LED Light Choices for new Constuction

montelJune 14, 2011

We are in our lighting choice phase for our new home and would love some help and advice on our lighting.

We are hoping to do some LED lighting in the highly used areas and then use simpler lower cost options for guest rooms, laundry, closets etc...

I prefer the look of recessed 4" halogen, but would be OK with 6" if that is a better choice. We could also do some of the flush mounted styles as are ceilings are 9ft downstairs and 10'-13' upstairs (Reverse Plan). We also like to be able to dim the lights.

We are somewhat restricted on budget - so I don't think we can go all LED.

We have looked on here for some information and see the Cee LR6 units and some others. But would love to be directed to some choices with good light output at a reasonable cost - mixing them even with Halogen or FL.

Based on 2800 sq.ft - we are most interested in the Master Bath, Kitchen, Hall Way/Entry, Great Room, Living Room...

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The CR6 and RT6 are ~ 50.

If you are looking for A-lamps, the cree A-lamp is expected to be introduced in the coming months. Otherwise the Philips light is the only other choice worth considering (imo)

4" LR4 lights + housing runs about $160.

Dimming could be interesting as the minimum load required by some switches could be more than the max load of some led lights. You will need to match the dimmer with the anticipated load in addition to other requirements such as magnetic low voltage vs electronic low voltage ...

If you use fluorescent lighting, the ballast has to be dimmable and matched with a dimmer that is suited for dimming fluorescent lighting.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 12:21AM
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I am not sure what we will do, if anything, for dimmable fluorescent lights...probably set those on a standard switch.

We really want to focus on getting the most used areas set with as much LED lights as we need - I see some say 35 lumens/ft so I will see what that entails.

We have seen the $160 price tag range for quite a few units - we have also looked at some of the flush mount LED units as well.

If we need 10 LED units for our great room and kitchen area that gets us close to $2k with dimmers...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 11:34AM
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Only the kitchen needs to be brightly lit to ~35 lumens per sq ft. 25 lumens per sq ft should work fine for Living and other areas. Additional lighting can be obtained from other sources such as floor or table lamps.

If you're willing to experiment, the CR24 series of LED troffers from CREE are available. The CR24 itself is ~$318 from the light bulb emporium which is in the ballpark for similarly sized commercial fluorescent troffers.

The troffers don't look like the current bunch of commercial fluorescent troffers and are dimmable.

Most flush mount LED units are not all that impressive.

Other possibilities - LED cove lighting. Philips has quite a good solution with the ePowerCove.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 12:12PM
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I am hoping to do some cove lighting.

Once we get the framing started (this week we begin) I will have a much better idea of where lighting could go.

We will have to follow Title 24 as we are in California, but our local city/inspector should be OK with LED Lights by now...

Light Output of the surface mounts is poor? Any luck or knowledge of the Cirque or Pendenza units? I was thinking that if these provided similar light output with more spread than say a CR6 we would look into them as well. I wouldn't mind less holes in the ceiling, but there still needs to be a box for these.

I was even thinking of trying to find a LED light that could be placed in, or on, an exposed wood beam...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 2:05PM
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CR22 troffer in a surface mount box?

What about cove lighting + recessed? With the LR6 and CR6 from cree, the number of holes doesn't have to be that many.

Btw, there is LED molding ...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 2:56PM
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CR6 is the cost-effective choice - there's a T24-compliant version with a GU24 base - and they save you the $12 or so you'd spend on a baffle trim you'd normally need with recessed lighting. Also excellent light quality, and dimmable to 5%. Just get a new-construction 6" recessed can housing for each one (less than $15 each) and you're all set.

I like the new CR-series troffers too (available in 2x2', 1x4', or 2x4' sizes) but they're a bit pricey, although I expect them to drop in price with time. I'd consider them if you already have holes in the ceiling for fluorescent fixtures in those sizes. Or at least the 1x4 or 2x2. For whatever reason, 2x4 troffers (or ceiling tiles) look hopelessly institutional to my eyes.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 1:45AM
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Yes we are looking at doing some of the CR6 units with the GU24 base and standard IC air tight cans in our ceiling - I was hoping to find a good LED light that didn't require a recessed can, and the hole in the ceiling, but it doesn't appear that good ones are available yet.

I would think that with the lower heat produced in the LED can setup there would be less chimney effect, and thus less energy loss, in the Recessed Cans for cathedral ceiling installations.

For Title 24 we can get by with dimmers on our Halogen lights for some areas, and replace the required florescents with LEDs in a few areas.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 3:07PM
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There are some good ones, but most have an Edison (a.k.a. medium, E26, standard incandescent screw-in) base. Are they still T24 compliant, since the fixtures they would be used with could easily be retrofitted with old incandescent bulbs?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 5:29AM
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All title 24 compliant cans must utilize something other than the E26 base. The typical replacement is the GU24 base.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:35PM
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Our electrician has suggested recessed LEDs from Nora Lighting:


He brought a 6" unit out (NTR-6LED30) and it was very bright and dimmed really low without any flicker. It is available in a "warm white" and "bright white". He suggests the bright white for utility areas and warm white for living/bedroom/dining/bath. The 4" trim is only available in bright white.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 4:28AM
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I actually find it quite frustrating that you can get recessed LEDs with a GU24 base, but if you have GU24 pendants or flush mounts there are no LED bulbs available. I have the Philips LED bulbs in my living room and like them, but for my Kitchen remodel I'll have to use CFLs for this reason. Dimmable CFLs are a joke, so that means no dimmable lights in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 12:04AM
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Agreed. For the time being, you could use GU24 to E26 adapters ...

In reality, there is no difference between GU24 and E26 bases in terms of energy efficiency.

The naive intent was to prevent people from screwing in incandescents in place of energy efficient lighting.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 12:51AM
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.... which is particularly annoying since pure economics is driving many people to switch to CFLs (and sometimes) LEDs anyway even where not required, and there's a *much* better selection of these light bulbs with standard sockets, and they're much less expensive.

I do like the new federal phase-out of old-style incandescent 60/75/100w bulbs though. Finally as a result, the previously hard to find & expensive halogen/infrared bulbs are becoming readily available and cheap - these use about 2/3 the wattage for the same light, and don't have any of the quirks that affect CFLs and to a lesser extent LEDs. And they'll become cheaper still once the phase-out takes effect, since they'll finally be produced in mass quantities.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Again, the Home Depot Commercial Electric 4" LED modules are only $35 (or $40 in silver) and are a reasonable cheap alternative to a Cree LR4, albeit with somewhat lower quality light and more glare. 8.3 watts and they can be dimmed to 10%. I think they offer a GU24 pigtail that can be used instead of the Edison base shown for Title 24 compliance.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 7:09PM
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I am interested in the Commercial Electric 4" LED recessed lights as well - especially for some of our baths - guest, master, powder, etc...

If we use standard lights we need a occupancy sensor which raises the price a bit - matching or exceeding going with LED recessed and no sensor...Hmmmm

Are Title 24 bases available for the unit shown above for sure?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 1:50PM
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LED lighting is not allways dimmable, be carefully

Here is a link that might be useful: LED indoor lighting

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:07AM
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