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Full Spectrum CFL Lighting Applications

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Jeff Crist
Full Spectrum CFL Lighting Applications
on Apr 29, 2008 at 9:21:07 pm

We did a major interior design. I learned a lot about lighting and ordered all the new light bulbs. What a difference the Halogen floods made compared to the dirty light the incandescents we had from Home Depot gave off. I'm sort of peeved that our decorator for the under cabinet and above cabinet ambient lighted spec'd out a Segull system that uses about 80 little Xenon bulbs that are as hot as heck. Each one is only 5W (top of cabinet) 10W underneath, but we won't be using those much in the summer. At least Xenon is the most efficient halogen bulbs from what I've read. I suggested soft white LED rope lights. She never heard of them. I'm kicking myself for not going with the less expensive, super low wattage, LED rope lights.

Anyway, for the downlights, we have 8 floodlights in recessed cans in the ceiling, I went to CFL's in order to conserve energe but more importantly keep the temps down in the kitchen. The Neptune Dimamble CFL's I bought were a waste. We never dim them and they lasted about half as long as they were suppose to.

So I decided to try an experiment. One of my online suppliers was having a special on 'Full Spectrum' CFL Floodlights. Now I fully realize full spectrum means about 5000K+ color temp which is going to be a very cool white compared to the 2900K CFL's we've been using. But we live in Seattle with long dark winters so I thought maybe it would be nice to try to give the kitchen full spectrum lighting (mimicing the sun at noon). I knew it was going to be a big adjustment.

Well I have just the two floods over the island with the 5000K CFL's and boy are they blue compared to the remaining 2900K CFL's. Make's the kitchen island look like you're in a doctor's office. I have a feeling once I have all 8 with the full spectrum, we won't like it - but maybe give it some time and the 2900-3000K lights will seems dirty/dim too yellow to us? I think part of it is what you are use to.

The problem is the cabinet lights are very soft white. So we have this contrast of the full spectrum down lights combined with about 1000 watts of xenon under/over cabinet hidden lights so we will have these two totally contrasting color temps in our kitchen. It looks great at night when we turn off the CFL's, and I don't mind flourescent downlights in the kitchen anyway since I cook for a hobby, they make better workspace lights.

But what I'm wondering, from anyone with lighting expertise, is that if it is just not going to work having that sort of mixture of color temps, or is it a good strategy?

I'm also wondering, if maybe we go to like 3500K, does it provide a bit of the full spectrum benefits to fight the dark day depression syndrome (not that any of us have it, we just want the kitchen to be bright and cheery in the dreary winter), or do you have to go to the full 5000K+ bulbs to get any sort of full spectrum benefits.

My gut is that I'm going to settle on something inbetween as the 5000K bulbs are probably going to be even too blue to get used to and make the kitchen feel like the workshop in my garage!

I read one article that pointed out the full spectrum bulbs mimic the sun at noon. So a 3500-4000K bulb probably more closely represents the sunlight for a larger portion of the average day? Probably should have went 3500 or 4000K, but I'm really interested in full spectrum benefits. If it just didn't have to look so BLUE!


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Larry Vaughn
Re: Full Spectrum CFL Lighting Applications
on Jan 8, 2009 at 12:08:29 am

You might be more happy if all the lamps put out the same color light. What brand and model full spectrum cfls are you using?

I have Home Depot GE chroma 50 (sunshine) 4' tubes in my kitchen, and some screw in cfl's in other fixtures, like in the bathroom. I like the light after using it for awhile, and bought some 90 CRI cfl's for video use. No complaints about heat and they balance better with light coming in via the windows.



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