Lighting. Saturday , September 15th , 2018 - 05:23:21 AM
Fluorescent lighting has been around a long time and you may not think it is that efficient. Old fluorescent lighting certainly isn't T12 and T8 tubes and their drivers can be horribly wasteful, sometimes using double the amount of power they are rated at. However T5 fluorescent tubes coupled with a modern ballast is remarkably efficient, almost as efficient in fact as LED lighting. Modern warm start ballasts have also increased reliability and allowed for extending the life of the tubes which can now reach as much as 30,000 or 40,000 hours. Modern drivers also operate at high frequency, unlike their older counterparts, which mean there is no longer a noticeable flicker with fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lights do also suffer from early failures, and because they rely on a filament the more often they are turned on and off the shorter their life will be; this means turning them on and of with presence detection to reduce their use and save money on your bill could backfire when you have to frequently replace the tubes. If you do go down this route make sure the drivers feature warm start and don't set the controls to frequently turn the lights on and off.
Let's start with LED lighting. It can be extremely effective in the right situation, but there are a couple of things that you need to understand in order to decide whether it's right for you. Firstly, LED lights generally emit a lot less light than the lights that they can replace; to get around this problem the light is concentrated in to a narrow beam. These lights are perfect for highlighting, for shop displays or task lighting. What they generally aren't so good for is lighting large spaces, without careful design you can often end up with bright spots and dark spaces. There are of course exceptions to this, such as some LED tubes (designed to replace fluorescent tubes) which light spaces nicely but these can be relatively expensive. There is also an issue at the moment with reliability, while the life expectancy of LED lights is generally 35,000 to 50,000 hours, as many as 15% fail in early life, even in branded product.
The type of lighting to be used is largely determined by the effect that is to be created as well as the way that the area is to be used. For example, a garden patio may have subtle lighting that will create a comforting, relaxing atmosphere, whereas a fire pit area may use a central fire as the only light source. Too many lights spread throughout the garden will tend to look utilitarian rather than homely. Focal points such as large specimen trees, feature walls or art work benefit from lighting. Quite often it is the features that you enjoy in your garden during the day that you tend to also want to see after dark.
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