Color Temperature (Kelvin)

Color Temperature (Kelvin)

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When people talk about color temperature, it can easily be misconstrued as a conversation about heat. It actually refers to the color of the light that is emitted from a light fixture. The warm light is light that is more orange or red, while cool light is white and blue. The phrase color temperature comes from the color metal turns as it is heated up. First metal turns a dull red, into a lighter orange, and then turns white and then progressively darker shades of blue as it is super heated. That's why the higher color temperatures (5000K-8000K) is vibrant white and blue, while the lower color temperatures (2000K-4000K) are red and orange. This can be confusing, since the orange lower color temperatures are referred to as "warm" light, while the higher blue color temperature lights are described to as "cool" or "cold."

Efficient LED lights can be found across the entire color temperature spectrum, and many manufacturers have begun experimenting with fixtures that can change color temperature on demand. Since color temperatures can affect mood and behavior, this can help your business use the same space for various different activities, or just to compensate for changes in sunlight throughout the day. But most commercial and industrial spaces work well with a single purpose, and different color temperatures can make a big difference in how your employees do do their work.

How does color temperature affect a commercial or industrial space?

To decide what color temperature works best for the space you are lighting, you need to consider various factors. You might need to consider what type of work goes on there, what kind of environment is your business trying to foster, and what kind of lighting already exists in that space. A professional lighting layout can help make the best use of space and achieve your lighting goals. 
We know that lighting has a profound affect on a human being's mood. Warm light helps people feel at home, comfortable and restful. Natural looking warm light is great, when installed the lobby or common spaces where visitors may come, to make them feel welcome. But, in an office environment, warm lights can lead to sluggishness. A crisp white light, in the 4000K to 5000K range helps workers to be alert and focused. The human eye also perceives more light from cooler color temperature lights. That makes higher color temperature lights perfect for industrial lighting and commercial lighting purposes. Warehouses, parking garages, gyms, sports facilities or any area with pole lighting can take advantage of more energy efficient LED lighting options to replace their existing fixtures. These high color temperatures mimic sunlight, and helps keep people awake. If you were to look directly at the sun, it has a color temperature of 5800K, though it is far more intense.

It is also important not to make light that is viewed often glaringly bright so that it makes people uncomfortable. For spaces that are lower to the ground, and lights sources are clearly seen a color temperature between 3500K to 4500K is a better fit. Such spaces include schools, offices, hallways, and retail businesses. You have to think carefully about the space you are choosing to light before deciding which color temperature and what lumen output you want in a light. If you want more information or professional help in making a lighting layout, Inline would be happy to help.

The goal of commercial lighting or industrial lighiting is to make objects clearly visible with minimal glare or shadows. This differs from businesses that want put items on display, such as art galleries or jewelry stores. These businesses should instead opt for lighting with a very high color temperature (5000K-6500K)  to make their items stand out. While those looking to light their home, or casual workspace, such as a coffee shop, should instead look at lower color temperature lamps that make people feel comfortable and at home, imitating the setting sun.

Other Topics that may interest you:
Brightness (lumens)
CRI Color Rendering Index