Sunday, April 26, 2009

LED Downlight Q & A

Hello Peggy,

I read with great interest your blog on Kitchen-exchange in regards to LED lighting. I will be remodeling our kitchen, dining room, and living room and would like to use LED recessed lighting. This will be new construction so I will need the fixtures as well as the bulbs. Can you help me locate a supplier that deals with (California title 24 compliant) this product?

Thank You,



Hi Denise,

You can do that yourself by going to the Cree web site and asking them who offers their LED, LR4 & LR6, downlight products locally.

There is also a new LED downlight series by Juno that offers similar illumination quality (competition is good).

You can find both companies with Google.

You'll need to buy matching fixtures and lamps that have a GU-24 base (Bi-pin connections) to be in conformance with CA Title 24.

Remember: There are lots of cheap LED downlight lamps out there and only a couple, at this point, that really do a good job.

Good luck with your project and let us know how it goes.


P.S. Downlighting is only one way to light rooms.

You need "layers" of lighting to achieve the wonderful effects that really good lighting can create.

By themselves downlights create cones of light. They are best for TASK lighting (counters, desks, etc.).

You still need AMBIENT lighting. That's the fill light that takes our eyes and throats out of the shadows and makes people look as great as surfaces and objects.

Then there is ACCENT lighting, for when we want to highlight an object or surface for an unexpected punch of strong light.

Finally, DECORATIVE lighting encompasses the fixtures and lamps with artistic flair that become a focal point in a room (even though they may not actually light it very well at all).

A well conceived lighting plan will take all of these elements into account, as well as the activities that happen in the space.

Good ambient lighting is the hardest to create in most spaces, but the most important next to task lighting.

Conclusion: A smattering of downlights on your ceilings, the sole lighting scheme in so many homes these days, provides lighting roughly equivalent to hanging an arrangement of flashlights from your ceilings (Think Halloween and the flashlight under the chin). Not a very flattering way to light yourself, your family, or your guests.

To learn more about great lighting from my favorite lighting designer (and teacher), see