KBB - February 2009 - (Page 38)

T ech Out of the Dark Let’s talk lighting Everyone knows that lighting is an essential component to a successfully designed kitchen or bath, but when it comes to specifying lamps and luminaires, are you enlightened about the lingo or do you fumble around in the dark? Following are some terms you should know: Identical posters are lit by linear fluorescent sources with a warm CCT (left) and a cool CCT (right). Photo: Dennis Guyon, Lighting Research Center. LAMPS AND FIXTURES •Sources. Question: When is a lamp not a lamp? Answer: When it’s a light bulb! A bulb is actually the outer glass envelope of a light source, while a lamp is a complete manufactured light source. Lamps are rated in terms of their efficacy and expressed in lumens per watt (lm/W)—how many lumens produced per watt of energy consumed—similar in concept to miles per gallon. Naturally, the higher the efficacy the more energy we save. Common residential light source types are incandescent, halogen (a type of incandescent), compact fluorescent (CFL), linear fluorescent and now light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A luminaire, commonly referred to as a fixture, is a complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp, or lamps, along with the parts designed to distribute the light and position, protect and connect the lamps to a power supply (i.e., reflectors, shades, sockets, lenses, ballasts, wiring, etc.). A luminaire can be a common table fixture, pendant, wall sconce, undercabinet light or recessed downlight. •Circle gets the square. Recessed downlight shapes are typically round but sometimes square and can be fixed or adjustable. Components include reflectors, which redirect the lumens from the light source by the process of reflection and can be specular (highly polished) or diffuse (matte), and lenses. Lenses are glass or plastic elements that redirect and control the distribution of light through refraction and are clear, frosted or fresnel (a stepped flat lens with a textured back that produces a smooth, soft-edged, defined beam of light); they also act as diffusers to reduce the intensity and potential glare from the luminaire. Aperture sizes range from 3 in. to 8 in. Adjustable downlights, whose source can swivel up to 360 degrees horizontally and tilt up to 45 degrees vertically, are ideal for accenting artwork or other objects and are available with accessories, such as lenses or louvers. A diffuse lens softens the beam of light, a spread lens expands it, a linear spread lens elongates it vertically or horizontally, and a color lens filters it with a saturated color. Louvers have a honeycomb pattern and reduce the intensity and glare to the viewer. For sloped ceiling downlights, you’ll need to know whether you have a 30- or 45-degree slope. •Voltage. Incandescent and halogen luminaires can operate at line voltage (120V) and use a standard wall dimmer switch, or at low voltage (12V or 24V), which requires a transformer that can either be inte- gral (part of the fixture) or remote, meaning you’ll have to find a place to conceal it. The newer transformers are electronic and are lighter and more energy-efficient than the older magnetic models. Specify electronic or magnetic dimmers for low-voltage fixtures. Compact fluorescent luminaires operate at 120V; lamps are available in three-way and dimmable versions, but “dimmable” must be specified on the package and will require a compatible dimmer switch. LED luminaires operate at either 24V or 120V and often offer a dimming option. COLOR OF LIGHT White light is discussed in terms of its color—correlated color temperature (CCT) and color rendering index (CRI). CCT indicates how “cool” or “warm” the light source appears and is measured in units Kelvin (K) on a scale of approximately 0 to 10,000. A CCT below 3200K is considered warm (yellowish white), while between 3200K and 4000K, the light appears neutral and above 4000K, looks cool (bluish white). Daylight is 5500K or greater. Incandescent lamps are consistently warm, at 2700K, and halogens are somewhat cooler—up to 3000K. Linear fluorescents begin at 3000K while common CFL colors are 2700K, 3000K, 3500K and 4100K. If you choose to mix fluorescent and incandescent lamps within the same room, try to stay within 200K to minimize color difference. CRI indicates how natural a light source makes objects appear compared to a reference incandescent or daylight source of the same CCT; it’s measured on a scale of 0 to 100 (best). CRI depends on a lamp’s spectral composition. The more energy that’s concentrated in a certain band of the spectrum, the more the light source will enhance objects of that color. How can you determine CCT and CRI? For incandescent sources, it’s consistently 2700K with a CRI greater than 95. For linear fluorescent sources, you’ll have to decipher the code on the package. For example, “F32T8RE835” translates into: F = fluorescent; 32 = number of watts; T = tubular; 8 = diameter of the tube in eighths of an inch; RE indicates rare earth triphosphors are used inside the glass tube; 8 indicates the decade of the CRI, in this case in the 80s; and 35 indicates the CCT, in this case 3500K. For CFLs, the code will begin with CFT. Lighting can be a very technical art. But familiarizing yourself with some of its basic concepts and terminology can go a long way to enhancing the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your kitchens and baths. I —Patricia Rizzo, MS, heads LRC DesignWorks at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 38 + K BB February 2009 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - February 2009

KBB - February 2009
Contents
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