lower total cost of ownership the decision is simple; just fit and forge

The Ultimate All-In-One Home Lighting Guide

Choosing the right configuration of lighting can make or break a room and the overall feel of a home. Too little or too much can be equally bad, making it hard to focus on the tasks at hand and can change the feel of your home from a soothing oasis to an uncomfortable environment. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to make your home more appealing and pleasant to live in by changing the type of lighting you utilise. In this guide, we will discuss what lighting works best in which rooms and why!





Kitchen

In many homes the kitchen is the nerve centre of nourishment and socialisation. Drop pendant lamps work well to illuminate major work surfaces such as bench tops and islands. There are two kinds of pendant drop lamps: general and directional. Directional lamps are designed to focus light on a specific area, while general lamps help diffuse light throughout a space. These lights can be rigged with dimmer switches allowing you to set the exact level of light you need for any task. We recommend a three-drop lighting system for general illumination.

Recessed lighting such as LED downlights works well for general illumination when specific cooking or cleaning tasks are not required. As with drop pendants, these lights can be set to a dimmer allowing you to set the correct illumination for the kitchen at night, during the day, or while entertaining. Typically a mix of overhead lighting incorporating LED downlights for overhead and drop pendants for task-specific lighting is ideal and will give your home a beautifully modern appearance and feel. The recommended lighting for a kitchen is between 5,000 and 10,000 lumens, and the minimum task lighting should be no less than 450 lumens.

Sitting Room/Study

The family areas of a home are the unofficial focal points of a home, and the lighting used in these areas can help set the mood and overall feel of the home. Lighting has been shown to affect mood, attitude, and even visually change the dimensions of a room or an entire home. Setting up the perfect lighting in these areas depends on a number of factors, including whether there is art on the walls; what kind of natural lighting is available such as windows or skylights; and what the primary use of the room is. A room that serves merely as a life-support system for the big-screen telly will need less in the way of lighting than a sitting room intended for conversation and socialisation.

In these rooms, a mixture of downlights, floor lamps, and table lamps work well. The downlights provide general overhead illumination, while floor lamps add decorative flair and light in the corners. Table lamps in turn are primarily task lighting, such as for curling up with a good book. By altering the various light sources in the room, you can also change the ambience of the room.

You can also employ interior wall lights or track lighting to highlight objets d'art, such as paintings, statuary, and so forth. These types of light both aid in illumination and add dramatic blades of shadow and illumination to an area, heightening the emotional impact of a space and drawing the eye naturally to the room's intended focal point. Many interior designers recommend sending wall lights upward or directly downward, adding a visual "texture" to the space and playing to the natural human tendency to think in terms of verticals and visual layers. The typical lighting for a sitting area should range between 1,500 and 3,000 lumens, while reading lights should cast no less than 400 lumens to avoid eye strain and long-term sight damage.

Bedrooms

Sleeping areas should feel cosy and calming. Many bedrooms are actually overlit, with standard lighting in the 3,000-5,000 lumen range. While this is great for reading, it can interfere with sleeping and intimate activities. For a more romantic, soothing feel, try adding a mix of wall lighting with flexible arms and independent switches for reading and table lamps with lower wattage and a lower lumen output for environmental lighting. Instead of pointing the lights directly at the bed, angle them away to provide ambient illumination. A small table lamp with a covered shade and low-watt bulb can help simulate candlelight, making it ideal for those romantic moments. Meanwhile, the table lamps allow for comfortable reading while not encouraging one to stay awake.

In children's bedrooms, consider a table lamp and recessed wall lighting coupled with a night light. This provides adequate light to see by if they need to get up in the middle of the night while also shedding enough light for play or tasks such as homework. Overhead lights are fine while cleaning or playing, but the "stacked" lighting arrangement allows your child to focus light where it is needed most during play time or while tending to schoolwork. Bedroom illumination should be limited to 2,000-4,000 lumens, a minimum of 500 lumens for reading, and 400 lumens for closet spaces.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms require some of the brightest lights in the home outside the kitchen because of the emphasis on personal grooming. Sidelights such as sconces work well to illuminate the sides of the face and reduce shadows, while bright overhead lighting such as LED downlights help to eliminate highlights and lowlights on one's face while grooming. LED downlights also make cleaning easier by highlighting the places that need the most attention. Baths should be lit at between 4,000-8,000 lumens, while illumination at the personal grooming area should not be less than 1,700.

Dining Room

In the dining room, the focal point of the room should always be the table. This is the place the family is most commonly in one place at one time. Because of this, a combination of bright overhead lighting or drop pendant lighting and midrange wall lighting helps to create a layered effect with visual texture and depth. If you have art in the dining room,wall lighting will help to bring this to the forefront without overshadowing the table. Indirect lighting helps to define the space and make the area feel more soothing and comfortable, inviting the family to linger over dinner. Because of the dining room's multipurpose utility, average lighting in the dining room should range between 3,000-6,000 lumens.

Interior, Entry, Hallways

These areas rarely require more than sufficient lighting to see by. The exception to this rule is if you have specific pieces of art or unusual architectural features you wish to point up. Accent lighting, such as recessed wall lights or downward-directed overhead lights, can help highlight these features without overpowering the area. Some examples of this are parabolic aluminised reflectors and multifaceted reflectors, which are designed specifically to channel light in one direction. However, the light should never be so close to the artwork as to risk damage. For stairwells and entries, the ambient illumination should range from 1,200-4,000 lumens, while hallways should average 1,200-2,500 lumens.

Outdoor Illumination

Many people overlook the exterior of the home, but this is always the first thing people see when they come to visit. Additionally, proper outdoor lighting adds texture and dimension to a yard and heightens visibility, helping to repel criminals. To achieve this effect, solar-powered garden lights help to pick out pathways and walks. Motion-activated floodlights add security and illumination when necessary. At the doorway, up-and-down lights or traditional sconce lighting make finding keys and avoiding missed steps easier. Doorway illumination should range between 1-2,000 lumens, while path lighting should be a minimum of 300 lumens.

This amazing illume LED skylight can be easily installed anywhere!

Skylights are so appealing in a home.  They bring beautiful natural ambient sunlight to areas of your house that would otherwise be shaded and dull.  They are popular with bathrooms, central hallways, garages, alcoves, kitchens, attics, walk-in-robes - the list is endless.   However, installing a TRADITIONAL skylight is a massive job and involves significant labour and disruption. Introducing ILLUME™ - a new ambient LED light technology from Australia that is powered by the sun, but can be installed anywhere by practically anyone that can climb a ladder.


So how does illume™ work?


skylight powered by the sunA small solar panel goes on the roof, and the light panel can be installed anywhere in the house. A simple low voltage wire connects the two. Now you have a diffused light panel that acts exactly like a diffused skylight would. It dims as clouds pass and brightens as the sun passes over. In fact illume LED skylight is so convincing that smart builders are using illume panels to look exactly like frosted windows on what would otherwise be a dark adjoining wall. Because the technology of the light panel exactly replicates real outside light conditions, you will never know the difference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sL0uLHlFow

 

Why go with illume™ vs a traditional solar tube or skylight?


easier to install an illume LED skylight panel than a skylightIf you care about cost and quality then you will be interested in this new technology.

It is a 100% solar powered roof mounted panel that transfers the power of the sun to the interior ambient light panel by a simple wire. The small solar panel can go anywhere on your roof and as long as the wire can be fed to the panel location you can install the illume skylight.

The traditional "solar tube" or recessed skylight involves cutting holes in your roof and installing weatherproof seals, and can involve substantial carpentry, plasterwork, and painting to achieve a professional result - usually several hundred dollars in labour and the risk of a roof leak. The illume LED skylight involves no such labour - so that is the key saving. Also, no specialist installers are required and it attracts no insects like traditional skylights do.

And it's great for the environment!  It requires no power or battery and works purely from the energy harnessed from the sun, so you will be saving power.  Turn off the lights as your dark areas will be naturally lit from now on.

Adds value to your house


Lighting up naturally dark areas makes your home brighter and more liveable. It is no surprise that any selling agent will advise you to brighten up all the dull areas of your home if you are considering selling. It makes the home far more appealing on inspection as buyers want bright, inviting and liveable spaces. Imagine a skylight in a downstairs pantry, or an internal walk in robe - even a mid-level apartment. It is all possible with illume technology.

How does the illume™ skylight panel behave?


the LED light matches the light from outside

The features of illume™ will redefine the traditional skylight



  • Adjusts light output to match external conditions

  • Solar powered self-contained system (power/batteries are not required).

  • Automatic lighting control and operation

  • Operates without a light tube or flexible shaft

  • Does not attract insects or catch them (sealed unit)

  • No heat or noise transfer

  • Easy D.I.Y. Installation, including installation kit, no tradesman required

  • Eco-friendly, green product, no UV emissions and no carbon footprint

  • Can be installed in multi-level dwellings


a skylight that fits anywhere

 

Switch to LED Lighting - but beware of inferior products

There are many forms and types of LED lighting - and a lot of the heavily marketed LED globes will not meet your expectations in the long term.  Therefore, it is worth taking a minute to understand the basics of how LED works.  Then you will be more informed about what type of LED light source is best for you.



Most people now understand the key benefits of LED:

  • Large electricity savings vs traditional globes

  • Long lifetime

  • Greatly reduced fire risk


LED is short for Light Emitting Diode.  It is essentially a wafer thin electrical chip that is yellow in colour.  When the appropriate current is passed through the LED it will produce light.  In recent years manufacturers have perfected the quality and colour of light that is produced by the LED.  There are two very important requirements for an LED:

LED lighting requires a heat sinkA heat sink is required to dissipate heat away from the LED.  Even though LED lights operate at temperatures far lower than traditional halogen and incandescent luminaries, a few degrees cooler can add many years of lifespan to the LED.  Generally a larger better designed heat sink will offer significantly more lifespan.

 

LED down-light transformer

Correct power is essential for an LED light to perform properly and last.  LED is a low voltage chip so a transformer (also called a Driver) is required to convert household power to the correct volts and amps required.   Ideally, every LED light source requires a specific matched driver designed for its LED chip.

 

These two components of an LED light source are probably the most important to consider when assessing quality.  And when it comes to "power" it is also about compatibility - there is no  point plugging a high quality LED light into a high quality low-voltage driver unless they have been manufactured to match.  Incompatibility will cause performance problems  and reduction in life-span.  That is why "LED light kits" are recommended by electricians as they come as a matched kit.

The rest of the LED light is really style and design.  Considerations include its shape, size, beam angle, light colour, and the light frame it housed in.

The concept of the globe is becoming obsolete


When you understand that a properly designed LED house light should last 50,000+ hours (that is 25+ years at average use), there is no need to have a "replaceable" globe as the light is essentially permanent.  The problem with fitting LED technology into the shape of a globe is that it cannot dissipate heat effectively and therefore its LED chip cannot be big (bright) and and its durability will be severely compromised.   And the problems will probably start soon after the short warranty period is over!

A LED light is only as good as its weakest component, and the the heat-sink or power source are two areas worth close scrutiny.  Let's look at the at the type of LED light sources and consider how they rate for heat sinking and power, and overall performance:

MR16 LED globe


MR16 LED globeUse:  Used to replace MR16 halogen globes.  Simple retro-fit change of globe.  Heavily marketed as a LED solution.
Heat sink: Poor.  Heat-sink is integrated and restricted to the size of a globe.  Therefore LED gets too hot which reduces lifetime.
Power:  Poor. Does not come with matched driver so it is plugged into existing halogen driver
Performance:  Poor.  Low lifetime (can be as short as 6 months).  As it is plugged into an incompatible halogen driver it will lose performance quickly.  Low brightness.  Usually not dimmable.

 

GU10 LED globe


LED globe GU10Use:  Used to replace GU10 halogen globes.  Requires a 240V GU10 light fitting installed by electrician.
Heat sinkPoor.  Heat-sink restricted to the size of a globe.  Globe gets too hot which reduces lifetime.
Power:  Reasonable.  Has a driver built into globe (inside white casing).  This generates extra heat reducing lifetime.
Performance:  Reasonable.  Low lifetime due to extra heat and small heat-sink.  Higher risk as plugs into 240V power. Low brightness. Usually not dimmable.

 

 Integrated LED light kit


LED downlight kit for AustraliaUse:  Replaces the entire light fitting and fascia.   Separate LED driver and power plug.  Can be purchased in any size / brightness.
Heat sinkGood.  Large heat sink size to keep the light running at low temperatures.  Protects the performance and lifespan of the LED chip.
Power:  Good.  Includes a driver matched to the LED chip (exact voltage and amps).  As it is separate the heat of the driver does not affect the LED.
Performance:  Good.  Very long lifetime due to low heat.  LED driver designed for Australian power and dimmers.

Semi-Integrated LED light kit


Retrofit semi-integrated LED downlightUse:  Replaces the entire light fitting other than fascia.   Separate LED driver and power plug.  Size is set to fit into typical halogen fascia.
Heat sink:  Reasonable.  Elongated heat sink size to lower operating temperature.  Protects the performance and lifespan of the LED chip.
Power:  Good.  Includes a driver matched to the LED chip (exact voltage and amps).  As it is separate the heat of the driver does not affect the LED.
Performance:  Reasonable.  Reasonable lifetime due to low heat.  LED driver designed for Australian power and dimmers.

LED down-light kit with driver

 

 

Clearly the integrated LED light kits with their larger heat-sinks and separate matched drivers are the far better choice.  Their performance is un-matchable by LED globes.

Only with an integrated LED light will you get ALL the promised benefits of LED: the power savings, the high brightness, and the longevity.

When you switch to LED it is far better to do it properly and enjoy the benefits for the long term.  Quality integrated LED down-lights usually pay for themselves in less than 2 years (see our separate article on this) and are not expensive to get an electrician to install (about $5 to $8 per light - see our separate video article on this).

Many electricians are reporting that LED globes, even the premium ones, are losing their luminosity (brightness) at a rapid rate.  Then again, when you plug a 4 watt globe into a halogen driver designed to deliver 50 watts you can expect issues.

Australia has been flooded with inferior LED globes


As MR16 LED globes are low voltage products, they technically do not need to meet the strict Australian Standards for electrical products.  This means the Australian market has been flooded with cheap LED globes that have not had any testing for Australian conditions or safety.  They can be purchased cheaply (as low as A$4 each on ebay!)  but when they are plugged into your power system they often do not exhibit the luminosity promised, their performance can be highly variable, their heat output can be high, their durability is difficult to judge, and at worst they can be unsafe.  So beware of claims of high brightness and longevity with LED globes - their size restricts their brightness and the longevity substantively.

Check out how to replace Halogen down lights with LED Downlights


Factors to consider before Upsizing your Home.

When you ask most homeowners what their dream home looks like in their head it usually is a large home located on a sprawling estate with more room than any one family could use. If you are trying to find your dream home, or just planned to upsize from your current home, consider these challenges that go along with owning a large home. From increased utilities, maintenance and budgeting concerns, look at these reasons why upsizing your home could be a bad idea. 


Wasteful Spending


Ever notice that the larger the area you have, the more you feel you have to fill it? This is also true with upsizing to a larger home. Assess the needs for wanting a larger home. If you only want a larger home to have to fill with more furniture and more “things” – you may realize that this leads to wasteful spending. Instead of using money for a larger home that money could be used on vacations, leisure, college education, and of course your savings!


Larger home requires more maintenance.


Larger homes require more upkeep of the outdoor grounds, seasonal upkeep of mechanical systems like heating and air, and cleaning of rooms on the interior. If you’re a homeowner that doesn't enjoy home maintenance, upsizing to a larger home will magnify the issue. This can be costly and time consuming. If you will hire someone to do this for you it could be helpful, but keep this in mind when considering upgrading to a larger home.

Increased Water Usage


Upgrading to a larger home could lead to higher water consumption in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room and outdoor home with irrigation systems for landscaping. If deciding to upgrade to a larger home research water rating labels that help you choose water efficient products, to help conserve Australia's water supply and reduce your bills. Use WELS certified tapware for your kitchen and bath, and using reclaimed water and other green efforts to water your landscaping. 


A larger home uses more electricity to operate


Similar to water conservation, energy consumption is an initiative that the world is trying to make a conscious effort in conserving. Larger homes require more electricity to power – lighting, appliances, mechanical systems and general electronics throughout the home. Similarly to water saving fixtures, look to install energy efficient appliances, LED lighting and talk to your family about turning off lights and electronics when not in use.

A larger home could mean difficulty selling your home in the future.


While no one can foretell the future, upgrading to a larger home in areas where the housing market has been hit negatively could affect your ability to resell your home in the future. Especially in larger cities where space is at a premium – look to midsize homes that could be easier to appeal to a wider home buyer audience.


Renovating vs Upsizing


Many homeowners don’t like their current home and think upgrading to a larger home could make all the difference. Depending on your reasons for wanting to move, a renovation could be an option that adds value to your current home and saves you money and heartache in the long run. If you’d like a larger kitchen or an upgraded bathroom, consider talking to a contractor to see if renovation could be a better option.

Wasted Time


Though we all ideally love a closet that fits everything with ease, surprisingly, more homeowners complain about wasted time finding clothes to wear each day and resulting in being late to work, getting the kids to school late, etc.. While larger closets may look appealing from the quantity of clothes they hold, they also can result in longer time searching for clothes, accessories, and less time getting out the door on time in the morning!


Upsizing your home for your kids?


While there is no arguing that more family members need a larger home it’s also true that a smaller or midsize home that uses creative space saving methods such as bunk beds, loft beds and shared wardrobe storage solutions may work just as well – and will teach your kids to share their space with others more effectively.


Larger outdoor entertaining spaces are more costly to upkeep


Before upsizing your home for entertaining purposes remember that a large sprawling lawn, patio and porches that stretch around palatial homes are beautiful to look at, but can be a monster to upkeep. Look to your current home for ideas for home improvements to your deck, patio, landscaping and other areas. Realise that the cost of a landscaping professional, routine yard/garden professional, pool professional and outdoor maintenance crew could be more costly than you imagined.


Good Quality of Life


While you may love the look of beautiful large homes in your favorite home design magazines, your wallet may think differently. If your home budget is just enough to pay the monthly mortgage bills, but not enough to enjoy a good quality of life other than your larger abode, then that's not living at all. Living month to month or “paycheck to paycheck” to pay your other bills can be stressful and upsizing to a larger home could create a home life that is less than enjoyable to live in. Instead, opt for a home that you can afford comfortably and without added financial stress.
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