Below is a brief overview of LED lighting, which you’ve likely heard of – as well as an introduction to one of the best performing LED lights on the market that provides a great retrofit into existing recessed can housings.
LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, are small, solid light bulbs that are extremely energy efficient and long lasting – up to 10 times longer than compact fluorescents (CFLs) and longer still than incandescent bulbs. Where a regular incandescent bulb will break easily by jarring and bumping, LED bulbs contain no filaments. Instead, they are grouped in clusters with diffuser lenses and can achieve colors of light ranging from a blu-ish cool white to warm incandescent tones.
LEDs use only 2-12 watts of electricity that’s 1/3rd to 1/30th of that used by CFL and incandescent bulbs – and CFLs cannot achieve the color-rendering that most people desire in their indoor spaces. In fact, because they are so efficient and long lasting, LEDs save in maintenance and replacement costs. Little wonder so many cities are replacing incandescent traffic lights with LED arrays; they reduce the cost of electricity by more than 80%. Their low power requirements also make them ideal for use in remote areas and in conjunction with solar panels.
Unlike CFLs that contain mercury that eventually leak and pollute the environment, LEDs are much more environmentally friendly.
CREE is developing and providing market-leading LED technology across the globe. In particular, we are especially excited about the performance aspects of the flush-mount 6″ recessed can light (LR6 and CR6). LR6 is also available in a 4″ product, aptly named the LR4. The products are easy retro-fits that will work in conjunction with existing recessed can light housings. All you have to do is unscrew your existing bulb, remove the trim piece, and screw in the entire CREE unit. Unlike some older recessed lights, these lights are IC rated, which means that can come into direct contact with insulation and not be a fire hazard. This is rather important when you are thinking about installing can lights in an existing house that already has insulation above the ceiling. If you are using a non-IC rated light, there will need to be a void in the insulation – and electrical penetrations can be a huge source of heat loss in the winter.
The LR6 is an industry-leading, extremely well performing downlight from CREE. The CR6 is a more cost-effective spin off of the LR6, geared more for residential use, while still delivering on performance. For comparative purposes, traditional incandescent lights for 6″ cans are normally 60-75 watt bulbs that last 1,000 – 2,000 hours.
Here are some features of the LR6 & CR6:
50,000 hour rating 50,000 hour rating
10.5 Watt 10.5 Watt
650 Lumens 575 Lumens
Replaces 65-watt incandescent Replaces 65-watt incandescent
Dimmable to 20% Dimmable to 5%
2700 K or 3500 K 2700 K
No toxic mercury No toxic mercury
Our friends over at GreenTex Builders recently discovered the CREE downlights and are beginning to incorporate them into their new construction and remodel projects. Check out what they had to say about the LR6 on their blog: