Article
Electrical pros working on retail lighting projects might need to know about more than just how many watts/square foot the local energy code allows them to use. While lighting installation is always a bit of an artform – after all, lighting impacts the mood and appearance of every room – it also can have a real impact on a retailer’s bottom line.

When it Comes to Retail Lighting, Check the Temperature

Chuck Ross
Electrical pros working on retail lighting projects might need to know about more than just how many watts/square foot the local energy code allows them to use. While lighting installation is always a bit of an artform – after all, lighting impacts the mood and appearance of every room – it also can have a real impact on a retailer’s bottom line. When it’s designed with specific merchandise in mind, it can help products look more visually appealing and boost sales, as a result. With today’s LED strips, tubes and lamps, electrical contractors now have more options than ever for meeting a retail customer’s needs – especially given how controllable these options can be.

Color temperature is one of the more important lighting elements to consider when fixtures and lamps are being specified and installed in retail setting, and this isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision. While cool, white illumination might seem the obvious choice – it’s the most like natural daylight, after all – the lighting plan needs to consider both the ambience a store owner wants to set, and the merchandise being displayed.

For example, warmer color temperatures – those in the 2700K to 3500K range – can help set a cozy, inviting mood to create a relaxed shopping experience. They also enhance other warm tones, like reds, oranges and browns, making them a good pairing with items like wood, leather and fashion. Warmer tones also can be easier on the eyes in areas where customers might sit and linger.

Cooler temperatures between 4000K and 6500k highlight cooler tones, like blues and greens, which creates a crisper appearance for, say, electronics and appliances. They also set a more energetic mood and they can help draw focus to specific displays. Lamps and fixtures in this color temperature range tend to be more energy efficient, which could make an economic difference in large lighting installations.

Depending on the light source and its controls, owners may be able to make their lighting systems serve double duty if color shifting is an option. Many lamps and fixtures offer the ability to shift from warm to cool illumination either through a connected app or by flipping a switch on the fixture (although this might be difficult to access with ceiling-mounted downlights).
Photo courtesy of Cooper Lighting
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