Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lights--LEDs in the lead

We are doing our kitchen renovation with permits, which means that the construction has to comply with all the county and state regulations in order to pass inspection.  And California loves their rules and regulations.  Which means that a simple (ha!) kitchen reno involves replacing stuff you didn't anticipate.  Like the lights.  They looked fine to me, but here in California, we have to abide by Title 24.  In effect, 50% of the lighting in a kitchen must be high efficiency, by wattage.  So for a singular 65W incandescent, you need 5-13W CFLs.  Translated into real-world practicality, my whole kitchen was slated to be lit with recessed fluorescent lighting.  Yack!

No, it wasn't this month's article in Wired that convinced us (which I actually only just read), but after poring over the actual regulations in Title 24 and doing some research, we opted to go instead with LED downlights.  For the record, the GU24 socket is what makes it acceptable with Title 24 so don't try to install an Edison-style housing socket--even for an LED lamp--and expect to pass inspection.  The CREE LEDs we're going with seem almost too good to be true--25 year bulb life, dimmable (to 5% with the CR6 model), incandescent-like quality of light (2700K--I know way too much about lighting now), and cool to the touch.  I guess the "too good to be true" resides in the price; at $52 a bulb they are not cheap, but 25 year bulb-life and 80% savings on the electrical bill?  Sign me up.

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