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Posts Tagged ‘Up lighting’

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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We were called out to this house because the homeowner was unhappy.  “my street is dark, my neighbors are dark, my house is dark” were the first words we heard when we met.  After some consultation and a night time demonstration, this recently became one of our latest customers to go with LED lighting on the front of their home.

The street is way below the house so we knew that down lighting from the trees was not going to work.  Instead we chose to up light both the front of the house and the tree canopies.  These large oak trees now with 30′ canopies now appear to tower high above street level.  We were also very pleased with the look on the facade of the house.  The homeowner had a standard white limestone rock common to many Austin homes and when lit with LED lighting provides a very rich, elegant look.  We were pleased with the results.

LED Landscape Lighting making a difference

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A lot of homeowners are trying to be more environmentally friendly today.  Buying energy-efficient light bulbs for inside the house, using energy-efficient appliances, and conserving water, are some of the ways we are all trying to conserve energy.  The movement has now moved outdoors and our customers are now able to save up to 80% in energy by switching the light bulbs in their outdoor lighting fixtures with our new LED light bulb.

While LED outdoor lighting fixtures grows in popularity for their energy efficiency, there hasn’t been an option for homeowners who already had lights installed in their yard without replacing the entire fixture.  Until now.

The Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Par 36 LED bulb is making it easy for homeowners by simply changing out a bulb in an existing fixture assembly without any replacement of the fixture itself.  Once installed, this LED bulb has a rated life of 50,000 hours or 19 years if you have them on for 7 hours a day.  There is no socket that can fail and tests show that the bulb could be submerged in one meter of water for thirty minutes and still work.  And most importantly, the color is a warm white that will highlight all the best characteristics of your home and landscape.

We are pleased to offer this option to our customers to make their outdoor lighting systems more energy-efficient by cutting down their energy consumption up to 80%.  If you would like more information on retrofitting your current outdoor lighting system please contact our Austin office.

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I’ve been asked several times recently if outdoor landscape lighting increases the resale value of a property.  I decided to do some investigation to determine if there is a clear answer to this question.

The simple answer is yes it does, but only if lighting is part of a comprehensive landscaping plan that goes beyond planting a few bushes, to include structural features like lighting, fences, garden paths, fire pits, swimming pools, and ponds.  Outdoor rooms, terraces, and decks are also high-yield structural investments.  The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends that homeowners invest 10 percent of the home’s value in total landscaping.

A good place to start might be a landscape architect as they generally look at key areas of enhancement. A patio, a deck, a front walk, complementary plantings in the front yard, and exterior lighting are all desirable features with today’s buyers.

When most people think of lighting the outside of their homes, they usually just consider safety and security. Important considerations, however, lighting can be incorporated into an overall landscape plan that also adds to the overall beauty of your property. The lighting of steps, paths and walkways will make the grounds of your property safer; the lighting of the home façade, trees, and outdoor living spaces will add significantly to the aesthetics and make the home more inviting.  And there is the obvious benefit of added security by eliminating dark areas of the yard.

If you drive through your neighborhood at night, the home that will stand out the most is the one that has properly designed outdoor landscape lighting. You can’t really see the other landscaping features at night, but look how the lighting makes that house stands out on its own.  Now ask yourself – do prospective buyers do this before purchasing?  In today’s market, you bet.

The consensus is that a properly landscaped yard does in fact increase the value of a home somewhere between 15% and 20%.  Just like investing in a kitchen remodel and expecting a certain return, a total landscape remodel that includes a well designed and implemented outdoor lighting plan, is well worth the investment when it comes time to sell that home.

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Color of trees - color rendering index CRI

Tree lighting Austin

When you’re doing garden lighting, landscape lighting, or even architectural lighting, one of the things you’ll have to decide is whether to do uplighting or downlighting. Hopefully you’re working with a lighting designer that can make the best recommendations for you. With outdoor lighting, likely they will suggest mostly uplighting but there are also some areas with your landscape where downlighting makes a lot of sense.

Uplighting serves a more practical purpose. When lighting your home, you want the illumination to come from ground up. From a practical standpoint, with uplighting, the light more fully illuminates the area where you walk and live. Also, the amount of light will be greater at the lightsource then at the distant point that is illuminated from that fixture. So, naturally, with architectural lighting, you want the light source to be closer to the base of the house or structure than at the roofline.

Palm tree lighting Austin

Palm tree lighting Austin

Hearing the word uplighting might conjure up images of bright blinding spotlights impeding your vision. But, with professional outdoor architectural lighting, this is not the case at all. The outdoor lighting fixture we use to light your house will most often be a well light. The well lights are usually placed in landscaping and the shape of the fixture directs the light toward your home and away from your eyes.

With landscape lighting, downlighting often makes the most sense for aesthetic and other reasons. With low plant garden lighting, downlighting will illuminate the most beautiful part of the plant which is often the top of the plant. Also, landscaping often “lives” in an area where uplighting might get in the eyes of the beholder. For lighting low plants and paths, we usually use our copper path light.

So, you want the light source close to the most important part of the area being illuminated. You don’t want the light shining in your eyes at any time. And you never want a spotlight effect. Good outdoor lighting should have a natural effect. It should make the item look similar to how it looks during the day.

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Austin TX is alive this week with an expected 500,000 visitors for SXSW, High School Basketball Finals, and the Austin Kite Festival and of course Spring Break!! What a time to show off your properties to the outside world and no better way to do that than Outdoor Lighting. I have stated before in these blogs that it enhances value and aesthetics to your property.
A well designed lighting program can consists of lighting structures and columns, trees and shrubbery, flowerbeds, water features and just about highlighting what ever you can create on the exterior of your home. Using soft effects such as, down lighting, up lighting, vignetting, silhouetting, spotlighting, up lighting you can create an effect that is truly stunning.
Lighting is truly a smart and intelligent way to create value to your property. With all the visitors we will have in the city this week it would have been a smart move to have called Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin to install your lighting! Just remember it’s never too late to call us!! 512-247-1815

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Folks I just returned from a Great week of training at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in Nashville, TN, I’m the newbie in Austin, TX with the company and can say with all honesty that I’m proud to be a part of a great team of people.   We all know that a company is only as good as its part’s and OLP ownership should be beaming with pride!

I saw first hand all the components of the great lighting and effects products that we build in our Nashville facility, Landscape lighting, Deck lighting, Up lighting, Pole lights and many more exciting products. Everything is built with pride of ownership by the team at OLP. I really enjoyed the process that they took me through to train on there products, assembly, theory, and application of the systems they install; now I understand why they are the experts in the lighting industry! It should be of comfort to our clients around the world that they are in such good hands and have the knowledge that there lighting systems are of the highest quality and standards in the industry.

I look forward to serving the people of Central Texas in residential and commercial application of lighting effects, and folks, there is a huge difference between lighting and creating lighting effects!!    Keep your eyes wide open over the next few months as the lighting world will be changing very rapidly and new LED products will be hitting the market with OLP leading the way!!

Art Costello

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives

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