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Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

Why a mockup could save your next LED upgrade project

Posted by Tad Mehringer on


support image for Why a mockup could change your mind about LEDs articleOverall, there are two main concerns that our clients tend to bring when interest in an LED project begins to form: 1) “Most LEDs look like they belong on an X-Files episode” (or something to that effect) and 2) It’s hard to get the same look of light that I currently have.

LEDs are almost unavoidable on lighting projects these days, and for good reason. They save energy and money, and now in many cases, they are the only lighting option. LEDs have become the gold standard, replacing traditional lighting like incandescent and halogen bulbs (many of which are now banned by the federal government.)

The good news is LED technology has come a long way and there are plenty of options for your next lighting project. You no longer have to ask if LEDs are the right choice. They are — and they will save you time and money in the long run.

But that doesn't mean you can just choose any LED product for your project. The last thing you want is to put finishing touches on a project, only to find out your high-end restaurant lighting is too bright or it's hard to see color correctly in a retail setting. Just like you wouldn't replace parts in a car without seeing if actually starts, you wouldn't put new bulbs in a fixture and automatically expect them to "work" with the rest of the lighting.

A mock-up is a game changer for making sure your lighting plan will turn into an aesthetically-pleasing reality. We explain several reasons to consider a mockup.

Testing 1-2-3: Benefits to mocking up an LED retrofit project

When sizing up a LED retrofit project, it’s important to carefully consider comparison. How does the newer product compare with your existing product when it comes to light? And what’s the best way to compare? Testing.

Mock up the project. Put the newer product on one side of the room and keep your existing lighting on the other. Does the naked eye notice a difference? Use a spectrometer to measure light levels. Now is there a difference? This is why it's extremely important to check before you make a larger lighting purchase. Below are four reasons a mock up could save your next LED upgrade project.

1. Specifications are right

A mock up will help you identify if any specifications are off. LEDs are so often associated only with energy efficiency that their ability to render good color quality is misunderstood or simply understood to be poor. Today, more than ever before, LEDs are giving out excellent light color.

However, the way you think an LED will emit light based on the specs you see on paper can sometimes not match up. That can be pretty frustrating. Circumnavigate it with a mockup.

Read more: What is color temperature?

2. Install will go well

If you do a mockup, you know of any roadblocks to anticipate during install. Does one type of fixture require an extra tall ladder or lift to reach? Do you have any issues with dimming? Identifying these obstacles ahead of time will ensure that install is smooth.

3. Color consistency

In the past, LEDs admittedly had problems with color consistency. Now, there are several solutions and the technology is much better, limiting any color inconsistencies within the same line of products.

Color selectable fixtures are also available, giving installers the options to adjust the color temperature in the field if there is a slight different between color on projects.

Having the ability to change the color temperature on site can be a game changer. The lighting can truly be a reflection of the room's design and ambiance. 

4. Quality products

Okay, maybe aesthetics aren’t an obstacle anymore, but can you trust the light that LEDs put out will illuminate your space the same way your current lighting does?

In a hotel, you don’t want to go from a light color that’s warm and inviting to guests to one that makes them feel like they’re on an operating table. But is that really the kind of effect that a switch to LEDs will have?

Based on the results of a live mockup, you’ll feel more confident in your decision to move forward with the retrofit project. There’s a good chance there’s an LED solution for you and you may be missing out on the opportunity for major savings if you let misperception get in your way.

When you're ready to move forward, do not hesitate to contact us for a free lighting consultation. We will work with you step by step to make sure that a lighting mock up produces great results 

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