Aug 132010
 

Habitat for Humanity LED Lighting Worlds First All LED Habitat for Humanity HomeHabitat for Humanity broke ground on the world’s  first all-LED home in Durham, NC.  Construction began just a few days ago, and the home is expected to be completed in October.

It’s the first Habitat home to begin construction after Cree, Inc. signed its three-year, $1.5 million pledge to provide LED downlights to all Habitat homes built in the US. The LED lighting is expected to save the future homeowners about $250 in electricity costs per year!

Hopefully, Habitat for Humanity will release photos once construction and lighting installation is complete. We’ll keep you posted.

LED residential lighting is not currently common because it’s still relatively expensive when compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs.  However, in the past year alone, the cost of manufacturing LEDs has fallen from $80 per 1000 lumens to $40 per 1000.   Prices are expected to continue to drop as manufacturing costs decline.  Some reports predict that the LED market will explode in growth over the next decade, capturing 50% of the lighting market by 2010.

How long do you think it will be before all the lighting in your home is LED?

Jul 022010
 

over cabinet 300 New Home Project: Over Cabinet LightingThis is the third blog post of my New Home Project post series.  This series of posts details the lighting projects that I have undertaken in my new home.  My first post reviewed the installation of our under cabinet lighting and my second post covered the use of microfluorescent T4 fixtures as pantry and closet lighting.  This post will also talk about microfluorescent T4 fixtures, but this time using them as over cabinet lighting in my kitchen.

While my house was under construction, I had the electricians install electrical outlets on either side of my kitchen directly above my cabinets.  These outlets are controlled by a single wall switch.  Once we moved into our home, I measured the total length of the cabinets where I could place the microfluorescent fixtures.
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Jun 292010
 
LED Battery Operated Night Light Choose the Right Night Light   A Guide

The LED Battery Operated Night Light can be mounted anywhere with no wiring required.

Any well-designed home has a night light or two installed to provide a safe source of light for the bathroom, kitchen, hallway, or bedroom.  Even outdoor areas can benefit from a night light.  (Ever struggled to find your keys in a bag after coming home late at night?  A motion-sensor activated night light next to the door would fix that problem in an instant).

Night lights placed in the bedroom and bathroom also reduce the risk of falling for older adults.  In fact, doctors are recommending installing night lights in the home as part of a preventive measure.  Check out our blog post for more details.

We offer over 25 different models of night lights, so hopefully this guide will help you figure out which type is right for each room in your home.

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May 192010
 

May2010017 Beautiful Kitchen RemodelCheck out those fabulous under cabinet lights!  One of our customers recently remodeled his kitchen – copper & walnut countertops, cream cabinets, a new refrigerator, oven, sink, etc. and our xenon under cabinet lights.  He posted pictures on the Garden Web forum of the results, but we wanted to share them on the blog as well! The xenon lights seem to bring out the warmth of the countertops, and the effect is truly fantastic.

Xenon is always a great option for under cabinet lighting because it’s dimmable and doesn’t give off as much heat as halogen. The particular model in these pictures is the Xenon Line Voltage Thin Under Cabinet Light – it’s extremely low-profile and gives off a bright white light.

May2010057 Beautiful Kitchen RemodelMay2010042 Beautiful Kitchen Remodel

Apr 012010
 

iStock 000005263934XSmall 300x200 Planning Your Kitchen Lighting   8 Easy Steps1.  Set a budget.  Think about what you can afford and don’t forget to account for costs of labor if you end up having to hire an electrician.

2.  Find out what your current circuit in the kitchen can handle.  In order to do this, multiply the amps by the volts.  Most circuits have 120 volts.  So if your circuit was 15 amps, you’d multiply 15×120.  That amounts to 1800 – the total number of watts your kitchen circuit can handle.  It’s a good rule of thumb to use your circuit up to 80 percent of its capacity.

3.  Consider the condition of your current wiring.  If you’re in an older home, you might consider rewiring the room (this is where you should contact an electrician if you don’t have experience).

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Mar 102010
 

vanity mirror lighted square 220wfluorescent Quick Fixes for Bathroom AnnoyancesInadequate light above the sinks: If you’re feeling like the light above your mirror is not enough to illuminate your face, add a wall sconce to each side that will complement the ceiling lights.  Recommended wattage: 150 watts of incandescent light, or 40 watts of fluorescent light per sink.  For more information, check out our blog post on bathroom vanity lighting: “How Not To Look Like Dracula”

Harsh light during midnight trips to the bathroom: If the bright glare is bothersome, install a dimmer. It is easier on the eyes and provides a pleasant, low glow for the bathroom.  Dimmers are affordable and easy to install, and can also serve as mood lighting during a relaxing bath.
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Mar 032010
 

electrical project New Home Project: Pantry and Closet LightingA couple of months ago I wrote my first blog post for my New Home Project post series.  This post series is about the lighting projects I have undertaken in my new home. That first post was about the installation of our kitchen under cabinet lighting. I had hoped to make these posts a little more frequent, but you know how that goes…time gets away from you. Either way, I am finally writing my second post for this series and it is about using Microfluorescent T4 fixtures as pantry and closet lighting.

As a I stated in my previous post, some of my lighting projects I did myself, and others I had professional electricians perform. Adding my pantry and closet lighting was a mix of both.  During the construction of my new home I had the electricians install electrical outlets that were controlled by a light switch in our two kitchen pantries.  One of these pantries was in the kitchen, and the other was actually a coat closet beneath our stairs close to our kitchen that we had the builder convert into a pantry (we call this our “big pantry”). I had these electrical outlets included so that once we moved into the house I could easily install Microfluorescent T4 fixtures around and above the interior door frames of each pantry. The Microfluorescent T4 fixtures come with a cord and plug and you can also purchase flexible linking cables to link two or more fixtures together, which is what I did.  Why did I choose these fixtures? I think this customer comment says it all…

The T4 is sleek, compact, easy to install and provides a generous amount of light in a very small footprint.

Mar 032010
 

It’s a small room with a big impact.  For homes, the main-floor half-bath, or powder room, is often one of the highest-traffic spaces in the house.  For businesses (especially restaurants), the bathroom can determine customer satisfaction, serving as the tipping point between a customer who won’t return and a customer who will recommend to others.  Businesses that consider bathroom design to be an expendable overhead cost may be making an expensive mistake.  A recent study by Cintas Corp. found that 95% of customers would not return to a restaurant if they had a bad experience with the restroom.  The study found that customers use these types of small details as indicators of how the business handles other back-end operations.

That being said, the guest bathroom for homes or businesses is a valuable space to remodel.  Because it’s so small, it’s also a less expensive project to take on.
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Mar 012010
 

iStock 000002761429XSmall1 Light Your Way to OrganizationSpring cleaning season is on its way, and it’s easy to start eliminating organization nightmares in your closets, pantries, and cabinets if you shed some light on the problem.  Think about it.  All of the trouble spots in your home where items are stashed with no rhyme or reason – are they in the dark?  Lower cabinets in the kitchen that extend deep under the counters, the dim corners of the closet, underneath the bed, garage shelves, even the floor under the backseat of the car: they’ve all got it in common.

Adding a tap light to any of these areas is probably the simplest and least expensive thing you can do to improve on organization.  Our LED Battery Operated Puck Lights are only $5.85; they are super bright with three white LEDs and the only thing you need to do to install is apply the self-adhesive tape.  Plus, the batteries will have a long life because they’re LED.
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Feb 182010
 

LEED is an international green building certification system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): a non-profit organization with a mission to transform the building environment.  It’s one of the few standardized measures of energy efficiency.  Both commercial and residential buildings can obtain LEED Certification.  The process takes into account strategies used throughout the building process: from the first designs to maintenance and repair.

Essentially, it’s a points system.  Depending on the type of building, i.e., school, retail, home, healthcare, etc., a project must earn a certain number of minimum points for certification.  To give you an example, I’ll go through the process of gaining LEED certification for a home.
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 Posted by on February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am