What is your favorite kind of lighting? Firelight? A moonlit night? Sunrise or sunset? Probably not the fluorescent light in your office. As an architectural lighting designer, I realize we have a lot to learn from the natural world. I strive to mimic the best parts about natural light with the limited tools at my disposal. I also try to illuminate spaces without wasting energy.
I believe the answers to many of our architectural and lighting challenges are hidden in plain sight in the world around us. For example, I recently read an article about an ultra-reflective fish that might have applications in lighting. Let's broaden our horizons and loosen our paradigms. As the sun sets on 2012, let's look forward with child-like hope to the unknown treasures 2013 will bring. I am wishing all of the ENvisionLD clients and colleagues a year full of discovery and invention!
What do you envision?
Envision Lighting Design, LLC is now an official WBE in St. Louis. We are happy to announce that our application for WBE status was confirmed and accepted by the St. Louis Airport Authority, effective December 18, 2012. So if excellent lighting design wasn't enough, now ELD helps you fulfill your WBE participation requirements, too!
Envision Lighting Design, LLC is also a State of Missouri certified WBE.
I’m Dreaming of an LED Christmas...
As a lighting designer, one of my favorite things about the holidays is the lighting. I love the soft flicker of candlelight, the twinkling tree lights, and a warm fire in the fireplace. It’s the time of year when most everyone dons their Santa/lighting designer cap and changes the lighting in their home for a month. Whether you string icicle lights around the roofline of your entire house or just wrap a strand of lights around a tree or wreath, you are being faced with this question: to LED or not to LED?
Five things to consider:
1. Initial Cost - These lights still cost more than standard incandescent holiday lights. However, from the looks of today’s store shelves, LED will be your only future option. You already have to search a little to find the standard incandescent lights.
2. Energy - Over their lifetime, these lights will pay you back what you spent and more on your electric bill. Here’s what the Department of Energy has to say about it. (Scroll to the bottom for the Holiday Lights section.) This is all theoretical, of course. Reliability is improving all the time, but my personal experience with LED holiday lights has been about a 30% early failure rate. Perhaps I’m just unlucky. The lights are guaranteed, but time is precious – especially during this season.
3. Color - As with all of the new technologies there are choices to be made about color. At least with Christmas lights we are used to thinking about color! Look at the samples before you make your selection. Some white lights are more blue in color while others look more yellow. Which look do you want? The icy wintry blue look or the warm glow of the yellowish lights?
4. Environment - To be environmentally responsible, don’t use any lights at all. To be both festive and environmentally responsible, just make sure you don’t add more lights since you’re saving energy with LEDs. Better yet, consider the solar LED products that are hitting the shelves today. You will still contribute to sky glow, but you won’t be consuming electricity with your light display.
5. Recycle! Remember – when you do toss out all of those old strands of lights - recycle them! In the St. Louis area, we are partnering with St. Louis Green to recycle 128,000 pounds of lights this year. That’s literally tons of waste that will be diverted from landfills. And hopefully every one of those strands will be replaced with a lower wattage, longer lasting option.
Tell us about your experience. Do your LED holiday lights work well? Have you noticed a difference in your electric bill? Have you had any luck with solar LEDs?
...May your days be merry... and bright!
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC