LED Linear is a phrase we often hear in the realms of commercial interior design, but what exactly does it mean and how do we use it? This article aims to ‘de-mystify’ commercial LED Linear lighting and give you an insight into how and where to use it, to effortlessly turn cool offices into exceptional ones!
Firstly let’s talk about LEDs. An LED is short for ‘Light Emitting Diode’, which is a highly efficient long-lasting source of light which uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with ‘electron holes’ within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons (light). The colour of the light is determined by the energy band of the semiconductor.
Right, that’s enough of the techy stuff, lets take a look at how the LED came to be.
The LED appeared as early on 1962, and were used as practical components in electric items, such as warning lights. The early LEDs were limited to low-intensity infrared light such as those still used in remote controls, and do you remember those first LED watches with a black screen and red numbers appeared when you pressed a button? The first visible light LEDs were also low intensity and limited to red, but modern LEDs are now available across the visible, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths and can be extremely bright.
SO WHAT IS LED LINEAR
LED Linear Lighting is simply the use of many ‘Light emitting diodes’ packaged together in a long, narrow housing to create a strip of light. This simple concept revolutionised the way we light spaces.
Before the conception of LED Linear, lighting long commercial spaces such as offices, warehouses and retail situations was notoriously tricky. Such spaces were lit with large, industrial incandescent bulbs. Linear lighting started evolving in the 1950s with fluorescent tubes, mainly used in industrial spaces. By the 1970s this technology was being used in homes, garages and workshops, and retail spaces. This further created a need for lower cost, better-looking fittings. Creating a continuous uninterrupted line of light wasn’t possible before LED because the fluorescent tubes had to stop and start leaving a black or dark spot.
The improved looks didn’t happen until the early 2000’s when the early version of commercial LED Linear as we know it was made. The demand for LED Linear lighting is now huge and continues to grow. The difference now is that linear architectural lighting and LED technology has broadened the applications of commercial LED linear fixtures. The industry continues to evolve with improvements in aesthetics and performance, moving away from the old, traditional housings, utilising materials in a better way and incorporating more advanced technology.
LED LINEAR REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS
There’s a couple of key things that Synergy’s clients like to know about standards and regulations around commercial lighting, particularly for use in public and work spaces; just ask and we can advise!
One of the main regulations is regarding glare from commercial lighting. Excessive glare from lights, such as LED highbay light can cause eyestrain and headaches, so it’s important to reduce direct glare and reflected glare within an office environment. Unified Glare Rating (UGR) is used as a measure of glare and is calculated by the glare from all visible lamps divided by the background lamination of the room. In an office environment, a UGR of less than 19 is considered acceptable for best concentration. Want to find out more about UGR19?
Lux levels are important too. This is essentially the light level in a space, usually measured from a specified height (such as desk height in an office). CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) specify recommended lux levels for different areas in the commercial building sector.