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What is CRI or colour rendering index?

CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index. It is a unit of measurement that indicates how well a light source can render the colours of objects compared to natural light. The CRI scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 representing perfect colour rendering comparable to natural light.
A good CRI value can vary depending on the specific application, but generally a CRI value of 80 or higher is considered good. This means that the light source reproduces the colours of objects fairly accurately, similar to how they would look under natural light. For tasks that require high colour accuracy, such as photography or art, a CRI value of 90 or higher may be desirable.

Why is CRI important?

CRI is very important in a private home because it can significantly affect the aesthetics and functionality of the space. A high CRI value ensures that the colours in your home are authentically and vividly rendered, enhancing the overall atmosphere and design of your interior. For example, a lamp with a high CRI can accentuate the rich colours of your furniture, artwork or decorative items. In addition, good colour rendering is essential for tasks that require colour accuracy, such as cooking, sewing, reading or creating art. It provides visual comfort and can improve the overall experience of the space.
In a retail environment, a high CRI can increase the attractiveness of products and boost sales. In photography and art, a high CRI can help capture colours accurately, which is essential to the quality of the final work. Therefore, it is important to consider the CRI value when choosing lighting solutions.

Is a higher CRI value always better?

While a higher CRI value is generally associated with more accurate colour rendering, this does not necessarily mean that a higher CRI is always better. The "best" CRI value depends on the specific application and personal preference. For most residential and commercial applications, a CRI value of 80 or 90 is sufficient. This provides good colour rendering while still being energy efficient and cost effective.
For tasks that require very high colour accuracy, such as photography, art exhibits or retail, a CRI of 90 or higher may be desirable. It is important to remember that while a higher CRI means more accurate colour reproduction, it does not always result in a 'better' or 'more desirable' light. The perception of colour is subjective and can vary from person to person. Therefore, it is important to choose lighting that suits your specific needs and preferences.
Energy efficiency and a higher colour rendering index (CRI) do not always go hand in hand. While a higher CRI often indicates better colour accuracy, it does not necessarily mean that the light source is more energy efficient. In fact, a light source with a higher CRI may consume more energy because it is trying to accurately represent a wider colour spectrum. Therefore, although a higher CRI can improve the visual comfort and aesthetic appeal of a room, it is important to strike a balance between colour accuracy and energy consumption. For many applications, a CRI in the 80 or 90 range is a good compromise, with reasonable colour rendering while being energy efficient.