Singapore, 16th October 2012
How critical are lighting specifications? In this day and age, where we have to deal with a continuously moving target called LED technology, getting your specifications right is quite a challenge. And quite frankly after all the issues we have had with LED’s up till now getting a good handle on what you specify is becoming critically important. The days of specifying incandescent, halogen, fluorescent or metal halide are gone and with that the simplicity of specifications. Logging in the specs to clear and understandable performance criteria is becoming a need for various reasons. First of all to weed out any potential “Cowboy” alternatives (where the sales person often genuinely believes he has a good alternative product until you explain the difference…!) and secondly to give your client some piece of mind about your own expertise and the quality (value for money) that he will get with your specs.
This in turn requires us lighting designers to be at the top of our game, being aware what constitutes critical quality and performance criteria for the desired lighting effects. And when it comes to LED lighting I am not ashamed to tell you that I am struggling to get my head around it. For instance the wattage of an LED does not really matter anymore…it is its output in lumens (per watt) that is far more relevant as a key indicator. We now surely need to specify the driver type/ performance that goes with the LED lamp. Any dimming requirements need to be thoroughly tested and checked out to assure dimmer/ lamp compatibility.
One of the things that bugs me most is the lifespan promoted by the manufacturers (please read the fine print terms and conditions that come with them!). I have suppliers that offer me 1 year warranty for their LED products. I don’t think they really understand what’s going on. With the long life that is being promoted we request a minimum of 5 years warranty (terms and conditions to be negotiated between client and supplier). At least that puts the promoted LED qualities in a zone of comfort for our clients. With some manufacturers already offering 7, 10 and life warranty, it is certainly an exaggerated request.
In this day and age I think we all need to rethink our specifications when it comes to LED to better reflect and assure the longevity of our lighting design.
Light Watch 3-158: Colour rendering, colour temperature and light distribution