It’s quite an art to get your lighting right – an ill-thought through design reliant on the common recessed spotlight and dimmer switch combination is unlikely to produce an aesthetically pleasing result.
So it’s much better to have help early on, carefully considering how each room in the house will be used at different times throughout the day. Perhaps, working up mood boards during this stage could help you figure out what you’ll need. In this article we will check out the best and affordable Lighting cost, lighting shops in lagos nigeria, and pop ceiling lights.
Measuring light intensity: how many Lumens do you need?
Manufacturers will label bulbs (known as lamps by the trade) in terms of the products’ Lumen output, Lux intensity and their Kelvin shade/warmth. These are how different elements of the light is measured: brightness in Lumens; and intensity (or spread per m2) in Lux.
To put this into context, 800 Lumens generally does well to replicate normal daylight inside the home. The Kelvin (K) scale works to identify the tone of the light, with the warmer yellow/orange tints set at around 2,000K-3,000K and colder white/blue hues at 4,000K-8,000K.
Many self build homes include an open-plan kitchen, dining and family zone as the central hub, where different lighting demands are required as the daily routine evolves – task lamps in the kitchen, relaxed/warm illumination at the dining table and a cosy, fireside ambience for watching movies on the sofa.
Experienced interior designers taking a holistic approach to the artificial illumination will include a mixture of different fittings.
Think overhead lighting to provide directional wash over wall and floor surfaces, uplighters to do the same with walls and ceilings, pendants to highlight features and table lamps to soften the mood.
Directional lamps can help to reduce glare, while dimmers are useful for softening intensity and the general layering of light will create striking architectural shadows thanks to strategically placed features, blinds and curtains.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the colour of your walls and ceilings will contribute to the amount of reflection – for instance, darker hues tend to absorb rather than transfer.
Low voltage vs low energy
Many homeowners struggle with the difference between low voltage and low energy.
Low energy means the lamp will produce the required levels with a reduced amount of consumption, which is measured in watts (w).
Low voltage is a safety option; normal supplies run at 230V (volts), which is the current pressure being driven through the cables.
This pressure starts life at a power station at around 400kV (kilo-volts), stepping down at other transformer stations as it gets closer to houses until it ultimately reaches 230V as it enters our buildings.
Layered illumination will add impact, but requires careful consideration. Shown here are John Cullen Lighting’s handmade Grissini Pendants, Lucca uplights and Oslo floorwashers
Internally, we may choose to reduce this pressure further where it enters a wet zone in the house (ie bathrooms and kitchens), say from 230V to 12V for recessed lighting.
To achieve this you’ll need local transformers positioned just before the fitting connection.
However, the lamps in our bathrooms still require the same number of watts to produce the light, so it’s the flow of electricity (measured in amps) that will need to increase to compensate
for our drop in voltage (amps x volts = watts).
How many light fittings do you need?
Conventional lights are connected to a circuit (either a ring/loop or a radial, which travels in one direction) that feeds to the consumer unit (the fuse board). There are usually separate circuits for ground and first floors – there are likely to be several in each storey in larger properties.
Each circuit is protected by a 6-amp miniature breaker (MCB) that works to keep it safe from overload. The whole system is protected by a minimum of two residual circuit devices (RCDs) that are there to guard against any earth leakage (and human shocks).
The below table is a rough template for how many fittings are needed in different rooms – it’s easy to see how numbers can escalate. Adding a porch light and then four external flood lights would tip the total over 100 with around 25-30 light switches.Show 102550100 entriesSearch:
|Type of light fitting/room||BED 1||BED 2||BED 3||BED 4||BATH 1||BATH 2||WC||HALL & LIVING||KITCHEN||UTILITY||DINING||SITTING||STUDY|
|Wall & table lights||2||2||2||2||2||2||1||2||4||4||2|
As with all building products, prices vary enormously; the cost of different light fittings presented below are purely a guide.
Although many folks leave it to the electrician to supply these, if lighting is important to you then it’s better to visit suppliers and look into the options – much like you would with other elements, such as bathroom fittings.
It’s difficult to isolate the overall labour costs of having your artificial illumination installed as this will be carried out as part of the overall electrical installation at both the first and second fix stages.
However, lighting will represent about half of the electrician’s work in the house and it usually takes two weeks for first fix and another two for second and final commissioning.Show 102550100 entriesSearch:
|Type of light fitting||Total in home||Notes||Average rate||Total Cost|
|Spotlights||46||Recessed spotlight can start at £1.60 with directional at £4.95 & fire rated at £5.95||£5||£230|
|Wall & table lights||25||Plug sockets for table lights would be £2.50; some two-way uplights at £35||£17||£425|
|Pendant lights||11||A pendant with flec could cost £1.50 and some feature pendant fittings £100||£50||£550|
|Strip lights||13||From a small 250mm light at £4 up to a task strip light at £12||£8||£104|
|Switches||25||Backing boxes at £1 and switches from £5.30 for 3-gang||£4||£100|
|External lights||5||A robust LED spotlight with PIR||£35||£175|
|LED Lamps||95||For the internal light fittings; 5w spot at £6.50 and a 1m strip at £10||£7||£665|
|Ancillaries||1||Cables, flex, low voltage transformers, clips, etc||£400||£400|
LED lamps today
Light emitting diode (LED for short) lamps have been around for decades, but have only dominated the market in the past five to 10 years.
LEDs are more efficient in generating light from energy and do so without creating much heat – as a direct comparison.
You will only need a 5w (watt) LED to generate the same light as a 50w tungsten spot lamp or a 60-100w incandescent unit (which the government aimed to phase out by 2011 because of carbon reduction targets).
This is great news for homeowners as the overall electrical load will be lower, meaning bills are cheaper, too. The success of LEDs means manufacturers have found a way to produce them across most of the Kelvin scale; we can now enjoy warm lighting, as opposed to the crisp, cool, bluer shades that had previously characterised these units.
Smart lighting & upgrade options
Smart technology is fast becoming a more affordable choice, with lighting controls at the heart of the automated home. Common options include multiple push button switches where three, four or five pre-set mood levels can be selected, each then graded with a dimmer.
These require independent cabling and a central controller/relay for each zone (usually one room); however, one criticism of these systems is that a slight delayed response can cause the user to keep pressing buttons. Control via mobile phones and tablets is also an option, with some systems allowing you to change things even when you’re not home. For more on smart lighting see page 87.
In addition to purely technological upgrades, you may want to incorporate some more theatrical lighting, such as illuminated wall recesses or a perimeter channel around
a dropped suspended ceiling.
In combination with a central chandelier, these features can help to create a bit of drama and atmosphere. Stair lighting is increasingly common and subtle directional illumination can also help to separate zones within an otherwise open plan layout.
Not simply a way to guide you to the front door when you get home in the dark, external lighting can be used to enhance garden features.
Rather than closing the blinds or curtains, an internal space can be enhanced by switching on outdoor lighting so that you can see a dramatically staged set – especially where there might be a pond, pergola, pool or illuminated specimen trees.
Obviously there is some expense incurred with external lighting but its installation is becoming increasingly easy thanks to robust external sockets and switches, flexible armoured cables (which can travel through planters) and uplighters mounted on spikes.
A useful recent innovation is the ability to set the sensitivity and time delay for some external security lights remotely by a device operated at ground level rather than having to do this from a ladder.
|Cost Comparison Between Solar vs. Traditional Lights|
If you do a quick search online, you’ll find that the popularity for solar lights has surged in the past 5 years due to emerging green technologies and rising energy costs. Among this shift in moving towards more renewable energy sources for lighting, an important question is being raised: how much do solar street lights cost compared to traditional street lighting? To solve this mystery, our expert team of engineers gathered the necessary information to provide a cost analysis of each lighting system. The total street light costs may surprise you, but we reveal all of our information in this unbiased review below.Traditional Street Lighting CostsHow Much does a Street light Cost?Traditional street lighting is defined as “any electrical light used for street lighting,” which most commonly uses metal halide or high pressure sodium technology for lights. The average cost of one light, including the lighting fixture, pole, and base, averages at $1500. Not bad for the cost of one street light.Solar street lights utilize fixtures connected to a (typically) silicon-based solar panel to garner electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect, which converts light into usable voltage. These lights reside off the main power grid and can be installed in remote locations. Because of the advanced technology required for solar lights, they are more expensive, averaging about $3000 per light. That includes the light fixture, the solar panel, controller, pole, and the smaller components that make up the light. Because of the advanced technology behind a solar street light, the street light cost is admittedly higher. But often times the up-front pricing for traditional lights is more deceptive, because people often forget about what costs a lot more: installation.The Price of Traditional Vs. Solar Light InstallationThe price for a solar street light may initially be a deterrent for interested parties, until you scrutinize the monetary details. The biggest difference between the price of traditional and solar lights lies in the installation fees associated with traditional lighting.Traditional lights are connected to a standard electrical grid to garner their power, which requires trenching and underground wiring. When adding in labor fees for trenching and wiring, this process would cost consumers about $120 per linear foot. The average cost of installation for traditional lighting would then be around $4500, significantly higher than the price for a solar street light.Because solar lights are autonomous and off the main grid system, consumers avoid the long and costly process of trenching and wiring. The price of installation reduces significantly as a result, pricing around $1500, driving down the total cost for solar.Maintenance Costs with LED LightsSolar lights are most efficient when we pair them together with LED technology to light an area of concern. You may think that solar LED lights require higher maintenance and upkeep levels in comparison to traditional lights. Truth be told, solar lights actually require less maintenance than traditional lighting systems. The typical lifespan for a traditional street light averages around 5,000-8,000 hours, which is slightly less than a year of usage, while solar LED lights last 5-7 years. The secret is in the technology of LEDs–they’re much more efficient with power than traditional methods of lighting and slowly degrade over time instead of burning out in an instant.While solar lights get repaired less frequently, the cost of each repair is higher. The battery of a solar light needs to be changed every 5-7 years. The cost of 2 batteries and labor for those changes averages around $1000. This is only slightly higher than the cost of standard lights which is about $800 for standard maintenance fees.Energy Bills (Or Lack Thereof)Since solar lights gather their energy from the sun, there are no energy costs! Standard lights, on the other hand, accumulate about $1500 in energy costs over 10 years by drawing power from the main power grid, and that’s the energy cost of one street light. A system of ten lights will rack up a hefty bill over the course of 10 years. We’re certain whomever is looking to purchase street lights would prefer lower energy costs. Solar wins in this category, hands down.
Incentive Programs for Solar Energy
There’s more to solar financially than just saving money long-term! Solar lighting systems are also heavily subsidized to encourage the use of green energy. According to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, there are about 200 financial incentive programs for solar alone. Both the private and public sector offer incentives to use solar, but each entity differs in the amount and type of incentive they provide. For example, North Carolina provides a 35% state tax credit against the total cost of a solar panel system, while the Federal government offers a 30% tax credit, so if the cost of one street light is 3,000 dollars, you’ll receive 900 dollars back in a tax credit–pretty impressive! For more information on the solar incentives, rebates, tax credits, and grants available, visit http://www.dsireusa.org/.
The Verdict between Solar and Traditional Lighting
When comparing the total costs of traditional and solar lighting, there appears to be a clear winner. Overall, solar street lights cost around $5500 over 10 years, while standard costs a steep $8300 because of trenching and installation costs. As before, this is the cost of one street light. Imagine 10 lights? 20? Suddenly, the savings with solar are clear.
In the battle of the lighting systems, technology and innovation win. While traditional lighting systems may have won some battles, solar lights win the war for street light costs. It’s the combination of high-tech solar panels with energy-saving LED lights that propel these street lights far ahead of the competition.