The color and temperature of LED light – what to pay attention to at home and in public spaces?


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Author: HSK Ledy
“XX + XXI Gallery of Polish Art” National Museum in Krakow, arrangement design: Wzorro Design. HSK LED lighting

High quality LEDs are becoming more and more accessible. Manufacturers compete on parameters such as: high color rendering, low UV content, low light ripple or melanopic ratio. It is useful to know which lighting parameters are important in public spaces and which are important for our well-being at home.

color rendering index

If you ask the question where the requirements for the color rendering index Ra (or CRI – Color Rendering Index) are the most prohibitive, operating rooms and treatment rooms in hospitals and dental practices should be mentioned in the first place. The way we perceive colors in artificial light is important for patient safety (distinguishing healthy tissue from diseased tissue), and in dentistry also for aesthetics – fillings used in teeth should look exactly the same in artificial light in the office than in the sun, to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Dental practice HSK Ledy
Author: HSK Ledy
In dental practices, when choosing LED lighting, an important parameter is the color rendering index Ra

In the following locations we have museums and … car showrooms and other stylish shops. It’s hard to imagine a happy customer leaving the showroom in a red car and noticing in daylight that the paint is actually brown. The same goes for museums and art galleries. Light must not distort the colors that artists give to their works by working in daylight.

HSK Ledy Mercedes Showroom
Author: HSK Ledy
Automotive Showroom – HSK Ledy Lighting

In such installations, the most common requirement is Ra>93 and even Ra>97. Lighting in such installations is most often produced on demand – it must meet many other unusual requirements, such as possibility of manual flow adjustment. Such specialized LED luminaires for museums and exhibitions can be found in the offer of the company HSK LEDY.

Is the color rendering index important when lighting a house? Not necessarily. European standards require Ra > 84 for luminaires placed on the market and this value is sufficient. One can only consider the selection of luminaires with higher Ra or light sources close to the mirror where the make-up is applied.

Color temperature and melanopic ratio

Neutral or warm white light? Morning light or Golden hour? The answer to this question depends to some extent on individual preferences, but there are also some general rules you should be aware of.

First of all, neutral (4000K) and cold (5000K) white light is stimulating. That is why they are often used in offices, workplaces and shops. A warmer shade of light (3000K) can have a calming effect on people, so they are most often chosen for places of relaxation and rest, gastronomy and in apartments. It is also recommended for use in maternity wards, nurseries and places where stimulation is not required.

It should be remembered that color temperature and color rendering are two separable parameters for LEDs – this means that you can get the light with the highest color rendering index without giving up a warm color temperature. On the other hand – selecting a temperature of 4000K (neutral white) does not guarantee a high Ra.

In the case of natural light (emitted by the sun), the lower the color temperature (i.e. warmer light), the more active the production of melanin, which favors the natural regulation of the sleep cycle. That is why in the morning it is worth letting daylight into the bedroom, and in the evening not to use screens and light sources that emit a large amount of blue light. Good quality LEDs do not emit too much blue light, which blocks melanin secretion. Lamps with such diodes are increasingly marked on the packaging with a low melanopic ratio (EML). In addition, in homes and places of recreation, you can install HCL lamps – human-centered lighting, which allows you to change the temperature of light by reducing the blue component of the white light beam. This allows the body to slow down and significantly improves the quality of sleep.

Light intensity

The illumination of large surfaces (worktops, passageways) in establishments open to the public and workplaces is defined by lighting standards. In private houses, lighting is entirely a matter of tastes and preferences of residents. However, the standards suggest that in places where we perform complex and focused activities, it is worth using more uniform light. In other spaces, it is possible to create an atmosphere thanks to twilight and punctual lighting.

When in doubt, it’s worth asking the professionals – HSK LEDY’s lighting designers can perform detailed intensity calculations and consult each project in terms of other lighting parameters, so users can feel comfortable in interiors.

When designing interiors, it is worth spending time creating thoughtful lighting. Working with professionals saves you a lot of time when finishing the interior. Luminaire cost and energy consumption can also be optimized, which is becoming an increasingly important goal for building owners.

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