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Archive for the ‘Garden Lighting’ 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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If you haven’t seen this website, it’s a great source for decorating and remodeling project ideas.  Published by homeowners and professionals it’s categorized nicely into different areas of the house for easy reference.  I’m proud to say that we were selected for a “2013 Best of Houzz” award for our reviews, ideabooks, and some of our project photos on landscape lighting.

Here’s a sample slideshow highlighting some of our recent work with outdoor lighting:

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LEDs are upwards of 80 percent more efficient than incandescent lights, but they comprise only a very small percent of retail sales.  One research report I read says LED is less than 10% of retail bulb sales.  With all the “talk” about greener codes and standards, better energy management, and general awareness of environmental issues, why the dichotomy?

As a designer, I see two major issues holding the consumer back.

First, there is the technology itself.  There are lots of choices available on shelves with different bulb types, light output, beam width, and color temperature.  The choices can be confusing.  If not done correctly, this can lead to a lot of expense with sub-par results.

Color temperatures between 2700K and 3000K provide the warmth familiar to most homeowners, while temperatures between 4000K and 5000K work well for mostly interior daylit rooms. LEDs with a color rendering index (CRI) exceeding 80 will produce the best color output.

There are a number of performance and testing websites to help get accurate information on LED products, including the Department of Energy, but the best way is working with a professional and doing on site testing for your specific application.  Every home exterior and interior is different and one light that works well in one case, may not work as well in another.  Height and width of object lit, distance from object, area size, all will impact the final result.

The second objection is price.  When we discuss an outdoor lighting system, LED can add as much as a 20% surcharge to the overall system price.  LED bulbs are more expensive than their incandescent counterparts and this has a direct effect on consumer acceptance and adoption rates.

Some interesting research worth noting.  In 2002, a study by D&R Research found that about 10% of the homes had converted to some form of efficient lighting.  By 2012, this number had increased to nearly 30%.  Their forecast stated that in another 10 years, the percent of homes with energy efficient lighting would be around 60%.

What this means is that manufacturers will be able to mass produce product and prices will begin to fall.  We’ve seen this repeatedly in the past (i..e. computers) when technology gains widespread acceptance.

Prices will fall, technology continues to improve.  With multi-year warranties and decade long lifespans, LEDs have made lamps a long-term investment that can exceed the life expectancy of the fixture it illuminates.  Whether you do it yourself, or work with a professional, researching the right LED product is time well spent.  The results of lower energy consumption and reduced ongoing maintenance costs are real and available today.

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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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This client has an interesting antique bench on the side of her front yard that they enjoy.  Shaded by several large oak trees, this is a secluded part of the yard, but very dark at night.  Using several LED up lights to highlight the nearby canopies and one down light spot pointed at the back of the bench, we provided an elegantly lit oasis they can now enjoy into the evening.   Another satisfied customer from OLP of Austin.

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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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LED PAR36 bulb –

We recently returned from the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives annual conference.  Certainly, the biggest news on the technology front was the introduction of a new LED PAR36 bulb.

Some of the features of this bulb:

  • 6watt (over 80% reduction in power consumption)
  • 3000 degrees Kelvin (warm white)
  • 50,000 hour rating (compared to 5,000 for halogen)
  • 5 year warranty

The light quality?  Side by side against a new halogen bulb, the light output (temperature) is so close that it’s hard to tell one from the other.  This light is also an easy retrofit in existing fixtures using PAR36 halogen bulbs.  Benefits:  the energy efficiencies saves electricity and super long burn rate lowers maintenance costs.  Typical payback on an LED conversion is less than 2 years.

LED bulbs replacing the MR16 bulb is also available now and an LED retrofit bulb for path lights will be coming in April, 2012.

Clearly, LED technology has finally arrived for Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

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