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Seamlessly Switching to LED: Lumen Transition and Color Temperatures

The other day my dad and I were talking about the concerns he had if he were to switch his work building over to LEDs.  The two main questions he had were: "How do the lumens translate from fluorescent to LED", and "Which color temperatures would I need to create different atmospheres throughout the building"? 

These are both very good and very common questions!

Lumen translation from fluorescent to LED

When we talk to our customers about switching from their current fluorescent or halogen fixtures, they first need to ask themselves if their goal is to maintain the same amount of light.  LEDs aren't around just to make everything brighter, they are essentially a new form of lighting technology that will outlast and outperform most older lighting setups.  It can be difficult to compare apples to apples when talking lumens from LED lights and other lights because so many of the lumens from traditional fluorescent and halogen lights are lost in the upward diffusion of the light.  The image below displays the light projection between a fluorescent bulb and a LED bulb.

Fluorescent bulb lumens are divided between 360 degrees of light output.  Because of the 360-degree output of a fluorescent bulb, a reflector is required to get light to the ground.  Up to 35% of the light output is wasted through upward diffusion. Therefore, a 2800 lumen fluorescent bulb will only project about 1875 useable lumens to the work area.    

Our LED lights project 100% of their lumens downward in a 170-degree beam.  The 2750 lumen bulb projects 2750 lumens to the work area.  This means it takes 35% less lumens for LED over fluorescents to create the same amount of light (by output rating).  

Using color temperatures to your advantage 

Most people don't take into account how big of an impact the temperature of their lighting can make.  Lighting color temperatures are measured in Kelvin on a scale as low as 1700K to around 27,000K. Here's a breakdown of what the different temperatures closely represent, and different applications they can be good for.

The image above shows the temperatures from "warm" on the the left, all the way to the "cool" temperatures on the right.

1,700K-3,000K: This would be considered a "warm" temperature.  This color temperature is good for ambient lighting such as in a home or at a restaurant.   

3,500K: This is considered a "neutral" temperature.

4,000-6,000K:  This is often referred to as a "daylight" color.  An example of a good application for this would be classrooms, conference rooms, and farm shops.

6,000K + :  This is considered a "bright/cool white" and is said to have a slight blue tinge to the light.  A great application for these lights would be in warehouses.

At Petersen Parts, we stock all of our lights in a 5,000K color temperature.  Any color temperature can be special ordered.   

If you still need some guidance in understanding how to switch to LED, please give us a call and we will gladly help find the right solution for your specific circumstance.  


Hopefully this article helped shed some light on your situation! 

Comment below or contact us- we're always here to help! 

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