Guide To Fluorescent Tubes – T4, T5, T8, T12

LED Lighting

Introducing fluorescent lights into your business or home could save you considerable amounts of money, both in running costs and in replacing old lights. They’ll also light up your environment better than standard fittings with incandescent light bulbs.Fluorescent lighting is more flexible than most people think, with variations to suit most needs. In this guide we take a look at the different types of fluorescent tubes, identify the best use for each and highlight the benefits they offer to the user.

T4 fluorescent tubes

T4 fluorescent tubes are compact and easy to install, making them the ideal way to light-up kitchen counters and worktops.

These tubular bulbs use between six and eight times less energy than incandescent light bulbs, making them a good choice for households looking to cut down on their energy footprint and businesses looking to save money on energy costs. Furthermore, these compact fluorescent tubes last for up to 10,000 hours, so you’ll hardly ever have to replace them.

Our T4 fluorescent tubes come in a variety of lengths and wattages.

T5 fluorescent tubes

T5 fluorescent tubes can be installed to efficiently light everything from factories, to schools, offices, supermarkets, and even underground railways.
They’re a cost effective way of lighting large spaces because they can last up to 30,000 hours and have low mercury content, ensuring that they have a minimal environmental impact. The T5 tubes achieve this by using a coating on the inside of the glass wall that stops the glass and phosphors from absorbing mercury.

T5 fluorescent lights use ballasts – the device that limits the amount of current passing through the tube to stop it from overloading. Additionally, these ballasts enable T5 fluorescent lights to work at frequencies above 20kHz, giving you features such as instant start, rapid start and programmed start.

Another advantage that T5 fluorescent tubes offer is that they produce high levels of colour rendering and efficacy. The correlated colour temperature (CCT) and colour rendering index (CRI) of the lamps is determined by the phosphors used in the manufacturing process. The CRI of the T5 lamps can be specified from 70 to the mid-90s. For good quality lighting, we recommend to specify a CRI of at least 80. With T5 fluorescent lights you can choose different shades of white light, such as cool white, warm white and daylight.

Taking T5 lighting one step further, our HE (High Efficiency) and HO (High Output) tubes really deliver. T5 High Efficiency Triphosphor Tubes last up to 50% longer, meaning they will deliver up to 30,000 hours of light, whilst equal in life expectancy, the T5 High Output Triphosphor Tubes are ideal for rooms with high ceilings.

T8 fluorescent tubes

Our T8 fluorescent lights are some of the most widely used, and are perfect for places where you need to see lots of detail. Our T8 tubes have excellent colour rendering capabilities, bringing out the details of clothes and furniture. Retail stores, garages, offices, schools and conference rooms can all benefit from T8 lights.

They’re also extremely energy efficient, lasting up to 15,000 hours, and even longer in some cases – plus they require minimal maintenance.

Some T8 tubes can even rid you of those wretched winter blues. The T8 Tubes for SAD provide more natural light, similar to daylight; unlike the often artificial-looking and harsh light that’s given off by some fluorescent tubes. This can combat against Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), which can leave you feeling depressed or worse. They’re perfect for reception areas too, as they give a warm, welcoming feeling to customers.

We can now offer LED T8 tubes with even greater energy efficiencies. These tubes can last up to 40,000 hours and provide great light output using less power.

T12 fluorescent tubes

T12 tubes are the largest fluorescent tubes available, but they’re being phased out in favour of T8 tubes, which are smaller and more energy efficient. They’re good at lighting large areas, such as offices and retail space, but because of their higher running costs, and the fact that availability will soon become an issue, we’d recommend changing to T8s.

If you are still definite about wanting T12 tubes we stock a few wattage variants. Take a look at which T12 fluorescent tubes are available through Lyco. If you can’t find the model you are looking for, you can call us on 0345 646 1133.

Why not browse our full fluorescent tube range?
Looking for more lighting information and inspiration? Take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

Where Next?

View Our Full Range of LED Indoor Battens

View Our Full Range of LED Indoor Battens

Garage and Workshop Lighting Tips

Blog: Garage and Workshop Lighting Tips

View Our Full Range of LED Light Bulbs

View Our Full Range of LED Light Bulbs

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Bathroom Zones – What Can Go Where

Bathroom Lighting

Before any lighting installations are carried out in bathrooms it is essential to understand the significance of bathroom zones, as set out in the electrical safety regulations. These bathroom zones are designed to ensure that only bathroom lights provided with appropriate protection are used, especially within the higher risk areas so that the risk of harm is avoided.

Looking for Bathroom Lighting? View our full range >

IP Ratings

Like other electrical equipment, light fittings are given an IP Rating to indicate their suitability for a particular environment. IP stands for ingress protection and the rating consists of the letters IP followed by a two digit number. The first number indicates the level of protection provided against intrusion by solid objects such as dirt or dust. The second digit indicates the level of protection against various degrees of moisture. For a more in-depth explanation of IP Ratings take a look at our definitive guide to IP Ratings.

Looking for Bathroom Downlights? View our full range >

Bathroom Zones Explained

Bathroom zones are best described with reference to illustrations but the measurements stated are quite specific and must be adhered to. What follows should help with understanding what grade of fittings can be placed in the different bathroom zones and the reasons why. It is only a guide and such work should always be carried out by a qualified electrician who will be conversant with the IEE Wiring Regulations (17th Edition).

As you can see the illustration below shows a bath, wash basin and a stand-alone shower installation. If any of them are combined or their respective zones overlap then the higher risk level should be applied.

Bathroom Zones explained

As you can see the illustrations show four distinct bathroom zones, 0, 1, 2 and 3 (referred to in the key as “Outside Zones”).

Bathroom Zone 0

Zone 0 is inside the bath or the shower tray itself. If lighting is required in there, any fitting used must use a low voltage supply, that is a maximum of 12v and also be rated at least IPx7 which means it is totally immersion proof.

Bathroom Zone 1

Zone 1 is the area above the bath or shower tray to a height of 2.25m from the floor. Any fitting used in this zone must have a minimum rating of IPx4* , which means it is protected against water spray from all directions. If the fitting uses a 240v supply, a 30ma residual current device (RCD) must also be used to protect the circuit in this zone.

Bathroom Zone 2

Zone 2 is an area stretching 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone again an IP rating of at least IPx4* is required. It is good practice to regard the area around a wash basin, within a 60cm radius of any tap as zone 2.

Bathroom Zone 3 (Outside Zones)

Zone 3 is anywhere outside zones 0, 1 and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used. No IP rating* is required in these areas.

*If there is any likelihood of water jets ever being used for cleaning purposes in Zones 1,2 and Outside Zones, fittings rated a minimum IPx5 must be used which tells you that the fitting is protected against water jets.

The latest edition of the IEE wiring Regulations will provide more detailed information but your electrician should be fully up to date with these.

Suitable Suggested Products

When it comes to selecting the actual fittings to go into the different bathroom zones there are plenty to choose from in our Bathroom Lighting category.

Need Further Advice?

The information provided in this guide should help you to understand the requirements for bathroom lighting and the meaning of bathroom zones. When you discuss your requirements with your electrician you should now feel able to do so with greater confidence than you may have felt before.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

  • Call us: 0345 6461142
  • Email us: sales@lyco.co.uk

Why not take a look at our full range of Bathroom Lighting?

For more inspiration and advice try our Lighting Advice section.

Where Next?

Bathroom Ceiling Lights Bathroom Mirror Lights Bathroom Wall Lights

 

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

The 24V plug and play range from Markslojd makes garden lighting easy

Garden Spotlight

Now the warmer weather has arrived, gardens and outdoor spaces are really starting to come into their own. Plants are flourishing, flowers are blooming, and attentions are turning to al fresco living. Therefore, now is the perfect time to install or upgrade your garden lighting.

The Markslojd Garden 24V complete lighting system makes outdoor lighting easy. The ultimate in ‘plug and play’ outdoor lighting kits, the Garden 24V range offers a wide selection of products that are both practical, aesthetically pleasing, and simple for anyone to install.

The Markslojd Garden 24V products do not require any hard wiring, making for an easy and economical lighting solution for any home or business. As well as being simple to set up, the lights are dimmable and can be used alongside timers or sensors, delivering a truly bespoke lighting system to suit the layout and style of any property.

All components in the Markslojd Garden24 range have been designed to work in sync with one another so they can be purchased and installed with confidence, offering fantastic versatility for a number of different uses including:

  • Illuminating paths and walkways
  • Adding ambience to decking and seating areas
  • Improving sense of security in outdoor areas
  • Highlighting landscaped areas, architecture, and exterior decor

Spotlights

https://www.lyco.co.uk/garden-24v-6w-led-spotlight-black.html

The Markslojd Garden 24V lighting collection at Lyco features three versatile spotlights in either 3, 6, or 9 watts, with a stylish black finish. These lights can easily be fitted into the ground or attached to guttering without any hard wiring to deliver ambient illumination, perfectly suited to outdoor seating areas in bars, hotels, and restaurants.

Decking lights

https://www.lyco.co.uk/garden-24v-small-led-deck-light.html

Add a stunning ambient glow to outdoor decking and seating areas with Markslojd’s recessed deck lights. Simplistically styled in black with a frosted diffuser, these fixtures are prewired, removing the need for any complex wiring. Each 3W LED offers 65 lumens of warm white light which won’t just improve visibility outdoors but also help create an inviting atmosphere.

Bollard lights

https://www.lyco.co.uk/garden-24v-led-outdoor-bollard-light-black.html

These easy-to-install LED outdoor bollard lights make for a practical and stylish lighting solution, and work particularly well along pathways, walkways, and in car parks. As well as being a high performing light in this practical sense, the fixture will look stunning in the grounds of any venue too – cased in aluminium and finished in an attractive matte black finish.

The Garden 24 plug and play lighting collection from Markslojd is designed to be extremely straightforward to install; requiring very little in the way of tools and and deeply buried cables, meaning there is no need to call upon an electrician for help. Many of the fixtures depend on a transformer or driver (sold separately) in order to work and additional cables may also be necessary, depending on the set up.

Click here to discover the full Markslojd Garden24 collection at Lyco or to find out more by watching this short video.

Full spectrum bulbs and daylight bulbs – what’s the difference?

Light Bulbs

When choosing between full spectrum and daylight bulbs, it’s important to understand the two key metrics used to measure light. The first is colour temperature, a method of describing the colour characteristics of light, and is measured in Kelvins (K). The yellow-orange glow of a traditional tungsten bulb measures around 2700K (a warm, soft white), and the light becomes colder and whiter the higher the Kelvin score, with 6500K being a cool, blue light.

The second important measurement of which to be aware is the Colour Rendering Index (CRI). A light source’s CRI measures its ability to produce colours and is expressed as a percentage: the higher the percentage, the better the colour rendering, with the best possible CRI reading being around 96%.

Daylight Bulbs

Just as their name implies, daylight bulbs provide a similar level of light to that of natural daylight. From a technical point of view, daylight bulbs generally provide between 6000-6500K and a CRI of about 80%. It has been proven by various studies that daylight helps to improve the morale and productivity of a workforce, so daylight bulbs can be used to create a healthy lighting solution that is also very cost effective.

Full Spectrum Bulbs

Full spectrum bulbs have the ability to produce the full range of the colour spectrum, carrying both visible and invisible colour wavelengths of light. Because of this, full spectrum bulbs offer the closest alternative to natural daylight, resulting in similar health and wellbeing benefits to those gained through exposure to natural light. For example, full spectrum bulbs are great if you’re seeking a lighting solution specifically to combat illnesses such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or if you need perfect colour rendition because you are a designer or architect. Full spectrum lights offer a colour temperature of 6500K and a CRI of 96%, and so, in comparison to daylight bulbs, full spectrum bulbs can provide a brighter, whiter light with better colour rendering.

Differences between full spectrum bulbs and daylight bulbs

When selecting the type of lighting that is the most appropriate for your needs, it is vital to be aware of the differences between full spectrum and daylight bulbs. If you are looking to give the appearance of daylight, for example by brightening a reception area or creating an airy-feeling office, then standard daylight bulbs are ideal, particularly if your budget is tight. Daylight bulbs offer a colour temperature of 6000-6500K, and a CRI of about 80%, and are available in a wide range of styles, from energy efficient LED tubes and panels, through to low energy spiral daylight bulbs and classic incandescent GLS daylight bulbs.

However, if you need to get either the perfect colour rendition for visual tasks such as designing, or light a windowless room – or if SAD is an issue – then full spectrum bulbs are your best option. Although daylight bulbs provide similar lighting levels to natural daylight, full spectrum bulbs bring further health and wellbeing benefits.

We supply a full range of both daylight bulbs and full spectrum bulbs to cover all of you lighting needs. Drop us a line today if you require any further advice.

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

The 24V range from Markslojd makes garden lighting easy

LED Solar Wall Lights

Now the warmer weather has arrived, gardens and outdoor spaces are really starting to come into their own. Plants are flourishing, flowers are blooming, and attentions are turning to al fresco living. Therefore, now is the perfect time to install or upgrade your garden lighting.

The Markslojd Garden 24V complete lighting system makes outdoor lighting easy. The ultimate in ‘plug and play’ outdoor lighting kits, the Garden 24V range offers a wide selection of products that are both practical, aesthetically pleasing, and simple for anyone to install.

The Markslojd Garden 24V products do not require any hard wiring, making for an easy and economical lighting solution for any home or business. As well as being simple to set up, the lights are dimmable and can be used alongside timers or sensors, delivering a truly bespoke lighting system to suit the layout and style of any property.

All components in the Markslojd Garden24 range have been designed to work in sync with one another so they can be purchased and installed with confidence, offering fantastic versatility for a number of different uses including:

  • Illuminating paths and walkways
  • Adding ambience to decking and seating areas
  • Improving sense of security in outdoor areas
  • Highlighting landscaped areas, architecture, and exterior decor

Spotlights

https://www.lyco.co.uk/garden-24v-6w-led-spotlight-black.html

The Markslojd Garden 24V lighting collection at Lyco features three versatile spotlights in either 3, 6, or 9 watts, with a stylish black finish. These lights can easily be fitted into the ground or attached to guttering without any hard wiring to deliver ambient illumination, perfectly suited to outdoor seating areas in bars, hotels, and restaurants.

Decking lights

https://www.lyco.co.uk/garden-24v-small-led-deck-light.html

Add a stunning ambient glow to outdoor decking and seating areas with Markslojd’s recessed deck lights. Simplistically styled in black with a frosted diffuser, these fixtures are prewired, removing the need for any complex wiring. Each 3W LED offers 65 lumens of warm white light which won’t just improve visibility outdoors but also help create an inviting atmosphere.

Bollard lights

https://www.lyco.co.uk/garden-24v-led-outdoor-bollard-light-black.html

These easy-to-install LED outdoor bollard lights make for a practical and stylish lighting solution, and work particularly well along pathways, walkways, and in car parks. As well as being a high performing light in this practical sense, the fixture will look stunning in the grounds of any venue too – cased in aluminium and finished in an attractive matte black finish.

The Garden 24 plug and play lighting collection from Markslojd is designed to be extremely straightforward to install; requiring very little in the way of tools and and deeply buried cables, meaning there is no need to call upon an electrician for help. Many of the fixtures depend on a transformer or driver (sold separately) in order to work and additional cables may also be necessary, depending on the set up.

Click here to discover the full Markslojd Garden24 collection at Lyco or to find out more by watching this short video.

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Dimmers – Trailing vs Leading Edge

Dimmer Switch

Dimmers allow you to achieve the exact light level that you desire in a room and consequently alter the mood. There are various types of dimming options available, but the most popular are ‘phase control’ (or phase-cut) dimmers. Phase control dimmers work by chopping out parts of the voltage and reducing power to the light source. The two types of phase control dimmer available are ‘trailing-edge’ and ‘leading-edge’ and they work in different ways which ultimately affects their compatibility with certain light forms:

  • Leading-edge: inductive loads (e.g. magnetic low voltage transformers), resistive loads (e.g. incandescent).
  • Trailing-edge: capacitive loads (e.g. electronic low voltage transformers, LED drivers), resistive loads (e.g. incandescent).

However, as well as the above, there are also other differences between the two types of dimmers…

Leading-edge dimmers (TRIAC dimmers)

Leading-edge dimmer switches are cheaper and simpler than trailing-edge, and were used originally to dim incandescent and halogen bulbs or wirewound magnetic transformers. They use a ‘TRIAC’ (Triode for Alternating Current) switch to control power, and are sometimes called TRIAC dimmers.

Many existing leading-edge dimmer switches have a relatively high minimum load, which often rules out their use with modest LED or CFL lighting circuits. However, leading-edge dimmers are by far the most common dimming control in existence.

One example of an excellent leading-edge dimmer switch is the BG Screwless 1-Gang 2-Way 400W Dimmer

Trailing-edge Dimmers (Reverse phase dimmers)

Trailing-edge dimmers are more sophisticated than leading-edge dimmers. They provide a much smoother dimming control, absent of any buzzing noise, and is ideal for use in most premises.

A trailing-edge dimmer has a lower minimum load than leading-edge dimmers, making it a better choice for dimming modestly sized low-powered lighting circuits.

LED lights and dimming

Unlike incandescent bulbs, which are all dimmable by default, LED retrofit bulbs have a built-in driver in their base. The driver converts AC power to DC power and maintains a constant current to the LED. This is at odds with a phase control dimming system, since the driver attempts to compensate for the sliced-out portions of input voltage.

LED fixtures such as downlights usually include the LED driver, either of a ‘constant current’ or ‘constant voltage’ type, depending on the LED array design. In either case, the same issue arises: the LED driver or power supply will try to patch up the missing parts of input voltage.

However, LED compatibility problems can exist, and some dimmable LED driver designs will only work with selective dimming control systems. These problems can show up in a number of ways, including flickering, flashing, and dead travel.

How to avoid LED dimmer compatibility issues

For an LED lamp or luminaire to work with a phase control dimmer, the electronics of its driver must be compatibly adapted.

Leading-edge dimmer switches are sometimes called ‘incandescent dimmers’, because they were originally designed to handle the resistive load of incandescent light. Existing dimmer switches tend to have high minimum loads and may require multiple LED lamps in order to even have a chance of working.

For an increased chance of compatibility, trailing-edge dimmer switches tend to work better with the capacitive load of an LED driver. The Varilight V-Pro LED Dimmer 1 x 300W is from the award-winning V-Pro range. It has an industry-wide reputation for delivering one of the best LED dimming performances available.

Research & Investment

If you’re installing a dimmable LED circuit from scratch, it’s worth checking out the bulbs that you’re likely to use and then look for a list of tested dimmer switches. Most leading bulb manufacturers test their dimmable lamps with a variety of switches and publish lists of known compatible models.

Similarly, you can upgrade your existing dimmers and so avoid compatibility headaches. What’s more, such an investment is likely to extend the lifespan of the lamps you buy, giving you an added incentive.

Remember, also, that LED bulbs are more complex than incandescent, so sticking to the same model of bulb is advisable when you find a winning formula. Once you have everything working, the many benefits of LED dimming will become apparent, to you and your business!

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Introducing Soraa LED lighting

Introducing Soraa LED Lighting

Lyco is delighted to announce the arrival of Soraa, the latest lighting brand to be added to our ever-growing range of LED lighting.

Hailing from California, Soraa is an innovative company that began producing high quality LED lighting in 2013. Brainchild of Nobel Prize Winner, Shuji Nakamura (dubbed the ‘father of modern LED lighting’), Soraa’s lighting solutions leverage science to produce a quality of light that is comparable to natural daylight.

Soraa prides itself on offering LED lamps that provide unprecedented colour performance and beam control in smaller, brighter, and more efficient ways than other bulbs. Soraa LEDs deliver a crisp, efficient beam, with quality distribution and glare control.

Colours are rendered much more vibrantly with Soraa compared to other artificial light sources because its spectrum offering is complete, matching or even exceeding the natural spectrum of daylight, but without any of the harmful ultraviolet radiation and continuous variations that come with natural light sources.

What makes Soraa unlike other LED bulbs?

Colour rendering

Soraa Vivid lamps offer a color rendering index (CRI) of 95 and R9 (deep red rendering) of 95, providing exceptional light emission in parts of the light spectrum that are missing from many first generation, Low CRI LEDs. Many features in our environment, such as faces, food, fabrics, and furnishings, contain complex hues of colour that don’t look quite right unless they are lit with spectrum light containing these essential colours.

Whites

Many conventional LEDs have slightly blue tinge, and as such, are not always able to render white materials completely accurately. As a result, white materials can look off-white or yellow under incandescent and conventional LED lamps, even those with a high CRI. Soraa has engineered its bulbs to render white materials with optical brightness using violet light, rather than harmful ultraviolet light, delivering a bright, white appearance that is optimal for illuminating fabrics, clothing, cosmetics, paper products, and appliances.

Energy efficiency

In addition to their high quality light output, Soraa bulbs make use of modern LED technology, making them an energy efficient choice when compared with traditional incandescent bulbs. Switching to Soraa LED bulbs can therefore lead to significant cost savings over time.

Hassle free dimming

Soraa LED lamps are designed to dim reliably and smoothly and have been tested with a wide variety of leading brand fixtures, dimmers and transformers to ensure full compatibility with most commercial lighting systems.

Minimal spill and crisp shadows

The three core components of directional lighting are the beam, the field, and the spill. Beam and field are considered as genuinely useful lumens while any lumens that fall outside of this quota are referred to as “spill.” Many traditional light sources, particularly halogens, project a significant amount of spill, meaning much of the energy consumed by the bulb is wasted.

Many modern LED designs incorporate accessories such as recessed trims and lenses which help to eliminate this spill. Soraa’s technology takes this a step further by delivering a circular beam, which results in minimal spill, soft transitions, and high centre-to-edge colour consistency.

How Soraa can work for your business

Lighting for museums and art galleries

The vivid colour, white light rendering, and directional beam with crisp shadowing provided by Soraa makes for an ideal light solution in settings where accurate definition is needed, such as illuminating artworks and artifacts in museums and galleries.

Lighting for hospitality

It’s no secret that poor lighting can have an adverse effect on customer experience within the hospitality industry – last year we conducted a survey that revealed nine out of ten consumers would be put off revisiting a bar, restaurant or hotel if the lighting was bad.

Soraa lamps can help alleviate this problem by offering complete control of beam, brightness, colour, and intensity, making it possible for business owners to showcase their venues in the very best light.

Lighting for retail and fashion

Directional display lighting and accurate colour rendering is an essential part of showcasing retail merchandise. The sale of products such as cosmetics, clothing, furnishings, and paints, for example, depend largely on customers’ ability to distinguish fine gradations in colour, which is only truly possible with perfect full spectrum lighting. Other products with optical brighteners, such as paper, appliances, and electronics also depend on perfect spectrum light to bring out their whiteness. Soraa is an ideal lighting solution in retail settings because its beam accurately renders colours and provides crisp shadowing, ideal for providing a clean and inviting display in and around retail environments.

 

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

How to get the most out of solar lights in the winter

solar lighting, outdoor lighting

Thinking about buying some new solar lights this winter but worried about how they’ll perform? Here are some top tips for getting the most from your solar lights when sunlight is limited.

How solar lights work:

Solar lights function by absorbing natural daylight via a panel of photovoltaic cells, which is then converted into electrical current by way of a rechargeable solar battery. The panels conserve the sun’s energy throughout the day, charging the battery in the light, and then when night falls, a photoreceptor is able to detect the darkness and the light activates.

In using the sun’s renewable energy, solar lighting is an extremely energy-efficient light source, helping homes and businesses to reduce their carbon footprints – and their utility bills.

Do solar lights work in winter?

Whilst direct sunlight will provide the best conditions for solar products, as it is less diffused through clouds, solar panels actually use energy from daylight, not sunlight per se. This means, no matter what time of year, solar lights charge in exactly the same way – as long as the solar panel receives enough daylight to power up the batteries to a point that the light can function. But there are a number of differences between daylight in the summer and daylight in the winter which means you may not always get the same result.

Firstly, during the longer summer days, you could expect a solar panel to receive charge for as long as 12-14 hours, but in the winter, the days are much shorter, so this timeframe reduces significantly – sometimes to as little as six hours – and even then, the quality of those daylight hours is arguably weakened as there are typically more overcast days. Even on a cloudy or rainy day, the panels are still working hard, and there are three key ways to maximise the efficiency of solar lamps during winter:

1. How you position the solar panel

Whatever the season, the sun will be at its strongest point at noon, so it is a good idea to position the panel to ensure that will receive the most charge during this time.

2. Remove obstacles

Light rays can become obstructed by shadows from buildings, bushes, and trees. Take some time to look around outside your premises to locate the most suitable position for your solar lamps, and clear blockages where possible.

3. Switch lights off during the day

A lesser known fact is that solar lights will continue to charge while turned off. To ensure maximised energy output, consider turning them off during daylight periods.

Choosing a solar light

Solar lights are available in a wide range of styles and can be used for many different purposes. For example, if there is a pathway to your premises that you want to illuminate, solar lamps can be faced downwards to mark the parameters. Solar spotlights mounted to the wall are an excellent way to enhance security, as they have a bright focused beam and can be adjusted to illuminate specific areas. And if you’re looking for a more ambient light or atmospheric feel to your outdoor space, soft accent solar lights dotted around outdoor spaces can be used to highlight a water feature, statue, or sign.

Lyco also stocks a wide range of solar powered floodlights and spotlights with built-in motion sensor (PIR) security features. A PIR ensures that the light only turns on when movement is detected nearby, preserving charge and ensuring that no energy output is wasted. To find out more about solar lights for your home or business, browse our wide selection here.

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Hello lumens, goodbye watts

lumens, watts

You may have heard a lot a talk about lumens recently, but what are they and why do they matter?

In most simple terms, lumens are a measurement of light. More specifically, they are used to measure the total amount of light (or brightness) produced by a single light source. Increasingly, light bulb manufacturers are using lumens on their packaging, to help consumers make more accurate decisions about the type of bulb they need.
Historically, it has been watts that have provided this information, but with bulbs becoming more energy efficient due to the increased adoption of LED technology, wattage is becoming a far less accurate or relevant metric in lighting – modern LED bulbs can produce equal (or more) amounts of light using less power than their traditional equivalents. For example, most would assume that a 6.5W LED bulb would produce less light than a 50W halogen bulb, but because the low energy LED bulb is capable of producing a higher light output while using far less power, this isn’t always the case.


Ultimately, lumens just make more sense, as choosing a light bulb should come down to the light produced, and not the energy consumed in doing so. As a helpful pointer, many modern LED bulbs will be accompanied by an approximate equivalent watt specification on their packaging, but it will likely be some time before lumens are accepted as the ‘go to’ lighting metric amongst consumers.

Lumens Vs. useful lumens

When comparing lightbulbs, it is not enough to look at lumens and watts alone. This is because lumen levels are measured differently between different styles of bulb. For directional bulbs, such as spotlights, some of the light produced may be ‘wasted’, but is still counted in the total lumens rating. But, for non-directional bulbs such as candle, globe, or ball shape, the lumen output is measured in all directions.
In a bid to make light bulb comparisons more straightforward, a new useful lumens rating was introduced which only measures the light that is released in a 90° cone from the centre of the bulb, ignoring any light that is split or ‘wasted’. This measurement is more accurate for spotlights in particular as the light is only emitted in one direction.

How many lumens is enough lumens?

Every room will have its own lighting needs depending on size, ceiling height, colour scheme, the amount of natural light coming into the room, and how the space is used. Therefore, there’s no optimum lumen level, so to speak. However, the below cheat sheet provides a useful introduction into the ideal lumen level for various settings:

To assess a light bulb in terms of its energy efficiency, wattage remains a vital statistic. However, in order to gain a true understanding of how bright a bulb will shine, the answer lies in lumens.

charles author bio

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.