Nov 172011

There has been a lot of coverage on this blog about the upcoming incandescent light bulb phaseout. Back in January, I wrote a post titled Are You One of the 36%?, pointing out that only 36% of Americans were aware of the upcoming phaseout. A whopping 64% had heard nothing about the legislation, and 80% did not know that traditional 100-watt light bulbs would no longer be available after January 1, 2012.

The Department of Energy has been hard at work spreading the word, and so have lighting manufacturers and retailers like us.

Well, a new poll from Osram Sylvania found that those efforts have paid off! A majority of Americans (55%) are now aware of the federal legislation.

However, according to the poll, most Americans are still hazy on the details.

Do you feel comfortable about the upcoming changes? Do you have questions? Ask away!

Nov 152011

Last week, the Washington Post brought together businessmen and women, government officials, lobbyists and advocates from across the country to discuss the future of energy consumption. The conversations ranged from automobiles to government regulations to business opportunities and covered everything in between. The Washington Post published several excerpts from the Smart Energy conference. My two favorite quotes are below:

You may want a more brilliant world; it doesn’t mean we need to consume more power to do it. If we do it smartly, we can actually consume a bit less and live a life that everyone likes regardless of what their taste is.  – Fred Maxik, Founder and CTO of Lighting Science Group

Maxik then went on to discuss microprocessors inside light bulbs that will communicate with you in terms of dimming and color control.  He explained that lighting is undergoing an amazing transition. “It could be a light bulb that’s just so smart that it detects sunlight coming through the window [and] starts dimming until you get the light that you desire,” he said. Continue reading »

 Posted by on November 15, 2011 at 9:44 am
Nov 042011

What do you get when you combine red, blue, green, and yellow diode lasers?

Apparently, pretty fantastic-looking warm white light. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories recently produced a white light made from lasers and tested it out on a bowl of fruit. The results were incredibly surprising.

Lighting experts have assumed in the past that diode lasers would be a poor source for creating white light. Lasers emit single, narrow wavelengths (very different from the sun’s broad spectral bands). Researcher Jeff Tsao explained,

Before these tests, our research in this direction was stopped before it could get started. The typical response was, ‘Are you kidding? The color rendering quality of white light produced by diode lasers would be terrible.’ So finally it seemed like, in order to go further, one really had to answer this very basic question first. Continue reading »

 Posted by on November 4, 2011 at 10:00 am
Oct 252011

Bioluminscent deep-sea creature

It’s always fun to learn new facts about everyday phenomenons. Today’s post brings you three little-known truths about light. Enjoy!

Ever heard of bioluminescence? It’s the process by which deep-sea creatures emit light. In the deepest part of the ocean, the sun cannot penetrate through the water, and there’s no detectable light source. Between 80 and 90 percent of deep-sea creatures are bioluminescent. If that isn’t cool enough, consider this: Humans are bioluminescent, too. It’s not visible to the human eye, of course, but the human body does emit light from within. It was captured on camera by Japanese researchers in 2009, and the report stated that “the human body literally glimmers.” Follow that link for photos.

This is more related to color than light, but it’s all about the visual spectrum. There may be “impossible,” or “imaginary” colors that don’t exist in the physical world, but that you can potentially trick your brain into seeing. Sounds far-fetched? The basic concept is that your eyes use “opponent channels” to process light – red vs. green, blue vs. yellow, and black vs. white. When you stare at a red object, your light receptor for green is inhibited while the one for red is excited.

Therefore, it’s impossible to see an object that is equal parts red and green at the same time – unless you conduct a special experiment. In 1983, scientists did just that, and the test subjects (one of which was an artist) said they viewed a new, reddish-green color they had never seen before. More info on that (and a similar test you can try at home!) here. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 25, 2011 at 11:06 am
Oct 142011

One footstep produces enough electricity to keep an LED-powered street lamp lit for 30 seconds.

A new technology developed by an engineering student harvests the energy of a single footstep – and delivers a source of incredibly sustainable electricity.

They’re called “PaveGen” pavement slabs, and they are being installed right now at the 2012 London Olympic site.

Adding just twenty titles between the central crossing of the Olympic stadium and the Westfield Stratford City Mall “should be enough … to power about half (the mall’s) outdoor lighting needs,” said the 25-year-old who developed the prototype, Laurence Kemball-Cook.

Kemball-Cook came up with the concept in 2009 while he was in his final year of school. This will be the first commercial application for “PaveGen” slabs. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 14, 2011 at 9:46 am
Oct 052011

… Sustainability claims from manufacturers, that is.

A new research study indicates that although the number of environmentally-friendly projects for architects & interior designers is growing, professionals are questioning whether products that claim to be “green” actually live up to the name.

812 architects and designers took part in the survey, sponsored by home & building marketing agency IMRE in conjunction with the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and ASID (American Society of Interior Designers).

Architects, designers, and professionals reading: Weigh in. Is this consistent with your feelings about “sustainable” products from manufacturers? Do you think this is a problem in today’s remodeling and construction industries?

To speak for the lighting industry, this has become a real problem with LED lighting. The market is still maturing for LEDs, and there are a number of products out there that are poorly designed. Sure, they are energy efficient – but energy efficiency carries less weight when a product meant to replace an incandescent, xenon, halogen, or fluorescent light bulb is a fraction as bright as you are accustomed to.

Take caution when selecting LEDs. This issue is one of the reasons we are so careful about ensuring the quality of products we put on the Pegasus Lighting website!

Oct 032011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and hundreds of buildings across the country will be lighted pink to show it.

It’s all part of Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign. Estee Lauder is partnering with Philips to light landmark buildings with pink LEDs.

The BCA Campaign is celebrating its 12th year. Last year, the campaign set the Guinness World Record for “Most Landmarks Illuminated for a Cause in 24 Hours.”

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York will go pink, along with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and other notable buildings spanning from New York to California.

Worldwide, the campaign will launch in Belgium, Dubai, France, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

Sep 152011

A research project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is using LED blankets to treat jaundice in newborns.

The story’s an incredible one. The entire idea for the project originated from a small family in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Harel Rosen worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at Riddle Hospital. When his mother visited his workplace, she asked about an infant in the NICU laying naked under a bank of blue lights. Rosen explained that the baby was being treated for jaundice with light therapy, and they needed to treat as much of the skin surface as possible.

Daniella Rosen was troubled. “But his mom could not pick him up or hold him,” she said.

The incident sparked a series of conversations at the family dinner table. How could babies with jaundice be treated with light therapy in a less intrusive way? And what about areas of the world without access to power? Was there a solution possible that wouldn’t require electricity? Africa, for example, has one of the highest mortality rates for neonatal jaundice. Could a solution make it easier to treat jaundice across the world? Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Sep 132011

A few months ago, I posted a video about an engineer in Brazil who created “light bulbs” by installing clear plastic 2-liter bottles into the ceilings of buildings and capitalizing on the sun to light businesses and homes.

A friend on Twitter (thanks, Andrew!) recently sent over a similar video about “solar bottle lights” used in the Philippines.  If you didn’t see the first one, or if you are interested in green technology solutions, check it out:

 Posted by on September 13, 2011 at 10:52 am
Sep 092011

In an age of cell phones, high definition TVs, DVRs, iPods, and countless devices sucking power from every outlet in our homes, the latest report from the Electric Power Research Institute might come as a surprise. The demand for residential power in the U.S. is actually falling.

For the last 30 years (up until 2011), residential power demand has grown fairly steadily. From 1980 to 2000, the growth rate was about 2.5 percent per year; from 2000 to 2010, the rate was 2 percent per year.

However, during the first three months of this year, residential power demand nationwide dropped by 1.3 percent (after adjustment for the effects of weather). It’s expected to continue to decline over the next ten years.

Why is this happening? According to the Associated Press, utility executives are a bit perplexed – typically, power usage is not affected by changes in the economy. As AP Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey writes, “Even when the economy is stagnant, people still watch TV and keep their ice cream cold.”

Utility analysts are pointing their fingers at quite a few possible reasons for the decline, including the increasing adoption of energy efficient lighting, the efficiency programs initiated by federal and state governments, the weak housing market resulting in families occupying smaller homes, and grassroots efforts from consumers cutting back on energy use. They’ve also noted that appliances have become more efficient in the past couple of decades.

 Posted by on September 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

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