10 Considerations when buying LED panels

Posted on

June 15, 2016

Posted in

Bars & Restaurants Hotels LED Lighting Offices Retail

This article on 10 Considerations when buying LED panels is first in our series to help you understand what distinguishes quality from poor products and what questions to ask yourself before making a purchase.

Here are our top ten points to consider before you buy LED Panels. We are also happy to help over the phone on 0333 123 5464.

  1. Location

LED Panels are very efficient and versatile light sources. However, they can prioritise substance over style. This can make some brands great for offices but less appealing for retail environments or in decorative areas.

Make sure you are happy with how the ceiling will look with panels for lighting. If that is the case, LED panels are amongst the most efficient fittings. You can see a typical panel installation in our Hugh Faringdon School Project.

  1. Ceiling type

LED panels, especially the standard 600mm x 600mm size, are purpose built to be housed in grid ceilings. Grid ceilings are metal frame structures with uniform squares and this sits underneath the solid ceiling – they are very common in offices.

If you would like panels for a solid (i.e. non-gridded) ceiling, then there are additional considerations on the question of housing brackets.

  1. Brackets

If you would like LED panels for a solid ceiling, you will need a mounting bracket.

Surface mount brackets screw into the ceiling, creating a slot which houses the panel. These are very common and are typically used in the absence of a ceiling grid.

We also stock a custom designed recessed mounting bracket. This can be used to house an LED panel in a plasterboard ceiling so that the light sits flush with the ceiling. This is useful for aesthetic purposes and/or if the ceiling is particularly low.

  1. Rewiring

As LED panels replace grids of fluorescent tubes, some rewiring will be necessary when the replacement work is carried out.

Make sure you talk this through with your contractor or local electrician so that you are aware of all the costs involved. We think it is essential that all rewiring is carried out by a trained professional.

  1. Safety Compliance

Commercial buildings often have particular safety legislation. Our LED panel pages clearly state whether the product is fire rated (because it is made with polycarbonate, and not acrylic) and whether the panel has an IP rating.

Make sure you check the latest building regulations and whether the building’s ceilings come with a fire rating before deciding on a panel. Also consider IP-rated products if they will be installed in a particularly dusty environment or an environment with an above average amount of water vapour.

If you are unsure about your specific requirements, then consult our experts.

  1. Special compliance needs

Also consider any special requirements you might have before deciding on a panel. For example, some of our higher-end panels come with UGR (glare rating) and anti-flicker assurances.

A UGR rating of 19 or less assures that the light source is low glare. This is often relevant in retail environments as glare can be very off-putting. It is also beneficial to have a low UGR rating in task areas – where computer screens are being used a lot, for example.

Anti-flicker technology assures that a light does not produce a high-frequency flicker that can be detrimental to health and concentration in some circumstances. This is a particular requirement of lighting in schools, as pupils and teachers need to maintain a high degree of concentration.

For more information on these classifications see our LED Jargon Buster.

  1. Savings

Savings are often a big draw for businesses to convert to LED lighting. LEDs are more energy efficient and last significantly longer than their counterparts.

If you are looking at a larger project, Save Money Cut Carbon offer a bespoke modelling service which will outline your potential savings and include data on return on investment and payback time.

If it’s a small project, you can roughly work out how much you can save by seeing how much power (W) your current lighting uses, and comparing that to how much power a corresponding LED uses. Consult our experts if you would like further advice on how to calculate your savings. Also, see our LED FAQs for more information on how LED can save you money.

  1. Life span

A great advantage of LED is very long lifetime. Panels can be costly to replace as fitting them should be carried out by a trained electrician. As LED panels can last over and above 50,000 hours, compared to only 8,000 for fluorescent tubes, LED panels can drastically reduce maintenance costs.

  1. Colour temperature

Picking the right colour temperature is a very personal decision as it helps set the atmosphere of a room. Simply, the colour temperature is how the colour the light from the lamp looks.

Typically, a panel will be around 4000K for an office environment all the way up to 6000K in some clinical environments or in rooms with high ceilings.

See our LED Jargon Buster for more information on colour temperature before choosing and if you are still unsure then give us a call for advice on your specific situation.

  1. Dimming

Lastly, consider whether you are interested in controlling your lighting environment.

Our installation team have extensive experience of assembling lighting environments with wireless controls and we are uniquely placed to pass on that information. If you are interested in a set up with dimming panels then call our experts.

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