Here to stay
When LED’s first came on the scene we liked them because they were novel — face it, we were riding on what was a new wave of energy efficiency. Then, many of us discovered that not all these lights were created equally. The glow cast by these new-fangled LEDs could be blue and sterile. We were also often sacrificing luminosity for the sake of a few pennies saved.
Well, the penny may not be around much longer, but LED’s are here to stay — especially the new generation of these lights — they are brighter, softer and more efficient than ever.
“Like much in life, you get what you pay for in terms of lighting,” explains Chris MacQuarrie, a designated Certified Lighting Consultant (one of only three in Canada) and owner of Atlantic Lighting Studio in Wolfville.
“My lighting career began in 1994 and over the years I have seen many trends and fads come and go. LEDs — good LEDs that is — are here to stay.
Recent advances in technology have made LEDs more appealing for use in the home in comparison to the ones that were first issued to the public. The advantages originally cited are only getting better; energy efficiency and lifespan have both been increasing as new bulbs are introduced to the market.
“A home’s electric bill can be cut significantly when a family switches over to LED lighting,” MacQuarrie explains.
The average incandescent (i.e. regular, old) light bulb burns out around 2,000 hours, if it lasts even that long. In contrast, the newest LED lights last from 30,000 to 60,000 hours.
“And today’s LEDs are brighter and cheaper than the initial offerings. When LEDs were first sold they tended to have a bluish tint that was cold and artificial looking. Now LEDs are almost indistinguishable from the warm light of a standard bulb.”
LEDs may still cost more than a traditional bulb, but this is a purchase that makes good money sense over time. LEDs are going to outlast any other type of lighting fixture many times over.
Changing to LEDs doesn’t involve any kind of significant time or work. Mainly it’s just a matter of plugging in the new lamp or screwing in the new bulb — no change of wiring or infrastructure is required.
Furthermore, the design possibilities are increased with these new bulbs. As LEDs are roughly one-tenth the size of traditional bulbs, this means lamps and shades can be smaller too — and allow for more intricate shapes.
“LEDs offer just as many, if not more, options for decorating,” says MacQuarrie. These bulbs are now compatible with dimmers (great for down lighting or recessed lights) and are the perfect addition to a smaller space with lighting requirements or under-cabinet lighting — the perfect replacement solution for fluorescent lights that burn out.”
Another cool thing about these lights? Well, they’re cool. They don’t get hot to the touch like traditional bulbs. They are also waterproof, and come in flexible strips, perfect for outdoor patio and landscaping lighting; even under the ridge of stair steps, averting a fall in the dark (not that that has happened to me.)
One of the manufacturers that Atlantic Lighting Studio relies on when it comes to high quality LED lighting is a Canadian company called SNOC. Yes, I know — you want to say it out loud. Go ahead, I did — it rhymes with sock.
“SNOC is one of Canada’s leading manufacturer of cast aluminum residential outdoor luminaries,” says MacQuarrie — and for good reason. They put a little extra into their products. A great example is how they put an extra couple of coats of primer on the fixtures we sell in Atlantic Canada to compensate for the harshness of the salt air.”
This translates into an extremely low maintenance outdoor lightscape. The durability of the fixture, combined with the long lasting LEDs, is peace of mind indeed.
“Choosing lighting for your home can be confusing. There’s a lot to consider,” says MacQuarrie. “Function, style, physical size, energy efficiency, quantity and quality of light are all factors that affect the enjoyment of your environment and the tasks that you preform there.
“Whether you are building from scratch, renovating or just looking for a new lamp for decor purposes, there are LEDs to suit your needs, ones that are not only efficient in terms of energy savings and costs, but that give off a good, strong, natural light.”
As high-wattage incandescents are phased out, LED lights will only become increasingly superior in performance and affordability. There is very little reason to purchase any type of lighting system that doesn’t involve LEDs.
It’s your home. You want it comfortable and functional. So go ahead — shed some light on it!