Features

Commercial Lighting Explored

Commercial lighting in the 21st Century is a far cry from the hanging bulbs with enamel coolie hat shades or the cold harsh glare from fluorescent tubes of yesteryear. Now the choice of commercial light fittings available is almost unlimited. In this feature we look at some of the best commercial lighting options available, with a big focus fluorescent based lighting options.

Release your inner designer

Lighting has become an essential part of the designer’s toolkit, particularly commercial lighting because in many ways it is commercial buildings that present the greatest challenges to the designer’s skills whilst at the same time providing him or her with the greatest scope. Skilful use of light and shade are recognised as being of the utmost importance in creating an environment that is not only practical and efficient as a workplace but also a pleasant and comfortable place to be in.

The “Designer,” in this context may be a shop fitter or an electrician whose customer relies on them to advise on the most suitable commercial light fittings to use in particular situations. Their knowledge and experience of commercial lighting enables them to do so.

Size efficient batten lighting

Fluorescent battens may be the most appropriate for general illumination, such as the Lyco Undergraduate range of High Frequency luminaires . These offer increased efficiency with long life due to their sturdy construction. Prismatic diffusers not only provide a more even spread of light but also protect the tubes from dust and damage. Being so robust these luminaires are easy to handle and transport, making the contractor’s life a little less stressful!

Smaller and softer lighting

Much of the art in commercial lighting lies in selecting just the right luminaires for a particular area. While the Undergraduate range may be ideal for larger areas, in smaller spaces  ASD Lighting’s Profile Ceiling Light may be more appropriate with the added advantage of being suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Recessed commercial lighting

Luminaires flush with the ceiling have great appeal and there the fluorescent fitting leads the field. That’s particularly efficient in the High Frequency models with their flicker-free light, low heat output and silent operation.

All the benefits of High Frequency come with Lyco’s fluorescent batens. Commercial light fittings are available in such an incredible variety of models that the list seems endless but we must just mention Low Energy Wall Light or ceiling light if preferred. Its lovely glow effect is due to its double D low energy bulb and opal glass diffuser and so economical in operation too!

Commercial lighting lamps

This vast range of commercial light fittings needs a correspondingly extensive array of lamps to choose from. The leading types used in commercial lighting include fluorescent tubes T12, T8 and T5, in lengths to suit, usually between 2 feet and 6 feet, Double D and 2D lamps for round or rectangular fittings and GU10 and MR16 lamps for individual spots. GLS lamps and candle bulbs are ideal for decorative light fittings.

Obviously no shop fitter, electrician or other business owner can carry all this information around in their head. That’s what commercial lighting specialists, Lyco, are for. Your contractor can present them with the most unusual specifications and come away with exactly the right commercial light fittings for the particular project.

If this subject interests you why not take a more in-depth look at our Commercial Light Fittings.

Looking for more lighting news, inspiration and information? Check out our Lighting Advice section.

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60W bulb production stops as LED lights the way

Production of traditional 60W bulbs officially ended on 1st September 2011, however the future of lighting is a bright one. LED lighting technology is rapidly advancing and prices are becoming increasingly attractive. The common perception that LED is an expensive option that only saves money over a number of years is being proved wrong. The level of saving is such that many of our customers are seeing the new technology pay for itself well within the first year of switching.

High cost lighting

We recently conducted a return on investment (ROI) analysis for a 255 bedroom hotel customer in the North of England that are using mostly 50W halogen bulbs throughout their premises. Some areas of the hotel, including the reception, bar and corridors, require lighting 24/7 but on average their lights are on for over 14 hours per day. In total 595 kWh is being consumed by lighting alone – amounting to £47.63 per day and £17,384.95 per year.

LED replacements

We selected suitable LED replacements for each of the bulbs they use, making sure that the bulbs matched as closely as possible in terms of output, colour temperature and beam angle, and the results showed that a vastly reduced daily consumption to 64.7 kWh. The result of which reduced their energy costs for lighting to £5.17 per day and £1,887.05 per year – that’s an annual saving on their energy bill of £15,497.90.

Savings within a year

The initial cost per bulb is higher, but in the case of this hotel the payback will take only nine and a half months. LEDs can last up to 50 times longer and use up to 90% less energy, and the savings don’t even taken into account the reduction in maintenance work by not having to change the light bulbs as frequently.

Eco-you

There’s also the benefit of being able to market your business as an environmentally-friendly one. In the case of this hotel they will reduce their carbon emissions by 105.38 tonnes by making the switch.

Constant improvements

LED technology is rapidly improving and now there is a great range of bulbs that work with existing fittings, and even the shapes have been improved to mimic their incandescent counterparts. Dimmable options are also available.

Every company is looking to reduce costs in their business. There really couldn’t be a better time to switch to LED. For more details on converting to LED and the benefits of doing so please take a look at our LED conversion – how much will I save feature.

Whatever the size of your premises, our sales team is on hand to guide you through the quick and easy steps to switching to LED. Just give us a call on 0843 317 7820.

For more inspiration and advice go to our Lighting Advice section.

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Things you need to know in the world of Lighting

The meaning of IP rating

IP stands for Ingress Protection; the code refers to the resistance of a luminaire to the ingress of solid particle and water. The IP rating code has the format of: “IPxy”, where x and y are numbers varying from 0 to 8 which ultimately define the resistance to solid particles and water. Basically, the higher the number, the higher the protection rate, e.g. a luminaire in a bathroom in a bathroom which is close to a bath or shower has a typical rating of IP44; an outdoor up light has a typical minimum rating of IP65, while a swimming pool luminaire will have an IP Rating of IP68. Sometimes a third number may be included in the ingress protection code, indicating the resistance to impact, this is essential when luminaires are installed in areas where the resistance against accidental or vandalism or is of high importance (e.g. prisons, sport halls, certain schools and public areas etc.).

The difference between Dichroic and reflector bulbs

Every tungsten and tungsten halogen bulbs that are used in downlights, spotlights and similar luminaires use a reflector at the back of the light source that allows it to concentrate the light on a beam as opposed to diffuse it in all directions. Originally this reflector was created by coating the back of the lamp with an aluminium layer. However, because the tungsten and halogen lamps generate a lot of heat, aluminium reflectors focus and project this heat in the light beam. In most cases this would be seen as a disadvantage as the heat could potentially damage the illuminated surfaces in the long run. To get past this problem, dichroic reflectors were developed; these are designed with special material filters that reflect light but only a small percentage of the heat is generated, most of this is transmitted through the reflector to the back of the lamp. The result is that the heat generated in the beam of light is considerably lower and the side effects are contained. Make sure to allow enough clearance around the fitting in the void because the heat is dissipated in the void at the back of the luminaire. If this space is somewhat unavailable because of the proximity to a timber joist or insulation materials, the dichroic lamps should not be specified as the surfaces near the luminaire would be exposed to a serious fire risk.

The difference between transformers and ballasts

A transformer is an electrical or electronic component needed for low voltage bulbs in order for these to operate correctly. A common transformer for lighting applications converts the supply voltage from 230v (mains voltage in residential buildings throughout Europe) to 12v, which is the typical voltage required by tungsten halogen bulbs. A ballast or control gear performs a similar function of a transformer, but it also incorporates additional electrical and electronic components required by other types of bulbs in order for these to work properly. An element that is required by the linear, compact fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps, cold cathode lamps and LEDs is a control gear. In terms of LEDs the control gear is more commonly called driver. The secondary or output voltage of the ballast varies depending on the specific type of lamp it is serving.

How to dim LED lights

LED lights can be dimmed providing the correct driver is installed and it is compatible with the lighting control system dimming the related circuit. Like with fluorescent lamps, there are various ways of dimming LEDs, the most common methods for dimming LEDs are 1-10v and DMX. Any dimming method requires an extra set of cables from the lighting control system to the LED driver in addition to the cables for the power supply (230v). Another requirement is a cable for the control signal (extra low voltage e.g. 1-10v, DMX bus, etc.). You must make sure that the correct wiring is provided before completing the installation works. Due to LED technology constantly evolving, new drivers are being developed that are capable of dimming via standard dimmers that are adopted for the incandescent or low voltage bulbs.

The correct way to wire LEDs

There is a right way and a wrong way to wire LEDs, it all depends on the type of LED you have. With the exception of LED replacement bulbs for halogen downlights (GU10 and GU5.3 lamp holders), which have been recently introduced into the market, all LEDs need a driver for their correct operation. A driver can feed either one LED luminaire or multiple LEDs. The vast majority of LEDs currently commercially available will have to be wired in series from the driver. This means that the “+” (red wire) of the driver will have to be connected to the “+” terminal (red wire) of the first LED, while the “-” terminal (black wire) of the first LED will have to be wired to the “+” (red wire) of the following LED, and so on until the last LED, which will have the “-” connected to the black wire of the driver. A series connection ensures that the current is kept constant across all LEDs. Remember that there are many different currents and loads, some of them are dimmable, but some are not. Always check that the driver adopted is compatible with the number and types of LEDs installed. Also, make sure that you check the product sheets for technical details of the LEDs.

A fire rated downlight

A fire rated downlight is a recessed luminaire that integrates a fire resistant can or ring of intumescent material in the portion of the luminaire concealed in the ceiling void. In case of fire in the space below the luminaire, the high temperature will cause the intumescent material of the can or ring to expand and fully seal the installation hole of the downlight (ceiling cut-out), thereby assuring the original fire resistance characteristics of the ceiling. An alternative to standard downlights and fire hoods (where these are required) is fire rated downlights, and although they may be more expensive than standard downlights, they generate a saving in the installation cost.

Make sure that you select good quality fire rated downlights as there are many cheap alternatives out there which should only be fitted with open bulbs or bulbs with a maximum rating of 35w. These can be a bad choice due to the fact that they not only limit the flexibility in the choice of the bulb, but may also cause a fire risk if you insert the wrong type of bulb. Do not assume that you can replace the bulb with a standard 50w version available from all retail shops. If you do this then it will cause the downlight to overheat, therefore creating a potential hazard in the years that follow when the bulb needs replacing.

The meaning of EE lighting

Energy Efficient Lighting is dictated by the light emission versus power consumption of various light bulbs.

In residential applications, a bulb is considered energy efficient when its luminous efficacy** is higher than 40 lumens per circuit watt*.

  • *A circuit-watt is the power consumed in lighting circuits by bulbs, their associated control gear and power correction equipment.
  • **Luminous efficacy is a measure of how effective a bulb is in transforming electricity into light. It is measured in lumens per watt and often referred to as “lamp efficacy”.

This has become more relevant to the domestic user due to Part L of the Building Regulations which came into force in April 2006. It states:

“Para 43: Reasonable provision would be to provide in the areas affected by the building work, fixed energy efficient light fittings that number not less than;

  • a) one per 25m² of dwelling floor area (excluding garages) or part there of OR
  • b) one per four fixed light fittings. Typical energy efficient lamps are linear and compact fluorescents, cold cathode, metal halide, sodium and some LEDs.”

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

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Six Lighting Options You Need To Remember

There are six main lighting options that may be beneficial to remember;

1. Downlights.

Downlights can be recessed in to the ceiling for optimum effect, you can choose from three main types of downlights: fixed (where the light beam shines directly downwards) or angled/directional (which will allow you to specifically shine the light where you need it), and low voltage (supplied for use with a transformer) or mains voltage. Choosing downlights where the bulb is fitted at a high level can help to reduce glare. If you purchase a low voltage light, this will provide you with a much brighter, whiter light in comparison to mains voltage. With downlight bulbs you can purchase different beam widths as well, which can create very unique and interesting effects. If you’re looking to create a “flood” effect, then you should choose a wide beam lamp (50 degrees) or down to 12 degrees for a narrow, precise beam. Positioning a group of narrow-angled beam downlights (200-300mm from the wall) can produce a wonderful effect.

2. Uplights

Uplights are usually mounted on a wall in order to throw light onto the ceiling; alternatively they can be floor-mounted to add dramatic highlights to pillars or an architectural piece. It is important to check the heat output for the fitting if you are considering the floor-mounted option. Another significant point is that light tends to pick up all imperfections, so make sure when lighting your ceiling that it has a flawless finish. The last thing you need to do is to highlight the mistakes of your premise to guests.

3. Decorative.

Placing some decorative lights onto the ceiling or the wall can add additional interest and sparkle to your premise. When considering ceiling lights, be wary that ceiling pendant lights can have the effect of lowering a ceiling; therefore it is not advisable to use them for a ceiling less than 2.5m in height, with the exception of hanging low over a dining table.

4. Wall wash lights.

These can be fantastic for highlighting textured surfaces such as brickwork or tiles, wall wash lights can be surface or recessed and used to light vertical surfaces.

5. Lamps.

Floor or table lamps can add a great structure and decoration to any room and is an easy way to add further layers of light to the room. You must remember to choose shades carefully because translucent shades will give a gentle, filtered light, whereas solid shades give a stronger shaft of light.

6. Discreet lighting.

Discreet lights are exactly what the name suggests; they provide light whilst keeping the light source hidden from view. These can be positioned under shelves, within cabinets, above units etc. these can be particularly useful in creating a warm and comfortable ambience and there are many fittings available now to achieve stunning effects.

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All you need to know about LEDs

As many of you may or may not know, LED technology is the latest source of low energy lighting. But how does LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting really differentiate from regular lighting? And how can it help you? Here at Lyco Direct, we are going to provide you with all the answers and uncover the facts behind LEDs.

LED lights use significantly less energy than regular incandescent bulbs and have a much longer average light life. They last on average up to 50,000 hours and if they are used only for a few hours each night then they can even last up to 30 years. The great thing about using LED technology is that the lamp produces no ultraviolet or infrared radiation, which means that no heat is emitted, they remain cold to touch. This is perfect for you to place the lights next to delicate objects such as garden furniture or sensitive plants and they will not be damaged by the light. This also helps to lessen global Co2 emissions and therefore battle climate change. Another aspect that applies to places like hotels, pubs and restaurant gardens is that insects are not attracted by the light from LEDs, so people can eat outside without pesky bugs interfering.

LED lights also come in a fantastic range of colours that include white, red, blue, yellow, orange, green and amber. We also stock two types of LED light bulbs that change colour automatically, travelling through a spectrum of colours to produce a spectacular lighting effect that is great for display, festoon, party, bar or disco lighting. These can also make great additions to your patio, decking or pathway, adding a splash of LED colour to your premise. LED lights are designed to be installed outdoors as well as indoors, most fittings are completely weatherproof. With a decorative range to choose from, you can replace your existing GLS lamps with these, whilst maintaining a traditional look. The long life of LEDs means they are replaced less often, which helps reduce landfill.

Although the initial out-lay for LED light bulbs is greater than that of traditional incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs, the pay back is so great that LEDs really will save you money on your fuel bulbs. Many believe that LED bulbs can not be fitted to dimmable appliances but that is no longer the case. You can now purchase special low energy bulbs that are fully dimmable for use with normal dimmer switches. The real difference between the LED bulbs and traditional bulbs is that conventional lamps’ visible light arises as a by-product of the warming of a metal helix, a gas discharge or by the conversion of a proportion of the ultraviolet radiation produced in such a discharge. In LEDs the production of light takes place in a semi-conductor crystal, which is electrically excited to illuminate.
So, that’s all you need to know about LED lights, the facts, the science and most importantly how you can save money by using this technology.

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

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Why Choose LED Candle Lights

LED stands for light-emitting diode – a semiconductor that changes electricity into light, which is done by the movement of electrons. LEDs can be put into normal lights (in this case, the traditional candle lights) and are used like most other light bulbs. They are extremely energy efficient and this is perhaps its main benefit.

Low Maintenance

LED candle lights offer a huge life-span of around 50,000 hours. When you consider that this is roughly fifty times as long as a standard candle light, you will agree that this is a huge increase. This means that you are not only cutting maintenance time considerably but also cutting costs, as you won’t need to keep buying new bulbs.

Energy Efficient

The major benefit of LEDs is that they are incredibly energy efficient, much more so than traditional light bulbs. LED Lighting is extremely energy efficient, and at a time when a major part of the political agenda is concerned with saving energy, this is a great time to play your part by investing in LED technology. Simply switching to LED lighting, rather than the more traditional lighting sources, can have a surprising impact. LED candle bulbs are 300 percent more efficient than a compact fluorescent light (CFL) and 1,000 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Low Running Costs

LED candle lights operate at just 1 Watt, meaning that your running costs will be extremely low. This is vitally important in the current climate where it is key for everyone to cut costs where they can. Electricity bills are consistently rising and investing in LED candle lights can be a great way to combat escalating costs.

Attractive

LED candle lights are a direct replacement for the traditional candle lights which have proved so popular in the past, and maintain their attractive appearance. They are the same shape with a similar quality of light. Most importantly, they simply fit into your previous lamp base so there is no need to buy any extra gear. There is also a huge selection of colours so you are bound to find something to suit the style and décor of your room.

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

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Shaver Light For Any Close Shaves

The technological advance in shaver products in recent years has made it much easier for men to shave whilst on the go. This fits in with today’s busier lifestyle, with people moving around more and not having as much free time at home as they sued to have. Depending on how often you like to shave, this may cause an inconvenience for many men. After all, if you find that you always have to shave at the office, in a washroom or perhaps even hotel, how can you guarantee that you will have enough light to be able to know where to shave? If you like to stylise yourself, seeing every blade stroke can make a difference to how you look when you finish shaving and a good quality shaver light can help.

The use of a shaver light is nothing new and most people will be familiar with a tube strip light above the mirror in the bathroom. This style of light provides additional light to the main light of the room to allow greater focus to be placed on the area of shaving. It can also bring benefit to anyone applying make-up products too but given the nature of shaving and the sharp blades, it is easy to see why people want to shave in a well lit area.

Although the shaver light is a traditional form of light, it has developed in its style, location and application throughout the years. As the technology fuelling lights has developed, so too has the technology behind the shaving lights. Old fashioned filament strip lights have been replaced by LED lights, providing a greater output with respect to consistency and less of a buzzing sound. Given that many people would be shaving first thing in the morning, any noise can be deemed an unwelcome addition to the shaving process. The modern lights do away with this intrusion.

Most of the shaver light products have the ability to be mounted vertically or horizontally, giving a wider degree of usability. Depending on the layout of your bathroom or shaving area, a vertical light provide better coverage to the person shaving. It may also fit in better with the surrounding effects of the room, helping to create a more unified feel to the room. It has to be said that style and design are very important features in the modern workplace, office or company and ensuring there is a sleek and stylish layout in every room can really make a difference to how a consumer feels about the room.

Like most forms of lighting, the shaver light is available in energy efficient models. Whether there is a need to improve the energy efficiency rating of a building or the financial benefits of replacing the lights less regularly is important, these lights are fast becoming the number one choice for most people and firms. Being able to make a positive impact on your own financial situation and the health of the environment is a positive one-two that most people are happy to sign up for.
For more useful information and advice please take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

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LED Bulbs Are The Talk Of The Environmental Community

There is no doubt why so many people are getting behind the power of LED bulbs at the moment as recent reports indicate their use is having a hugely positive impact on the world around us. Findings recently released by the United States Department of Energy suggest that the continued use of these bulbs is likely to lead to a reduction by 25% in terms of energy consumption. With environmental issues remaining a highly charged and emotive issue, these findings are sure to strengthen the option of many people that products like the LED lights and bulbs are the lights people should be using.

Not only would a reduction in the amount of energy being used be of great benefit to the earth and nature, it is likely to see people benefit in the pocket. Companies and consumers like to do what they can to help the environment but there is also a need for people and firms to consider their own financial status. The past few years have been very tough for many individuals and businesses with many tough decisions being made on a regular basis. Using more energy efficient bulbs, like the LED bulbs, can greatly reduce the amount of times a bulb has to be replaced. Buying less bulbs means less expenditure and if a firm uses a lot of light bulbs, this can add up to huge savings. It is easy to see why these bulbs appeal.

Many firms may say that the environmental and financial elements are great but if a company wants to provide a stylish and consistent product to their customers, they need to know they can rely on these bulbs. As the LED bulbs are available in all manner of light fittings, they are perfectly compatible with whatever style of light fitting you have. It makes no difference if it is bayonet, screw-in or pin, the LED option can be the right option for any company.

As you would expect from a product that is far more technologically developed than traditional light bulbs, LED bulbs have a greater use and variety that makes them more appealing to use. One of the first things you will notice about these bulbs is that they are cooler to the touch when in use. This is part of the reason why they are more energy efficient, less energy is wasted as heat but it also provides other benefits. It makes these bulbs less dangerous to use in areas where children or animals may be able to reach bulbs or light fittings. Switching to this style of light bulb should make your area, office or premises a safer one.

The variety of colours that LED bulbs are available in will be sufficient to suit the mood and atmosphere of any room. Whether it is a library style environment that likes a sombre attitude or a pub or club that wants to encourage people to have a great time, the lighting can have a massive impact on how people feel about themselves and their surroundings.

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

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A Mirror Light Should Not Be Taken For Granted

Although most people will instantly think of a mirror light as being of most benefit in their bathroom at home, it becomes apparent why it would be a fantastic addition to many business and commercial premises too. After all, if there is a mirror on the premises, the point of having it is to allow people to see their reflection. To make the most out of this opportunity to see their reflection, the surface needs to be well lit, so having proper and effective lights surrounding the mirror can make a big difference to the impact that the mirror has for the end user.

One of the most effective ways that a mirror light can benefit a commercial company is when it is used to sell make-up or beauty products. Many department stores have huge make-up sections, offering products for men and women to help them achieve the look they want. In order to see these products and to know how to best apply them, the consumer needs to look into a mirror to see where they are applying the product. A well lit mirror area will provide a consumer with ample coverage of their face, hopefully allowing them to see the positive impact the make-up, blusher or ‘concealer’ may have on them.

Of course, that use of a mirror light is for companies that are selling specific products aimed at the consumer directly. Many stores will find that having these lights around their mirrors will be an act that helps customers view them in a positive light. A restaurant that had poorly lit bathroom or washroom facilities would be considered a bad restaurant by customers, even if the food was good. In order for a restaurant to develop a good reputation, they need to ensure that everything that is associated with their service is of the highest standard.

The same can be said for hotels or hostels. When staying in a home away from home, people will not have everything where they expect it to be but they will still expect a comfortable and manageable living situation. Providing a mirror light around mirrored surfaces in a hotel room will make it easier for any guest to apply their makeup and feel comfortable in their surroundings. If the guest is unable to feel relaxed, they will not have a positive stay at the hotel, which can lead to negative word of mouth for the company.

A mirror light is not something that is going to be at the top of any companies list of priorities but it should emphasise how the smallest things can have a huge impact. When using a new restroom, people want to be able to see where everything is so that they know where they are going. This means it is essential to allow them as much light as possible and placing lights around a mirror should enable a great coverage of light for any user. These lights can be taken for granted but the moment they are not available is the moment that consumers will start to complain.

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