Jul 272012

Bed in the Morning
Did you know irregular light/dark patterns can disrupt your circadian rhythm? Not only that, a boggled circadian rhythm increases your risk of disease and reduces your quality of life. This is especially a problem for individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD), because they spend more time indoors, exposed to lower light levels.

Irregular circadian patterns for individuals with Alzheimer’s or ADRD can become life-threatening if individuals leave their homes in the night and wander alone outside.

Light affects sleep patterns by acting on the retina (the part of the eye that’s sensitive to light) and syncing the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the body’s master clock, to its own light/dark pattern. When we get enough sunlight, we sync up with the 24-hour solar day. When we’re not exposed to regular daily patterns of light, our sleep patterns go bonkers. Continue reading »

Jul 242012

In the second part of this two-part post on this year’s Emmy nominees for TV’s outstanding lighting (read part 1 here), I’m going to discuss the nominees for a variety special. Like the nominees for a variety series, these are super impressive.

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Series

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2011

Confession time: I couldn’t help staring…at John Kusner and Matt Firestone’s brilliant lighting designs! Under the direction of Harry Sangmeister and Nick Collier, this show had enough flash and dramatics to make any lighting professional blush.

Nicki Minaj Performing at the VS Fashion Show 2011

Courtesy of CNBC.com

Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show Starring Madonna

The lighting in this astounding performance was really something to cheer about. There was so much going on in this show, I’m still reeling from the excitement of it all. Major credit goes to lighting designer Al Gurdon, and lighting directors Robert Barnhart, David Grill, and Michael Owen. Continue reading »

Jul 202012

This year I’m seriously jazzed about the 2012 Emmy nominees – especially for Outstanding Lighting Design. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for theatrics (dating back to long before those college stage makeup classes and my Cirque du Soilel-level Halloween costumes) but honestly, these nominees are amazing. Here’s what the Academy has laid out for us this year:

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Series

So You Think You Can Dance

Last year’s winner is at it again, producing number after flashy number. Lighting designer Robert Barnhart along with lighting directors Matt Firestone, Pete Radice, and Patrick Boozer are ones to beat, for sure. Check out this dramatic jazz piece from the Season 8 finale, it’s truly unforgettable:

Continue reading »

Jul 172012

Ah…the possibilities. In our July lighting roundup, we mentioned The Clean Revolution campaign, launched at the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil. The campaign is advocating a massive scale-up of clean energy and infrastructure, along with smart technologies and design. In the next 3 years, The Clean Revolution plans to raise awareness about the success of low-carbon transformations.

The great minds at The Clean Revolution recently created this informative infographic about how much energy we can save with LEDs. We think it’s worth sharing.

Infographic: LEDs Lighting the Clean Revolution
To learn more, visit thecleanrevolution.org.
Jul 162012

In lighting news…

As of July 1 this year, T12 fluorescent bulbs have begun to disappear, no longer being manufactured or imported into the US. This phase-out has been a long time coming, as T12s have been around for over 70 years now. By switching to newer technology like T5s or T8s, building owners will save nearly 50% of the energy they normally use each year! These new lamps are smaller in diameter, but can still provide the same light output as a T12. For those building owners who still have T12 fixtures, it will become increasingly difficult to find replacement parts. Check out this article from LampRecycling.com on strategizing for the phase-out.

Meanwhile, everyone is going nutso for LEDs. But with the impressive energy-saving stats and new innovations, we don’t blame them. According to IMS Research, the widespread implementation of retrofit LED lights will save us $100 billion globally over the next 5 years. To learn more, read this article from ECMWeb.com.

In June, at the Rio+20 U.N. development conference in Brazil, the Clean Revolution campaign began a trial in 12 major cities across the globe, testing the benefits and drawbacks of LED street lights. Each city has reduced energy use up to 85%! Continue reading »

Jul 062012

Many Pittsburgh natives fondly recall the weather beacon atop the Gulf Tower with its flashing neon lights that indicated the weather forecast. The security guard in the building’s lobby would read the weather report in the local paper and switch the lights to red or blue, solid or blinking.

However, this six story pyramid’s neon display used as much energy as 24 homes, and during the energy crisis in the ‘70s, Gulf Oil decided to turn off the lights. When the crisis was over, the lights no longer worked.

Fast-forward a few decades: the building’s owners, inspired by the Empire State Building’s LED displays, decided to reignite the much adored landmark. With new LED technology, the award-winning lighting duo Chris Popowich and Cindy Limauro have enhanced the tower’s former glory with 730 foot-long strips of LEDs that can dazzle in a rainbow of colors.

The newly named KDKA-TV Weather Beacon usually provides a detailed weather display of Pittsburgh’s current conditions including temperature, precipitation, humidity, and wind speed:

Gulf Tower Weather Beacon Guide

Courtesy of Pittsburgh.CBSLocal.com

The beacon also puts on special displays for holidays and sports celebrations.

The new KDKA-TV Weather Beacon debuted on July 4, 2012, and it was a happy and nostalgic occasion for Pittsburghers everywhere – including a few at here at Pegasus! This video shows the tower’s impressive patriotic display.

For more on this beloved beacon, read the full story here.

Jun 252012

Solar Panels on a Roof

Recently, my wife’s uncle added solar panels to his roof  to reduce his electric bill, and in some cases, actually sell back unused electricity. This was the first time I saw this in action, and I came away impressed. So, when I received this guest blog post from Randy Piccoli, of Jerry’s Roofing and Siding, an expert in the exterior remodeling field, I thought it would be valuable information for you, our blog readers. Thanks so much Randy!

For many people, solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular way to provide the home with much needed energy while reducing energy bills. If it’s something you’ve considered for your own home, it helps to know just how you can get the right solar panel set up for your own home.

Because the practice of adopting solar panels is still gaining popularity all over, you might have a few questions about them and what they can do for you. Don’t worry, because we’ll use this post to look at solar panels, what you need to look for, and how they can help you save money on your electricity in the long run.

1. Think About Your Home’s Roof

There is a wide range of roofing material out there and not everything is right for solar panels. If, for instance, your home has roofing made of clay tile or slate, then installation won’t work.

Solar panels are also harder to install on rooftops made of wood shakes and concrete, so you may face a higher than normal installation cost if your roof material falls under any of those categories.

Roof design is also a factor, as solar panels are easiest to install on rooftops with slopes that aren’t too steep. Continue reading »

 Posted by on June 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm
Jun 142012
Molycorp's Rare Earth Mine in California

Molycorp's Mountain Pass Mine, Producing Rare Earth Materials in California. Photo Courtesy of Molycorp.com.

If you’ve read any of our previous posts on the rare earth elements situation, you know that China’s stranglehold on the market has caused the prices of fluorescent light bulbs to increase dramatically.

Today, China controls more than 95% of rare earth elements—some of which are crucial in the making of fluorescent light bulbs. China’s production cap on the mining of rare earth elements is meant to crack down on illegal manufacturing, but by doing so it’s also limiting the output of the green tech industry, among others.  See: Why are CFLs Becoming More Expensive? and Will the Future of Fluorescent Lighting be Shaky?

But now there’s light (no pun intended) at the end of the tunnel. According to this article on Forbes.com, an end to China’s monopoly might finally happen. It seems China’s latest increased export restrictions have caused the U.S., E.U., and Japan to spring into action.

As I write, 35 new rare earth projects are taking shape beyond Chinese borders, including mines in California and Canada. The possibilities are exciting—up to 20% of rare earth materials may be produced outside of China in less than 10 years. Additionally, domestic production of these elements has the potential to increase product innovation in the U.S., reinvigorate our manufacturing industry, and lower prices for consumers.

Jun 122012
Green Construction Market Growth 2005-2011

The green construction market has grown 41% or $58 billion over the past five years. Graphic courtesy of blog.softwareadvice.com.

Software reviewer Derek Singleton of Software Advice is at it again—this time letting us know just how important green skills are to today’s electrical contractors. The market for green construction has increased exponentially in the past 5 years, by over $58 billion in revenue. Any savvy contractor should take advantage of this booming (and lucrative) opportunity.

In his article, Derek details the abilities necessary to transition from being an electrical contractor to what he calls an “energy contractor.” It’s important to know how to install green energy systems in new structures, and also how to increase an existing building’s sustainability.

He addresses how to adapt to working with the following:

  • Solar PV (or Solar Photovoltaic) Installations
  • Wind Turbine Installations
  • Energy Auditing
  • Building Management Systems (or BMS)
  • LEED

Here’s the link to Derek’s article: Green Skills You Need to Become an Energy Contractor

Jun 052012

The One By the Five hotel in Paris. Read on to “Other Cool Sites” for more info.

In lighting news …

A team of scientists in Switzerland conducted an office lighting experiment proving that lighting conditions have a significant impact on cognitive performance. A group of volunteers took memory tests and alertness assessments after spending time in a room with natural lighting conditions, compared with artificial/low lighting conditions. The positive effects of natural lighting conditions lasted until early evening! Remember the study on classroom lighting in Germany, and the impact the Philips SchoolVision lighting system had? 

Meanwhile, researchers in North Carolina found that LED lighting can be used as an infection killer. They are developing methods to employ LEDs to sterilize surgical tools or purify water.

According to a recent Houzz survey, today’s homeowners are prioritizing aesthetics over value in remodeling projects. Find out what homeowners plan to spend on various projects and more key drivers for remodeling on Houzz.com.

On Treehugger, Lloyd Alter posed a compelling question: Why are we putting 21st century light bulbs in 19th century sockets? Join the discussion.

In lighting tips … 

Kitchen Designer Robin Siegerman published a book titled Renovation Bootcamp™: Kitchen (Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind or Your Spouse). From her YouTube video preview – and that enticing title – it looks like it’s worth checking out! Continue reading »

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