3 reasons why hotels are adding LEDs to lighting designs

Greenbriar by Meyda
Meyda Custom Lighting's Greenbriar Oak eight-arm chandelier accommodates dimmable LEDs. Photo credit: Meyda Custom Lighting

As light-emitting diode lighting fixtures go from niche to ubiquitous, hotels are taking advantage of the new devices and technology to create more customized looks. “Luxury and full-service hotels are incorporating LED lighting into areas that are usually left untouched by limited-service hotels, such as illuminating countertops and reception desks, coves, millwork, mirrors, beds and headboards,” said Harry Moshos, director of business development for WAC Lighting and Modern Forms. 

“LEDs have allowed for a much greater level of control,” said Jackson Schwartz, co-founder of design and manufacturing lighting studio Hennepin Made. “You can have the ability to create a wide range of light output. This is essential when having different types of functions [an] event space will hold. 

“With LED, we're doing a lot of zero to 10-volt dimming, which gives it that really smooth dimming capability all the way down to 1 percent—and no flickering,” said Max Cohen, director of hospitality marketing for Meyda Custom Lighting and 2nd Ave Lighting. “Color temperatures are a great way to change the mood in any type of space.” Warmer whites will give a space a “comfortable, intimate feeling,” he said. “We even have a fixture in our line that's 2200 kelvin, which is extremely warm—and it's an edgy fixture. So adding that nice warm color temperature is like a mix between modern design with Old World light output.” 

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LED Challenges

LEDs, of course, are decidedly different from incandescent bulbs, and hoteliers and designers need to be aware of what they're working with. For example, if the dimmers on light fixtures don’t communicate properly with the LED bulbs, the lighting temperatures can be off or lights can start flickering, said Nicole Alexander of Siren Betty Design. “Make sure you're educating yourself [and] reaching out to lighting consultants to make sure all of those components are together,” she advised.

When selecting LEDs for a hotel, Moshos said, a hotelier should understand the proper terminology the different products use. LEDs that are integrated into a fixture, for example, are not rated the same way LED light bulbs are rated, even though they both use a “rated hours” measurement. “Light bulbs are rated by the amount of hours it takes for 50 percent of the light bulbs to fail,” he explained. Integrated LEDs, on the other hand, are rated by the amount of hours LEDs can produce at least 70 percent of the initial light output of a brand new integrated diode. That means integrated LEDs can outlast LED light bulbs in the long run, and can save hoteliers money over time. “Just add up the cost of renting a scissor lift and paying labor rates to replace a light bulb on a chandelier 25 feet up on the ceiling twice a year, and that usually does the trick,” he advised.

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