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Understanding Kelvin and The K Number in Your Lighting


The big question: What exactly does the term Kelvin mean?


The short answer is that Kelvin (and your K Number) is the scientific methodology for the color emitting from your lighting fixture. Higher K numbers, like 5000K, emit a cooler white light, whereas lower K numbers (like 3000K) will emit a more yellow, warm light when powered on.


Kelvin itself measures the temperature of light, and the scale of it begins at 0 which represents the point where is the least possible kinetic energy and thus, the lowest K number (Kelvin, unlike Fahrenheit or Celsius does not go below 0).


There are three fundamental kinds of color temperature. They're known as Soft White (2700K-3000K), Bright White/Cool White (3500-4100K), and Daylight (5000K-6500K). As the value of the kelvin units increases on the scale, the color temperature becomes whiter, and thus lights higher up in the scale will appear brighter than those lower on the scale. 3000K is considered a warm white color light.


As we mentioned earlier, a 3000K LED fixture gives out warm or soft white or yellowish color light. This makes it an excellent choice for homes, especially seating areas and bedrooms. For a business setting, it works well in dining areas like restaurants, cafes, bars, and lounges. On the Kelvin scale, the 5000k LED fixture is a pure white daylight color light. It is a high color temperature that can even emit some deeper shades of blue. It is typically a bright light, crisp, and illuminating, which is an energizing choice for basements and environments that are detail-oriented such as hospitals, factories, and workshops. Furthermore, compared to the colors of lower temperatures, it offers the clearest contrast.


Warm white is a typically a popular choice for homes, ranking lower on the Kelvin scale (2700-3000K). It is perfect for setting up cozy and warm atmospheres. Naturally, it means the places where you would love to spend time with friends or family to relax and unwind. This is due to the yellowy glow it produces that gives a relaxing, softer, and warmer tone.


Cool white is white light that produces more of an attention grabbing light. On the Kelvin scale, they are higher than the warm white (remember that the temperature is higher but the light is colder) They are the ideal choice for a more modern look with their fresh glow illumination. Due to the slightly bluish hue and bright white glow, they provide energy to the home spaces. If you need productivity and alertness, such as in the garage and the kitchen, these are your go-to.


If you're looking to learn more about lighting and lighting applications, be sure to check out more of Pacific Light & Energy's blog posts and stay tuned for more!

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