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Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has been installing landscape lighting for over 20 years.  We have enhanced thousands and thousands of homes in that timeframe with elegant outdoor lighting that always enhance the homeowner’s outdoor living spaces.

We wanted to capture the process that we go through with our clients from the initial consultation up to the final installation.  To do this, we decided to do an “HGTV” style video documenting every step of the way, including the BIG REVEAL at the end.

This particular customer lives near our Augusta, GA office.  But whether it’s in Augusta, or our own office here in Austin, TX, or any of the 53 other OLP locations, you can rest assured knowing our process is the same.

We hope you take a moment to watch our show and catch the inspiration that professionally installed landscape lighting provides.

http://www.outdoorlighting.com/transformation

If you like what you’ve just seen and are thinking of adding landscape lighting, please give us a call.  We’d be happy to come transform your yard,  just as we did for our client Pam.

 

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Recently, OLP of Austin donated a complete lighting package to be auctioned off at the annual Play Bingo fundraiser benefitting the Center for Child Protection.  The Center for Child Protection, a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center, is the first contact for children in Travis County who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and for children who have witnessed a violent crime.

By donating the seven light system, OLP was proud to be a part of the money raised at the auction.  These funds will help provide funding for the Center for the upcoming year.

After the auction, OLP arrived at the winning bidder‘s house to install her new lighting system.  We completed the installation in a day and she loves how the LED lighting enhances her front yard.

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We were recently called out to a home on a service call.  It’s a large yard with 4 transformers and close to 50 different fixtures installed.  The customer pointed out various problems to us that certain lights are not working – mostly centered on the main portion of the backyard.  We quickly got to work.

We quickly determined it was some type of power or cabling problem.  When we opened up the main transformer, the first thing we noticed was a burnt smell – not a good sign.  Turns out one of the 3 circuits had fried itself and was not functioning.

That’s when we really started investigating.  This transformer was a 900w transformer.  Transformers are rated to safely run about 80% of that output, or 720w.  By counting up the total wattage of the lights installed on this transformer, we were right at 700w, safely within upper limits.  Then we noticed 2 lights in a pond that were not installed by us.  We traced it out and sure enough, the customer had added an extra cable in our transformer and added those 2 lights on his own.

Innocent enough until you realize 2 extra lights at 35w each added 70 watts to a system that was already fully loaded.  The extra strain of now running close to 800w of output eventually with time caused major damage and a circuit meltdown.

The takeaway:   If you already have a lighting system, don’t randomly add to it without first taking some precaution.  If necessary, get help from a professional to adequately size the lights you want to add and ensure that you have the capacity.    Your lights will stay on and brighter much longer if you do.

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When we think of outdoor lights, we generally think of fixtures that are relatively resistant to sun, weather and the other outdoor elements. Indeed most are relatively resistant. But, there are a couple of things that an outdoor fixture can’t resist – falling leaves and fire ants.Well light lens cover

We all know fire ants are pests – especially when they build a nest in a high traffic area around our home. But, sometimes they can be bigger pests when they build nests around low traffic areas – right  inside the outdoor lighting fixture near the house or in a tree bed.

Fire ants will actually crawl up inside the lighting fixture with nesting materials such as dirt and make their nest inside the fixture. At best, this can cause the fixture to short out. In the worst case scenario, this can cause a fire. Either way, it’s an expensive proposition when $25 could have avoided that and avoided other problems as well.

Purchasing lens covers for your well lights will not only keep out insects, ants, and insect nests, but they will also keep out leaves, debris, brush, snow and other things that could fall in the fixture.  They are made of tempered glass which maintains the white light of the bulb and you can install them yourself, or we can install them for you.

If you have a lighting system from another source and are experiencing maintenance issues like this, call us at (512) 247-1815.  We do service existing systems.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives well light near a tree

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives installed well light near a tree

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Posted by JaneGWalker on February 1st, 2012 @ 9:02 PM

If you’ve never visited Washington D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood, you’re missing out. It’s beautiful and has something for everyone to enjoy: great restaurants, eclectic shops, delicious bakeries, gorgeous parks and more. In the Georgetown area you can find the Washington Harbour, which provides luxury condos, offices, shops and restaurants along the Potomac River. On a nice day residents and visitors alike can watch boats pass on the river and enjoy views of the Kennedy Center and Watergate.

Difference between Induction and LED lightingThe Washington Harbour’s new induction lighting compared to compact florescent

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives recently started working with the Washington Harbour on retrofitting their architectural and security lighting. When the weather is nice, the Washington Harbour hosts a number of outdoor events and needed better outdoor lighting to improve the atmosphere and security at night.

To cut down on the Harbour’s energy and maintenance costs, induction lighting is being used on the project’s retrofit of existing fixtures. Induction lighting isn’t as well known as LED lighting, but it is even more energy efficient and makes more sense for a lot of commercial applications like parking lots and garages, street lighting, etc. For the Washington Harbour, induction lighting reduces their overall energy consumption and is cutting down on their maintenance costs because induction bulbs last for up to 22 years! Check out some of the other benefits of commercial induction lighting compared to other technologies on our outdoor lighting comparison chart.

Induction Lighting Versus LED LightingInduction Lighting gives a brighter white light than CFL and LED

Although saving money and energy alone is a great reason to consider retrofitting existing commercial fixtures, it doesn’t mean that we have to compromise on the aesthetics of the project. In the image to the right, you can see the white light of induction lighting in comparison to the orange/yellow light of a depreciated CFL bulb. The white light improved the light quality of the Harbour’s buildings because it’s brighter than CFL, but it also gave them a consistent color output throughout the harbour. The color of CFL and LED bulbs may shift and change over time, whereas induction will remain steady from fixture to fixture.

Induction lighting and its’ reliable white light and longevity increases safety in areas like the Washington Harbour. The light is more pleasing the eye, allowing people to more clearly see where they are walking, biking, etc.

We are really excited about the Induction lighting project at the Washington Harbour because of all the benefits it provides for residents and visitors to the area. If you need help in planning, designing and installing a commercial lighting project, or just have more questions on what is best for you, please visit our commercial outdoor lighting website or call us at 800-447-1112.

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Hope you all are enjoying the holidays with your friends and family.  As we head into the new year, it’s always been a time for optimism for us and certainly some of the recent economic indicators have been positive to fuel that optimism.  Since we still call ourselves the “new” owners of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin, we are especially optimistic about what the new year may bring for us.

One of our early goals for the new year is to be especially active publishing articles and updates on different lighting topics.  Whether it be new technologies, going green, or changing legislation, we hope you find our articles useful.  In that respect, we will be doing a lot more exclusive offers on Facebook for different seasonal promotions and discounts off some of our services.  We encourage you to become a fan of our site by clicking the Facebook “LIke” icon below or visiting our facebook page at facebook/OutdoorLightsAustin.com and then watch the feed for new offers from your friends at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

A simple closing by wishing a Happy New Year to all.

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With the temperature in Austin dancing around the freezing point, I remember as a child asking my mother what color icicles were? Some times they looked white. Some times they looked a little blue or a little green or a little red. I remember a moment on a very cold day when we opened the door from our house that was buzzing with the sound of the heat running and watched amazed as frost in the shape of intricate ice fans quickly cascaded across the glass door. As they did, I told my mother the color of each ice formation. Not wanting to squelch my enthusiasm, my mother didn’t mention to me that the ice was merely reflecting the colors around it.

stones color rendering index

stones color rendering index

Now that I design with light, I often have the opportunity to discuss the color of light with my customers. We often talk about the Color Rendering Index or CRI. As defined by Wikipedia, the Color Rendering Index is the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. So, think about looking at a white marble wall during the day. What colors would you see? In addition to white, you would likely see sparkles of silver and shades of gray. If you looked at a wooden fence during the day, you would see the apparent color of the fence but you would also see subtle color variations related to the primary color.

Color of wood color rendering index CRI

Color of wood color rendering index CRI

Now envision looking at that same white marble or brown wooden fence at night. We might expect that the white marble would appear gray and the dark brown wood of the fence would look dark gray or nearly black. That is a function of the color rendering index. The ability of the light source to represent the color as it would with a natural light source such as the light of day depends on the quality of the artificial light source which is the light bulb.

Color of trees - color rendering index CRI

Color of trees - color rendering index CRI

Often when we go on lighting demonstrations and the homeowner has existing outdoor lighting that they know they want to replace, we talk about and show them things like the yellow of the light they are using. The goal of good outdoor lighting should be to faithfully render the color of the item as it would look during the day or with a natural light source. Look at the pictures you see here. If you look at the picture of this tree, you can see the true green of the leaves that you would expect to see during the day. You can also see various other shades of green. This light (our light) has a very high CRI because it faithfully renders the colors you would see in natural light.

Another thing you want to look for with outdoor lighting is the ability to see nuances such as flat patterns and depth. Can you see the knots in the wood? Can you see the subtle elevations of a stamped concrete?

Michael Wynn, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives

Michael Wynn, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives

The quartz halogen bulbs we use with our outdoor lighting has a tremendously high CRI. Take a look at your outdoor lighting if you have some. Examine the colors of the items that are being illuminated. Are they gray? Are they yellow? Do they render faithfully?

Michael

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives

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