The Differences in LED Recessed Lighting from 2008 and Now

This posting is in response to a very long thread on the Garden Web Lighting forum (Disappointed With My LED Recessed Lighting)-the original post was from 2008. Our lighting designer and guru was fascinated by all the comments an remarks and varying levels of input from the community at large. He thought it was time he should weigh in and we'd thought we'd share his insights and knowledge with you. To see the original thread that this post was based on, please be sure to use the link through for Garden Web.

"I know this post has been around for a while-please forgive me in responding to such an old post, but the technology has changed so much since then that I thought I'd weigh in. The improvements made in LED recessed lighting has addressed so many of these issues that I find it no longer disappointing. In addition, I get questions related to kitchen lighting all the time and thought I might be able to provide some quick insight from a lighting designer's point of view.
First of all, it seems that many lighting designers shy away from kitchen lighting, although I'm not sure exactly why. I have done hundreds of lighting designs for kitchens and I always take the approach that kitchen needs to have at least two different levels of lighting along with under-cabinet lighting. The quality of light is very important in any space-particularly the kitchen.
Kitchen  light needs to be bright, white and even.  In most cases, halogen lighting will not work. Halogen is a specular light source and tends to create harsh shadows. Not to mention the heat that it produces in addition to the heat that you get from the stove and the oven.This is something that an electrician or a contractor is not likely to take into consideration.
Fluorescent light can work well if done right, but you have to select your housing, trim and the color temperature of the lamp very carefully. As for the color temperature, we like to use lights that are 30K (or even higher) in color. The light output at this color temperature is closer to daylight.
LED fixtures now offer many choices of color temperature but most of my clients seem to like the 30K range the best. After years and years of looking at various samples we finally have found a LED module that seems to meet everyones needs.  First and foremost, it fits just about every recessed housing out there. It actually fits both 5" and 6" line voltage recessed
housings.  And even though I do not believe in dimming a kitchen light, the LED module can be dimmed with a number of common dimmers. Just know that a dimming system will add another level of complications to your lighting system.
I prefer splitting the kitchen lighting into at least two parts of lighting levels (and on two different on/off switches), if you will. One level is a 'support level'-providing light for ambiance and resembling having dimmed lights and the second level (along with the first) is the full on work mode that is needed for food preparation, cleanup, etc.
In addition, LED fixtures are at such a low wattage and are very energy efficient that they can be left on all day. In fact, the circuit in the LED lamps like to be left on and over time, can loose their efficiency by being turned on and off all the time. Turning LED lamps on and off frequently throughout the day will actually shorten the life of the LED driver in the fixture.  Another great addition to your kitchen lighting design is under cabinet lighting. Adding a quality LED under cabinet lighting fixture as a third lighting level option can also help to create an even distribution of light in your kitchen. From a design standpoint and from a user standpoint, offering at least two to three levels of lighting will make all the difference in the world and eliminate the 'need' for having to dim your lights."

 

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Tags: led, going green with led recessed lighting, efficent led recessed lighting

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One thought on “The Differences in LED Recessed Lighting from 2008 and Now”

  • Well written article. I especially like your idea of putting in two levels of lighting to accommodate both style and functionality. Works for a romantic evening at home, or lunch with the kids!