How LED architectural lighting is changing the look of our cities

The incredible advantages of LED lighting – a highly efficient, economical way of enhancing monuments, churches and palazzos in historic town centres

Published on 20 February 2020

LED artistic and architectural illumination

Historic monuments, palazzos, palaces and churches. The historic centres of both cities and smaller towns always include beautiful historic architecture that is often a touchstone for local residents and an attraction for tourists. This heritage deserves to be shown in its best light even at times when the sun isn’t shining, such as on balmy summer nights and dark winter afternoons.

This is the job of architectural lighting or accent lighting, an architectural discipline in its own right that demands meticulous design and careful selection of solutions.  In recent years these have come to include LED lights, which have many advantages over the likes of sodium or metal halide lamps, not least the fact that they consume substantially less energy.  

LED technology has advanced enormously in the last decade. Today, it delivers powerful light with highly efficient energy conversion, which can be adjusted at will with colour and tones also variable. New generation LED spotlights can create extremely focused beams of light that can highlight every last architectural detail.  

What other advantages do LED lights have? First and foremost, their very low energy consumption and high level of efficiency means that many more lighting units can be used in a single architectural illumination project compared with traditional light sources, thus creating much more impressive results.  

LED lights also produce much less heat because they are more efficient at converting electricity into light. By this we mean no more than 120°C in even the most powerful lights which can be easily cooled by using a heat sink. This means that illumination projects can be created for even delicate structures such as wood. And they will also be safer for workers, such as installers and maintenance staff, as well as the public.  

Another important feature of LEDs is their small size, which means the lighting units can be small but powerful, reducing the aesthetic impact of their presence on the monuments being showcased to an absolute minimum.  

The final factor to take into consideration is just how simple LEDs are to fit and maintain.  LEDs have very long lifespans and require far less maintenance than conventional lights. They are also easier to wire and put in position. This means they are ideal for temporary projects, such as festive illuminations.

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