The LUX of Lighting

Kristin

What is LUX? Generally it is a measurement of the intensity of the light produced by any lighting fixture. The higher the measurement of LUX the more light available over a specific area. This is usually discussed in terms of “Lumens” per square meter.

Okay, you might then say, what the heck is Lumens? This is something that is also discussed in different terms, but most often means the “foot candles” produced by the source of light.

To simplify and clarify the whole issue let’s just take a single candle to use as an example. If you light that candle in a dark room you would be able to measure the amount of light that it generated one foot away from the flame. This amount of “illuminance”, or the result of using a light of any kind, is how LUX is measured. It is the degree to which an object is illuminated, but not the overall amount of light produced by the light source. This is something referred to in terms of English measurements, which is why LUX is spoken of as one lumen per square meter of illuminated surface area.

So, how does this figure into any sort of discussion about incandescent versus LED lighting? The average household incandescent bulb can usually generate one thousand lumens when brand new. LED bulbs are just now entering the markets with the same capabilities (around 1050 lumens for the cool white lights and 760 for the warm white variants). The biggest differences between the two options are the amount of energy consumed in their usage. The LED produced 72 lumens per watt whereas the equivalent incandescent was able to yield only a 5 to 17.5 lumens per watt maximum.

Not only are the old-fashioned bulbs far less efficient, but they also lose the quality of their lumens substantially faster, produce unnecessary amounts of heat, and require replacement on a much more frequent basis as well. For example, the lumen maintenance on an LED bulb is going to come in at around 70% retention over the standard fifty thousand hour life span of the bulb. An incandescent bulb tends to burn at a constant voltage which quickly evaporates the filament, the speed at which this occurs is usually published on the packaging of the bulb as “rated initial lumens” and “approximate mean lumens”. This data varies, but tends to be significantly lower, averaging 80% for only two thousand hours of life.

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