Five ways LED drivers impact architectural lighting

Lighting can have the single most impact on the aesthetic of a space. While it functions primarily to illuminate spaces indoors, it plays a critical part in the beauty of building design. And in modern building engineering, it also is the focus of energy efficiency strategies. These aspects challenge architects to provide the functional lighting requirements dictated by specifications, architectural design that meets the building owner’s wants, and also lighting with the smallest impact on energy consumption. LED lighting is almost always the answer, and drivers create a wide variety of styles that allow designers to marry design wants with the functional needs of a building. To get the most from LED lighting, architects should understand how LED drivers effect it and how to use that to their advantage.

Consistent Output

While LEDs are low voltage light sources, once they are connected in series the voltage increases. Changes in voltage can cause a disproportionate current which can cause the light output to vary. This can be a problem when designing a lighting scheme. This is why the driver is so important. LED drivers are the power supply for LEDs and operate much like a ballast for fluorescent lights. They regulate the current and can protect the LEDs from line-voltage fluctuations.

Dimming Control

Dimming is a feature used by many designers to create an ambiance in spaces like theatres and restaurants. But traditional dimming has had issues with fluctuations and loss in efficiency. With the use of a driver, LEDs can dim from 100 percent to 0 percent output. There is no loss of efficiency as the LEDs use the same voltage and current during dimming that they do during full output. Using drivers for LED dimming controls can also lengthen the life span of LEDs because dimming can reduce the operating temperatures.

Color Sequencing

LEDs are also great for architectural designs that require color changing and sequencing. Drivers can allow dimming for various color LEDs to create a coloring and lighting effect. The drivers can also work with a sequencer which receives the voltage output and converts it to a three channel output in red, green, and blue that can then make an array of color combinations.

 Flexibility in Design

Drivers for LEDs can be constant voltage or constant current types. They can also be customized for individual LED fixtures or for an array. You can also find drivers that adapt to most types of LED lighting. There are drivers to fit any lighting situation, freeing the designer from the constraints of typical lighting power supplies. Drivers are small enough to fit inside of junction boxes, so they never have to be incorporated into the design.

Energy Efficiency

Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of LEDs is for energy efficiency. With lower thermal energy produced and longer lifespans, the energy savings are easily calculated. But energy-efficient lighting design also should incorporate ways to reduce usage altogether. These means lighting schedules and shut off times in unoccupied areas. Drivers work easily with occupancy sensors, lighting controls, dimmers and automation systems. With these tools, a lighting design can be created to shut off lights in every building space if unoccupied for a set period of time. They can also shut off entire areas or whole building lights at certain times with controls and automation systems. These can create huge energy savings for the entire building.

Lighting is fundamental to any building design. The right lighting system can be as inviting as it is functional, and with drivers they can also save the building owner money. While LEDs are the standard in lighting efficiency, it’s their drivers that enable them to adapt to any design and provide constant, efficient lighting. They’re small, convertible, and often interchangeable. Whether you’re designing signage for an opera house or lighting for a university library, drivers are the efficient and easy way to achieve the lighting design you want.