Easy Downlight Conversions

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

Easy Downlight Conversions

One of the best and easiest ways to save money in your facility is by reducing lighting energy costs. Convert old lighting fixtures into miniature money-saving centers. If you think a lighting retrofit is daunting because of complicated re-wiring, think again.

LEDs last longer and provide more light with less electricity than standard incandescent sources. They even last longer than CFL and HID lamps, and unlike CFL and HID, they are easily dimmable. Like good fluorescent lamps, LEDs are available in a variety of color temperature options, and LED products are available with a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80 or even 90.

One of these products just might be the easy answer to your tough downlighting challenge:

No budget?
Install new LED replacement lamps in your existing downlights. These lamps will cost more than the old halogen or incandescent that you are replacing, but will make up for that higher initial cost with longer life and lower energy consumption. Just be sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer who you can count on to be there to back up the LED lamp warranty.

Keep it Simple
Many manufacturers make LED modules designed to fit into existing 4”, 5” or 6” housings to replace 60 watt or 100 watt incandescents. These are perfect for basic applications including wet locations. It’s as simple as screwing in a light bulb - with the added benefit of a fresh new integral trim.

Need some Tilt?
No problem. There are LED gimbals with up to 35-degrees of tilt which can replace 50 watt to 65 watt floods without a housing change! Simply remove the trim and high-wattage flood lamps from the existing 4”, 5” or 6” housing, and replace with an adjustable LED trim and lamp all in one! These can be used in sloped ceilings or for accent lighting, and typically install just like an ordinary light bulb. Besides the typical white finish, some products are even available with custom trim colors, such as black, oil rubbed bronze or brushed nickel.

Take it up a Notch
Need something bigger and brighter than the typical hardware store replacements? No problem. Even large 2-lamp CFL and HID downlights now have high-output LED replacements. Large fixtures in high ceilings are often a maintenance headache as well. So a 50,000-hour LED replacement will not only be easy today, but could keep life easy for up to 10 years of maintenance free operation!

No Existing Downlight?
Even if there isn't a downlight where you want one, small LED profiles and new diffusion technologies can allow you to install what looks like a downlight anywhere you want to on just a standard junction box. This means no large housing above the ceiling. Now, with only a junction box, a downlight can be installed wherever you want it. It’s a cinch for retrofit, but also durable, lightweight, and it can even be wall mounted!

Since there are easy retrofit options for all of your downlight applications, why not start replacing downlights today?

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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