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Lighting Terminology

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0-10V: A dimming technology commonly used in commercial installations that controls the light level of the connected load through a separate, dedicated DC voltage signal that ranges from zero to 10 volts. Refer to our Dimming Technology guide for more information.

3-Way Dimmer: 3-way dimmers are designed to provide dimming control from one location, but can be installed in tandem with three-way on/off switches that allow you to turn the lights on to the preset dimmer level from a variety of different locations.

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Candela: The SI base unit of luminous intensity; the amount of light emitted from a light source in particular direction. Abbreviated "cd".

Center Beam Candlepower (CBCP): A measurement of the intensity of light at the center of a reflector lamp. Measured in candela.

Color Temperature: A measurement for determining the characteristics of a white light source, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Lower values, such as 2000K-3000K, are considered "warmer" and give off a yellowish light. Higher values, such as 5000K-6000K, are considered "cooler" and give off a bluish light. Color temperature of the light source is an important consideration in every project and should be selected based on the application, tasks performed, and the environment of the project area. Also referred as Correlated Color Temperature (CCT).

Color Rendering Index (CRI): A measurement of how accurately a light source renders colors. It is measured on a scale of 0-100, with the higher the number indicating a "truer" representation of color. Color-critical applications should strive for a light source with a CRI of 85 or higher.

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DALI: Digital Addressable Lighting Interface is a two-way digital lighting control system protocol used in building automation in commercial applications.

Dark-Sky: A campaign to reduce light pollution in an effort to reduce energy use, reduce the harmful effects of unnatural lighting on ecosystems, and to increase the number of visible stars in the night sky. The use of full-cutoff fixtures is highly encouraged. International Dark-Sky Association

DesignLights Consortium (DLC): A voluntary utility-based certification initiative that promotes quality, performance and energy efficient commercial lighting solutions. www.designlights.org

DMX: A control technology commonly used in theatrical lighting and architectural accent lighting installations that controls the color, light level, and other aspects of the connected load through a dedicated low voltage digital communication signal. Refer to our Dimming Technology guide and DMX Hisotry article for more information.

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ELV: Electronic Low Voltage. A dimmer used for capacitive low voltage loads connected to a solid-state electronic transformer. Uses Reverse Phase dimming technology.

ENERGY STAR: A voluntary certification program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy that helps consumers and businesses save money and protect the climate through energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR program certifies products as well as homes and commercial buildings. www.energystar.gov

ETL: An independent testing and certification mark from Intertek Testing Services demonstrates compliance with nationally recognized safety standards. www.intertek.com/marks/etl/

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Foot-candle: The measurement of the intensity of light falling on a surface. One foot-candle is loosely defined as the amount of light coming from a one candela light source from one foot away. The foot-candle is commonly used in the United States, while the SI standard "lux" is used internationally. 1 foot-candle = 1 lumen/square foot, or 10.764 lux. Abbreviated "fc".

Forward Phase: A dimming technology that controls the light level of the connected load by phase cutting the leading edge of the AC power sine wave. Commonly called "incandescent dimming" or "Triac dimming". Refer to our Dimming Technology guide for more information.

Full-Cutoff Fixture: A light fixture designed to cast little or no upward light.

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IP Rating: The Ingress Protection (IP) rating is a standardized classification system that rates the degree to which a fixture or enclosure can be penetrated by solids or liquids. The first number indicates the protection against solid particles, ranging from 0 to 6. The second number indicates the protection against liquid, ranging from 0 to 9. Refer to this Wikipedia page for the complete number breakdown.

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L70 Lifespan: The industry standard used to express the rated lifespan of an LED lamp or fixture. It indicates the number of hours before lumen output drops to 70% of the initial lumen output.

Lumen: The SI base unit of luminous flux; the amount of visible light emitted by a light source, without regard to direction. Abbreviated "lm". Lumens do not measure the amount of light falling on a surface - see "Foot-candle".

Luminous Efficacy: The measurement of how well a light source produces light, measured in lumens of output per watts of energy used. In effect, it tells you how efficient the light source is in converting power used to visible light. Expressed in "lm/W".

Lux: The SI base unit of illuminance measuring the intensity of light falling on a surface. 1 lux = 1 lumen/square meter. Abbreviated "lx".

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Maximum Overall Length (MOL): Indicates the overall end-to-end measurement of a bulb/lamp, including the base.

MLV: Magnetic Low Voltage. A dimmer used for inductive low voltage loads connected to a magnetic transformer. Uses Forward Phase dimming technology.

Multi-location Dimmer: Multi-location dimmers are designed to be paired with other accessory dimmers in order to provide dimming control of a light source from many locations.

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Reverse Phase: A dimming technology that controls the light level of the connected load by phase cutting the trailing edge of the AC power sine wave. Usually used for low voltage fixtures and commonly called "ELV dimming". Refer to our Dimming Technology guide for more information.

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Single Pole Dimmer: Single-pole dimmers are designed to provide dimming control from only one location.

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Triac Dimming: Common term for Forward Phase dimming technology.

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UL: An independent safety company that provides standards, certification, testing, and inspection for a range of disciplines, products, fixtures, and components. www.ul.com