5 questions to ask when buying lights

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08 Nov 2012

When it comes to buying lights, there are so many options to choose from that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Along with the usual questions you should ask about brightness, wattage and the like, there are also other lesser-known factors to take into consideration.

A light has the capacity to make things look vibrant and rich in colour, or dull and washed out, but you can check this by looking at its Colour Rendering Index, or CRI.

Alexander Miller from Brightgreen shares five commonly overlooked questions to ask before buying household lights…

1. Will they make me look good?

A light has the capacity to make things look vibrant and rich in colour, or dull and washed out.

One way to figure out which way it will swing is by looking at its Colour Rendering Index, or CRI. Measured out of 100, this represents how vibrant a light source makes colours appear in comparison to sunlight.

A light’s CRI can only be compared to another light if they have the same colour temperature, which refers its colour appearance, generally categorised as cool, warm or neutral and measured in Kelvin.

If a light has a CRI of 90 and above, the colours of your interiors will come out beautifully.

Certain LEDs are designed to operate within the tight visual spectrum of humans, making them attractive to people but not appealing to insects.

If a light has a CRI of 80, it won’t be as great but still fairly good. If a light has a CRI of 50, well, you just won’t be doing anyone or anything justice.

2. Will they be damaging to my skin?

Certain types of lights emit UV radiation, which is undetectable to the human eye but still damaging to your skin.

A recent study by Stony Brook University in the US found that to be the case with compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs).

Lead study author Dr. Miriam Rafailovich says their study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation.

A safe alternative to CFLs and halogens, which emit a small amount of UV radiation, are LED lights, which don’t cast out any UV light at all.

3. Will they attract creepy crawlies?

Some LEDs are completely recyclable and can be disassembled by hand, ensuring that once they do break, decades down the track, they can be harmlessly disposed of.

The last thing you want are bugs being drawn to your lights, trying to make their way into your living room.

Certain LEDs are designed to operate within the tight visual spectrum of humans, making them attractive to people but not particularly appealing to moths, midges or mosquitoes.

4. Will they be a hassle to dispose of?

If your light bulb contains mercury, how are you going to dispose of it when it dies? You certainly can’t throw it in your recycling bin, or even with the general rubbish. Save yourself the time of figuring out how to get rid of your mercury-filled bulbs by steering clear of globes like CFLs and some LEDs that contain heavy metals.

5. Am I helping the environment by buying these?

LEDs have the longest lifespan of any lighting type – up to 70 000 hours. This means that you won’t have to continually replace light bulbs, keeping lights out of landfill and in your ceiling.

Some LEDs are completely recyclable and can be disassembled by hand, ensuring that once they do break, decades down the track, they can be harmlessly disposed of.

For more information, visit www.brightgreen.za.com

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