LED schemes will end in tears

Dear Sir,

Let’s face it, LEDs are in fashion and there is a lot of hype saying they are all things to all people.

As a result, many clients are asking for LEDs for their general office areas whether or not they’re right for their applications.

Reputable manufacturers and consultants will persuade clients that LEDs are not necessarily right for their application if this is the case, but many suppliers just want the sale. So a raft of inappropriate LED products are being installed all over the country, and we all know they will end in tears.

So why are we as an industry allowing this to happen? Why are we risking the repetitional damage that will result from installing LEDs too early in many applications? When the client installs LEDs he is effectively stuck with it for years. For instance, take some of the LED modular fixtures that are coming on the market from the Far East. Each individual LED is fixed to the heatsink which in turn forms part of the housing. If and when an LED fails, what is the client to do? He has to replace the whole £300 luminaire – and may not be able to get an exact colour match to the rest of the luminaires due to the LED binning process.

With the tried and tested PL or T5, the facilities departments or the contractor can drop the front face of the fixture, pop in a new lamp, and the problem is solved for the cost of a lamp. We need to advocate the right technology for the right application, and in offices at the moment, the right technology is fluorescent.

There have been offices lit using LED technology of late with varying degrees of success and I am in no doubt that in the coming years, LEDs will be the chosen light source for offices.

When this happens no one will be more enthusiastic than I am in promoting them, but we need to always have the client’s best interests at heart. Let’s be cautious.

As the old saying goes: ‘Be careful what you wish for!’
David Clements
Managing director
Future Designs

Tulips or people?

Dear Editor,
I just flew into Amsterdam airport at 5am and noticed an amazing number of small, bright sodium light patches on the clouds at relatively low level. It struck me that these are above the fields of poly-tunnels where flowers are grown. Apart from the light pollution aspect, is this really a sensible use of energy?

London Lighting the unseen buildings

Dear Editor,
Pick up any magazine and there are photos of wonderfully lit buildings by the UK’s top designers. For those without a designer, there is plenty of advice in the series of Lighting Guides produced by the Society of Light and Lighting.