Mar 132014
 

 

applesolarfarm1 What Is Solar Power? Interview with a Trade Professional

via wordpress.com

On a bright day in May 2006, J.R. Whitley attended his graduation ceremony at Appalachian State University. The person next to him, an English major, asked J.R. his major. When J.R. replied “Appropriate Technology,” the English major looked stunned. This anecdote is hilarious to me, because I was an English major, and, when J.R. said the words “appropriate technology” to me, I could only tentatively mmhmm because I had never heard of the field.

Continue reading »

Jan 312014
 

You know the sound of floodlights snapping to life in a stadium. In sports movies, the sound (usually enhanced for the sake of drama) heralds the movie’s climax. That final showdown. If the movie is any good, you really don’t know what’s going to happen, who’s going to win. It’s the sound of our attention being completely drawn into the drama before us. Floodlights symbolize our full engagement with the spectacle before us. Any of life’s quotidian stresses that may have bothered us before this showdown are forgotten.

10 5 Things You Didnt Know About Stadium Lighting

via picaboo.com

Even when glimpsed from the highway for a split second, stadium lights engage our imaginations. The fact that we would construct such colossal, expensive contraptions in order to get lost in the drama of competition and spectacle is, actually, pretty heart-warming. In society, there are so many things that superficially divide us: Nothing brings us all back together like a football stadium on a Friday night. To see this emblem of our shared love of drama, our helplessness against the tendency to hope and dream and aspire despite our practical sides, on such a large scale is always cool to me.

So, in honor of the magic of giant stadiums and the way their giant lights capture our imaginations, here are five things about stadium lights I bet you didn’t know.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 31, 2014 at 10:00 am
Dec 122013
 

holdman christmas show 20101 Top 5 Christmas Light and Music Displays

What is the Christmas season without Christmas lights and music? But what happens when you combine the two? Well, a wonderfully awesome Christmas light display of course! Check out our picks for the top 5 homes that combined the elements of lights and music to create unforgettable Christmas light displays.

1) The Holdman Family

Beautifully done, and extremely well organized, the Holdman family has been setting their Christmas display to music for years!

2) A Colorado Springs Home

This home goes above and beyond to spread the holiday cheer!

3) Gangham Style

What is 2013 without the widely renowned “Gangman Style” theme song? This home combines the funky fun song with a perfectly timed Christmas display.

4) Let’s Dance!

Although this one seems a little more fitting for a nightclub then a home, it still shines a fun light on combining music with a Christmas light display. Kudos for the creativity!

5) Fit for a Princess

So, maybe this one isn’t exactly “set” to music, but it is still one of the best home Christmas light displays we’ve seen. Even if this particular “home” is actually a castle belonging to a fairytale princess.

Do you know of any cool Christmas lighting displays that are timed to music?

Nov 042013
 

It’s that time of year again! The dust has settled from Halloween and we’re gearing up for one of the busiest seasons in the lighting industry.

holiday lighting guide1 Holiday Lighting Guide

You might think it’s a little early to start worrying about the holiday season – and don’t worry, we’re not trying to be your weird neighbors with icicle lights on their porch in July. But when it comes to holiday lighting, there’s a lot to plan for if you want to get the most out of your efforts, so in the spirit of preparation, it’s never too early!

Everybody celebrates the holidays a little differently, so here are some tips for how to make your holiday lighting as special as you are.

1. Plan ahead. 

Most people’s holiday decorating tradition involves a month of putting it off and suddenly realizing you can (or have to) do it today. But even minimal planning can make all the difference in your decorating. Decide ahead of time – as in, right now – approximately when the deadline for getting your decorations up is, and then make plans to get it done. Make decorating a priority, and you’ll actually be able to really enjoy them for the whole season.

Planning is also super helpful when it’s time to start hanging lights, because there’s not much worse than getting to the end of your last string of lights while on top of a 20-foot ladder – and you only made it across half the house. Do some simple calculations and a bit of research to decide what type of light you need and how much of it. Continue reading »

Sep 272013
 

victorian solar led lamp and post 7 foot height 17 300x199 How To Choose Solar Lights For Your YardWhen given the choice between spending money or getting something for free, which would you pick?

While this dilemma seems a little too good to be true, in the outdoor lighting industry, it’s an increasingly valid question. Conventional outdoor lights run on the electricity you pay for, but solar lamps are powered by the always-free sunlight. Once you invest in your favorite solar lights, the costs stop. No money spent on difficult installation, upkeep, or energy.

Who doesn’t love that?

However, because solar powered lights are still a fairly new technology, you need to make sure that the lights you buy aren’t going to let you down. Until just recently, most solar powered lights only produced a dim amount of light, and weren’t very reliable.

To choose good solar lights for your yard, you need to be informed. Here’s what you need to look for when you’re shopping:

LED lights: We recommend you always use solar powered lights with durable LEDs. They last longer than other light sources, and can hold up under harsher elements. LEDs require less energy to produce light, so they are much more dependable.

Efficient Photovoltaic Cells: You should stay away from older models, making sure your lights have durable solar cells and the most efficient batteries.

Function and Decoration: Make sure your lights will be able to perform the functions you require. When lighting an outdoor area, we recommend you use 3 kinds of solar landscape lights – accent lights, path lights, and task lights. Here are some examples:

  • Solar accent lights: Accent lights are used to mark areas or highlight features in your yard, but not illuminate a large object or area. They aren’t as bright as other kinds of lights, meaning they last longer. Their purpose is mostly to add visual interest.

hanging basket with solar led accent light 7 How To Choose Solar Lights For Your Yard

  • Solar path lights: Path lights are brighter than accent lights, and used to guide you around an area in the dark. They come in a variety of sizes, and operate in a range of different ways – timers, motion sensors, or dusk-to-dawn photocells. Continue reading »
 Posted by on September 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Jul 032013
 

We like to talk at length about the importance of long lasting lights. But, there’s one day when all of that flies out the window (or up into the sky, as it is). The fleeting light from fireworks on the Fourth of July can be among the most dazzling and memorable lights you’ll ever see.

Since July 4th is tomorrow, I’m dedicating this blog post to some of the most amazing light shows in the U.S.

Fair St. Louis at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO:

fairsaintlouis org 10 Spectacular Fireworks Shows For July 4th

Image via FairSaintLouis.org

Kaboom Town in Addison, TX:

Addison TravelChannel com 10 Spectacular Fireworks Shows For July 4th

Image via TravelChannel.com

Continue reading »

Jun 262013
 

bigstock Modern stone house in Istria 9183125 1 300x144 Are LED Outdoor Lights Bright Enough?
In a word – yes.

Here’s why:

We’ve all had one of those free, or next to free LED flashlights that doesn’t give off enough light to help us see anything. So naturally, you might have some doubts about trusting LED lights to illuminate you exterior, especially at night. Unlike those cheap flashlights, LED outdoor lights – like floodlights, step lights, and landscape lights – are created for important outdoor use. So, they’ll generate enough light to brighten your stairs, driveways, porches, paths, and yards, just like any other outdoor lights.

To be sure that you’ll get lights you can trust to work and to stand out in the dark, just check how many lumens your current outdoor lights emit (halogen, fluorescent, etc) and make sure your new lights have a similar number. Continue reading »

Jun 172013
 

stock photo outdoor space vertical The 5 Rules of Outdoor Universal Lighting Design
Every space you inhabit should be safe and welcoming.

If you’re a designer, or if you live with a person who has special needs due to age, you’re probably familiar with universal design. It’s all about making a living space accessible to everyone. Universal lighting design specifically uses light to make these improvements and accommodations possible.

Most often, you hear about universal lighting design for task areas in kitchens and bathrooms, but it’s also a very important concept for the exteriors of homes and buildings.

When night falls, universally designed exterior lighting ensures a smooth transition between inside and out. It keeps porches, patios, steps, and walkways always inviting.

Use these rules to create an outdoor environment that is safer for everyone.

1. Create a visual destination.

Aging eyes need more light to distinguish detail. So, when an elderly person navigates in the dark, he needs the light to clearly indicate where he should go. All the lights should converge on, or point to a single destination, usually the front door or entrance. This spot is the brightest spot on the property.

bigstock Contemporary grand entrance 6548309 The 5 Rules of Outdoor Universal Lighting Design

2. Clearly define outdoor “zones.” Continue reading »

Jun 102013
 

camping 236x300 How To Choose Good Camping Lights
When planning your next summer camping trip, you should always have a quality headlamp, flashlight, and lantern on your packing list. The right battery lights will keep you safe and comfortable throughout your journey through the wilderness.

Here are some essential qualities you should look for in a good camping light:

1. Battery Operated. As nostalgic as those old kerosene lamps may be, battery operated lights are much more practical. You can turn them on and off whenever you need to, and they require much less paraphernalia. During bad weather, they’re a lot safer to have in your tent. Make sure to find one with a long battery life, or one with a recharge crank so you’ll have light until you choose to return to civilization.

2. Small. When you’re lugging your belongings up a mountain, an extra pound or two makes the biggest difference. You want something light, compact, and easy to carry.

3. Bright. Your light may need to be small, but its impact should be big. When rummaging through your knapsack, cooking your food, or scoping out a campsite, your lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps need to emit a massive number of lumens. This will keep you organized and out of danger. You may also find it helpful to invest in a light with several different brightness settings. That way you can set up your camp and read yourself to sleep with just one light. Continue reading »

Jun 032013
 

Outdoor Kitchen HGTV 300x225 Using Under Cabinet Lights In Your Outdoor Kitchen

Image via HGTV.com


Whether you’re building an outdoor kitchen for the first time, or updating yours for summer, under cabinet lights can be a valuable addition. Today’s blog post will explain what under cabinet lights can add to your outdoor kitchen, and how to find the right kind for you…

What Under Cabinet Lights Will Add To Your Space:

You need a light to rely on.

Most outdoor kitchens don’t have a constant source of ambient light. Unless your space is complete with a ceiling and some sort of overhead fixture, you can’t just rely on the sunlight. If you like the feeling of cooking in the open air, you’ll need some sort of task lighting, especially when preparing food after dark.

Despite all the variable conditions in the outdoor kitchen, adding lights to specifically illuminate your countertops will ensure you’ll always have adequate task lighting. The lights will come in handy when you grill meat or veggies, allowing you to check that they’re fully cooked before serving. Under cabinet lights help you see when mixing and pouring drinks, and fixing snacks as well. Having extra task lights will also help you see to thoroughly clean your outdoor kitchen, so leftover crumbs won’t attract unwanted pests.

Not to mention good task lighting adds a lovely ambiance to an outdoor space after dark. Continue reading »