Lighting technology and jargon explained

TECH BRIEFING
LED

Light emitting diode lamps are flavour of the month, and deliver big energy savings, good colour rendering, dimmability and a long life. The best ones are difficult to distinguish from incandescent lamps. But they come with a hefty price tag – of up to £30 a lamp. And many Chinese versions are, well, rubbish.

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TECH BRIEFING
CFL

Popularly referred to as energy-saving lamps, compact fluorescent lamps have a poor image because of perceived deficiencies in colour, power and speed to full output. But massive improvements have been made in all these areas thanks to substantial investment by the big lamp manufacturers.

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TECH BRIEFING
CMH

Ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamps combine high output with great colour rendering and good efficiency. They produce light by passing an electric arc through a mixture of gases. In a metal halide lamp, the compact arc tube contains a high-pressure mixture of argon, mercury, and a variety of metal halides.

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TECH BRIEFING
IRC

IRC halogen lamps are sources where the central halogen burner has been coated with an infra-red coating (hence IRC). This reflects the infra-red energy back onto the tungsten burner, which means it heats up and becomes more efficient as much of the reflected heat energy is turned into visible light.

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TECH BRIEFING
LED BINS

The binning of LEDs is a practice used by LED manufacturers to manage the variation of LED performance that is inherent in the mass production. LEDs of similar appearance to the human eye are put in different boxes, or bins. LEDs from the ‘best’ bins are more expensive. Additionally LED manufacturers often operate slightly different binning policies from each other.

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TECH BRIEFING
UGR and clare

The UGR method (Unified Glare Rating) is an international index presented by CIE, the international lighting research body, in its publication 117 and is used to evaluate and limit the psychological direct glare from luminaires. Contrary to previous methods where the glare was rated using the luminance values of a single luminaire, this method calculates the glare of the entire lighting installation at a defined observer position.

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TECH BRIEFING
LOR

Light Output Ratio – the percentage of light emitted from the light source that makes it out of the luminaire. An LOR of 70 means 30 per cent of the light from lamp is lost inside the reflector and light fitting.

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TECH BRIEFING
Colour gamut

Colour gamut is a measure of how colourful a scene will appear under a given light source. Sources with a high colour gamut generally make objects appear brighter and more colourful.

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TECH BRIEFING
Colour rendering

Colour rendering is also important. This is the ability of a light source to show surface colours as they should be, usually in comparison to a tungsten or daylight source. Lamps with poor colour rendering will distort some colours.

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TECH BRIEFING
Colour Temperature

One aspect of lamp colour is its colour appearance; whether the light from the lamps looks ‘warm’ or ‘cool’, measured by the correlated colour temperature (CCT). Lamps with a warm appearance having a CCT of 2700 – 3000K are generally considered appropriate in a domestic setting. Lamps of 4000K and above are considered ‘cool’ and are more appropriate for office and some retail applications.

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