Circle of light

David Neale of Sylvania looks at how changing trends have influenced lighting in residential applications

The cyclical nature of lighting trends poses an interesting dilemma for lighting manufacturers. How can we balance the constant criteria of energy efficiency and design, while ensuring we have created a light source that meets the needs of a residential property? Lighting has the power to create the right ambience for comfort, relaxation or completing tasks as well as providing energy savings. Over the last few years, the latter of these has become increasingly more important to tenants, facilities managers and property owners.

The right light

In most residential properties we use a combination of ambient and task lighting. To achieve these differing requirements, careful consideration is needed of which light sources and lamp types will work best. LED technology has proved hugely popular in the lighting industry over the past five years, but has struggled to become the go-to technology for residential applications. This is due to occupants often favouring the light emitted from traditional technologies such as incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent lighting. It is not just the light levels and colour temperatures that occupants crave from traditional lighting; it is also the style and look of the lamps. We have seen an explosion in the demand for retro inspired products across vinyl and fashion and this retro appeal is seeping into the lighting industry. Many people want the look and the feel of traditional lighting – a fusion between old and new. Characterised by an exposed filament and a warm, inviting glow, incandescent lamps lend themselves perfectly to installation within residential properties including bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. However, property owners and tenants are becoming savvier and understand the need for energy efficient lamp technologies. Traditional lighting itself is not sustainable. With a lifespan of around 1000 hours and a power consumption of approximately 60 watts these lamps can be costly both in terms of energy and financially. So how is the lighting industry bridging the gap between style and efficiency? Retro lamps evoke images of atmospheric and warm light. However, there are ways to replicate the look and feel of retro-style products, without sacrificing on reliability, performance and cost. There are now LED products available that replicate traditional lamp designs, which incorporate modern energy efficient technology.

The future is LED

The evolution of LED lamps has given users more benefits than just energy efficiency and long life. LED lamps offer the opportunity to improve the light quality in our spaces with better colour rendering, which is the lamps ability to reproduce colours accurately. Not only does the long-life promise of LED lamps mean fewer power outs and lamp changes, therefore reducing the prospect of being left in the dark, but it also provides instant light. Instant lighting capabilities make LED lighting the ideal solution for use in high use areas such as bathrooms and corridors. Due to low running costs and simple installation, LED’s offer an impressive payback period, saving up to 85 per cent of the energy usage when compared with a some traditional incandescent or halogen lamps. Coupled with the extremely long lamp life of LED, the energy saving through life, and the cost saving in not having to more frequently buy traditional lamps as they fail, means that LED lamps more than pay for themselves over their lifetime. For example, based on 1000 hours per year burning (roughly three hours per day), a replacement LED lamp will pay for itself in around two years and continue saving for many afterwards. The ability to introduce sophisticated but easy to use and install control systems are an additional benefit allowing large private and public landlords to ensure the lighting is turned off when spaces are unoccupied and set unique scenes to create the right ambience. The latest controls can also be integrated into the luminaire meaning no extra cabling or installation is required, saving time, money and energy throughout the system’s lifespan. Property owners, facilities managers and tenants all like the look and feel of traditional lamps and are looking for LED versions that maintain that feel while offering energy savings. We foresee this trend continuing to grow and more LED lamps being brought to market with a retro feel.

David Neale is the marketing manager at Sylvania