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
Nov 182010
 
Saving Cents How to Remodel Your Kitchen on a Budget1. Take one step at a time:

There’s no rule that says you must complete each component of a kitchen remodel at the same time.  Figure out which project is most important to you and start there.  If you’re dying to replace the cabinets, get a quote and finish that project first before starting on the countertops, flooring, or lighting.  It’ll be less daunting to budget in smaller pieces.  Also, you’ll avoid living with a non-functional kitchen if you’re only tackling one project at a time!

2. Shop for the deals:

Be patient so you can take up every opportunity for a discount.  It’s easy to buy everything from one home improvement supplier, but it’s not likely you’ll get the best prices if you take that route.  Ask your contractor for the inside scoop – a lot of times contractors get significant discounts on supplies.  If you’re shopping for lighting fixtures, make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter.  We offer exclusive coupons to our subscribers each month.

3. Try DIY:

Not everyone can do it, but if you’re at all handy around the house, consider taking on part of the remodel yourself!  You can find extensive resources online or at the bookstore with tips and how-to’s to walk you through almost any project.

 Posted by on November 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Oct 282010
 
holiday lights How To Lower Your Energy Bill This Winter

Think twice before using the same old strand of incandescent lights.

Between the extra costs of heating your home in the cold weather, turning the lights on earlier as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end, and higher fuel costs in general this year, energy bills tend to skyrocket during winter months.

If you use the standard incandescent light strings during the holidays, this is the year to think twice.

LED string lighting uses 90% less energy than its incandescent counterpart.  It lasts about ten times longer and is highly durable, meaning you will no longer be heading out to the store each year when yet another string is spent.

Also, LED lighting is cool to the touch.  The holiday lighting fire hazard you hear about is caused by the fact that incandescent lights emit a lot of heat (never a good combination when you’re talking about stringing it across millions of dry Christmas trees). Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 28, 2010 at 9:02 am
Oct 122010
 

tracklighting Track Lighting 101Track lights are one of the most versatile lighting systems because the individual fixtures can be positioned anywhere along the track and then swiveled, rotated, and aimed in any direction.  It’s possible to create a variety of different effects, and you can tailor the lights to best accentuate your room.

However, this also means it’s hard to know where to start!  Consider this your how-to guide for using track lights to create the perfect effect.

First, you’ll need to decide what type of light you want the track fixtures to provide.  Track lights are typically used in one of three ways:

  • Accent lighting, highlighting a particular object such as a work of art.
  • Wall washing, evenly illuminating a wall.  Should be used for non-textured vertical surfaces.
  • Wall grazing, dramatically highlighting the texture in a wall.  Should be used for textured vertical surfaces like brick, stone, or draperies.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 12, 2010 at 10:00 am
Sep 282010
 

Recessed Lighting Layout How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy StepsWe received a question on Twitter recently about how to layout recessed lighting and I realized we don’t have any blog posts on that topic!

If you’re using recessed lights (aka cans, high hats, pot lights, or downlights) to provide the general lighting in a room, follow these tips to create the ideal level of brightness:

1. Ready your sketchbook.

Use a blueprint of the room to pencil in exactly where you want the recessed lights to go.  Before you start, take measurements of any furniture in the room and create paper shapes that are correctly scaled for the blueprint.   This way, you’ll be able to see where the light will fall. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 28, 2010 at 8:58 am
Sep 152010
 

corner over cabinet 250 Small Kitchens, Be Gone!Homeowners approach kitchen designers all the time with those three familiar words: “it’s too small.”  Since it’s not always in the budget to knock out the walls, cut the living room square footage in half, and create a massive dream kitchen from scratch, designers usually have to come up with a few other ideas.

Listed below are solutions for tackling that too-small kitchen.  Let me know if I missed any in the comments!

Paint Lightly: Rooms painted with a lighter color will feel more open.  Try to gravitate toward colors like light blue, white, yellow, or beige.  This applies not only to walls but also to cabinets, countertops, and appliances.  Dark colors have a way of visually closing in your space. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am
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.
Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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

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