Everything You Need to Know about LED Panel Lights
Lighting in the workplace greatly impacts employee mood, stress and energy levels, as well as overall productivity. It also enhances safety. Suitable lighting cuts out glare, eye strain, headaches and fatigue, precursors to low performance and bad moods. To sustain a healthy work environment, it’s imperative to complement your work space with the proper lights.
This will be different for different settings. Floor plans, ceiling heights and general-day-to activities mean you’ll choose a different type of lighting fixture for each workplace. For offices, this begins by incorporating recessed panel lights into dropped or modular ceilings. When lighting is balanced, you improve safety, productivity and overall aesthetics.
What are Panel Lights?
Panel or troffer lights are lighting fixtures designed to fit into the recessed grids of modular ceilings. They’re a standard feature in every office since the 1950s and initially meant to house fluorescent bulbs. Today these are widely being replaced by energy-efficient led panel lights, and for good reason.
Benefits of LED Panel Lights
LEDs provide significant benefits over traditional bulbs. For panel lighting in larger areas, this means substantial energy savings over the long term, in addition to simpler maintenance, and better light output. If your office or commercial space still uses fluorescent, halogen, or older incandescent bulb, going with LED panels might include a higher initial cost at first, but there’s a lot of money to be saved in long run.
Office and commercial spaces with poor natural lighting require a lot of artificial lighting for a balanced work environment. To create this means the use of dozens or even hundreds of bulbs, depending on the area that is to be illuminated. LEDs are up to 20 per cent more efficient than comparable fluorescent CFL tubes with the same brightness levels. For a larger commercial or office setting, with lighting operating up to 16 hours each day, the cost savings are considerable, running in the hundreds for each monthly or quarterly bill.
While fluorescent bulbs and tubing still feature in most domestic and commercial settings, they require significantly higher levels of maintenance. Containing potentially toxic materials like mercury, a burst bulb can pose a safety threat, considering the typical places where they are found, like schools and hospitals. LEDs fare much better in this respect.
They have no harmful contents, and the fact they produce way less heat than all other traditional bulbs means fewer instances of damaged parts because of excess heat. This is important in two ways. First, longer lifespan of LEDs and LED panel lights in general. The lighting arrays will be good for over 50,000 hours operating time, or over 10 years and have no issues whatsoever.
By comparison, the best fluorescent panel lights can last up to 30,000 hours, though most are changed out for the stated safety risks above. In addition, the light coming out of the LED panel light will be consistent during the whole period. Coupled with lower energy needs, and the longer lifespan, LED panels further reduce unnecessary costs.
Though LEDs are relatively new tech, they’re well thought out. Lighting is comparable, and in many aspects, better than current CFL fluorescent panel lights. Lighting has even spread, with different lens arrays and diffusers available for different ceiling heights, meaning they’re also good for industrial facilities, workshops, and warehouses.
LEDs used in panels have adjustable brightness settings to compensate for harsh lighting conditions, effectively providing balanced light throughout the area. They also have variable colour temperatures, so there’s the choice of warm, natural, or cold colours. This can be used to create a specific ambience, with panels in different colour temperatures creating emphasis. And all this can be adjusted in a single panel.
What to Look for in Panel Lights
Build and Size
The led troffer lights are built to a high standard. They have aluminium frames that help against heat build-up. The LEDs run the length of the frame and are held in place by a back aluminium panel which increases light spread. Semiconductor chips are central in producing the light.
These determine whether the lighting can be changed for brightness and colour temperatures. A wattage switch increases or decreases the effective power and overall light levels. The light is spread with the use of diffusers and covers can be sourced in different finishes. In terms of mounting, flush mounts are used for recessed ceilings, and surface mounts in concrete slab ceilings.
Sizes differ and this allows you to either provide unform lighting, or mix and match panels in different sizes for different effects, or to provide more light where needed. Generally, panels are specified in feet, with popular sizes being 1×4 and 2×4 foot (30×120 and 60 by 120cm) rectangular panels, and 2×2 or 60 by 60cm square panels.
Dimming is an indispensable feature used to adjust brightness levels in the room or office. It also helps reduce the effects of glare.
Brightness, Power Consumption and Colour Temperatures
Basic panel lights are sold with fixed colour temperatures set around natural daylight lighting (or 4000-5000 Kelvin) and in one brightness level. For a few dollars more you get adjustable colour temperatures and brightness (or effective lumens), with the option of dimming. The higher brightness is set by increasing power usage, though this may be necessary for some settings, and offers the flexibility mentioned above.