Efficient Lighting: Potential Pitfalls throughout the Home
Lighting.com turns to three award-winning home lighting designers to share some of the ways efficient lighting can be mis-applied. And provide their tips and tricks to doing it right.
Ann Kale, Principal of Ann Kale Associates, Ltd.
One of the first products that LEDs are replacing is the versatile, low-voltage MR16 lamp that can be used for downlighting, focal lighting of artwork, tracklighting, and more. But the new LED lighting technology does not always plug-and-play with existing transformers and dimmers. (Remember, not all LED MR16s are dimmable.)
Solution: For now, trial-and-error is the only way to ensure a successful retrofit. It can be tedious, but test the lamp in the socket you have. Even a quality LED lgihting product that works well in many installations might flicker on a particular transformer/dimmer combination. Check out www.annkale.com.
Gregg Mackell, Principal of 186 Lighting Design Group, Inc.
Designers are used to soft, omni-directional sources like linear fluorescents, cold cathode, and even low-voltage strips, but tiny LED lighting strips can be highly directional. This intense beam and often sharp cutoff can throw light well onto tasks and surfaces, but the devil is in the details.
Solution: The detailing of coves and mounting positions, in relationship to the surface you are lighting, requires careful attention. Often, aiming angles must be precise to avoid noticeable bright spots or cutoff shadows in the middle of a counter, ceiling, or wallwash.Check out www.186group.com.
Randall Whitehead, Principal Randall Whitehead Lighting, Inc.
Efficient lighting is a must in outdoor lighting, saving money over the long winter nights. But in colder climates, outdoor lighting using CFLs will not do well. Even in summer CFLs take a minute after turning on to come up to full brightness, and in winter temperatures they may never come up to full. In freezing weather they may not come on at all.
Solution: Enclosing a CFL inside a fixture – like an outdoor lantern or globe – may help retain some of the heat generated (very little to start with). Instead, stick with LEDs, which thrive in the cold and will even glow more brightly as temperatures fall (leveling off at -30°C, according to Wiki). Check out www.randallwhitehead.com.
Contributing writer: Lois I. Hutchinson