North Carolina-based manufacturer Cree wants the ugly, utilitarian office lights you spend your work days sitting beneath to look a little less bland, with new LN Series LED fixtures designed for better lighting aesthetics.
The new fixtures are engineered to maximize light output while minimizing glare by distributing the light across thin, acrylic panels angled for optimum directionality. The idea is that optimized fixtures mean more control over where the lights get placed -- and that it'll take fewer fixtures to get the job done.
Cree brands the new engineering inside the fixtures as WaveMax Technology, and claims that it enables better efficacy at lower color temperatures. Traditionally, dialing down from the uncomfortably hot, bluish tones of fluorescent tube lighting has meant sacrificing light output, but the LN Series claims over 100 lumens per watt at midrange, whitish color temperatures of 3,500 and 4,000 K, with a color-rendering score in the nineties.
Cree sees that combination of light quality and efficiency as the key to spurring faster LED adoption in workplaces across the country. It's an approach that's already helped the brand become a dominant force in the lighting aisle with its line of residential LED light bulbs, more than one of which currently sit on our list of best LED bulbs.
The new fixtures are also aimed at advancing, which Cree rolled out in 2014. With sensors for motion and ambient light built into each fixture, the lights are capable of automating in rhythm with daylight or by detecting foot traffic below, which, according to Cree, helps boost energy efficiency even more.
Beyond the specs, Cree's touting the architectural appeal of the lights, which makes sense -- they're certainly better-looking than any office fixture I've ever sat under. Cree claims that WaveMax opens the door for all sorts of innovative new designs, and points to the exterior-minded IG Series of fixtures announced alongside the LN Series as an example. Pitched as the perfect fixture for modern parking garages, the IG Series reflects light across four vertically positioned panels with the same combination of low glare and high efficiency as the LN Series.
Cree isn't alone in the race to modernize public lighting. Rival brands like GE and TCP already produce commercial LED fixtures and LED tube lighting, and Philips recently helped the city of Los Angeles smarten up its street lights. Cree thinks it can play a similar role in urban lighting development, and says the WaveMax tech makes it possible to bring light pollution levels down to a minimum.
There's no final word on pricing for either fixture, though Cree will likely need to be somewhat aggressive in order to meet its goal of spurring adoption. Aesthetics are one thing, but commercial fixtures need to appeal to an office manager's bottom line, too. The efficiency argument can certainly help to temper the initial sticker shock, but its worth noting that high-efficiency LED fixtures have been around for years -- without the sort of wide-scale adoption that Cree is hoping for.