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Posts Tagged ‘LED Lighting’

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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Lighting a commercial stairwell can be a bit tricky.  We were already working with this new hotel in Austin on their landscape lighting when they asked us about the stairwells.  After construction, they realized the stairwells were too dark and this presented both a potential security, as well as safety problem.  Not to mention that local codes require it, but that’s a side point.  They had already found the LED light fixture and we accepted the challenge to install over 90 of the lights in 6 separate stairwells.

The challenge with 3/8″ steel is finding a way to first get a drill bit through and then how to hide the wire inside the railing.  We decided we could actually use the inside of the handrail to drop from one light to the next.  We did burn up several hundred dollars in drill bits, but in the end, we had virtually no exposed wiring.  Incidentally, the chosen fixture uses a 1.4w LED downlight bulb.

Here are a couple pictures to show off the end result:

LED lighting in hotel stairwell

LED lighting in hotel stairwell

LSC stairwell 2

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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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It’s been a busy spring for us. Lots of new clients and we are grateful. One of the more popular trends that we are getting lots of calls on is for lighting outdoor living spaces. Decks, patios, outdoor kitchens, dining areas, water features, seems like everyokumpne is doing construction projects to enhance their back yards.

Finding lighting to enhance these spaces is an essential. Trying to entertain in the dark or off “porch lights” just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you are planning a project of this type, here are a couple ideas on how to complete the look with elegant outdoor lighting:

Safety: One of the absolutes of nearly every project is dark stairs and railings that drop off into darkness in the back yard. This picture is an example of a project we just completed. Notice at the bottom, the small step down into the kitchen area. We added some LED strip lighting on the stair riser to safely light the area so no one will trip entering this potentially dark area.

Downlighting: It’s interesting to see our clients struggle with grilling in the dark or dining on a dark table. Again, looking at our sample work, you see a series of small fixtures installed in the rafters of the pergola to provide lighting for cooking as well as bar top eating.

Aesthetics: Consider some LED strip lighting tucked up under the bar or cap of a stone wall (or wood railing) as we have done here to really make your spaces pop. Notice both the bar front and far back wall are washed with soft ambient LED light. You can even add color changing LED that’s controlled with a remote and you’ll have the coolest back yard in the neighborhood.

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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 recently were called to a home in the West Austin area because the owner was having multiple problems with his outdoor lighting system and he wanted us to repair it.  Upon investigation, he mentioned that he had this system installed about 20 years ago with a combination of line voltage and low voltage lights, 45 in total.

Before proceeding, I’d like to share what this translates to in terms of energy consumption.  He had 25 lights connected to line voltage at 100w/bulb, or 2,500 watts/hour.  Add another 400 watts for the low voltage lights and he’s consuming 2,900w, or 2.9 kilowatts (kwh) for every hour that the lights are on.  Assuming that he runs the lights an average of 6 hours / day x 30.4 days in a month, he’s consuming 529 kwh every month.  Austin Energy is pretty cheap electricity and their bills are a little confusing, but just for energy usage, they charge about $.06 per kilowatt hour.  Doing the math, our new customer was spending about $32 per month just to run his outdoor lighting system.

Rather than proceeding with a system repair, we discussed the possibility of retrofitting this system to new LED technology.  The customer agreed and we ended up converting his line voltage lights to low voltage and utilizing 6w and 3w LED bulbs.

We ran the calculation again and here’s what we found:  25 LED bulbs x 6w + 20 LED bulbs x 3w = 210w, or .21 kwh.  Multiply .21 x 6 hours of usage x 30.4 days, and he now consumes 38.3 kwh in a month.    At $.06 cost / kwh, his energy cost after retrofit?  $2.29 per month.

529 kilowatts on the old system, 38 on the new, that’s a 93% reduction in consumption!  How’s that for a “green” application?

Oh, and the lights?  Customer loves it.  It’s all working again.  He loves the look of LED lighting.  The fact that he’s now paying $2.29 per month to elegantly light his yard, instead of $32, is just an added bonus.

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