Luminaire is just a fancy word for light fixture. The amount of light put out by a traditional luminaire depends both on the fixture design and the light source within the fixture. Solid state lighting with light-emitting diodes is a different story. The lines between light source and luminaire are not distinct, so luminaire output is even more important than ever. That’s why specifications of the lumen distribution are part of the Energy Star requirements for solid state luminaires. Lumen distribution is reported on polar plots.

Read more: How to Read the Polar Curve of a Luminaire |

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Originally published at eHow, June 2011.