Jun 222011
 

Lumen Output Chart1 How To Shop for Light BulbsStill shopping for light bulbs based on watts?  If you’re not confused by the packaging yet, you soon will be.

You see, purchasing a light bulb based on how many watts it uses (i.e., assuming a 60 watt light bulb is brighter than a 40 watt light bulb) is quickly becoming outdated.

With high-efficiency light bulbs like CFLs and LEDs, watts (which measure the amount of power consumed) are not necessarily equivalent to light ouput.  Some 11 watt LEDs can produce just as much light output as a 40 or 60 watt incandescent.

For an easy way to put lumens into perspective, use the chart on the right provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

As you can see, if you are replacing a 60 watt incandescent light bulb, you should look for a light bulb rated at 800 lumens.

Jun 102011
 

movie theater lighting Why Movie Theaters & Restaurants Should Choose CCFLs for LightingEarlier this week, I wrote a couple of posts describing the features of cold cathode fluorescent light bulbs.  CCFLs are not new to the lighting world, but their technology has improved significantly over the past few years, and they are an excellent option for energy-efficient lighting.  We have been adding over 20 different models of CCFLs to pegasuslighting.com, so this week has been a “CCFL debut” on the blog.

To read about the basic technology that differentiates CCFLs from standard CFLs and other light bulbs, catch up with this post.

In short, CCFLs are extremely durable in design, which gives them very unique dimming capabilities.  Fluorescent lighting typically does not perform well with dimming.  However, CCFLs can be dimmed down to 5% of their light output without diminishing lifetime. Continue reading »

May 242011
 

Bridge of Sighs 150x150 How to Capitalize on SunlightSunlight is the most natural way to light a space, and every lighting designer knows that it’s an important component to consider before planning a project.  Knowing where the afternoon rays come in, or which window dawn streams in first, can help a designer understand where to fill in the gaps.  It’s still important to create “layers of light” throughout an entire space, but capitalizing on sunlight as much as possible is a core rule in lighting design.

With Paint …

If you paint in lighter colors (think white, soft yellow, and beige), the sun will reflect off the walls more easily and bounce light further into your home.  Also, choose a glossy paint finish to enhance those light reflections.  Eggshell is an excellent option.  It has a low sheen that looks great on walls, and it will also hold up better than a flat finish. Continue reading »

May 182011
 

lighting retrofits Lighting Retrofits Are More Affordable Than You ThinkDo you know about all of the tax deductions and utility rebates available for businesses undergoing lighting retrofits?

“Retrofit” is not a new concept in the world of energy-efficient lighting but it sure seems to be the hottest buzz word in energy efficiency, and for good reason.  Businesses across the world are revamping their lighting systems and saving millions of dollars as a result.  Just in the restaurant industry; McDonald’s, Burger King, Red Robin, IHOP, Chili’s, Starbucks, and Applebee’s have all initiated or completed LED retrofit projects.

The opportunity to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, save on power bills, and cut replacement & maintenance costs is up for grabs for anyone that can afford to front the initial investment.

However, that initial investment is not such a staggering figure, thanks to government incentives.  Read on for an overview of some of the available options. Continue reading »

Apr 272011
 

vision declining Before “Aging in Place” Ever HappensThere’s a lot of talk about “aging in place” in the remodeling industry.  Homeowners are increasingly asking designers to help them envision home modifications that will serve future needs.

While the term “aging in place” fosters some negative connotations, it essentially means creating a more accessible and low-maintenance space (i.e., eliminating unnecessary steps, adding slip-resistant bathroom floors, etc.)  See the National Association of Home Builder’s checklist for more information.

Lighting adjustments do hold a prominent place on the “aging in place” checklist, but they would be better off on another list altogether.

People begin experiencing major changes in eyesight at the young age of 45.  As you get older, the changes accelerate: You are less able to discriminate between colors, more sensitive to glare, and less able to see small details.  Also, it begins to take increasingly longer to adapt to sudden changes in brightness.

Research shows that a 60-year-old needs twice as much light as a 30-year-old.  Most of the commonly found lighting guidelines are written with the 30-year-old user in mind.  -American Lighting Association

Continue reading »

Apr 132011
 

Recessed Downlight 300x246 How to Install Recessed LightsAdding recessed lights to your home?  If there’s already an existing power source in the ceiling and an electrical switch in the wall, the installation is fairly easy.  You can save a lot of money by tackling the project yourself rather than hiring a professional.

If you have access to the ceiling from above (i.e., from the attic), the project is even easier.  However, we offer a wide selection of remodel recessed lighting housings so that you can install from below as well.

Follow these steps to install recessed lights if you have an existing power source in the ceiling: Continue reading »

Feb 252011
 

real estate tips Upping Your Apartment Selling PriceThe New York Times published a fantastic piece yesterday about the importance of detail in selling real estate.

Of course, the examples in the article were from New York brokers prepping expensive apartments across the city.  However, the basic principles of how to increase the value of a property can apply to any asking price in any city.

Lighting designers are worth every penny. Take Michael Akerly, who was trying to sell a two-bedroom for $949,000.  Initially, it looked like he was going to have to reduce his asking price significantly: The best offer he received was $885,000, and that was after the place had been on the market for a year.  What did Akerly do?  Hired a lighting designer for $150.  Spent $2,000 making a few small updates to his lighting fixtures.  Within two weeks, he had a new offer: $917,500.

That’s an increase in value of $32,500 for a $2,150 investment.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 25, 2011 at 9:00 am
Feb 012011
 

night lights pros and cons Is It Lights Out Time For Your Kids?Are night lights really good for our kids or should we be encouraging them to sleep in the dark? Research shows that the question is not quite that simple.  In fact, it’s all depends on the amount and quality of sleep your kids are getting.

It’s not unusual for young children to sleep with a night light, and there are certainly advantages for both parents and children. For parents, it means that you can peek into their room and see how they are doing without waking them by turning on a harsh light.  For kids, it’s often about security. Dark shadows can terrify some little ones. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 am
Jan 312011
 

embrace lumens Embrace Lumens!An article in the Washington Post this morning said it well: “America, prepare to embrace lumens.”

When the FTC made the announcement last July, we got our first look at the new “Lighting Facts” labels.  If you missed our blog post in July, here’s a quick recap: The “Lighting Facts” labels represent a redesign in light bulb packaging, created to make shopping for energy efficient bulbs easier.

Why did light bulb packaging need a change?  It’s all about lumens.  In the past, consumers bought bulbs based on wattage.  Everyone knew a 100W incandescent bulb was much brighter than a 40W.  However, that logic doesn’t work for highly efficient fluorescent bulbs and LEDs.   Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Dec 132010
 

My Account A Bright Idea Little Known Facts about Energy Efficient Lighting

The Huffington Post recently published a great article about home lighting.  We figured some of their ‘little-known facts’ might be no-brainers to our blog readers, so we wanted to share just the best of the information here:

For each $1 you invest in efficient lighting, you will be paid back up to $6 in energy savings.

You have all heard that CFLs beat incandescent bulbs as far as energy efficiency, but exactly how energy efficient they are might draw a blank.  Think about it this way: if you use a 75-watt incandescent for six hours a day, you’d pay approximately $54 a year on energy (this includes the costs of replacement bulbs at 75 cents per bulb).  A 20-watt CFL with the same light output would cost $14 a year to power.  That bulb would cost $6 to purchase initially but it’d last four years for six hours a day, so the total expenditure per year would be $15.50.  That’s $38.50 less per year, which is a return on investment of 642%! Continue reading »

 Posted by on December 13, 2010 at 11:47 am