Dec 302013
 

Go Green?

“Going green” has come to symbolize environmentalism in such a familiar way that most of us don’t think twice about who first coined the phrase.

I was curious about the origin of the term and wondered what made it take such strong hold in the English language. Speaking of curiosities, remember Heinz’s food flop several years ago when they decided to go green (literally) with ketchup? Glad that didn’t take hold.

Most people associate the beginning of the green movement and environmentalism with the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in the 1970’s.

Surprisingly, it dates back even further, to Henry David Thoreau’s writings in the 19th century. Thoreau spoke about living a “green” life in The Maine Woods in his call for conservation, forest preservation and respect for nature. You are probably familiar with several of Thoreau’s famous inspirational quotes (i.e., “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” or “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”). His greener remarks include:

What is the use of a house if you don’t have a decent planet to put it on?

This one’s my favorite (Thoreau, you were a funny guy!):

Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.

Did you have any idea the U.S. “green movement” was rooted in early American philosophy?

 

 Posted by on December 30, 2013 at 10:01 am
Dec 272013
 

CFL light bulb saves money

It has taken 7 years but we are now here. On January 1, 2014 both the 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be produced as a result of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) signed by President George W. Bush. In years past we have lost the 100-watt and 75-watt. However, this next phase will probably have the biggest impact. Why? Simple. The 60 and 40-watt light bulbs are the most popular. According to Residential Lighting, they represent over 50% of all light bulbs used today.

We have been covering the incandescent phase out on this blog for the last couple of years. However, as a reminder, a primary goal of this law is to raise appliance and lighting efficiency standards.

The 60 and 40-watt light bulbs will not just vanish into thin air on January 1, 2014. You will probably still see them in stores for a couple of months. The key is that as of 1/1/14 they can no longer be imported into or manufactured in the United States. Continue reading »

Dec 092013
 

Is there a better way to kick off a lighting design awards show than to distribute glowsticks to the finalists for “experimentation”?

Well, we can’t think of one.

The photos below have been floating around on Twitter in anticipation of the 2014 Lighting Design Awards, a worldwide architectural lighting competition to be held in London on March 20. Leave it to the creative lighting professionals to craft a rainbow motif, an “alien landing” scene, and a dog collar – all from a box of glowsticks.

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Photos: Innovation – @havellssylvania. Glowstick Art #1 – @zanocontrols. Alien Landing – @zanocontrols. Finalist Glowsticks – @iGuzziniUK. Glowstick Art #3 – @zanocontrols. #LDA 2014- @lightingmag. Dogs with Glowsticks – @lucentlighting

Which would you vote for?

Follow @LDA_2014 and @iGuzziniUK on Twitter for more, and check out a shortlist of the finalist projects and products for the 2014 Lighting Design Awards here.

 Posted by on December 9, 2013 at 10:00 am
Dec 042013
 

Tonight from 8-9 p.m. ET, NBC will air the live broadcast of the Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting! We are excited to tune in. A few fun facts about this year’s tree:

  • This year’s Norway Spruce is 76 feet tall and 47 feet in diameter.
  • The tree was donated by a family in Shelton, Connecticut – it grew in their front yard for 20+ years.
  • 45,000+ LED lights were strung to decorate the tree.
  • A 9.5 foot wide LED-lit Swarovski crystal star tops the tree.

The show will feature performances from Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Goo Goo Dolls, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Ariana Grande, and Jewel. Check out the size of that tree!

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 Posted by on December 4, 2013 at 10:00 am
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.

LED Light Bulb

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 »

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”

LED

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”

Glow-in-the-dark pathway

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 112013
 

Don't miss out on tax incentives.If 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 »

Sep 302013
 

September has been another eventful month in the lighting industry. In this post, we’re covering new energy breakthroughs, new ideas about lighting design, and of course, more crazy, creative projects. Come take a gander…

In Lighting News…

“Boston: the Top City for Energy Efficiency”

Image via Jeff Gunn

Image via Jeff Gunn

According to a report done by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Boston is the most energy-efficient city in the US. This report compared 34 major cities in the country, and Boston came out on top due to its commitment to many different sustainable initiatives, and ambitious energy-saving goals. Read more…

“This Funky-Looking LED Bulb Could be the Future of Lighting”

Image via NliteN

Image via NliteN

LED light bulbs are made from clusters of small diodes, meaning they aren’t limited to the traditional light bulb shape like older light sources. LED light bulbs can look like anything. Andy Turudic of NliteN has designed a unique LED light bulb that uses 80% less energy than an incandescent light, and will be much less expensive. What makes it so special? This light bulb is flat. Read more…

“Commemorative LED Baseball to Honor Mariano Rivera Could Also Help Yankees Closer’s Charitable Foundation”

Image via NYDailyNews.com

Image via NYDailyNews.com

If you’re a fan of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, you can now get a super-cool LED baseball that features his signature, his career stats, and the number 42. Rivera hopes his unique baseball will help generate proceeds for his charitable foundation. Read more… Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Aug 272013
 

Get ready for a fast, wild, innovative, informative, and (yes) long lighting roundup this month, because the lighting industry has been BUSY. You’ll hardly believe your eyes at some of these new lighting inventions, displays, and successes – so allow us to enlighten you…

In Lighting News…

“Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor”

How do you light a house using recycled materials and zero electricity? Alfredo Moser, a mechanic in southern Brazil invented a new way to light his house during the day, using only plastic bottles filled with water and a few drops of bleach. By early next year, these bottles are expected to be in over 1 million homes. Read more.

Image via BBC.co.uk

Image via BBC.co.uk

“Superdome gets new lighting system”

Remember those 34 terrible minutes at this past Super Bowl, when half of the Superdome lost power? Well, the Superdome managers are determined never to drop the ball (ha) like that again, so they’re upgrading their aging electrical equipment with a new, state-of-the-art system. Get ready for stunning computer-programmed lighting scenes, and more. Read more.

“Researchers identify cause of LED efficiency droop”

When LED light bulbs are subjected to larger electrical currents, they can loose up to 20% of their efficiency. Nobody wants that. This “efficiency droop” first identified in 1999, has hindered the LED’s development and popularity. BUT, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have finally identified the mechanism behind this nuisance – a phenomena called “electron leakage.” Read more.

bigstock LED

“Obama White House finally getting solar PV panels”

The White House is going solar! After spending about 40 months getting all the right permits for this energy-efficient retrofit, American-made panels are finally coming to the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Read more. Continue reading »

Jul 292013
 

Want to know what has been happening in the lighting world this month? Today’s blog post has the highlights.

Lighting News…

1. Ann Makosinski, a Canadian teen, has invented a thermoelectric flashlight that uses body heat to power a bright LED. The device is hollow, and harvests heat from the user’s hand to function. Makosinski explains in this video:

Read more about the flashlight here.

2. Miami-based Energy Saving Solutions USA will be the first lighting company to offer an LED light with a lifetime guarantee, according to their founder & CEO Peter Stein in this press release. With the launch of these Forever LEDs drawing near, ESS is already feeling the demand. Who’s first on the list to get these miracle light bulbs? Two Maxwell-Kates condominium buildings in New York City. It’s estimated the lights will save about $160,000 for Maxwell-Kates.

3. Every year, dozens jump to their deaths off the Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea.  Cheil Worldwide decided to take on the issue by using motion sensing lights to convert the bridge into a friendly and hopeful place, lighting up messages like “How have you been?” and “Just go and see the person you miss” as pedestrians cross over. As a result, suicide rates on the bridge have gone down by 77%. Learn more in this video:

Read more about this light installation here.

4. The arrival of William and Kate’s new baby George got mixed attention from the media. Some couldn’t get enough of the hype, and some just didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. However, one thing we can all agree on was the very clever use of lights on the night after the new prince’s birth. Architainment Lighting went to work turning some of London’s most famous landmarks blue for the occasion. Read more about the lighting designs here.

Image via Lighting.co.uk

Image via Lighting.co.uk

Continue reading »

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