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What is Full-Spectrum Lighting?

Full Spectrum Lighting is a term used to describe light that uses all of the different wavelengths of the color spectrum (infrared to ultraviolet).  Natural daylight (sunlight) is considered full spectrum lighting although the range is affected by the time of day, cloud cover, and tilt of the earth.  Full-spectrum is simply a word used in the lighting industry to suggest that a bulb will produce a natural light.  While color temperature or commonly known as  Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and Color Rendering Index (CRI|) are the standards for measuring the color production of a light bulb, full-spectrum lighting is simply an all-inclusive catchphrase. 

Why is it important?

In situations where accurate color rendering is important to the task at hand, such as an artist, graphic designer, or photographer, full-spectrum lighting sources directly impact their abilities to perform their work.  Many artists use full-spectrum bulbs in their studios so that their paint colors stay true to form when moved into a gallery or home.  Color matching specialists use full-spectrum bulbs to ensure paint tints come out okay when mixing indoors.  

Full-spectrum lighting can also help indoor gardens and nurseries grow plants by simulating natural daylight. One of the other common uses for the full lighting spectrum is to help treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (a disease that causes deep depression due to the lack of sunlight).  This is certainly common in parts of the country like Alaska where there is little daylight for months at a time.  

Take away

With the rapid development of LED lamps, more full-spectrum lighting options are becoming available.

Full-spectrum lighting can be challenging to fully grasp because it isn’t directly visible.  Subsequently, older lighting systems such as fluorescent lights do not render certain colors well and as a result do not provide the color accuracy and human-centric benefits that a full spectrum light source does.

Color temperature (CCT) and color rendering (CRI) are the accepted metrics for lighting.  In order to accurately quantify and compare full-spectrum lights, use these two metrics to make meaningful comparisons. The ideal light source should have a color temperature of 6500k, and a CRI rating of 95 or higher.

So, now you know what “full-spectrum lighting” is.  Should you have any questions about lighting in your facility, We are always happy to provide answers.   Contact CSL for more information.  

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