The Merchandise Mart, in Chicago, hosts over 50,000 design professionals and 500 leading companies for NeoCon, the tradeshow of the year. Neocon has evolved over the last forty-nine years into the most recognized and attended trade show in the industry. Along with being a top spot to network and see the latest trends in the industry, attendees have the chance to attended some of the best accredited seminars and listen to some of the most prestigious keynote speakers. Check out our recap of this year’s show and some of our products that made it into the show!
Between work, paying bills, shopping, and watching cat videos, the average American spends about 8 or more hours a day in front of a computer screen. If you add in phone activities like texting and Snapchat or maybe you are working on creating your perfect Bitmoji, screen time can soar.
Why is Task Lighting So Important?
So why is task lighting so important when most of our day is spent looking at a backlit screen? What most people don’t know, is that when switching from looking at your computer to jotting down a note, your eyes are constantly adjusting to the different light levels.
This constant adjusting can cause eye strain, which can result in dry eyes and/ or headaches. While a break from the computer screen every 20 minutes or so seems to help, what helps most is having consistent light levels while switching back and forth between computer and desktop tasks. By adding task lighting, whether it’s a desk task light or an under cabinet task light, it will provide the light needed to balance the light levels. It also allows for less dependency on ineffective overhead lights. Just reducing the overhead lighting from fluorescents to one and adding one task light, the savings are almost $600 per office and don’t forget about the reduction in eye strain and headaches.
Take A Look Inside
Now that the benefits of having a task light are so clear, what makes one task light better than another?
A task light is only as good as the light source inside. Today, LED task lights are taking over incandescent and fluorescent task lights for many reasons. Although high quality LEDs tend to be more expensive upfront, the cost savings from reduced energy use and not having to buy replacement bulbs will outweigh the initial cost. Another thing to be aware of when shopping for an LED desk task light that impacts overall cost, is the difference in the LEDs and the manufacturing process: Not all LEDs are Created Equal. Quality LEDs and fixtures, will save money over time, be more useful over a longer-life span, and be more reliable because they have a robust and proven manufacturing process.
The first step in attaining quality LED fixtures is the process of sorting the diodes, called binning. The tighter the binning the more consistent the color, intensity, and performance of the LEDs. Securing the LEDs to the circuit board is also critical for quality. This is achieved with a process called Surface Mount Technology (SMT). This process picks and places the diodes on the board. Both factors have high effects on the quality of the LEDs and performance of the fixture. Heat dissipation is also a factor for the life and performance of LEDS. LEDs do produce some heat even though it is much lower than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, it is still important to control heat within the fixture and drive the LED at the right voltage to preserve the life of the LED. The last element in a good fixture is the lens. Optic lens design, when done correctly, can control the banding effect and disbursement of the light. Banding is a term that identifies the color striping that can occur on the outer edges of the light pool. LEDs, unlike traditional fluorescents and incandescent bulbs have directional light output, whereas the traditional sources emit light from all sides. Even though LEDs have no wasted light, a good lens design is required to help place the directional light where needed.
It’s Not All About The Cost Savings
Besides the cost savings and no wasted light, high quality LEDs have a life span of 50,000 + hours and are available in a range of color temperatures with the most popular between 3000 to 5000 Kelvin. Lighting temperature or light color is measured in Kelvin with a lower number representing warm white and a higher number representing cool white. Task lighting is recommended to be in the warm white (3000K-3500K) color temperature range with a Color Rendering Index (CRI) in the 80-90+ range. CRI is another measurement to be aware of. The higher the CRI (range: 0 to100), the closer the colors of objects are represented, as they would be in natural light.
What’s Your Workspace Type?
What makes a desk light a perfect choice for a workstation? Take into consideration the size of the desk space you are illuminating and the activities you will be performing. For a desk top that will be used for several different types of tasks, such as reading, writing, or computer work, a desk lamp with a pivoting post and head offers custom positioning for the perfect illumination. If the desktop is smaller and conserving space is a high priority, then an under cabinet or a clamp-on light might be the perfect choice to save on space without compromising lighting needs.
Now The Fun Starts!
After all the technical “stuff” is considered see what “bells and whistles” the light offers. Do you forget to turn off your light or like to have control of brightness levels, maybe both? Then look for a lamp that has an occupancy sensor that will turn off the light automatically when you leave your desk and/or dimming capabilities so you can adjust the light output based on other light sources, like the sun coming through the window. Some LED task lights even offer multiple Kelvin colors to allow you to adjust to a temperature that enhances your tasks.
The Decision Is Yours!
Although, the look of a desk task light may seem to be the most important factor, don’t overlook the lighting specifications; good performance and good light color can make or break a task light. The choice of a desk task light, like everything else, is a personal preference based on your needs; knowing what to look for can make the decision, To Task Light or Not To Task Light a lot easier.
Click here to download a copy!
Make The Decision A Simple Choice
Today, LED lighting can be seen nearly everywhere in shopping environments, but that doesn’t mean they all provide an advantage to the sales process. Understanding the advantages of outstanding LED lighting for the case manufacturer, retailer, and the consumer can make the decision of using better LEDs a simple choice.
As an example of why using the best LEDs and fixtures can make a difference, the new Compel shelf light has superior light output that offers the advantages outlined below as well as seven size options up to 72 inches and multiple mounting options.
Clarity of lighting
There are three main factors that affect the clarity of the light output and the perceived value or quality of the consumer’s experience.
- High Color Rending Index (CRI). A high rating ensures the merchandise and packaging colors pop off the shelf. Compel has one of the highest ratings in the industry with a 90+ score out of 100 points, which represents merchandise in the most natural colors.
- Kelvin Color Temperature. The color of the light combined with the CRI affects the presentation of merchandise. Using the right Kelvin for merchandise brings out the most appealing colors. Such as making strawberries a luscious red when they are under a 3000 Kelvin Compel.
- MacAdam Ellipse. This is a technical measurement of the results of the binning process for LEDS. Binning sorts the LEDs into Kelvin color categories to ensure matching from fixture to fixture. Giving the shopping environment a consistent color of lighting. Only high quality chips such as the ones used in the Compel products, are tightly binned with MacAdam Ellipse standards.
Designing and Engineering
The Compel lighting collection was designed and engineered with DesignLights Consortium (DLC) requirements in mind. To be certified by this independent agency, products must meet their high standards of quality and efficiency. DLC certified products may qualify for energy incentive rebates from participating utility and energy efficiency program members. Additionally, the Compel products are IP66 rated for protection from high pressure water jets, plus it is robust and sturdy to ensure a fixture that lasts as long as the long-life LEDs.
ITC’s process for producing LED fixtures, especially those using linear light engines like the Compel, has been very carefully designed to maximize the quality at each step in production. This includes the regulation of the amount and distribution of the solder and the prescribed cleaning intervals of the solder injectors. As well as the placement of the LEDs in a pattern and quantity that provides the perfect distribution of light output with the best utilization of materials.
Cost savings can be captured with both the energy saving LEDs and by the need to purchase less equipment when using Compel lighting. For example, Compel shelf lights provide at least 80 lumens of light per watt to reduce the number of power supplies needed to run the same quantity of light fixtures.
Cost savings can also be gained by the reduction of heat expelled when using high quality LEDs such as in the Compel lighting fixtures. 3.4 BTUs of heat is created by a single watt of energy used. Therefore, reducing the overall watts used will also lower the amount of heat produced. The reduction in heat from the lighting fixtures shortens the amount of time the compressor must run in a refrigerated case to maintain a consistent temperature. Less load on the compressor not only increases the longevity of the whole case but minimizes the amount of heat expelled into the shopping environment and reduces the overall HVAC costs for store owners. The same advantage is true for reducing the heat into the shopping environment for compel used on non-refrigerated shelving.
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Click here to see more about our Compel Horizontal Products
Inspired by the anti-war movement, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson realized he could use the energy from the movement for more changes. His plan was to mix that energy with public consciousness about air and water pollution and power environmental protection onto the national public agenda. With a staff of eighty-five republicans, democrats, liberals, and conservatives, he promoted his national teach-in on the environment across the country. Finally, on April 22, 1970 the advocates took their voices to streets all over America, along with twenty million other Americans. This massive coast to coast rally brought about more than awareness about a healthy and sustainable environment; by the end of 1970, Earth Day was responsible for the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990, Earth Day went global, giving a huge boost to worldwide recycling efforts and helping pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Each Earth Day victory is huge, but each new year also brings to light new and existing struggles, such as the research around climate change and a divided environmental community. Celebrated by more than a billion people worldwide, the fight for a clean environment continues every day. This history brings us to Earth Day 2017, with the Earth Day campaign of “environmental and climate literacy”, which focuses on the concept that the foundation for progress is education.
The history is great, but I’m sure what you really want to know is how to celebrate! There is no right or wrong way to celebrate. Whether this is your first official celebration, or you can’t remember a time when you didn’t celebrate, how you celebrate is up to you. Maybe you haven’t started a recycle bin, maybe you need some more trees in the back yard, or maybe your goal is to learn all about the idea behind Earth Day. Here’s a list of a few ways to make your earth day a little earthier:
- Recycle not only your everyday plastics and glass, but also your e-waste (computers, TVs, etc).
Learn how to grow your favorite produce.
- Start by growing your favorite herb in a window pot, then move on to your favorite veggies in the backyard.
- Plant a tree or two or donate to The Canopy Project to help them reach their goal of planting 150,000 trees (https://donate.earthday.org/events/trees-for-earth/e76443)
- Make a pledge as a part of the A Billion Acts of Green: A few examples are getting rid of plastic bags, start a work carpool, or start your own garden (http://www.earthday.org/take-action/)
- Build a bird feeder and hang it out in your yard- just don’t forget to keep it full!
- Pick up litter around your neighborhood or organize a group and do it together
- Make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all three out of only locally grown food
- Spend the day technology free
- Educate yourself about what Earth Day is all about
Click here to learn about how we do our part and how we can help you!
Energy & Quality
It is common knowledge that LED lighting saves energy over fluorescent bulbs with much lower watts and less wasted light. But what is not as well recognized is that LEDs are not all created equal. Quality LED fixtures, will save money over time, provide a long-life span, be more reliable, plus they will have a robust and proven manufacturing process. The first step in attaining quality LED fixtures is the process of sorting the diodes, called binning. The tighter the binning the more consist the color, intensity, and performance of the LEDs. Attaching the LEDs to the circuit boards is also critical for quality. This is achieved with a process called Surface Mount Technology (SMT). This process picks and places the diodes on the board. Both factors have high effects on the quality of the LEDs and performance of the fixture. Heat dissipation is also a factor for the life and performance of LEDS. LEDs do produce some heat even though it is much lower than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, it is still important to control heat within the fixture to preserve the life of the LED. Energy management considerations for the fixtures should also be reviewed for compliance with commercial energy codes and standards.
A commonly misunderstood conception of LEDs is that they are significantly more expensive than fluorescents. While their initial purchase cost may be more, an LED fixture will pay for itself in energy savings, reduced maintenance cost, and most importantly, increased product sales.
Increased Sales with Visual Appeal
Retail environments have long appreciated the value of lighting for displaying merchandise in the most appealing way and creating an instore atmosphere that conveys the desired brand image. This is sometimes more art than science, but there are some lighting basics that can help when specifying LED lighting for display lighting. Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Kelvin are two powerful factors in lighting that should be understood to determine the correct lighting product to specify for different situations.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
CRI is a rating scale up to 100 that indicates the ability of the light source to portray the true color of an object. The closer to100 the light rating is the more an object’s color, will appear as it would in nature. It will have depth and vibrancy while a lower CRI rating will give objects a washed-out, dull appearance.
Color Temperature (Kelvin)
Kelvin is the standard international unit of thermodynamic temperature of light or in layman’s terms the rating of the light color. White LEDs are binned and rated from warm white (2500K) to cool white (6500K). Similar to CRI, Kelvin temperature can play a role in how colors are perceived. Warmer white colors (below 3000) will cast a yellow-white color which will improve reds and oranges, but dulls blues and gives white and green objects a yellow tint. On the other end the cool white (6500+) will boost blues, but dulls reds and conveys a bluish tint to white and green objects. For best overall color appearance, 3000-4000K is recommended as a neutral white so it will enhance most colors at the same level.
A study conducted by The Lighting Research Center confirmed that 88% of shoppers preferred the look of a LED case over a fluorescent case. LEDs Magazine took this study a step further and evaluated the sales on a fluorescent case versus an LED case. The results of the study are shown below.
LEDs are often specified for retail applications due to their long life and reduced energy usage. But what if they could extend the shelf life of store products? A study conducted by Kansas State University found that the use of LED lights in refrigerated meat cases could extend the shelf life of some meat. Raw meat will discolor relatively quickly in a refrigerated case due to the exposure to oxygen and UV light. While a discolored meat may not be expired or rancid, the perception to the average consumer is that it’s past its prime. Because of this perception, retailers must discount or dispose of product, and are unable to sell it at full price, reducing their already tight margins. Since LEDs do not give off UV light, the discoloration process is much slower than it is with fluorescent lights, which do give off UV light. In addition to color retention, LEDs also keep refrigerated cases colder which aids the compressor in keeping the case at the optimal temperature for food preservation.
LED lighting use in retail displays continues to grow in popularity and is quickly becoming the accepted norm. For more information on LED Retail Display lighting click here.
To download a copy and share it friends click here!
ITC’s elio brand and the VersiColor™ Collection is giving architectural customers what they want, options and control. Elio’s VersiColor products are versatile, easily controlled, and offer many application options. Recently, VersiColor RGB Luna LED Tape Light was installed in the outdoor Auburn Cultural and Civic Event Center Plaza in Indiana. Luna RGB lighting is “tunable” and can take the event center from party mode with high energy colors that flash and bounce to the music, to a soft refined glow of a single color, and everything in between. To learn more about the venue click here
To learn more about the VersiColor Collection click here
“The DesignLights Consortium (DLC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the widespread adoption of high-performing commercial lighting solutions” (www.designlights.org). DLC has establish stringent requirements which products must meet to qualify for a DLC listing. Having a product listed, therefore is a great recognition of quality and energy efficiency. ITC is proud to have received the DLC listing for our Compel horizontal and vertical linear lighting products.
The Compel product line is an innovative LED lighting system designed specifically for retail display and refrigerated products, and can also be used in other advanced applications. Compel provides 90+ Color Rendering Index for the best replication of merchandise color and has a streamlined design and construction.
Click here to learn more about Compel Products!
For additional photos and application ideas, please visit our photo gallery.
The Maia Desk Lamp is prominently featured on worker’s desk while Andrew Luck tries to share his “luck” with them. The worker’s decline Andrew’s ”luck” – after all they are already Lucky to have a Maia Desk Lamp providing them with great light for successful work.
Check out the full commercial here.
ITC would like to thank all who have served in the military and their families on this Veteran’s Day.
We specifically want to recognize and celebrate those veterans that work with us every day at ITC Scott Hart, Angie Landman, Dan Keuhs and Steven Kimbrough.
Please take the time to thank a veteran on Wednesday, November 11, 2015!
It’s common knowledge that proper seating and posture have a significant effect on worker comfort, but what about lighting? The ergonomics of lighting is just as important as your desk chair and many studies show that poor lighting can lead to headaches and eye fatigue. To find out more about the ergonomics and cost savings of LEDs check out our white paper.
By Rebecca Vantatenhove
Customer Service & Marketing Associate