Category Archives: Lighting

Energy Efficient Landscape Lighting

One great way to accent your landscaped yard is to add in the use of landscape lighting. There are some pretty easy ways to figure out which types and styles of lighting will work best for you and your yard. With “Going Green” being so popular these days, solar garden lighting is taking off in popularity as well since it is a renewable source of energy.

Even though solar lighting is great, as a landscaping professional I have yet to come across any kind of self-contained solar lighting system that stays lit for more than just a few hours. Most of them require so many lights just to produce any kind of desirable effect and instead make a beautiful yard look worse. We all are waiting for solar lighting to become a viable option for landscape lighting, but currently the technology is either not available or is incredibly expensive.

Typically, line voltage lighting is the standard. Line voltage lighting systems provide all the light you want as it runs off your house current. However, line voltage lighting requires an electrician to install it, with necessary electrical inspections, and will increase your monthly electric bill. I recommend using low voltage lighting for most landscape lighting applications.

Ten years ago, low voltage lighting was unreliable and underpowered. However, times have changed! Today’s low voltage lighting provides powerful and attractive lighting at much less cost than line voltage lighting. Low voltage lighting is achieved when a transformer which converts the standard 110v into a safe, low current is plugged into an existing 3-prong plug. One transformer can power enough lights for most residential landscapes and uses very little energy. The great thing about low voltage lighting is that they use a wire which can be safely buried below the surface of mulch or soil, and connect using a simple connector. This ease of installation and the low monthly costs make low voltage lighting the best choice for most landscapes.

Whichever type of lighting you choose, there are a couple of things you should remember when you set out to purchase your lighting system. First and foremost, do not overdo it! Landscape lighting is designed to accent your landscaped yard. You should be aiming for ambient lighting and should keep it low-key. Secondly, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive lights at your typical box stores will most likely fail quickly. Having to regularly replace your bulbs and fixtures becomes costly and inconvenient. Thankfully, there are a large variety of high quality lights for your landscape. Personally, I prefer copper lights. They patina naturally, and add a very sleek, natural accent to any landscape.

CFLs Vs. LEDs Consumer Guide

A proper lighting in your home can make an enormous difference in your home’s ambiance and overall comfort of your home.

LEDs which have been used for decades in many opto-electronic components, are now making a strong move into household light bulb market. Can these more expensive, energy efficient, greener and longer lasting light bulbs replace the current King – CFLs in the near future as a lighting bulb product of choice for the environmentally conscious consumers?

Proponents of LED light bulbs claim that LEDs are not only energy efficient and environmentally friendly, but can also last 10 times longer than CFLs. One fact that is not often mentioned though, is that similarly to the early CFLs, modern (early) household LEDs provide only a limited amount of brightness that usually does not exceed the level provided by a 35-watt incandescent light bulb. This is considered to0 little for focused tasks like reading and writing for most people.

The higher price of LEDs and limited brightness is what makes choosing between CFLs vs. LEDs rather difficult. At any rate, it helps to know what each of these “green lighting alternatives” to incandescent light bulbs has to offer.

In a nutshell

You have surely seen many CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps. They have spiral shapes and are primarily used in homes as an affordable and greener (more energy efficient) alternative to incandescent light bulbs. Unlike their predecessor, incandescent light bulbs, CFLs do not contain any filament that produces a lot of heat and some light when the electricity passes through it. Only a small proportion of electricity goes towards light generation in incandescent light bulbs, while a great amount of electricity is wasted as heat. This renders incandescent light bulbs energy inefficient and is the reason why CFLs became a popular replacement option.

Further, frequent Ons and Offs can dramatically reduce a lifespan of incandescent light bulbs because of rapid expansion and contraction of the filament, which leads to a premature failure of incandescent light bulbs.

LEDs or light emitting diodes, produce light whenever an electric current passes through them. LED light bulbs are far more energy efficient and longer lasting than CFLs, but they also cost more, and have a rather limited brightness and narrowly focused light distribution range.

LEDs are illuminated by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, there is no filament to burn out. Thus LEDs can last as long as a standard transistor, in theory. In practice, LEDs generate some amount of heat, and frequent Ons and Offs can lead to cracking of the epoxy and the circuit board, which can lead to a shorter lifespan than 50,000 hours (10 years) claimed by many.

Viable – Brighter LED Light Bulbs Alternatives

EvoLux LED Light Bulb

13 Watt EvoLux LED Light Bulb – 100 Watt Incandescent Replacement

EvoLux S 13 Watt LED Medium Base Light Bulb producing Warm White Light equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent light bulb (According to Manufacturer). It uses use multiple LEDs in a single casing to generate light. This bulb can be purchased for about $60 per bulb as of the date of this post May 1st, 2011. The price tag may still be too high for many homeowners to swallow.

Further, many people who have purchased LEDs for their home, report that the amount of light produced by EvoLux LED light bulb is no where near to what the manufacturer claims, and is roughly equivalent to the amount of light produced by the 60-75 watt incandescent light bulb. The narrow focus of the bulb is also a concern for many homeowners.

Concerns about Chemicals in CFLs

Typical CFL Light Bulb

CFL Light Bulb with a Characteristic spiral

LED light bulbs do not have any significant chemical content, while CFLs contain mercury and thus require a proper recycling. Recycling of old CFLs does not have to be difficult, though. You can simply return them to the hardware store where you originally bought them for a proper recycling. If the CFL light bulb breakage occurs, you and your family can be exposed to to the risks posed by the small amount of mercury it contains. Be sure to open the windows and properly clean and ventilate the space where the breakage occurred.

Heat Production is Minimal in LEDs

LED light bulbs generate a very small amount of heat compared to CFLs and incandescent light bulbs. Naturally, the risk of fire hazards is reduced. In fact, you can even touch the lamp itself without getting hurt. Most electricity goes directly towards producing the light in LEDs.

More savings for everyone

There is no denying that nowadays many people are making extra efforts to make ends meet. Thus, every opportunity wherein you will be able to earn bigger energy savings will come as a welcome thought especially to people who are environmentally conscious and green oriented, right? With LEDs many people can recoup the higher initial cost of LEDs in a few years. Thus LEDs, can actually be a cost effective alternative to CFLs event today!.

Benefits of LED Light Bulbs Vs. CFLs

LEDs get bright as soon as they are turned on. CFLs do not work that way. Instead, they need to be warmed up for about a minute in order to achieve their brightest.

CFLs are made of materials that break easily such as its glass tubing that is extremely thin. Thus, once dropped, they break into pieces making it useless. LED lamps are more durable because of their solid materials that are far less susceptible to breakage caused by the impacts like accidentally dropping the bulb.

Advantages of CFLs

Looking at the other side of the fence, CFLs also have their own share of benefits and advantages. Apart from its cost, CFLs can provide brighter lightning than LEDs. For those who prefer dimmer shades, newly released CFLs have available dim lights already. On top of it, LED technology is still new and therefore expensive and not yet fully developed.

Conclusion and Forecast

While immediate energy-cost savings from using LEDs are dubious at this point it time, the green benefits of using LEDs are quite clear. Cost-wise, LEDs will become more affordable and are likely to replace CFLs altogether at some point in the near future.

Decorating with Floor Lamps

The answer to updating interior spaces does not have to be as complex as tearing down the foundation and starting all over again. This means that there doesn’t have to be brand new couches, new curtains, new paint jobs – etc, etc, etc. In fact, the answer to updating the look of your interior space can be as simple and minimalistic as purchasing a new floor lamp. Floor lamps are an excellent way to decorate because there are so many appealing lamp designs to choose from that when chosen improves the general look of the living room and/or the interior area.

Modern lamps of today sit on different bases than the traditional floor lamp that had the design of a thin-pole. Floor lamps can be built onto wood, plastic, or metal setup to allow additional storage space as well as having the added bonus of being attached to the actual lighting fixture. An example of these modern day lamps include designs in the shape of pyramids that allow room and space for candles and other décor. Floor lamps of the square shaded variety are extremely popular for interior decorators and homeowners alike. Square shades provide lamps with different presentations, adding vogue and eclectic fashion to a modern room. Shades that are semi-opaque can be fitted to be various colorful beautiful designs that can ultimately spark the overall look of a room.

Modern Floor Lamps that can be outfitted with with LED light Bulbs

Nursery rooms and/or other children rooms can be outfitted with themed floor lamps. Lamp shades are no longer limited to dull single colors, but can be purchased in creative variations that fit the design motif of the room you are trying to create. Potential themes can include princess rooms, safari themes, and barnyard themes. LED lamps come with the added benefit of including one of lighting technology’s most popular new additions. LED lighting can be used to replace incandescent bulbs that are traditionally used. LED lights are a type of electrical light that are low power and produce great lighting without the use of a lot of heat or the fire risk that can come with the use of typical floor lamps.

LED lights truly are an attractive way to save energy while adding style to the home. Another lamp that can be used to brighten up a dull interior space is a globe lamp. Globe lamps are designed as a globe meant to shield and circumvent the light bulbs used on the fixture, ensuring safety while subsequently providing a look that is more aesthetically appealing to the eyes of those who look at your reinvented space.