MAC Services has just opened a new LED lighting showroom at 23 Blandford Street. John Currie, one of the company's LED lighting specialists, discusses the benefits of switching over to LEDs, and just how important good lighting is in our day-to-day life.
How difficult is it to make the swap to LED?
For people who may have a more traditional lighting layout, there are hundreds of products that in most cases would fit directly into their existing fittings. When contacted by clients we offer a free service where we visit the property and perform a free survey. In some cases people just want a straight swap from existing lighting to LED lighting. If we have a client who wants to try things a little outside the box, we arrange samples allowing them to see for themselves throughout different parts of the premises the different effects that can be achieved by using LED lighting.
What are the effects that can be achieved with LED lighting in interior spaces?
Exhibitions can be changed quite dramatically in quite a few ways. For example, we recently completed a job for an antique map shop. We used a 4500K lamp (cool white) which allowed the original pale colours on the maps to really shine through. They'd been using a 2700K lamp (very warm white) – this lamp was a yellowish colour and distorted the original tones on the map. When illuminating any piece the kelvin of the lamp (as in, the colour temperature) is very important. If the correct kelvin is not used, the true colours can't come through.
How about creating different atmospheres?
Mood lighting can be created in the background of larger projects and allows people to experience different intensities throughout certain locations within a space. With interior lighting, the possibilities are limitless, allowing people to push the boundaries and create atmospheres and visuals that just wouldn't be possible with conventional lighting. Also, such techniques can then be easily controlled using a computer.
How can you improve exterior spaces?
If it's attention-grabbing you're after, LED systems can really alter how you're noticed by the passing public. We all notice change and, by introducing RGB LED systems, it allows you to create a different look, enhancing noticeability on a day to day basis. Also, current outdoor light fitting requires tireless maintenance as a lot of the lights can be placed very high up. Therefore lamp changes can be dangerous without the right equipment, leading to costly electrical engineer call outs. LED lamps have estimated life spans of up to 50,000 hours and more, eliminating maintenance costs.
So LED lighting also saves money?
Absolutely! They consume extremely small amounts of energy and have long life spans, as I mentioned previously. By using them, you can cut energy consumption, in some cases by up to as much as 90 per cent, while still achieving a traditional look. We fitted LED strip lights into the existing signage around a restaurant in the City – seven large signs in total. We reduced their annual costs of running the signs from £1,111 down to £117 – they were experiencing problem after problem with their existing fluorescent tube lighting due to constant lamp changing, extremely high maintenance costs and massive energy bills.
Because of your job, are you constantly aware of the lighting wherever you go?
I live lighting and am forever being told off by relatives when out and about because I spend more time looking at what types of lighting people have than actually socialising with them. On a serious note, though, I believe it is one of the most important parts of life. Lighting can change the way a person may feel within that particular space whether in the comfort of their own home or in a place of work or leisure. In these competitive times, comfort and saving money combined will always be the winner.
Where can I find out more information?