Cody the Airedale Says to Remember Pet and Animal Safety When Decorating for the Holidays

Cody - Santa Claus

Cody – Santa Claus

Hi – it’s Cody the Airedale here. I first want to thank my human mom and dad for helping me to write this article on a topic that’s very important to me and all my other four-legged friends. That topic is a reminder to keep pet and animal safety in mind when decorating for the holidays.

I live with my mom and dad in the Ken-Caryl Ranch Valley. This time of year I have many wild animal friends stop by my house including deer, elk, raccoons, rabbits, red foxes, and coyotes. I know if the electrical cords and light strings are not secured properly, that my friends can trip or become tangled up in them and hurt themselves. If you need to run electrical cords between two shrubs or trees, don’t run the cords above ground but staple them safely to the ground with sod staples. We’ve all seen and heard stories about the inquisitive deer with a plastic pumpkin stuck on his head or a string of lights tangled up in his antlers.

deer tangled in lightsFor dogs like me and cats, interior decorations have their own potential dangers. I was born on December 19th eleven years ago, so I don’t remember too much about my first Christmas except competing with my brothers and sisters for a meal. But by the next Christmas, I sure do remember all those shiny balls on the tree that I could knock to the floor with my tail. My mom and dad quickly learned that my access to the tree should be restricted so that I wouldn’t hurt myself or damage the ornaments.

I’ve been told that cats really like to climb Christmas trees and dogs also might be tempted to jump up at a tree to get a better view. For that reason, trees should be anchored securely so that they do not get knocked over. I’ve been told that cats are also attracted to the shiny tinsel, and this is a very bad thing for both cats and dogs to swallow. Also, if your family has a real tree, make sure that the reservoir containing the water does not become a water dish. Sometimes chemicals are added to help preserve the tree and over time the water can develop bacteria, so make sure that someone in the household covers the reservoir so that it is not used as a water dish.

For any interior lighting or tree lighting, also make sure that the electrical cords are kept safely out of the reach of both puppies and older dogs who like to chew. The result of chewing into a live electrical cord could range between painful and deadly. Artificial and real pine needles, ribbon, bows, and even wrapping paper can become real problems if eaten, so for that reason the floors and carpets should be vacuumed frequently and the home kept tidy.

Also remind your family that the following plants can be harmful to dogs and cats: poinsettias, holly, amaryllis, lilies, and mistletoe. Either decide beforehand not to have these in the home at all or keep them well out of reach of the fur kids in the family. Poinsettias can irritate the stomachs and mouths of both dogs and cats, and some lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Also, any liquid potpourri should be kept out of the reach of both dogs and cats.

Although food and drink are not part of holiday decorating, they are part of celebrating the holidays. For that reason, please be careful to keep alcoholic drinks, chocolate, grapes, raisins, currants, and fatty meat scraps away from dogs and cats. And, in Colorado and other states that have legalized marijuana, please do not allow your dogs and cats to eat any edible marijuana products.

By following a few simple rules, we can all help to make the holidays safe and enjoyable for both my four-legged and human family and friends.

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Celebrate National Outdoor Lighting Month in Colorado

national-outdoor-lighting-month-2013-logo@2x-c7e66e50Autumn is a beautiful time of year in Colorado with warm days and pleasant evenings. As the sun begins to set earlier and earlier, there is no reason to stop using  your beautiful outdoor spaces that you’ve enjoyed throughout the rest of the year.

That is why Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado is helping to support and promote National Outdoor Lighting Month throughout the month of October. Coinciding with the end of Daylight Saving Time (that occurs on Sunday, November 3rd), National Outdoor Lighting Month will be an annual consumer awareness effort to educate homeowners about the safety, security and lifestyle/property enhancements that outdoor lighting can add to their homes.

To support the educational aspect of the campaign, a free guide on How to Choose An Outdoor Lighting Professional can be downloaded from the website. The guide provides helpful design tips on pathway lighting, up-lighting and grazing, outdoor living space lighting, deck and step lighting, and festival lighting. The Guide also provides helpful tips on product selection, installation guidelines, and on-going maintenance considerations.

DNV-005

Outdoor lighting can also add to the curb appeal of any house this time of year. Anyone who has ever tried to purchase or sell a house this time of year can also attest to the value that outdoor lighting can bring to the real estate transaction. Which house will get noticed more – the house with only one carriage light or the one that is beautifully illuminated that basically says welcome home?

You can read more about National Outdoor Lighting Month in a recent article in Turf Magazine.  If you have any questions about lighting techniques or how outdoor lighting can add to the beauty and usability of your home, please call us at 303/948-9656.

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Creative Ways to Conceal Landscape/Architectural Lighting Fixtures and Wiring

Column Lighting Dilemma - Shrubbery.jpg

Column Lighting Dilemma – Shrubbery at Columbine Valley Project

It seems like every new lighting design and installation has its own unique challenges, and some jobs have more than one. At this recently completed low voltage LED landscape/architectural lighting project in Columbine Valley, the homeowners of course wanted to uplight each of the four columns for dramatic effect. The inner two columns were easily uplighted with the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives BB-03 6W LED well lights with tempered glass lens covers – and those fixtures were mounted at ground level.

Stick-Light Solution for Lighting Column That Is Blocked by Shrubbery

Stick-Light Solution for Lighting Column That Is Blocked by Shrubbery

However, it was not possible to use our standard ground-mounted well lights for the two outer columns since the shrubbery in those locations occupied the entire space in the planting bed. Fortunately, our company’s manufacturing facility recently released the newest fixture in our product line, the BB-02 6W LED, also known affectionately as the stick light. This barely visible fixture can be installed where no fixture has gone before, it can be custom manufactured to any height, and it is available with several beam spreads. The best news of all is that the lighting effect from this fixture looks identical to our BB-03  6W PAR36 LED bulb/well light.    

 

 

 

Column Lighting Dilemma - Hardscape

Column Lighting Dilemma at Columbine Valley Lighting Project – Hardscape

In the back yard, we also encountered another dilemma for uplighting the four primary columns. The area next to the columns was surrounded by hardscape and there was no pre-wiring of any kind. In new construction, we can coordinate the installation of lighting with the concrete/hardscape contractor so that the lighting fixtures can be flush-mounted and all of  the wiring routed through pre-installed conduits. Fortunately, our experienced installers can typically find a way to install and conceal both the lighting fixtures and the wiring on a project where the hardscape has already been installed.

Well Lights Concealed in Flower Pots to Uplight Columns

Well Lights Concealed in Flower Pots to Uplight Columns

The easiest way to hide well lights if they cannot be flush-mounted into hardscape is to plant them like a plant in a flower pot.  And yes, you can water and fertilize the actual plants in the flower pot without damaging the lighting fixture. That’s the easiest way to conceal the lights but how do you hide the wiring? The good news is that most extensive hardscaped areas have drains to channel the water out into the yard from the upper story of the house – and that’s how we were able to get the wiring to within 6-feet of where the lighting fixtures were installed. To run the wiring from the drains to the pots required grinding out grooves in the mortared joints and running the 18-gauge wiring to the lighting fixtures up through the bottoms of the flower pots. The wiring in the grooves was then held in place and sealed by using a high-quality caulk.

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado we’ve started our 15th year in business, and we can almost always find solutions to the most difficult lighting design and installation problems. Many of our customers ask us after an installation has been completed:

How did you do that? We don’t see any wiring or anything disturbed on our property. All we see is the beautiful lighting effect.

As the owner of a lighting company, that is one of the highest compliments that a customer can pay to our company and our installers.

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Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado Finds Local LED Lighting Solution for Problematic Step Lights

TerraLUX LIne Voltage Linear LED Engine

TerraLUX LIne Voltage Linear LED Engine

Sometimes when you are looking for a particular lighting solution, you need not look any further than your own back yard. We had met some homeowners at a recent show who said that they had problems with their line voltage step lights (21 total) that had been installed throughout their brick outdoor living area (steps, patios, and retaining walls). The Progress step lights used 20W bulbs that are typically used in exit signs, and the way the lights were designed made it virtually impossible to keep water and moisture from entering the lights. That’s not a good thing when water comes into contact with a line voltage incandescent bulb – and the homeowner practically had a full-time job replacing bulbs.

After doing a quick Google search, I was pleased to learn about TerraLUX – a leading edge manufacturer of retrofit LED products that is located a few miles up the road from us in Longmont, Colorado. TerraLUX has developed a line of linear line voltage LED engines that can be used for retrofitting recessed step and wall lights, and for other lighting applications as well. The linear light engines are available in 4-, 6-, and 8-inch lengths and they are fully-integrated, self-contained and plug and play. Best of all they are IP-65 rated which means they can tolerate water sprays in somewhat leaky step lights. We chose the 3000K LEDs and they have an L70 of 60,000 hours, and a five-year warranty.  By the way, L70 = 60,000 hours is a shorthand way of saying in lighting nomenclature that at an operational elapsed time of 60,000 hours, the LEDs will still be generating 70-percent of their maximum lumen output.

In the photos below, you can see what the step lights looked like (with the louvered faceplates removed) when we started the work.

Pre-Retrofit Step Light in Bad Condition

Pre-Retrofit Step Light in Bad Condition

Pre-Retrofit Step Light In Good Condition

Pre-Retrofit Step Light In Good Condition

 

 

 

 

 

 

The linear LED engine mounts to the same reflector that the original incandescent bulb socket was mounted to, and this assists with heat dissipation away from the LED module itself. TerraLUX has patented the LEDSense® thermal management circuitry that optimizes the lumen output in conjunction with the LED’s operating temperature. In the photo below, you can see the results of the completed LED retrofit:

Step Light Retrofitted with TerraLUX Linear LED Engine in Denver Country Club

Step Light Retrofitted with TerraLUX Linear LED Engine in Denver Country Club

These linear LED engines are dimmable and can be used to retrofit a wide variety of lighting applications including wall sconces, ceiling fixtures, and recessed step and wall lighting fixtures in both residential and commercial settings.

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Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado Installs New Energy-Efficient LEDs at Arrowhead Shores Community Entrances

 

New LED Lighting at Arrowhead Shores Community Entrance

New LED Lighting at Arrowhead Shores Community Entrance, Douglas County – Colorado

 

Last week, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) of Colorado installed its first commercial LED fixtures at three community entrances in Arrowhead Shores (located in the Roxborough Village area of Douglas County).

The new 24W LED fixtures with a rated life of 50,000 hours, manufactured by OLP’s factory in Nashville,  replaced the old 70W metal halide fixtures with a rated bulb life of around 7,000- to 10,000- hours. The new fixtures will save the community roughly $66 annually in their electric bill, as well as savings with on-going maintenance costs to replace the metal halide bulbs and ballast.

Newly Installed LED Lighting Fixture at Arrowhead Shores

Newly Installed LED Lighting Fixture at Arrowhead Shores

Close-up of OLP Commercial LED Lighting Fixture

Close-up of OLP Commercial LED Lighting Fixture

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other advantage that LED fixtures have over metal halide fixtures is that LED’s do not experience any color shift. If you’ve ever been to a sporting event where some of the lights appear to be white, pink, green, or blue, etc., you’re actually seeing metal halide bulbs in different points in their life cycle.

Since the original lighting fixtures were powered by line voltage, we used line voltage for the new fixtures as well. However, each fixture had a small, self-contained low voltage transformer to power the four, 6W LEDs in each unit. As you can see in the photo above, these very green, energy-efficient fixtures do a great job lighting a community entrance – and we look forward to installing more of these at entrance monuments and other commercial applications as well.

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See Us at the 2011 CAI Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Conference

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado will be exhibiting at the Community Association Institutes’ (CAI) Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Conference on Saturday, November 5th. The conference is being held at the Denver Marriott West in Golden from 7:00 am until 12:30 pm, and OLP of Colorado will be lcoated at booth number F7.

The fall conference will be attended by property management firms, homeowners, HOA managers, and vendors and it includes the annual meeting, educational breakout sessions, and the exhibit hall. OLP of Colorado’s exhibit will include the latest in energy saving lighting retrofits as well as holiday lighting decorating capabilities.

If you’re involved with the management and governance of home owner associations, we look forward to seeing you at the conference.

How Do You Maintain a Solar Photovoltaic LED Lighting Installation?

Genesee Entrance Monument – Solar PV LED

Outdoor Lighting Perspective’s solar photovoltaic (PV) LED lighting system has been operational at the Village of Genesee’s entrance monument for two years now. A few weeks ago we completed the Year Two annual maintenance for the system – and it continues to illuminate the monument nightly with the free energy captured by the sun.

 
The solar PV LED system consists of the following: a 3.7W LED lighting fixture supported by a strut to provide downlighting (Genesee is dark-sky compliant); a solar mast that supports the 16- by 20-inch solar PV panel and equipment bay; the equipment bay contains the solar gel battery and system controller. Every solar PV LED lighting system should be checked and maintained on an annual basis, and this is especially true for a mountain installation where the site can experience very high wind loads.
 
To see some of the issues we faced at this year’s maintenance visit, please watch the video below:
 
 
As you could see in this video, we did have to replace the LED fixture on this visit because the electronics had become corroded due to moisture entering the fixture. We suspect that a seal had failed perhaps due to the buffeting by the high winds. The on-site checklist that we follow for this type of maintenance is shown below:
  • Confirm that the current levels of the solar array and load do not exceed the controller ratings.
  • Tighten all terminal connections. Inspect for loose, broken or burnt wire connections. Be certain that no loose strands of wire are touching other terminals.
  • Test that the LED fixture is working.
  • Inspect the equipment bay for signs of dirt, insects, moisture, and/or corrosion.
  • Ensure that the air flow around the controller is not blocked.
  • Check that the controller functions and LED indicators are correct for the system conditions at that time.
  • Clean the PV array and reconfirm that the array is oriented correctly.
  • Re-confirm that the correct battery type is indicated.
  • Check and re-tighten as needed the ground wires by the fixture as well as by the PV array.
  • Inspect and re-tighten as needed the mounting system for the fixture.
  • Re-touch paint as needed on the solar mast and equipment bay.

As with any type of lighting system, annual and preventive maintenance will ensure that the lights will be on when you need them.