Color temperatures in LED lighting and Kelvin degrees, what are they?
First of all, we are not talking about weather temperature, but light color, and even if you think of light temperature as the heat given off by the light bulb on, well, it may not seem a little confusing but here we are to clarify things by throwing a little light on this issue.
That is, the parameter “light temperature” comes from the following technical definition, “is the color that would emit a black body heated to a certain temperature”, therefore the temperature measurement is only relative and it is expressed in “degrees Kelvin” is a temperature measurement that, as a curiosity, starts from absolute zero at -273º.
Then from there we take this value, roughly, and in terms understandable for light, lighting temperatures ranging from white or cold, through the neutral to the warm and the values relating to light ranging from 1000 º to 15000 º Kelvin, which will be handled from now on. As you can see in the temperature graph, we can get an idea with example colors that we can identify in nature and in our daily life.
In the same way and to be able to take it to our led lighting field, nothing better than a graphic example applied to real photos of our led strips (the colors may vary slightly in the reproduction of screens).
In fact, here you can see the progression of temperature with respect to the color of light, from the coldest or white, through the neutral, to the warmest by shooting yellow. As you can see, the higher the number of degrees Kelvin, the more the color tends to pure white, or as we call it, colder, and the lower the number of ºK the color will be warmer, pulling the yellow.
In relation to this image we can summarize in 3 main temperatures, when choosing our light, depending on the area to be illuminated or the function they are going to perform, characteristics that we will detail below:
· Cold or white light: above 5000º K. Because it is the closest temperature to sunlight or daylight, its luminance level is higher than neutral or warm and allows it to be used in areas where we are looking for great light performance, for example in commercial areas of product sales, in jobs where visual concentration is intensive, kitchens, or workshops. The particularity of the cold light is that it keeps us more active, so it is recommended to keep the attention and not for areas of rest and relaxation. For this reason and according to scientific studies, its abuse outside of logical hours, can affect circadian rhythms and change our daily cycles affecting sleep.
. Neutral light: between 4000 and 5000º K. In the same way that cold light is suitable for intense work environments, neutral light is also suitable, but it is reduced to office environments, gyms, tasks that require concentration or study, hospitals and health centers, bathrooms. Due to its neutral character, it allows a wider range of use, adapting to more rooms, often being, in case of doubt, “a winning horse”.
. Warm light: below 3500º K we go into the warm tones, more common in our lives, for the fact that they resemble the tone of the classic “incandescent” ones, therefore they can be placed in the relaxing areas of the home, rooms, lounges, living rooms and also in hotels, restaurants, spas, to create cosy atmospheres and personal corners, for the sensation of comfort and warmth that they transmit, although they give less sensation of environmental light, they are worth it for their final result. For example, it is remarkable the combination with vintage or retro style lighting, very fashionable, which recreates warm and comfortable environments.
From here and once we have clear the selected temperature, we would have to choose the format we need, led strips, neon, bulbs, tubes, spotlights, whether they are for indoor or outdoor use, or for domestic, commercial and industrial use.
Anyway, For commercial use is very important to take into account the CRI or RA value that allows to reproduce the colors of products faithfully.
Needless to say that within the LED models, we do not have to choose a single color at the risk of making a mistake, since we have in the market alternatives that cover temperature ranges in various shades, capable of reproducing at our whim cold, neutral and warm colors in a single product, We also have accessories that allow us to greatly increase the versatility of the lighting, if we use regulators and controllers in the lights that allow it, we will give a turn to the possibilities of our LED lights, adapting the power and brightness throughout the day or the need of the moment.
And if after this explanation you still have doubts, because it is always best to ask the advice of a good professional, who will know how to guide you to choose the best solution, for our part here we have the doors open to their doubts and queries.