Renovating or building your home is not only a time of investing in your property and living space, but an opportunity to more clearly define how your surroundings relate to you and your family’s needs. At Gary Rosard Architect, we are empathetic to these needs. Our process addresses the total experience of a space, then develops each aspect of what influences the perception of that space as those aspects relate to memory and the senses.
One of the critical components in the experience of a space is light. Light communicates on a visual, psychological and physiological level. We address these conditions by incorporating the latest advances in technology to create elegant, efficient and custom atmospheres that are specific to the project. We work to achieve a balance in the expression of natural and artificial light, considering ceiling height, reflected and task lighting and surface texture.
A promising advance in the technology of lighting is the progression of light quality, flexibility and diversity in LED fixtures. There are many positive benefits to using LEDs for both new construction and retrofits. LEDs are extremely energy efficient when compared to traditional filament incandescent lamps (commonly referred to as “bulbs.”) The difference between the two types of light is in how the lamps produces light. Traditional incandescent lamps produce light by using electricity to heat a wire. In this process, much of the energy is lost to heat, not light. LED lamps produce light by using electricity to excite phosphors. In this system, more of the energy that goes in, comes out as light. The result is a reduction in energy use for the same amount of light output.
Homeowners can save a significant amount of money and energy over time by using LED lamps. The largest saving will be seen by replacing bulbs in areas of frequent occupation such as the kitchen. When compared to LED lamps, traditional incandescent lamps use approximately four and a half times more electricity and last only one-third of the lifespan. Although LED bulbs cost more for the initial purchase, they will save money in the long run, and greatly reduce the frequency of lamp changes.
Below is a chart comparing three bulb types with regards to each bulb’s wattage consumption (energy) to lumens output (brightness) used.
An important consideration in choosing any light source is the aspect of light temperature. The temperature of a lamp refers to the color of its light output with red being on one end of the scale and blue being on the opposite end of the scale. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins (K.) Red or yellow light output (2700-3000K) is described as “warm,” White light output (3500-4100K) is described as “cool,” and Blue light output (5000-6500K) is described as “daylight.” Within the warm range, which we typically use in residential interiors, 2700K is most like standard incandescent lamps while 3000K is a whiter light like halogen lamps.
Color Rendering Index (CRI) is another area where LEDs are showing promise. CRI is a measurement of the spectrum, or simply, the variety of colors of a light source. Both the sun and incandescent lamps produce a continuous color spectrum and has a CRI of 100. Typical LED’s have about 80+ CRI, and in residential applications, we look for fixtures or lamps at the higher range (up to 95 CRI is available) in order to provide better rendering of the full range of colors in the space and skin tones.
The ability to dim LEDs is a rapidly changing technology. One new development is color curve dimming. Color curve dimming occurs when an LED changes its color temperature with respect to its light output. This is the warm glow effect we expect from standard incandescent lamps. As the light output decreases, the color temperature moves closer to the red/yellow side of the spectrum. As the light increases, the color temperature moves closer to the blue/white side of the spectrum. This process can take some coordination between many variables in the lighting and electrical design. We incorporate these challenges into our process as we work with the electricians to arrive at the most beneficial lighting solutions.
When installing any new or retrofitted fixtures, LEDs are the first type of bulbs we investigate given their efficiency, quality, versatility, fixture design and longevity. LED options often provide an abundant design pallet that GRA utilizes to achieve practical, custom and beautiful lighting design solutions.