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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Lighting Maintenance’ Category

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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A post from our national office about Austin:

Posted by JaneGWalker on March 20th, 2012 @ 8:44 AM

Developers spend millions of dollars creating subdivisions where people want to live. The landscaping is kept and the entryway is often the focal point. A beautiful welcome area can make one neighborhood stand apart from the others. Recently, one of our franchisees, Rick Johnson, who provides outdoor lighting in Austin and its surrounding areas, worked with a local subdivision to enhance their entryway outdoor lighting. Here’s the story:

Entryway lighting can make a neighborhood more welcoming

Entryway lighting can make a neighborhood more welcoming

Belvedere is a high-end gated community outside of Austin, Texas. When it was first built in 2006, the developers built a large brick entry to welcome residents and guests. To make sure that people could see the neighborhood from the street at all times of the day, they had installed low voltage landscape lighting. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t properly maintained so the light started to dull. Additionally, the surrounding trees have grown a lot in the last 6 years and had started to block a lot of the lighting. In short, Belvedere needed an update and looked to Rick Johnson for help.

The board had two goals for its lighting update: 1) make the entrance brighter as it was now difficult to see from the road and 2) have a soft, elegant look befitting of the neighborhood, but not overpowering.

Rick was one of three lighting companies that presented to the board. While the competitors both recommended to get rid of every existing fixture and install 40 new ones, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives saw the potential to work with what was there and installed only 20 new fixtures. Not only was the OLP bid significantly less than the competition’s, but now that the existing fixtures are cleaned up and have been tweaked, it looks great.

This is a great example of how Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is different than other outdoor lighting companies. For us, it is all about the effect. We work with very high-quality residential outdoor lighting fixtures, but it’s HOW we use them that’s important. Rick is a trained outdoor lighting designer who understands the best practices to provide the Belvedere with the soft glow they requested. Additionally, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives will be visiting the subdivision quarterly to inspect the entryway outdoor lighting so that it always stands out.

The Belvedere board is very happy with the work Rick did on their entryway and so are we. Congrats Rick on a job well done.

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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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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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Well light lens cover

Well light lens cover

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.

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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The rain in Austin is unbelievable. Take a look at this footage from KXAN.

Rivers are overflowing. Roads are flooding and shutting down. Cars are flooding. Some of the water damage is visible now. Some won’t be seen until later.

One of the things I see out there in the field is outdoor light fixtures that get water down in the socket and the sockets rot out. This is something most people wouldn’t realize. They would simply see that their outdoor light is not coming on. Keeping the socket completely dry is critical for the fixture. And, it’s not something that you can do. It has to be done by the manufacturer. You need outdoor lighting fixtures with completely water tight sockets.

One thing you might want to look for as an indication that your fixture may be getting some structural damage is if the bulb continues to blow out. Our bulbs last about one year so if you’re using a good bulb and it continues to blow out, it’s best to have someone come out and look at your fixture. Purchasing multiple bulbs over the life of a fixture can be extremely costly.

Art Costello Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin

Art Costello Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin

I get calls lots of times from people who are having this problem. I’m really happy to take a look at the fixture and determine what is likely wrong with it. On my own fixtures, we have a warranty for the entire first year. There are no visit fees or any other fees. If there are any problems with the lights, someone from my team goes out and takes care of the problem.

That’s an important thing to look for if you’re considering purchasing outdoor lighting. If something goes wrong, will someone come out to your property to look at it for no charge? Will they come out but charge you a fee? Or, do you have to return the product to a big box store or local distributor? Some of my customers have told me they’ve purchased a product at a distributor and then had to return it directly to the manufacturer. All of this is tough to do when the fixtures and wires are buried in your yard.

If you’re thinking about outdoor lighting, my evening demonstration is completely free – just as my service of the lighting I install. Give me a ring and we’ll set something up.

(512) 247 – 1815
email: olpaustin@outdoorlights.com

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