Lighting 101 – What is Lumens, Lux and Colour Temperature?

20 July, 2021

With decades of combined knowledge in one place, it’s easy to say that here at Earthtrack HQ we know a lot about lighting. We ensure that the lights we supply our customers have optimal illumination and performance for the area they are being installed in. When we talk of light words like Lux, Lumens and Colour Temperature are used – but what do they really mean? Let’s take a look…

What are Lumens?

A LUMEN is a unit of light, it’s also called Luminous flux.

A LUMENS measurement is the amount of visible light that you can expect to see at a set distance.

What is Lux?

LUX is simply the measurement of the total amount of light seen on a surface at a set distance.

A measurement of 1 LUX is equal to the illumination of a 1m2 surface that is one metre away from a single standard candle.

Here are some examples of natural light conditions and their general LUX equivalents:

Direct Sunlight: 32,000 to 100,000
Ambient Daylight: 10,000 to 25,000
Overcast Daylight: 1000
Sunset & Sunrise: 400
Moonlight (Full moon):1
Night (No moon): < 0.01

What is Colour Temperature

Colour temperature refers to the appearance of light provided by a fitting or light bulb. Fitting comes in a range of temperatures and are given a colour temperature measurement in KELVINS (K).

KELVINS are measured on a numbered scale that provides information on the quality of light that a fitting emits, the higher the colour temperature, the cooler the light will be – the lower the colour temperature the light emitted will be more yellow.

To decrease the colour temperature of LED fittings, a coating of phosphor is put on the LED chip to increase the colour warmth/ yellowness of the light output – resulting in a lower KELVIN measurement. There is always a slight variance in the thickness of phosphor added in the manufacturing process so there can be up to a 500K variance within a range.

The colour temperature of lighting can greatly affect the visibility and the feel of an area, so for safety as well as ambience make sure to choose the right colour temperature based on the visual clarity needed for your area. It is also important to make sure your area has a good blanket of uniform light. If you are needing advice on your lighting Earthtrack can provide a comprehensive range of services to help you.

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