Lumens Not Watts?

By will_owen

lumens not watts

Lumens Not Watts?

The main purpose of technology has been to make our way of life a little bit easier and retain information that we can constantly forget. With their ability to hold mountains of knowledge and make tasks like shopping, contacting a friend, or getting directions by as simplye as pressing a few buttons we are constantly thanking them.  Ultimately lessening our workload and less likely to get a migraine. 
 
But who said technology was perfect? You will  because you always hit a few bumps with progression. Your dad, for example, can could be asking you to help him with his new device even though you have never even handled or heard of it before. 
 
It could be that this miscommunication, between your dad and the device, happened because he didn’t grow up with the technology. But, in my opinion, I think that all of this new terminology that came with technology began to mess with any pre-conceptions he had. The same thing can be said about the lighting industry. Ever since the LED breakthrough new terms, like lumens, have been popping up. 
 
But What are lumens and why should they be taken into consideration when purchasing a light  bulb?

confused about watts and lumens

 

What are Lumens used for?

Lumens are used to measure the brightness of a bulb. Now you may be thinking, “no way, the units used to measure a bulb’s brightness are wattages,” and in the past you would have been partially right. When you had to go the store to replace a bulb you would check to make sure that the wattages were the samesame, so you could have achieve the same brightness. 
 
However, wattages have always referred to how much energy the bulb uses. And with the production of LEDs , that are were able to use significantly less energy, wattages just weren’t able tocouldn’t keep up. Lightbulb Wattage Conversion 
 
On top of that, and I’m regressing to my 8 year old self, lumens were here first. They have always been used to measure brightness, generally in physics. But like all bulbs the level of lumens can vary depending on the following:

What can affect lumens

frosted and clear bulb

 
(Example of a frosted (right) and non-frosted (left) bulb)

Where can I find the lumens?

In 2011 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began requiring that a lamps lumens be stated on the consumer packaging. So, if you are wanting to identify how many lumens a bulb has just look on the back of the box. Looking a lot like the nutrition facts on a cereal box, you will also find the bulbs:

a bulbs lighting facts

What are different types of lighting?
Quick recap, lumens are the measurement of how bright a bulb is. So the higher the number of lumens the brighter the lamp will be and vice-versa. Knowing the brightness of a bulb can help you create the type of ambience that is perfect for your setting. 8 Commercial Energy-Efficient Solutions for a Better Return on Your Investment  
Three types of lighting:
General Comfort Lighting – commonly found in grocery and retail stores, this type of lighting brightens up the area to make customers feel safe.
Task-Oriented Lighting – can be used in warehouses to help illuminate merchandise, work areas, store entrances, etc.
Accent Lighting – great for display cases, above windows, and can help light specific areas of a store.
  

task oriented lighting

comfort lighting

What is the right amount of lumens?
Before you install any type of lighting you want to make sure that you know what type of beam angle you want and how many lumens are needed. This is going to vary, depending on how much square footage you are lighting and how tall the ceiling is. 
 
You wouldn’t use the same lighting for a 15- foot high ceiling with a 35- foot high ceilingceiling, right? And just because one light bulb uses less wattage doesn’t mean that it’s brightness will be less. A 100 watt incandescent and a 20 watt LED, for example, are going to have the same amount of lumens.  Commercial Lighting Application  
 
Here are some good reference points:
30-45 foot ceilings need 240 watts  or 32,194 lumens
20-35 foot ceilings need 150 watts or 20,441 lumens
15-25 foot ceilings need 100 watts or 13,627 lumens
(Note: 240 watts is the total wattage of all light bulbs used in a particular space)
The measurements listed above are perfect for big commercial buildings including:

commercial applications

What to take away from this blog?
Lumens and watts are not the same thing. Lumens measure brightness, while watts measure how much energy the light fixture consumes. So, remember that instead of looking for wattages when you go to the electric supply store you want to be looking for lumens. when it comes to brightness. 
It is also important to remember , also, that before any light installation,n that you should take into consideration the beam angle and the amount of lumens for the project. But, again, this can vary depending on how high the ceiling of the designated building is. 

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