Deanna Alrutz

Deanna Alrutz

Deanna was our E-Commerce Marketing Specialist in 2013.

Nov 112013
 

iStock 000009046195XSmall How to Recycle Light Bulbs

Today kicks off National Recycling Week, so we thought we’d celebrate by publishing a handy guide on how to recycle your old bulbs. Recycling can be a bit tedious, especially since light bulbs have to be sorted even more carefully than glass bottles. But the more you know ahead of time the easier it will be, and you can make a serious difference just by correctly recycling your old lamps! Here is the proper way to recycle light bulbs based on the type of lamp.

Fluorescent/CFL Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs are tricky to dispose of because they contain a small amount of mercury, so you can’t just throw them in the trash. Doing so could lead to broken bulbs, which could put people who come in contact with it – namely, waste management workers – at risk for mercury poisoning.  The good news is that there are a TON of ways to recycle your CFLs. Many hardware and retail stores, including Ace Hardware, Home Depot and IKEA, offer CFL recycling drop-offs at their locations. Use this helpful tool to find the closest recycling location to you!

Here are some more resources on recycling fluorescent lamps:

Incandescents

These old fashioned power-suckers are not very kind to your energy bill or the environment, since they waste a lot of electricity and cannot be recycled. One more reason to upgrade to something better once your bulb burns out. Some places that recycle CFL bulbs may take your incandescents, but since there are no recycling programs for regular light bulbs they will most likely just throw them out.

The best way to safely dispose of incandescent bulbs is to wrap them up in newspaper and/or in the original packaging before placing them in your normal trash. This will help protect the people handling your trash (including you!) from risk of injury from broken glass.

Although incandescent lamps can’t be recycled into new lamps, there are a number of ways to up-cycle them yourself. Check out these creative ideas for using old burnt out bulbs in craft projects!

Halogen & LEDs

Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent, so the same restrictions apply to them. They can’t be recycled, so you can carefully dispose of them in your regular trash. Be sure to wrap them up so they won’t shatter! You can also try reusing them just like incandescents in various up-cycle craft projects.

Likewise, LED bulbs take a pretty long time to wear out, but eventually they will need to be replaced. LEDs don’t have mercury in them so they are safe to dispose in the normal trash, but depending on what your lamp looks like it might be great for crafts too! Anyone have a creative idea for LED recycling?

Holiday Lights

Tis the season to recycle! Did you know there are several recycling programs dedicated to recycling old or broken holiday lights? Several states have their own recycling programs, so do a Google search for “holiday light recycling in [your state]” to see what is available to you locally. If your state doesn’t offer holiday recycling, there are a few stores that may recycle holiday lights like Home Depot and certain online retailers. Here is a great resource for locating recycling programs near you, or mail-in options if there isn’t much local to your home.

Have any cool ideas to share about bulb recycling? Let us know in the comments!

Nov 072013
 

We wrote an article a few years ago about “li-fi,” an up-and-coming technology that uses light bulbs to transmit a wireless signal. This technology has come a long way since then, and today it’s one of the craziest (and coolest) innovations in the lighting industry! Scientists across the globe (primarily in the UK and China) have been developing this lighting-based data transmission, which could revolutionize the way we connect to the internet.

bigstock LED1 Are Light Bulbs Taking Over the Internet?

Conventional wi-fi is emitted using mirowaves or radio frequencies. The great conundrum of physics is that light travels both in particles and waves, a property which also makes it compatible with wavelength data transmission. Although li-fi has been in development for some years now, the most notable recent accomplishment belongs to Chinese professor Chi Nan, who managed to construct a DIY lighting-based data transmitter from basic retail components. Continue reading »

Nov 042013
 

It’s that time of year again! The dust has settled from Halloween and we’re gearing up for one of the busiest seasons in the lighting industry.

holiday lighting guide1 Holiday Lighting Guide

You might think it’s a little early to start worrying about the holiday season – and don’t worry, we’re not trying to be your weird neighbors with icicle lights on their porch in July. But when it comes to holiday lighting, there’s a lot to plan for if you want to get the most out of your efforts, so in the spirit of preparation, it’s never too early!

Everybody celebrates the holidays a little differently, so here are some tips for how to make your holiday lighting as special as you are.

1. Plan ahead. 

Most people’s holiday decorating tradition involves a month of putting it off and suddenly realizing you can (or have to) do it today. But even minimal planning can make all the difference in your decorating. Decide ahead of time – as in, right now – approximately when the deadline for getting your decorations up is, and then make plans to get it done. Make decorating a priority, and you’ll actually be able to really enjoy them for the whole season.

Planning is also super helpful when it’s time to start hanging lights, because there’s not much worse than getting to the end of your last string of lights while on top of a 20-foot ladder – and you only made it across half the house. Do some simple calculations and a bit of research to decide what type of light you need and how much of it. Continue reading »

Oct 312013
 

This post is part of a series for newlyweds, which has included a post on wedding lighting and on honeymoon destinations for lovers of light.

New life stages can be exhilarating, but they can also be intimidating. If you’ve just gotten married and moved into your first home together (or even just moved to a new place by yourself), chances are you’re about to discover all kinds of things that need updating or fixing. This will be especially true for lighting, since so much in the lighting industry has changed in the past few years. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning the lighting updates for your new home.

bigstock New happy property owners 44454670 1 Lighting Your First Home

Energy Efficiency

If you’re thinking about home lighting options for the first time, you may not be aware of the impact the kind of bulbs you use can have on your wallet. Incandescent lamps – the kind we all grew up using, which produce a warm yellow light – use only about 5% of the energy they expend to produce light; the other 95% produces heat. Since heat is not usually the purpose of a light bulb, you can see why these lamps are considered “inefficient” – they waste the majority of the energy they use.

CFLs in Bulk Lighting Your First HomeSo if you aren’t sentimental, ditch the incandescents for energy-saving light bulbs. Even if conservation isn’t your thing, you can win with energy efficient lighting because it will save you a LOT out of pocket on each electric bill. With some fixtures it’s as easy as replacing the bulb – household light bulbs, or A-lamps, are exchangable regardless of light source. You can try out an affordable CFL bulb if you don’t need to be able to dim, or go all in with a longer-lasting, cool-to-touch, dimmable LED bulb. Even LEDs have become very affordable recently, with some models as low as $5 each. And even if you love the color of incandescents, never fear! You can find fluorescents and LEDs that look (and sometimes even act) the same as old-fashioned lamps.

If the bulbs in your fixtures aren’t easily replacable, you may need to buy new ones if you want to upgrade to more energy efficient lighting. Ultimately it will be worth the up-front investment either way, since you can save so much both in your energy bill and in replacement costs when you use LEDs or other similarly long-lasting solutions. Continue reading »

Oct 282013
 

The lighting industry has been busy as ever this month, from the slow-climbing successes of LED adoption to the discovery of new galaxies. Have you kept up? Allow us to offer a taste…

In Lighting News…

“LED Lighting Creeps Toward Tipping Point”

L Prize Winner Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting in October

It’s only a matter of time before LEDs make serious headway into the retrofit market. Forbes predicts that by 2021, LEDs will make up approximately half of all retrofits in a market where they currently only make up about 5%. Read more…

Cree Announces Dim-To-Warm LED Lights

Durham, N.C.-based LED manufacturer Cree has just announced that they are adding a dim-to-warm option in their LMH2 LED module family of lamps. This is significant because although LEDs are better at dimming than fluorescents, they do not inherently change colors as they dim like an incandescent. But now incandescent lovers can enjoy the warming colors of a dimming incandescent without all the wasted energy. Read more…

“Glow-In-The-Dark Paths Could Be The Future Of Street Lighting”

 Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting in October

Image via popsci.com

A park in Cambridge, England has tried out an unconventional method to lighting the paths at night: glow-in-the-dark gravel. Known as Starpath, this resurfacing material is able to absorb ultraviolet light during the day and release it at night in a bluish glow. Read more…

Continue reading »

Oct 232013
 
contemporary kitchen How to Light a Vaulted Ceiling

image via houzz.com

Vaulted ceilings can be great assets to any building, giving rooms a much more spacious, airy feel. But all that extra space can also be a challenge to light. What’s the best kind of lighting to use on a vaulted ceiling? We’re glad you asked!

Start with recessed lighting. If your ceiling has any kind of slope to it, it will almost definitely benefit from a healthy spread of can lights. You really can’t go wrong with recessed lighting in a vaulted ceiling because their versatility, inconspicuous design and customizable illumination. There are many kinds of recessed trims you can pick from, and we recommend choosing fixtures with housings specially designed for vaulted ceilings, like these. There are a lot of different ways to space your recessed lights, so take into consideration what effects you want the light to have. You might choose to spread recessed lights across the whole ceiling, or keep them mainly around the wall border. There’s no right answer here, and for extra help, check out our blog post on laying out recessed lights. Recessed lights do great as the primary source of illumination, especially when paired with interesting pendant lights that create a beautiful layered look in your vaulted room.

Use pendant lights to fill the extra space and jazz up the room’s style. Pendant lights and recessed lights are the dynamic duo of vaulted ceilings, so make sure you take full advantage of both! Pendant lights don’t work in every room, so if you have a vaulted ceiling, go crazy. If you prefer something a little more practical (like a ceiling fan) or dramatic (like a chandelier), who’s to stop you? Your vaulted ceiling gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to what type of space-filling light fixture you want, so go with your gut. The sky’s the limit.

Continue reading »

Oct 212013
 

Puck Lights PALPX e1382361477703 Why Do My Lights Dim When I Use The Microwave? You go to the fridge, grab a slice of cold pizza, pop it in the microwave, and suddenly the lights in your kitchen go slightly darker than normal. It’s not a big deal – you can still see everything in your kitchen, your pizza is still going to heat up properly, and after a minute, the lights will brighten back up. But it sure is annoying.

If you’re like me, you might start to wonder if this is indicative of a larger issue. Could there be a bigger electrical problem, lying in wait like a sleeping beast, until the day you’re minding your own business, enjoying your pizza, and you start to smell smoke?

Well, let me assure you that this alone isn’t going to burn your house down. Having lights that dim when you turn on the microwave, coffeemaker, or vacuum cleaner is a common problem in older homes, but it doesn’t cause any major damage to your system. Continue reading »

Oct 172013
 

This post is part of a series designed to help newlyweds get the most out of lighting. Also be sure to check out our post about wedding lighting!

Are you a lover? Newly engaged, looking to plan the perfect honeymoon?

Are you a light lover? Does sunshine thrill you in the morning, or warm lamps at night?

If so, this post is for you. Click here for the perfect soundtrack for this post, then grab your bags and passports, because we’re taking you on a worldwide tour to find the most exsquisite, romantic lighting around the globe! The following list details some of the best honeymoon destinations in the world that are perfect for lovers of light.

1) Paris, France.

paris france 31856 600x450 Honeymoon Destinations for Lovers of Light

Image via nationalgeographic.com

Cliché, I know – but to be fair, Paris has been known as the City of Light for hundreds of years! Though its nickname originated from Paris’ academic importance during the Enlightenment, France’s capital city lives up to its name after dark. You can take an evening stroll along the Seine to get a glimpse of some of the most beautiful – and historically significant – landmarks in the world.  The most iconic attraction in Paris is, of course, the Eiffel Tower, which lights up at night with a special twinkling mini-light show that happens on the hour every hour. Take a look at this gorgeous photo of the tower from inside, courtesy National Geographic.

2) Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

583572 Honeymoon Destinations for Lovers of Light

Image via summitpost.org

Though not typically top of the list for most romantic destinations due to its somewhat imperfect reputation, Las Vegas is an eye feast for lovers of light. It’s also a fantastic honeymoon destination in general, with some of the most luxurious hotels and spas in the country, incredible night life, and several natural attractions not too far outside the city. This picture is of the Hoover Dam at night, which is about a 45-minute drive from the city. Continue reading »

Oct 152013
 

bigstock Superhero Idea 2679624 300x225 The Unsung Superhero of EducationWe all want the best for our children, and one of the most important ways we can help the next generation is by ensuring that they are receiving the highest quality education they can. But what if I told you there is an element to education that most people overlook when discussing ways to change education, even though it has been proven to improve behavior and focus, reduce disruptions and increase reading speed and learning capacity?

Though often overlooked, classroom environment plays a crucial role in students’ abilities to focus and learn. Think about it. If you want to be really focused and productive, where do you go? All people – children included – have different learning styles, and they are very much affected by the environments in which we learn. That is why it is essential that educators take the time to learn about all the ways lighting can impact a classroom, both positively and negatively.

First, let’s talk about color temperature. Color temperature is something that many educators don’t know to watch out for, but it can have a dramatic impact on the success or failure of a classroom as a learning environment. The warmth or coolness of light is measured in degrees Kelvin, where higher temperatures (above 3,500 Kelvin) equate with cooler, more vividly white light, and lower temperatures (below 3,500 Kelvin) are warmer and more yellow. Research has shown that full-spectrum, cool white light is best for encouraging concentration in a classroom, so swapping out outdated fixtures for newer technology could be a great start to better classroom lighting.

Although fluorescent fixtures are popular in schools, the way they flicker (often imperceptibly) has been linked with eye strain, fatigue and headaches, all of which contribute to poor concentration. For this reason, LEDs are a better option in places like classrooms and offices. Not only do they reduce fatigue, but they are extremely energy efficient, long-lasting, and often capable of changing their color temperature or dimming in brightness. These qualities make this type of light a fantastic investment for a classroom environment. Continue reading »

Oct 112013
 

Stock Photo Cost Lighting Upgrade Tax Incentives to Expire in DecemberIf you’re considering a switch to LED lighting in your commercial building, but you’re still on the fence, you shouldn’t hesitate for too long. After December 31, 2013, two primary tax incentives for upgrading your lights are set to expire – the Section 179d EPACT Incentive and the Bonus Depreciation Incentive.

If you’ve never heard of these opportunities to help make up for the initial cost of new LEDs, allow me to explain…

The Section 179d EPACT Incentive allows you to deduct 60 cents per square foot on lighting upgrades. This incentive is part of The Energy Policy Act of 2005 to encourage the construction of energy efficient buildings. It also includes deductions for HVAC systems, building envelopes, and service hot water systems that reduce the total annual building energy costs by 50% or more compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2001 minimum requirements. It’s available to owners of both new and existing commercial buildings. Continue reading »

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