This week, I participated in a weekly twitter chat called KB Tribe Chat (Hint: the “KB” stands for “Kitchen and Bath.”). It’s a lively weekly chat between professionals in the kitchen and bath remodeling industry, of which lighting is an important part. I always enjoy these weekly chats enormously. They are chock full of valuable information about current trends in kitchen and bath design (a big interest of mine, since I used to work for a K and B remodeling company just after finishing my undergraduate degree, while I was, you know, “finding” myself.). It’s also a fun time. There are a lot of personalities in the chat, and the conversations can get pretty funny. People share all kinds of great pictures of unique, or beautiful, or wacky designs. It’s especially rich because there are folks who make wine racks, who do custom tile, who do counters, cabinets, and floors.
Battery operated motion sensor lights are the perfect solution for lighting areas of your home or business that lack permanent fixtures. I say this for a few reasons. One is the installation. Installing battery powered lights is darn near effortless – just a few screws and NO WIRING. The best wireless motion sensor lamps also provide a surprisingly large amount of light, and the sensors help ensure that the batteries last for a long time.
1) In the Kitchen.
Cordless motion sensor lights definitely have a home in the kitchen. They can be used as under cabinet lights, pantry lights, and will provide light in dark areas, like the cabinets under your sink. I love that it can be 10 p.m. on a Friday night, and I can go to the kitchen to get some wine for my wife and me without having to interrupt the movie with blinding ceiling lights. The wireless light under the cabinet blinks right on while I amateurishly uncork the bottle. And should that wine spill? I can reach under the sink for cleaning supplies and actually see what’s going on in there.
My wife and I are the happy parents of a sixteen-month-old boy. Having a kid has turned out to be every bit as wonderful and exhausting as our family and friends told us it would be. We can see why everyone we knew with children, including our own parents, told us with that knowing smile, “Your life will never be the same.” They were right. There’s never a dull moment, is there? Every day presents new challenges and responsibilities.
For example, a couple hours ago, my son was screaming at his grandma for taking a bite of his banana. Nap time soon? Sheesh.
Successfully getting baby down to sleep at night or for a nap during the day is an elaborate and delicate art. Stop me if you’ve been in this situation: You’ve just given your baby her bottle, and she’s fast asleep. Thanks be to the powers above. But before your silent self-congratulation party gets started, there’s one more task – getting her from your lap to her crib with zero waking up, and far more importantly, zero crashing to the floor in the arms of a parent who hasn’t given enough thought to nighttime lighting for baby’s room.
This entry will introduce you to some simple lighting solutions to ensure that your baby makes it from well-intentioned lap to crib without you tripping over anything or putting your baby in the hamper instead of the crib. And – who knows? – as Tiny Baby slowly transforms into Little Terror (I kid, I kid), maybe these lighting solutions will make beddy-bye seem less an exile to a dark abyss than a fun trip to a cozy safe haven.
Let’s face it; while working for yourself can be an amazing experience, owning your own business can come with a ton of unsightly costs you may not have been anticipating. One of those may be energy costs for lighting and illuminating your building. This day and age, lighting can account for up to 35% of a business’s energy costs which can be a huge impact on your profit. So what are some ways you can help cut down on this expensive expenditure?
Understand Your Lighting Needs
It is important to first understand what type of lighting will best suit your business. Are you lighting a restaurant? A book store? Coffee shop? Retail outlet? Whatever the genre, you need to determine how your customers are using your space. Lighting should be adequate and efficient to fit their needs. You will also want to decide the color and hue you want your lighting to have. Being aware of your customer’s needs can help you determine whether or not your company should have more or less lighting. This will reduce unnecessary energy costs by ensuring you are not using extra lighting when it is not needed. (more…)
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 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:
- National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA) FAQs
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Facts on Recycling & Disposing CFLs
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?
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!
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.
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.
So 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. (more…)
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”
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”
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…
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.
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.
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. (more…)
Halloween is less than one month away! If you’re thinking of decorating your home for the holiday, nothing can help turn your house into a festive sight like lighting. In minutes, you can turn your quaint cottage a ghoulish green, make your bungalow glow orange, or paint your front lawn an eerie yellow. Suddenly, your charming home becomes mysterious and thrilling to trick-or-treaters and passersby.
An impressive Halloween lighting design doesn’t take much time or effort to execute. It can even incorporate the outdoor lights you already use like up lights, outdoor recessed lights, spotlights, or floodlights. You just have to change the color by adding colored light filters in green, yellow, orange, and even blue – iconic Halloween colors. The colored light will work well on its own or as a backdrop for a more elaborate design:
- Green light can turn your home into an over-the-top laboratory, bringing to mind bubbling viles and fluorescent beakers – you’ll half expect a mad scientist to pop out from behind the bushes with a monster of his own creation trailing close behind. (more…)
Love is in the air! Fall officially began last week, so we are in the throes of the autumn wedding season. Although the summer months have traditionally been the most popular for weddings, autumn weddings have steadily risen in popularity and nowadays, you’re just as likely to receive an orange maple leaf save-the-date as you are a frilly invite with a flower border.
But as we all (should have) learned in elementary school, when the seasons change, the angle of sunlight touching the earth changes as well, resulting in a different quality and duration of sunlight. While many people prefer the more “golden” tones of autumn afternoons (especially photographers!), it can certainly be challenging to keep your special day well-lit when the sun begins to set. But never fear! Here is a list of four ways lighting can save the day on your big day.
1. Good lighting design can transform an event.
If you can, hire a lighting designer for your wedding. Great lighting can be the difference between a spectacular party and a “well, they tried hard.” Acclaimed lighting designer Bentley Meeker said that with the right lighting, a $25,000 wedding can look like a $75,000 wedding. Lighting design can be pricey, but it’s plenty cost-effective.
Sometimes event planners and wedding florists provide their own lighting, so be sure to ask about that when booking your big day. If they don’t, look into a lighting design firm that specializes in weddings. You can see from this photo (from a reception designed by Extreme Productions) how glamorous professional wedding lighting can be. If you can afford to go all out, you won’t be sorry.
The reason lighting at a wedding is so important is it can really make or break a venue’s ambiance. Whether you want a romantic vibe, like in the picture, or more of a warm, casual family feel, lighting can make a huge difference on how successful you are in achieving the aura you desire. You will want to look into professional lighting design, especially if your wedding takes place outside. Many venues have pre-approved lighting designers familiar with their codes, so make sure to find out when venue-hunting.
But if hiring a lighting designer is outside your budget, don’t freak out! There are plenty of ways for you to have great lighting at your wedding without breaking the bank.