Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • 6 5 and halogen options, in many cases, it's not enough to deter designers and owners from choosing LEDs. Also, LEDs make up the initial cost premium over time with savings on power and maintenance costs. The most efficient LED bulbs use about 85 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs and about 40 percent less than fluorescent bulbs. LEDs can last up to five years with nonstop use and even decades when used a few hours per day. That's 50 times longer than incandescents and about three to seven times longer than fluorescents. Think of the time and effort saved, given that replacing LED bulbs is rarely necessary. With stricter energy codes becoming more widespread, the energy-saving traits of LEDs are critical. For example, lighting power density limits in Califor- nia's Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standard make designing restaurant lighting a challenge. Each space has a power budget, and every watt must be measured for every fixture. The latest provisions of California's energy code, in fact, prohibit the use of incandes- cent and halogen lamps. In other states with less stringent codes, LEDs' consid- erable energy savings make it possible to meet code while also mixing in incandescent or halogen lamps within the overall lighting scheme. Aesthetic Limitations LEDs offer a wide range of color quality ranging from warm to neutral to mimicking brilliant daylight. Bulbs are classified into three categories as measured in degrees Kelvin (K): Soft White (2700K–3000K), Bright White/ Cool White (3500K–4100K) and Daylight (5000K–6500K). The higher the degrees Kelvin, the whiter the color temperature. Most lighting in restaurants falls below 3800K. A cooler, whiter color suits a clean, modern aesthetic. Thus, many fast-casual establishments opt for a brighter, whiter lighting scheme, and LEDs fit the bill well in these spaces. There are times when halogen lights are a better choice, however, according to some lighting designers. Fine-dining restaurants with a more tra- ditional aesthetic — containing darker interior surfaces such as wood, brick and stone, for instance — typically opt for a warmer lighting scheme, an envi- ronment where LEDs have historically fallen short. For Coje Management Group, a Boston-based restaurant operating group, lighting is an integral ingredi- ent in the warm, romantic aesthetic of their three establishments. Coje's properties are fine-dining or full-service restaurants where most guests stay for a minimum of two hours. "They spend a lot of time soaking up the aesthetics," says Chris Jamison, principal with Coje. "The easiest way to insert warmth into the equation is through lighting." "We don't use LEDs for down lighting or spotlighting on tables," Jamison continues. "We haven't seen LEDs that can mimic the warmth that we want when dimmed." LEDs can produce a flicker effect when dimmed that might be just barely perceptible but is enough to detract from the desired lighting scheme, he says, and is more prominent when an LED spotlight is positioned next to a halogen spotlight. In California, the energy codes dictate that LEDs are the only real op- tion in new or substantially renovated spaces to create a warm interior lighting aesthetic. Fluorescents will not produce the same effect. Neal says that there are current LED products that work in muted, warmer color tones. "The tech- nology is there," he says. "It can be achieved, and price points have come down. There are new warm, dimmable LEDs that drop the color temperature as you dim them down." Anderson counters that price sensitivity is still inhibiting the use of warm, dimmable LEDs, including trendy Edison-style bulbs, in the New York City area. "In an especially com- petitive environment like New York, if you pay a 30 percent or more premium Vandal's "Secret Garden" room in New York has dramatic lighting to highlight its street art- inspired aesthetic. Photo by Warren Jagger

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