LED panel lighting is the most energy efficient lighting available in the workplace. The panels are ultra-thin, have excellent dimming properties and are viewed as the heir apparent to the fluorescent tube.
Advantages of LED panels over fluorescent tubes
All the T5, T8 and T12 twelve bulbs are cylindrical so the light is submitted through 360 degrees. Conversely an LED tends to focus the light a lot more, meaning less light is wasted being directed where it isn’t needed.
Also since the LEDs are small, they can be built into a wide variety of shapes and sizes of luminaires. Typical shapes include round, square and rectangular, but you can get a vast range of shapes and sizes to suit your needs.
The savings made by LEDs are another obvious advantage. Whilst the panels themselves are more expensive, they last at least three times as long as a standard fluorescent T8 and up to 5 times in some instances. They are also dimmable – something which allows you to control the amount of light in the room and make further savings.
A typical 60x60cm 40 watt LED panel can give off 3200 lumens (cold/natural white) and around 2,500 lumens for warm white. This compares well with standard T12 and T8 tubes.
Installing LED panels
There are 4 normal methods for installation: built-in, mounted, suspended and recessed.
Built-in panels are usually fitted into the ceiling, flush against ceiling tiles and can give a very good finish. They can make changing the fittings problematic in the future however.
Mounted panels are fitted onto the existing ceiling with a bracket. This is clearly the most straight-forward for most situations, as it requires less work, but can look a little ‘cheap’ as well, depending on the requirements of the space.
Suspended panels are hung from the ceiling, allowing the lights to be closer to the work area. These are great for a workspace with high ceilings as it reduces the size and power of the light needed to create good light for work.
Recessed lighting is fitted flush to the surface of a surface – and this has several advantages over other methods. They are easily hidden and do not take up space (in fact they can create the illusion of more space). They can be more expensive and difficult to fit however. You should also be aware that the panel needs to be rated for recessed fitting, or it could be a safety risk.
So there you have it!
In a nutshell – if you have existing T8 (these are the big long tubes) then ideally swap them out for LED tube equivalents. If you have the newer T5s these are smaller more efficient versions of the T8, keep these for the time being – but swap them for LED equivalents when they blow.
If you are starting from scratch, you should opt for LED panels!
To read more about the energy savings you can expect to make from swapping from traditional lighting to LED click here.