Article
As someone who’s been writing about LED lighting for almost a decade, I’ve gotten used to the terms “color temperature” and “light output,” and I now have a reasonably good idea about what to look for when shopping for my own lamps (aka, “bulbs”) and fixtures. But I still, on occasion, either realize I’ve chose the wrong lamp for a fixture or wish I could move between two color temperatures with the same luminaire.

New LED Offerings Make It Easy to Switch Things Up

Chuck Ross
As someone who’s been writing about LED lighting for almost a decade, I’ve gotten used to the terms “color temperature” and “light output,” and I now have a reasonably good idea about what to look for when shopping for my own lamps (aka, “bulbs”) and fixtures. But I still, on occasion, either realize I’ve chose the wrong lamp for a fixture or wish I could move between two color temperatures with the same luminaire. Now manufacturers are beginning to tap into the digital possibilities LEDs offer to incorporate multiple color-temperature and brightness options within the same product, with changes as easy as a flip of a switch.

This flexibility isn’t just a boon for finicky consumers – it also can help distributors and electrical contractors reduce the number of different lamp and fixture models they need to keep on hand. If the same product can easily switch between 3500K, 4000K and 5000K, and simultaneously between output wattages ranging from 16W and 28W, that can mean up to 9 stock keeping units (SKUs) can be reduced to just one, from an inventory-management perspective.

“Having fixtures and retrofits that can be adjusted in the field gives power and flexibility to the end user,” says Doug Knebelsberger, marketing VP for Light Efficient Design, which manufactures lighting products that can be adjusted with simple onboard switches. “They make sure everyone is happy with light levels and/or color temperatures when products are installed.”

Manufacturers can take different approaches to building color- and output-shifting capabilities into their products. “On our Flex Watt products, the driver is set at max wattage, and then is simply dialed or switched down to get the other wattage choices,” Knebelsberger explains. “To achieve Flex Color, there are multiple sets of chips that are switched on or off to get the correct color blend.”
Photo courtesy of Light Efficient Design
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