Halogen downlights were used widely in commercial and domestic situations because they provided plenty of light with a good colour and were quick to install.
Of course the down side was the short lamp life and high running cost (50 watts per lamp), most of this was wasted in heat that then adds to cooling costs. Retrofit MR16 LEDs have been popular as a way to reduce power and easily refit, But the lamps do not have the same output or beam angle, and there are often issues with dimming and transformer compatibility.
Another retrofit lamp option is to use GU10 lamps that are 240 volt and have no issues with dimming and you get more savings because the transformer is disconnected not drawing power. In this case the electrician installs the GU10 lampholder and connects the lamp that draws just 7W instead of 50W for the halogen and 12W for the transformer, and everything works very well which, for accommodation venues, means greatly reduced maintenance.
The global trend with LED is for products to be supplied as integrated fittings, meaning the body of the fitting, the driver and flex and plug are wired up ready to go. The benefits are a much cheaper buy price, longer lifetime (usually 40,000 to 50,000 hours) and because the fitting is designed as a whole unit all issues of heat affecting the driver are dealt with fully because as the product is supplied prewired, all the electrician has to do is unplug the old halogen transformer and plug in the new fitting.
So in one quick move you go from using 60 watts of power to 10 watts with the same amount of light, and on top of that the lifetime is 40,000 hours instead of 2000 hours – greatly reduced power and much longer lifetime with either warm white or cool white colours. Included in this type of product is a typical dimming function operating on leading, trailing and universal dimmers and most have an IP rating meaning they can be used in wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. The final advantage to using integrated LED down lights is the much wider beam angle which is typically 100° compared to 60° for halogen and 35° for retrofit led in MR16 or GU10. The effect is a softer overall illumination and better coverage with no hot spots.
Summary of benefits with integrated down lights:
• Greatly reduced power consumption for same light as halogen
• Much longer lifetime which reduces cost of re-lamping and installation downtime
• Fast installation because everything is prewired and plugs straight in to existing sockets
• Colour choices in warm white and cool white for mood lighting and work areas
• Superior light distribution with 100° beam angle and reduced glare