What is LED Linear Lighting?

LED Linear is a phrase we often hear in the realms of commercial interior design, but what exactly does it mean and how do we use it? This article aims to ‘de-mystify’ LED Linear lighting and give you an insight into how and where to use it, to effortlessly turn cool offices into exceptional ones!

Firstly let’s talk about LEDs. An LED is short for ‘Light Emitting Diode’, which is a highly efficient long-lasting source of light which uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with ‘electron holes’ within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons (light). The colour of the light is determined by the energy band of the semiconductor.

Right, that’s enough of the techy stuff, lets take a look at how the LED came to be.

The LED appeared as early on 1962, and were used as practical components in electric items, such as warning lights. The early LEDs were limited to low-intensity infrared light such as those still used in remote controls, and do you remember those first LED watches with a black screen and red numbers appeared when you pressed a button? The first visible light LEDs were also low intensity and limited to red, but modern LEDs are now available across the visible, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths and can be extremely bright.

So what is LED Linear?

LED Linear lighting is simply the use of many ‘Light emitting diodes’ packaged together in a long, narrow housing to create a strip of light. This simple concept revolutionised the way we light spaces.

Before the conception of LED Linear, lighting long spaces such as offices, warehouses and retail situations was notoriously tricky. Such spaces were lit with large, industrial incandescent bulbs. Linear lighting started evolving in the 1950s with fluorescent tubes, mainly used in industrial spaces. By the 1970s this technology was being used in homes, garages and workshops, and retail spaces. This further created a need for lower cost, better looking fittings. Creating a continuous uninterrupted line of light wasn’t possible before LED because the fluorescent tubes had to stop and start leaving a black or dark spot.

The improved looks didn’t happen until the early 2000’s when the early version of LED Linear as we know it was made. The demand for LED Linear is now huge and continues to grow. The difference now is that linear architectural lighting and LED technology have broadened the applications of linear fixtures. The industry continues to evolve with improvements in aesthetics and performance, moving away from the old, traditional housings, utilising materials in a better way and incorporating more advanced technology.


LED Linear Regulations and Standards

There’s a couple of key things that Synergy’s clients like to know about standards and regulations around lighting, particularly for use in public and work spaces; just ask and we can advise!

One of the main regulations is regarding glare from lighting. Excessive glare from lights can cause eyestrain and headaches, so it’s important to reduce direct glare and reflected glare within an office environment. Unified Glare Rating (UGR) is used as a measure of glare and is calculated by the glare from all visible lamps divided by the background lamination of the room. In an office environment, a UGR of less than 19 is considered acceptable for best concentration. Want to find out more about UGR19?
Read our UGR19 Guide here>>

Lux levels are important too. This is essentially the light level in a space, usually measured from a specified height (such as desk height in an office). CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) specify recommended lux levels for different areas in the commercial building sector.

Why LED Linear?

Our clients appreciate a host of benefits boasted by LED Linear lighting, including;

Aesthetics – if looks are important to you, then LED Linear has a pretty strong offering. It provides a massive amount of versatility for creating unique and eye-catching designs. Bespoke angles, curves and customised RAL colour powder coating are just a few of the options available that make LED Linear an easy choice.

Directional light – LEDs are directional, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light.

Colour temperature – LED Linear lights offer a large range of colour temperatures, which affect the way the eye interprets the light. From cool white to warm white, different temperatures can be used to create mood and atmosphere in a space. Neutral white, or 4000 kelvin to use its technical name, is recommended for offices and retail areas which provides the most comfortable environment.

Cost effective – an obvious advantage, LED Linear is extremely efficient to run due to its low energy usage, and also its inherent longevity; an LED will typically last many times longer than a fluorescent tube.

Once you’ve made the decision to use LED Linear lighting for your space, there are a bewildering array of options, so we’ve broken it down into some of the key factors for you to consider:

LED Light type

The three main types of LED Linear are pendant, surface mounted or recessed.

LED Linear pendant lights use suspension wires to hang from the ceiling, and are most suited to rooms with generous ceiling height. These are also ideal for creating stunning accent lighting – think about hanging over reception desks, stairways or atriums.
Surface Mounted LED Linear lights are mounted onto the surface of the ceiling, and are suited to situations where pendant lights could be too low due to ceiling height.
Recessed LED linear are recessed into a surface, be it a ceiling, wall or other surface. This offers clean, uninterrupted lines.

LED Profile

LED Linear lights can be straight or shaped to create dramatic sculptures for ultimate effect.

Straight profiles will typically create a subtler effect, but can also be used to create eye catching geometric style designs.

Curved profiles will typically help to create flow in a space and give a feeling of movement.
Round profiles are often used to help divide space into zones, particularly in open plan spaces. For example LED rings suspended lower than surrounding lighting over collaborative zones creates a sense of focus.

LED Linear Applications

LED linear is very versatile and can be used for a number of lighting applications.

General lighting – this is the high level lighting that provides that background light in a space. Care should be taken that light is distributed evenly and glare is avoided.
Task lighting – this is focused light for specific tasks, such as a low hung LED ring over a collaborative area.
Accent – light used for aesthetic effect, such as to highlight or mirror the shape of a distinctive architectural feature or give a sense of height to a room. Our recessed LED Linear lights are perfect for this. Let your imagination run wild and the results can be stunning!

LED lighting can be a bewildering minefield with all the options available. However, the results you can create are stunning and undoubtedly make a cool office exceptional, so for more info from our friendly team of experts at Synergy contact us below and we’ll help you decide what you need!