Part L Building Regulations: LENI introduced – April 6th 2014

The building regulations that govern the introduction of lighting into new homes / premises have been updated. Back in 2013, changes to Part L Building Regulations (Conservation of Fuel and Power) were announced. Originally due to come into force in October of that year, the new measures were finally introduced on April 6th 2014, after a six-month delay.

Part L 2013 Building Regulations relate to England only and are no longer applicable to Wales. They apply to most new buildings and alterations and are a legal requirement. The new regulations affect any work started after 6th April 2014, unless an initial notice, building notice, or full plans application was made before that date. So, what’s new in terms of lighting?

Part L1 (Building regulations for domestic dwellings)

On the domestic front, Part L1 2013 Building Regulations further reduce carbon emissions over the 2010 edition, but lighting requirements are unchanged. They remain as follows:

Internal lighting

Bedroom lighting

  • At least 75% of all light fittings in main dwelling spaces should be low energy (this excludes infrequently accessed storage spaces such as cupboards and wardrobes).
  • Low energy light fittings must have a luminous efficacy greater than 45 lm/W and a total output exceeding 400 lumens.
  • Light fittings consuming less than 5 watts are excluded from the overall count of the total number of light fittings.

External lighting

  • Either of two sets of criteria is possible: a 100W maximum lamp capacity with occupancy sensor and photocell (light must stay off when daylight is sufficient) or minimum lamp efficacy of 45 lm/W with a photocell and manual on/off switching.

Part L2 (Building regulations for non-domestic / commercial premises)

This update of the Part L Building Regulations brought profound change to non-domestic lighting requirements. In complying with these regulations, specifiers are now faced with two options:

  1. The previous luminaire efficacy calculation method, which takes lighting control into account
  2. The long-awaited LENI system that performs a complex equation to calculate actual energy usage

We’ll outline the features of both systems here:

Luminaire Efficacy Calculation Method

The main advantage of this mode of calculation is that it’s relatively easy to understand. For that reason, it may be favoured for simpler projects. Its two key points are:
Office Lighting

  • For general office and industrial lighting, the basic Part L luminous efficacy requirement has been increased from 55 to 60 lumens per watt.
  • Display lighting requirements remain unchanged, with a 22 lm/W average needed for compliance.

The table below illustrates the allowances made for lighting controls, including dimmer switches and occupancy sensors. An increase in these allowances is introduced, with a new 0.7 control factor and minimum 42 lm/W luminous efficacy.

2013 Control Factors for the Luminaire Efficacy Calculation Method (non-controlled = 60 lm/W)

  Controls Control Factor Reduced lm/W efficacy requirement
A Daylit space with photo-switching with or without override 0.90 54
B Daylit space with photo-switching with or without override + dimming 0.85 51
C Unoccupied space with automatic on & off occupancy 0.90 54
D Unoccupied space with manual on & off occupancy 0.85 51
E Space not daylit, dimmed for constant illuminance 0.90 54
A + C 0.80 48
A + D 0.75 45
B + C 0.75 45
B + D 0.70 42
E + C 0.80 48
E + D 0.75 45

LENI (Light Energy Numeric Indicator): the new metric

LENI is the second approach to calculating lighting efficiency, which runs alongside the existing “efficacy method” as an alternative option. Its aim is to predict accurately the actual energy used by a lighting system, taking into account daylight hours, when and how installations are used, parasitic energy consumption, and control factors (occupancy, dimming in response to daylight, and constant illuminance – a calibrated and maintained lux level for each area of a building).

Using a complex formula, LENI measures lighting performance in terms of energy per square metre per year (kWh/m²/year). It allows for a more flexible lighting scheme, where the whole installation is evaluated rather than being anchored by the performance of individual lamps and luminaires. It places a greater emphasis on good lighting design and moves away from a pure numbers game.

Ideal for larger projects

Because of its complexity, the LENI system is likely to be used more for larger lighting projects, where specialist designers will often be employed. It’s worth considering, however, that lighting installations created by specialist designers typically consume 30% less energy than those devised by non-experts.

The LENI index is a core part of the BS EN 15193 Standard (Energy Requirements for Lighting). It is outlined in full detail on Page 70 of the HM Government Non-Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide (PDF).

Don’t worry – help is at hand

Relux Lighting ToolIf this looks a little complicated, don’t worry. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to get to grips with LENI. There are various free lighting design programs that incorporate a LENI calculator. Two examples are: DIALux and RELUX. Also, if you have no fear of spreadsheets, Thorn Lighting provides a LENI formulae template.

Easy Part L compliance with Lyco

Take a closer look at the LED6 Square DownlightWhether you’re a builder, specifier, or designer, Lyco stocks a wide range of products to help you meet Part L lighting requirements.

Many products deliver a performance that exceeds basic Part L efficacy requirements while also offering elements of control.

Take a closer look at the Carina Semi Flush Light

Lyco also stocks a selection of Varilight dimmer switches, which are revered in the lighting industry for their reliable LED dimming performance.

However simple or sophisticated your needs, we’ll help you find the right product(s) for a satisfying lighting solution. Feel free to give us a call if you need any further guidance.

Why not take a look at our Lighting for New Build series of articles?

Alternatively, for more inspiration and advice try our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Introducing Eutrac 3 circuit track lighting

The beauty of all track lighting lies in the ability to freely position lights without wiring constraints. This is useful for changeable applications such as galleries, exhibitions and retail displays. With most track lighting, any dimming or switching control has to be applied universally. All lights are run on a single circuit, so you dim them all at the same time and you switch them all on and off at the same time. So what is 3 circuit track lighting?

Triple your display lighting options

A 3 circuit track piece integrates three live copper conductors, running along its entire length. These conductors allow three lighting circuits to be individually switched or dimmed in the same installation. When you add a light fitting to the track or want to change its role, you assign it to one of the three circuits by means of a dial. This dynamic system allows unlimited fine-tuning of light, which is a great asset in any professional display environment. Click the infographic below to see how it can be used in a retail environment…

Take a look at how a retail environement can benefit from 3 Circuit Track Lighting

Lyco are now pleased to offer the Eutrac 3 circuit track lighting system to their customers. A wide variety of modular components are available for this system, all in a choice of white or silver-grey finish. These include:

Light heads

Take a closer look at the Bima 1 GU10 Spotlight HeadThe Bima 1 GU10 Spotlight Head takes either halogen or LED GU10 lamps and is especially notable for its versatile 340° rotation and 200° tilting adjustability. This fitting is suitable for smaller professional display spaces as well as hospitality or residential applications.Take a closer look at the Puri GU10 Spotlight Head
Similar to the Bima is the Puri GU10 Spotlight, which offers outstanding value for money. The 85° tilting adjustment is more restrictive than that of the Bima, however, which accounts for its lower price. The Bima and the Puri are both available in twin-headed versions.

For larger professional display environments or sizeable commercial or hospitality venues, the Euro Spot 35W Track Light Head provides an answer. Its relatively low maximum wattage is indicative of the energy efficient metal halide lamp it takes, which produces a phenomenal amount of bright white light. For exceptional colour rendering, a ceramic metal halide lamp is recommended.

Another powerful light head for the Eutrac system is the E27 Spot Track Head. As its name suggests, this takes regular E27 Edison Screw bulbs. PAR lamps are the light source of choice here, with a maximum wattage of 70W. Note that light output is likely to be less than the Euro Spot, but more than the GU10 fittings. Unlike the Euro Spot, the beam angle in this fitting is dictated by your choice of lamp output.

Take a closer look at the Forchini M Track Pendant

An unusual but useful option for the Eutrac system is the Forchini M 3 Circuit Track Pendant. This is great for providing ambient lighting and is especially useful where a relaxing mood is desirable. The gold interior of the pendant emphasises a warm output of light, which is ideal for hospitality or residential applications, or specific retail settings such as fashion or home furnishing shops.

Track

Eutrac track pieces are available in 1m and 2m lengths, which can be cut to size for a bespoke lighting scheme. An expansive amount of track can be used, but the maximum load cannot exceed 3,840 watts.An example of 3 circuit track

The illustration below shows a piece of Eutrac triple-phase track. It includes an extruded aluminium profile and two PVC supporter profiles with embedded 2.5 mm2 cross section copper conductors. This design provides three independently switchable circuits with an earth connection through the aluminium profile.

Putting it all together

So far we’ve looked at triple-phase light heads and track pieces, but how is this 3 circuit system powered and pieced together? The Eutrac 3 Circuit Feed In delivers power to the track lighting system. Note that the position of the earth conductor must be aligned throughout the installation, so connecting pieces are all offered in a choice of left or right earth, or inside and outside in the case of angled connectors.

Take a closer look at the Eutrac 3 Circuit Feed InOur diverse selection of triple-phase track connectors allows any shape of installation you need. Included among them are straight connectors, cross- or X-shaped, flexible, T-shaped, and finally L-shaped for 90° corners. The connectors all have feed-in capability, allowing power supply at any junction.

The cheapest Eutrac component of all is the non-electric 3 Circuit End Cap, which gives a tidy finish to any linear track lighting installation.

Kits – easy openers

The Eutrac 3 circuit track lighting system is particularly useful for large display or task lighting installations, where a single circuit track installation may become unwieldy and cause compromise. Smaller track installations are achievable with convenient Eutrac 3 light kits, which still allow individual switching control over the included lights if required. The kits can be easily expanded using the aforementioned lights and accessories.

Why not browse our Eutrac range in full.

Looking for more advice or inspiration? Try our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Uplighting: beam it up for extra effect

If you’re wondering exactly what “uplighting” refers to, your first guess is right. It’s a commonly used term for any lighting purposefully directed upwards. Light fittings specifically designed for this are predictably known as uplighters or uplights. But what’s the point of this lighting technique?

Creating drama

There are a couple of reasons for deliberately throwing light upward. Primarily, uplights are used to create drama. In this role, the light is positioned on the floor or ground and the light is directed up at an acute angle to glance off a wall, or a fence, or perhaps a statue or tree – this method is used indoors and out.

See our full range of floor uplightersOne thing sharply angled light does is emphasise texture; many objects that look flat in regular light take on a dramatic appearance under acute illumination, with their surface detail revealed. This technique also brings out form. A single light source or an asymmetrical pair of lights shone from beneath (and other angles) provides “modelling”, where light and shade outlines the shape of any item.

It is occasionally said that uplighting looks dramatic because our natural expectation is for light to come from above. A more established fact is that areas of light and dark create atmosphere. Because uplights are often set against subdued background lighting, or even darkness, they are always a fantastic choice for creating ambience.

Reflecting light

Another reason for pointing indoor or sheltered luminaires upward is to bounce light off upper wall areas and ceilings. This has the effect of widely dispersing a smooth light that is completely free of glare. Effectively it turns the ceiling into the light source, and a larger light source creates softer, more flattering illumination.

See our full range of Wall UplightersLight fittings used in this fashion might include floor lamps, concealed fluorescent fittings, and spotlights. The spread of light always depends to some extend on the nearness of the light source to the ceiling, its beam angle, and the light’s angle of incidence as it strikes the surface.

Indoor uplighting

Indoor uplighting works in either of the roles previously discussed. Lighting for drama nearly always means placing a light fitting on the floor. Light that is reflected off a ceiling is usually either wall-mounted or a freestanding lamp. Here are some examples:

The Limina Plaster Uplighter is an attractive luminaire for a hospitality setting or home. Set against subdued background lighting it dramatically lights architectural features, wall-mounted art, sculpture, or houseplants. As a cabled fitting, it serves as a floor or table lamp.

The Mother & Child Floor Lamp directs a phenomenal amount of light towards the ceiling using a powerful LED bulb, which is dimmable for fine-tuned effect. This type of luminaire provides a lot of coverage with its big throw of omnidirectional light, which is further dispersed by nearby surfaces.

A fitting such as the Spot 79 Spotlight might fulfil a similar role to the Opus. By mounting it on a wall and aiming its light upwards, the problem of glare is avoided and a wide spread of light is achieved. Spotlights are often overlooked for this purpose, but they provide good coverage for confined areas while taking up minimal space.

Outdoor uplighting

Most of us have probably noticed outdoor uplighting being used whilst on our travels, perhaps to dramatically illuminate a great cathedral at night. Architectural lighting is one way it is used, which will typically involve a powerful ground-fixed floodlight in outdoor situations.

The Edit Arris Wall Light is usable either as an outdoor uplight or downlight and is ideal for any modern premises. It is intended for decorative purposes, so how you install it falls to personal choice and may be influenced by existing lights or features.

Take a closer look at the Oslo LED Wall LightDrama is usually the motive when using uplighting outside. Popular targets for outdoor uplighting include trees and shrubs, statues, gazebos, fences, trellises, and garden walls. The same principle applies: uplighting gives these subjects texture and form and creates visual interest.

For shrubs, smaller trees, and many other garden items, the Garden Spotlights are ideal, they can be aimed directly upward to accentuate shape. A stronger alternative to Garden Spotlights is the High Power LED Ground Light, which are great option for lighting up large trees or an alternative to wall uplighters.

Water features such as fountains or ponds are often lit from beneath, or within, not least to avoid the peril of surface glare. Here, a product like the set of Garland SMD LED Walkover Lights works well. These provide decorative uplighting, and with their IP68 rating they can be immersed to a depth of 1 metre.

Become a lighting drama queen (or king)

We hope this article has provided you with ideas on how to create drama and mood with uplighting. It may have opened your eyes to how you can use existing surfaces to disperse light and avoid glare. Become a drama queen with your choice of lamps and light fittings!

Browse our full range of wall uplighters

Browse our full range of floor uplighters

For more inspiration and advice take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Commercial & industrial lamps – pros & cons

Investment in lighting is important for any industrial or commercial premises. Practical benefits aside, the right choices will minimise running costs and strengthen profits. Linear fluorescent and HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights are the norm in this sector, though LED technology is gaining in popularity. This article looks at various commercial and industrial lamps and weighs up their pros and cons.

HID Lamps

HID lamps produce light by creating an electric arc between two electrodes in a gas-filled tube. They are a particularly powerful light source, used for car parks, gyms, factories, football stadiums, paths, roads, and warehouses. There are various types of HID lamp, as follows.

Metal Halide lamps last from 7,500 to 20,000 hours and are used in sports stadiums and car parks. They are also a good choice for warehouses and other high bay indoor purposes. The lamps produce a crisp white light and offer a good standard of colour rendering with typical CRI 60 to 70 scores. A choice of colour temperatures is possible, from warm white to daylight. With a luminous efficacy of between 80 and 120 lumens per watt, these lamps match the best LED or fluorescent products for energy efficiency.

Venture 250W Double Ended Metal Halide Bulb

A typical example of a metal halide lamp is the Venture 150W Double Ended Metal Halide, which has a cool 4200K colour temperature that’s ideal for work areas and sports activities.

The main disadvantages of metal halide lamps include light pollution, UV emission if their outer glass breaks, and use of mercury and other heavy metals.

Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) lamps are also called ceramic discharge metal-halide lamps (CDM). The main difference between them and regular quartz metal halide lamps is that they allow a higher arc tube temperature, resulting in improved colour rendering and stability. For this reason, CDM lamps are often used in colour-critical applications such as retail display lighting, architectural lighting, or film and television.

The natural deluxe version of the G.E. 70W Single-Ended Ceramic Metal Halide boasts a CRI 90 score, which puts it ahead of most current LED products in terms of colour.

SON-E lamps are elliptically shaped, high-pressure sodium lamps. They are used in street lighting and general floodlighting. One of the main advantages of these lamps is their energy efficiency, which is shown by a luminous efficacy ranging from 65 to 140 lumens per watt. The higher end of that scale is unsurpassed by most light sources. Lifespan is also impressive with average expectancy of 15,000 to 50,000 hours. Colour temperature in these lamps is always warm.

SON lamps work with ignitors, which are either in the lamp itself (internal) or in the fitting (external). The 70w SON-E uses an internal ignitor and boasts a 12,000-hour lifespan and luminosity of 5,800 lumens.400W Son-E Bulb with Giant Screw Cap Fitting

 

On the down-side SON lamps offer poor colour rendering. A CRI 20 to CRI 30 score reflects this, which is unusable in any setting where colour recognition is important.

SON-T lamps are tubular high-pressure sodium lamps, with the same advantages and disadvantages as SON-E varieties (above).

White-Lux SON lamps are a metal halide lamp designed to work in a standard SON fitting. The main benefit is a more natural light with a cooler colour temperature and greatly improved colour rendering. Possible uses for this lamp are identical to those listed under metal halide, including sports stadiums and halls, car parks, and warehouses. This is a fine choice for anyone who wants to upgrade light quality in an existing SON fitting without having to change either the fitting or ballast.

Mercury vapour lamps are used in applications such as warehouses, car parks, stadia and other large-scale industrial buildings. They are a type of gas discharge lamp that uses an electric arc through vaporised mercury to emit light. A white phosphor coating is often used on the outer lamp to generate an intense white light.

The main drawbacks of high-pressure mercury vapour lamps are their slow 4-7 minute warm-up time, middling energy efficiency (about 50 lumens per watt), and inferior colour rendering compared to metal halide lamps.

Dual SON & Mercury lamps are dual metal halide lamps that can be used in either SON or mercury fittings for superior performance. They give a whiter, crisper light with improved colour rendering, and this is achievable without the cost of installing new light fittings or control gear. Suitable applications include factories, retail environments and sports halls.

White SON [SDW-T] lamps run at a higher pressure and temperature than regular SON lamps to achieve a superior standard of colour rendering. Manufactured by Philips, they usually carry a minimum CRI 80 score, which extends their suitability to applications such as downlighting, display lighting, and café or restaurant lighting.

There are disadvantages with White SON lamps, however, including high upfront cost and reduced energy efficiency. Our Philips models have a luminous efficacy of about 50 lumens per watt, which is less than half that of some HID lamps and is roughly equal to low-end LED or fluorescent lighting.

Philips 18W SOX lamp with a bayonet cap fitting

SOX (low-pressure sodium) lamps are gas discharge lamps that use sodium and neon gas to produce yellow light. These are the most energy-efficient of all artificial light sources, with typical luminous efficacies of between 100 and 180 lumens per watt. They are ideal for applications such as airports, harbours, foundries, orientation lighting, quarries, railway marshalling yards and crossings, rolling mills, security, and street lighting.

The main downside of a SOX lamp is its monochromatic light, which makes it impossible to discern colour in the absence of any other light source. For that reason, it’s a poor choice of lamp in any setting with colour safety markings or where crime prevention is needed.

LED

The LED Light Panel is one of our most popular dedicated commercial LED light fittings

LED commercial and industrial lighting often comes in the form of dedicated LED fittings, which are so long-lived that they do not take replacement bulbs. The whole fitting is replaced at the end of its useful life. LED lighting is naturally directional and thus easy to control. For that reason, dedicated LED fittings are uncommonly efficient in delivering light and less wasteful than other sources.

Disadvantages of LED include greater upfront cost and lower energy efficiency at source than some rival products (the best LED lighting cannot match the lumens per watt performance of sodium lamps). On average, colour rendering is likely to be better in a ceramic metal halide lamp; most LED products have an approximate CRI 80 score.

Linear Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent tubes have long been popular in industrial and commercial environments as a cheap source of diffuse light. Lyco stocks a variety of fluorescent batten fittings to house them, some of which are usable outdoors. The main disadvantage of fluorescent lamps against HID lamps is that they produce less light, so you’ll theoretically need more fittings to provide the same coverage. They are also adversely affected by hot or cold temperatures, resulting in lower light levels. Linear fluorescent lighting is ideal for corridors, tunnels, and aisles.

Need more guidance?

Lyco has many years of experience in serving all types of trades and industries. Please feel free to contact our sales team for advice on lighting any premises.

Feel free to browse our full range of commercial bulbs.

Alternatively, for more lighting guidance take a look at our advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

LED replacement bulbs and their uses

LED replacement bulbs

When your existing bulbs expire it is now generally recommended that you invest in LED replacement bulbs. This is because they offer numerous benefits, the more attractive of which are vastly reduced energy consumption and lifespans that sometimes extend into decades.

In this article we look at thirteen different types of LED retrofit bulb: a baker’s dozen that should save you some serious dough. We also note areas where LED replacements may cause problems.

Phillips MasterLED Candle Bulb

Types of LED replacement bulb

LED Candle Bulbs are tricky for designers because the bulbs they replace were often intended for show. The clear incandescent candle was used with chandeliers and other decorative fittings and admired for its scintillating light. Clear LED candles are ornamented for this reason, with silver or ivory-effect bodies and, in some cases, special lenses.

Kosnic HaloLED GU10 BulbsLED GU10s need attention when installed in confined light fittings, with some manufacturers warning of reduced lifespan in this type of application. GU10s are also used with track lights, bar lights, wall lights and outdoor spotlights. Some use COB LEDs, which are densely packed LED chips that produce an exceptionally even light. Typically a COB LED is wide beamed and recessed into the lamp for an authentic halogen reflector effect (most LED spotlights are reflectors only by name).

Crompton LED GLS BulbLED GLS Bulbs replace the everyday pear-shaped bulbs we all know. Many have an opal finish, which conceals unappealing LED chips but also helps to smoothly disperse light. Manufacturers like Crompton and Megaman go to some trouble to replicate the look and feel of incandescent bulbs.

LED Globe BulbsLED Golf Balls and Globes are usually meant to be seen. Golf balls in particular are used with a clear glass finish in chandeliers and decorative pendants, so manufacturers try to make LED retrofits look attractive. Some golf balls and most globes have a translucent finish, which produces less sparkle but is good for soft, flattering light.

LED Low Voltage MR16 Spotlight BulbsLED Low Voltage Spotlights are natural replacements for dichroic cool-beam 12V halogen spotlights, since they don’t project IR heat. One thing to note about all LED spotlights is their available choice of colour temperatures, which is impossible in halogen lamps. You can use this to accentuate different colours in display items. The little MR11 comes in LED form, as does the popular MR16.

LED Double-D BulbsLED Double D Bulbs offer savings of up to 60% over their fluorescent equivalents, whilst also boosting lifespan. Lesser known LED advantages include zero warm-up time, superior cold temperature performance, negligible UV output, shock-proof, vibration-proof and no mercury content. Many of these characteristics are beneficial for the type of use these lamps will see.

LED Par Reflector BulbsLED PAR Reflectors are used in a diverse range of applications, from swimming pool lighting to retail display or task lighting. Far more energy efficient and longer lasting than filament rivals, the wide choice of form and colour in these lamps makes creative lighting easy.

AR111 LED BulbsLED AR111 Reflectors replace halogen equivalents, which are often used in retail display lighting and domestic fittings. You’ll see a variety of designs, including the Edit 12W LED COB ES111, which emulates halogen lighting with its sunken COB LED module. Note that the ES111 is a mains-powered version of the AR111. Lyco sells a selection of both.

LED T8 TubesLED T8 Tubes are a replacement for the popular T8 fluorescent tube, which itself replaced the phased-out T12. Our LED tubes use 40-60% less energy than fluorescent rivals, whilst also outlasting them. In some cases LED tubes are rotatable for precise illumination, which avoids wasted light. Other benefits include zero warm-up time, no mercury content and little or no UV output to attract insects or fade artworks and fabrics.

LED G4 Capsules
LED Capsules are useful for everyday applications like desk lamps and wardrobe lights. They tend to be bulkier than halogen equivalents, so the size of the lamp housing should be checked before purchase. High-powered halogen capsules for specialist projector and theatre applications are not replaceable by LED.

LED Colour GU10 BulbsLED Colour Lights are great for enlivening retail displays, social events, and swimming pools.

LED Double Ended LinearLED Double Ended Linear bulbs replace the powerful elongated halogen bulbs often used in floodlighting applications. Bulkier than the bulbs they replace, these offer astounding levels of luminous efficacy and are vastly more energy-efficient.

LED Pin Fitting BulbsLED Pin Fittings replace non-ballasted CFLs, saving about 50% in energy costs. You’ll typically have to bypass or remove the ballast from a fluorescent fitting during installation. Like LED tubes, one way these lamps save energy is by not wasting light. For example, the Goodlight 8W LED allows 180° of adjustment for perfectly aimed illumination. Note that most of our LED pin fittings are non-dimmable, which may affect a decision when replacing 4-pin CFLs.

Watts versus lumens

One cause of confusion when switching to LED lighting is the abrupt uselessness of watts as a means of comparison. You can use “equivalent watts” as a guide to replacing incandescent bulbs, but you can’t use watts to compare LED products.

Lyco encourages use of lumens as a measurement of light output. Lumens measure the total amount of light produced, regardless of direction, whereas candelas measure light intensity in a specific direction. The second are more relevant to spotlights.

Can you replace any bulb with an LED?

Not quite, is the answer. The compact size of LEDs allows them to replace most bulbs, but there are three particular areas you need to be aware where issues can arise:

Light Direction

LED’s naturally directional light isn’t always ideal. To emulate omnidirectional bulbs, LED chips are usually mounted in relatively stout 360° configurations, which is only a problem when replacing skinny light sources like halogen capsules or linear lamps. LED versions of these products are normally broader, and some specialist types are not reproduced.

Heat dissipation

Heat dissipation needs in LED bulbs are significant. If you install a retrofit LED bulb into a confined and sealed fitting such as a fire-rated downlight you run the risk of shortening its lifespan. In some instances, a dedicated LED luminaire may offer a superior long-term solution.

Dimming capabilities

Whether or not an LED bulb is dimmable depends on its driver, and even if it is dimmable you’ll still need an appropriate switch. We have an article to help navigate these choppy waters, here.

Embracing technology

We hope this article has conveyed some of what LED currently has to offer. LED replacement bulbs make more economical sense than ever before, with many options now available at under £10. Why not embrace one of the greatest technologies of our time?

For more inspiration, ideas and advice try our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Plug and Play lighting – the ideal outdoor lighting solution

Plug and Play lighting – the benefits

Plug and play lighting allows end-users to easily design and install a tailored outdoor lighting scheme, without the need for an electrician. This modular low-voltage system is ideal for a garden, patio, poolside, or car park, and dramatically reduces the cost normally associated with a bespoke lighting solution.

Plug and Play lighting – getting started

<!—Click here to see how to set-up a Plug & Play lighting system—>

Click here to see how to select your plug & play lighting systemThere are three steps to a basic Plug and Play set up:

  1. Choose your combination of lights
  2. Choose the right transformer
  3. Choose cables and accessories

The lights and their 2-metre connecting cables hook up to the main cable with waterproof 2-pin plugged sockets. A 3-way connector is also available, which lets you attach up to three lights to each socket.

Expansion of your lighting scheme is simple with this modular approach. The main thing to remember is that the total wattage of the circuit should not exceed the maximum load of the transformer. We offer a choice of 22W, 60W, and 150W transformers, designed to supply power across at least 35m of cable.

Main power cables are sold in 10m lengths with four connecting sockets, or 15m lengths with six sockets. Extension cables are also available, allowing lights to be positioned further from the main cable. None of the cables theoretically need to be concealed, although a light covering of soil is recommended to avoid needless damage. Because the system is low voltage, there is no threat to life if the cables are accidentally sliced.

For a visual explanation of how to set up a Plug & Play system simply click here or on our infographic above.

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Plug and Play lighting – in use

Our Plug and Play lighting products are designed to withstand the elements, and intended for year-round outdoor use. All power connections are watertight and suitable for siting in and around swimming pools or drainage areas. Included in the collection are bollards, post lights, spotlights, walkover lights, and wall lights.

There are various ways of controlling a Plug and Play lighting scheme. A dusk-to-dawn sensor automatically triggers lights at nightfall, and switches them off again after your specified duration. The sensor can control all of your lighting, or a single section of it, as you wish. Also available is a weatherproof wireless remote control, which can operate up to nine separate groups of lights at a maximum 40m range.

LED lights are incredibly energy efficient and last up to 20 times longer than halogen alternatives. However, halogen lights, which also feature in this range, offer superior colour rendering. They make a particularly strong choice for lighting red-coloured grasses, shrubs, trees, and decorations, with their naturally warm bias.

Safe and simple outdoor lighting

The inherent safety of a Plug and Play lighting scheme makes it a reassuring choice for the protection of children or pets. In many instances you won’t even need tools for installation, though a screwdriver may be required with some light fittings.

For businesses looking to renovate and update the look of their exteriors, our Plug and Play lighting range offers a solution that’s cost-effective, easy to install and flexible. Homeowners can reap the nocturnal rewards of their own property for minimal outlay.

Are you looking for more lighting news, inspiration, or information? Check out our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Power Factor: Avoiding the surcharge

power factor blog

Power factor is a lesser known specification in the world of lighting. It measures how efficiently power is used in an AC circuit, and is a closely scrutinised area of LED and fluorescent lighting. Despite being vastly more energy efficient than filament lighting, these newer technologies have a naturally low power factor. This may seem trivial when compared to their substantial benefits, but has, regardless, been subject to EU regulations in recent years.

Energy suppliers surcharge commercial customers for use of low power factor equipment. This is openly itemised as either a power factor charge or reactive power charge, and billed in units of kVAr. Large, complex buildings with numerous luminaires will plainly be more affected. Low power factor also reduces the number of fittings installable on a lighting circuit.

By choosing energy efficient lighting with a high power factor, energy savings are truly maximised, meaning you should not be hit with such a surcharge. To go straight to our high power factor products click here. Alterntively, read on to really understand what the power factor is all about…

 

The power factor calculation

Power factor is calculated by dividing the active power used (in watts) by the apparent power drawn from the power grid (in volt-amps, or VA). A unitless number between 0.0 and 1.0 is used, with 1.0 representing 100% unity (i.e. 1 volt-amp = 1 watt).

Circuits containing only heating elements have a 1.0 power factor. This includes the resistive circuit of an incandescent lamp, where current increases and decreases proportionately with voltage (meaning the current and voltage are ‘in phase’).

LED and fluorescent circuits have inductive or capacitive elements, and never have a 1.0 power factor. Voltage and current are always out of phase to some degree, with only the in-phase portions producing real work. Power factor correction (PFC) can be installed to bring voltage and current more closely into phase. Any unused power is called reactive power.

Power factor charges

Commercial customers are surcharged for reactive power in units of kVAr. Suppliers apply a power factor threshold of between 0.85 and 0.95, above which there is no charge. Domestic users are never billed for reactive power.

Examples:

  • A 60W incandescent lamp draws 60 volt-amps (VA) from the power grid, thus has a 1.0 power factor. All of its supplied power produces work.
  • A 5W LED lamp with a 0.5 power factor will draw 10 volt-amps (VA) from the grid. It is hugely more energy-efficient than the incandescent lamp, but only converts 50% of its drawn power into work (watts).

This does not mean the LED lamp uses 10W of power, since reactive power is returned rather than consumed. However, low power factor increases power transmission losses, voltage dips, distribution costs, and carbon emissions. The grid is forced to supply a higher power level than is required at the load.

Standards and the future

From September 1st 2013, EU regulation 1194/2012 came into force:

  • LED lamps between 2W and 5W require a minimum 0.4 power factor.
  • LED lamps over 5W and up to 25W require a minimum 0.5 power factor.
  • LED lamps over 25W require a minimum 0.9 power factor.
  • CFLs with integrated ballasts (retrofit CFLs) require a minimum 0.5 power factor up to 25W, and 0.9 above.

Arguments against power factor correction in lamps include: increases in cost, materials, weight, heat, as well as a minor decrease in efficiency.

In 2010, Once Innovations revealed the SCD conditioning circuit for AC LEDs, improving power factor, distortion, and luminous efficacy, whilst adding less weight, volume, and parts than existing solutions. Such technology is likely to be more viable as LED prices decrease.

 

HPF Products

If you’re billed for reactive power, high power factor (HPF) lamps and luminaires may help reduce these charges. Lyco sells a variety of HPF products, including:

The Carina LED Semi Flush has a 0.93 power factor. An IP65 rating means you can install this light almost anywhere, including outdoors or in bathrooms. This versatile luminaire is useful in many commercial or residential applications.

A great recessed fitting for many commercial uses is the Eternity LED Downlight which can be configured for non-maintained or maintained operation. Long-lasting LEDs are integrated, with an expected 35,000 hour lifespan.

Offering numerous advantages over fluorescent counterparts, the Robus Vulcan LED Batten has a 0.95 power factor. This tough fitting is ideal for industrial applications, including car parks, corridors, factories, farm buildings, sheds, and garages.

For offices, schools, and hospitals, the LED Light Panel offers many benefits. It is neat, hygienic, and superbly energy efficient. This top-quality luminaire has a minimum 0.9 power factor.

Carina LED Flush ChromeEternity LED Downlight - 18W StandardVulcan 5ft Twin LED Batten45W LED Light Panel - Cool White

Hopefully the above products and information will help you avoid any future power factor surcharges. If you jumped straight to the products and now want to see how the power factor is calculated and the subsequent charges click here.

For more useful advice and information take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Ways of lighting your patio

Whether you’re a homeowner or manager of a hospitality premises, a darkened patio is wasted space. Good patio lighting makes a property more inviting, and is often an important facet of an entertainment venue. The patio may connect to a garden, or it may be a small garden in itself. Here we’ll show you how to use outdoor lights (and other tricks) to illuminate the various features of your patio, so you can reap the rewards of this valuable outdoor space.

But first… indoor dimming

It may seem an odd place to start, but dimming is useful if you want to enjoy outdoor lighting from the comfort of a living room, or conservatory. In restaurants and hotels, patrons may gaze out over a beautifully lit patio and garden during winter months. Indoor lighting that is too strong will cause excessive reflection and impair the outdoor view.

Lyco sells a range of dimmer switches, which help you balance indoor and outdoor illumination. Varilight models are exceptional for LED dimming. They also have a ‘soft start’ feature that reduces the chances of filament bulbs expiring in the cold.

Customised patio lighting

Simpson LED Walkover LightsJust like indoors, you should never over-light a patio or garden. Contrasting areas of light and dark create ambience and visual interest. Ground rules aside, various features of a patio might benefit from good lighting. Here are some examples:

Decking areas

These can be lit by walkover lights. Decking Lights serve this purpose. Discreet and durable, they are useful around the edges of a decking area for creating mood and adding an element of pedestrian safety.

Paved areas

Such areas can be installed with ground lights, like the Messina LED Ground Light from Searchlight. This can be safely walked over, and with an IP68 rating it tolerates immersion. The Messina is totally impervious to dust and torrential rain.

Low walls

Low walls are common around patio areas. Many ground lights are also suitable for embedding in walls, like the Stratford Recessed Square LED. Again, these are robustly weatherproof and provide excellent low-level lighting.
Stratford Recessed Square LED Light

Flower borders and shrubbed areas

These areas are perfectly served by post lights. The Parma Post is one of many options here, with a black finish that blends well with green foliage.

Trees

Often a neighbouring feature of patios, they provide a good opportunity to create visual interest. Use a strong spotlight to dramatically light trees from below. Solar lights are excellent for this, since they’re self-sufficient and not tethered to a mains supply.

Statues and garden ornaments

These can be lit by the Deltech GL7 LED Spotlight. The GL7 comes with a ground spike and wall bracket, so is usable in numerous scenarios.

Take a closer look at the Ground or Wall-mountable - GL7- LED Spotlight - Warm-White

Trellises and gazebos

Such fixtures are ideal for fairy lights, which create restful but eye-catching illumination. The Solar Centre’s Everbright Solar Fairy Lights are usable all the year round. A built-in photocell automatically triggers these lights on and off at dusk and dawn. If you’re going for a party mood, colourful festoons are effective overhead or along a fence.

Exterior walls

Regularly overlooked, these offer a simple means of lighting a patio. Here we’re looking for something decorative as well as functional. The Iluzzia Outdoor Up Down Wall Light is economical and long lasting, water and dust resistant with a IP54 protection rating. In traditional vein, the Half Lantern from Selected By Lyco offers an equally durable solution.

For more inspiration, advice and news, visit our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Lighting your picture properly

Picture lighting is important to most people whether they’re a homeowner with a favourite water-colour, a gallery owner with a priceless Rembrandt or even a hospital art coordinator looking to make the corridors a pleasure to walk down with fetching scenes. Picture lights provide a convenient solution to displaying artwork but choosing the right light fitting to get the best out of your artwork can be testing. Below we look at two of the most important factors to consider when it comes to lighting your pictures properly: size and colour temperature.

What size of picture light should I choose?

Rule of thumb

The most common rule of thumb is ‘choose a picture light that is half the size of the picture, excluding frame’, but if you dig around you’ll confusingly find one or two others. In truth, with smaller artworks you’ll often be able to choose lights that are as little as a third of the picture width. The opposite is true of extra large artworks (e.g. over 36” width), where the ideal is two-thirds.

Don’t go too small

This sliding scale of requirements comes from the varying distance between the edge of the light and the picture edge. With a large picture, there is a greater risk of creating a vignetting effect and leaving large corner areas underlit. In general though, the half-picture-size rule is a decent guideline.

Don’t go too large

A light fitting that is too wide for the picture is equally undesirable. Remember that light will spread when reflected off a surface. By limiting the amount of light that falls outside the picture, you are focusing attention on the artwork. This is especially important with dark pictures, where brightly lit surroundings will immediately draw the eye away from the subject.

How important in picture lighting is colour temperature?

Most people enjoy art without paying great heed to the lighting, but lighting directly affects the colour of art. Warm white light emphasises warm colours, and cool emphasises cool. It makes sense, then, to pick a light colour that enhances the dominant colours of your picture.

Shades and technologies

Each lighting technology has different colour properties, as follows:

  • Incandescent: warm white light with a typical 2700-2800K colour temperature. Less than ideal for blue or violet-coloured pictures, but excellent for emphasising reds, oranges, and yellows (flattering to skin tones in portrait pictures).
  • Halogen: warm white light with typical 2800-3200K colour temperature. Stronger radiation at shorter wavelengths (violet and blue) makes halogen appear whiter and brighter than incandescent lighting. It is better balanced than incandescent for artworks containing warm and cool colours. Both technologies offer superb colour rendering, though with a warm overall hue.
  • LED and low-energy fluorescent: manufactured with warm or cool colour temperatures (i.e. anything from 2700K to 6500K). A cool colour temperature lends a natural overall appearance, not unlike window light. These technologies are widely used in art museums (the Louvre Museum in Paris recently switched to LED). However, filament bulbs are inherently more reliable for reproducing individual colours and nuance. Vastly reduced running and maintenance costs may tip the balance!

Lighting Vincent

Below we compare the effect of warm and cool lighting on a Vincent van Gogh self-portrait. You’ll notice the blue areas are emphasised by cool light, whilst the complexion, hair, and palette are more vibrant under warm light. You’d probably base your picture lighting decision on the focus of the painting, which is the artist himself. You may well choose to sacrifice some of the blueness to avoid a pallid complexion. The decision is ultimately subjective.

Vincent under warm white light Vincent under cool white light
Vincent under warm white light Vincent under cool white light

Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

Feel free to view our full range of picture lights. Alternatively if you want to more inspiration and advice, take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

andrew-author-bio

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.