What’s New: 9-7-2017
ARCHITECTURE WORK PC
William Robert King, R.A.
Lighting is becoming very cost effective for our projects as LED technology continues to flourish. There’s simply no reason to not use all LED lighting on most interior projects we design. In fact, we’ve gone back & done some very simple modifications to our older projects, mostly changing incandescent light bulbs to LED’s as the cost has dropped dramatically. On my own home in Connecticut I swapped out 1,400 WATTS of incandescent lamps for 140 WATTS of LED and my electric bill dropped enough that the re-lamping is paying for itself every three weeks (electricity in CT is about the highest in the nation).
The light quality is identical to that of the incandescent ones I removed. NOTE – be careful to always select the correct “K” value for what you wish to achieve. 7000K is “daylight” but only from an engineering point of view since most architects find this too bright a white with a blue tinge to it at best. 7000K is good for serious task/work illumination. Apparently when used in schools – the test scores improve? Oddly enough, this might make a good outdoor pin-spot accent light around pools or water features. For commercial projects we use 3500K (accents & artwork) to 4000K (open work areas). Residentially I like 3500K for everything, maybe 4000K or more for the garage. Anything less than 3500K may introduce yellow to green spectrum, which may be “sickly” visually.
TIP: In the spirit of “what’s old is young again”, we’ve reintroduced specifying all the cheap recessed downlights by HALO, LIGHTOLIER, JUNO and similar manufacturers used since the 1970’s back into our projects after they seemed to be relegated to the “trash bin” of history. The reason was they used incandescent lamping that the new national energy codes have basically outlawed. What is good about them is that they have a wide range of housings & trim which are both inexpensive and reliable.
Giving these excellent products new “life” is the advent of the LED “light bulb”. Usually they’re in-stock & if you go to COSTCO, WALMART or HOME DEPOT you can select from a whole range of ordinary looking LED “light bulbs” that replicate the incandescent bulbs you’d normally have used. In addition to which, they’re cheap and almost never need replacement (25 years or so). A “designer grade” recessed housing & trim might cost $350 to $650, these “old guys” are less than $65. We use these fixtures for both commercial and residential as you just can’t beat the price and functionality. I also think the market for “plaster-in” fixtures will likewise continue to come down in price as well.
TIP: In using the new LED “light bulbs”, just know they like to “breathe”, so don’t put them in a totally sealed housing that has no air circulation or they’ll over-heat & self-dim. I use them in non-IC (insulated ceiling) type housings, which are the most common, or the regular “retrofit” trims common to most interior renovations.