GE Lighting Revolution Tour Is Coming to Denver

The GE Lighting Revolution Tour  is coming to Denver (Auraria Campus) on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011. As part of a 45-city tour throughout the U.S. and Canada, GE is showcasing the latest in lighting technology including LED, Ceramic Metal Halide, linear fluorescent, and compact fluorescent bulbs.

BB07 Path Light Powered by GE Vio LEDs

On display in the GE exhibit is their Vio LED technology that powers Outdoor Lighting Perspectives’ (OLP) copper path lights (BB07s and BB07.5s) as well as the BB04 flood lights and BB08 deck lights. OLP’s BB07 path light uses two of the Vio 3.6W LEDs – and by far it is the brightest and truest color path light available today. In fact, GE had some of these OLP fixtures on display at their exhibit at last May’s Light Fair in Philadelphia.

 
BB08 Deck Light Powered by GE Vio LED

The Vio LEDs are available with a (Color Rendering Index) CRI of 70 or 85 and at three different color temperatures (3000K, 3500K, and 4100K). The LEDs are rated to have a 70% lumen depreciation after 50,000 hours of operation – and are totally mercury free.

 
To see the truly amazing lighting effect with this new LED technology, plan to visit the GE exhibit when it comes to Denver or contact Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado for a complimentary evening lighting demonstration.
 

From day to night – lighting done right

One of the things we offer is a free nighttime demonstration so that you actually get to see what a particular lighting design will look like for your home and property – prior to an installation.  That eliminates all of the guesswork and surprises – and you will know exactly how much you will have to invest to achieve that desired lighting effect.

Most of our typical lighting installations in Colorado range in price between $3,500 and $6,500. Not surprisingly, most homeowners have no idea how many lights they may need or want – or what their investment range might be until we do the evening lighting demonstration.  And that’s perfectly OK because we do not want you to purchase a lighting system sight unseen.

Additionally, we do our nighttime demonstration for these other reasons:

  • It is your house, not our’s – and you know best how you would like to have your house and property illuminated in the evening.
  • Exact placement of the fixtures can be determined in order to safely light steps and other hazards, and to effectively light architectural features.
  • We can show you several different lighting options that you may not have considered previously.
  • The evening lighting demonstration is an event that your entire family can participate in and provide input to the lighting design.

Here is what you will see.

 

Outdoor lighting Colorado before and after
Outdoor lighting Colorado before and after

My Landscaper Did My Landscape Lighting But It’s Never Worked Right

Inferior Quality Low Voltage Bulb

I certainly do not want to pick on landscapers, but one of the most frequently heard comments at the recent Colorado Garden and Home Show was – my landscaper did my lighting but it’s never worked right.

During the last two weeks, I evaluated two lighting systems that coincidentally had exactly the same fixtures.  The low voltage path lights were manufactured by a well-known national lighting manufacturer that had rolled out a lower-priced line of fixtures for landscapers to use. The path lights use the incandescent T5 wedge-base bulbs that have an average life of only 500 to 1,000 hours. In addition, the manufacturer states that these fixtures are rated for damp locations (somewhat sheltered from the weather) instead of wet locations (snow, rain, sleet, etc.). The fixtures have no lenses to protect either the bulb or the socket from moisture, moths, and spider webs – and that degrades the bulb life even further.

Making the situation in both installations even worse is the fact that the installers used the daisy chain method of installation – that’s when numerous fixtures are connected in series one after the other on the same circuit. Invariably with that wiring technique, the installer typically sets the voltage higher than it should be to ensure that the light at the very end of the circuit receives enough voltage to light up. What that also means is that the first light in the series is receiving 14, 15, or 18 volts – and since the bulbs are only rated at 12V – the first bulb starts burning out very quickly causing a domino effect down the line.

In one of the locations, the landscaper installed over a dozen step lights in poured concrete steps and patios – and it appears that no sleeves had been installed so that the system could be rewired if necessary. More problematic is the fact that as the concrete continues to cure over time, it will react with and break down the protective insulation and eventually corrode the wiring.

Outdoor lighting systems can last a lifetime if high quality products are used and professionally installed – and it’s very disconcerting to see a beautifully landscaped yard with an inferior lighting system. Sometimes we can come up with a cost-effective solution for the homeowner to remedy the lighting system – but sometimes we almost have to start from the beginning.

Landscape Architects Select Lighting as Top Outdoor Living Feature for 2011

Landscape Lighting Makes Outdoor Living Spaces Warm and Inviting

A recently published survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects asked residential landscape architecture professionals to rank the relative popularity of a wide variety of design features to be included in outdoor living spaces in 2011.  Lighting was selected by 96.2% of the landscape architects, making it the most popular feature to be included in upcoming outdoor living projects. Ranked below lighting were fire pits/fireplaces, seating/dining areas, barbecue grills, and installed seating. Based on our experience, we know that most homeowners also need landscape lighting after dark to safely reach their outdoor firepits and seating areas, and to have adequate  lighting for both barbecuing and dining outdoors.

Landscape lighting not only makes your outdoor setting warm and inviting but it also allows you to enjoy your outdoor oasis from day into evening.

Colorado Garden and Home Show Is Less Than a Month Away

The 52nd annual Colorado Garden and Home Show is less than a month away. So plan on visiting with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado to see the latest in outdoor landscape/architectural lighting, lighting control automation for energy savings and convenience, garden lighting, LED lighting fixtures, and do-it-yourself high-quality, customized lighting packages for the hands-on homeowner.

Our Updated Home and Garden Show Exhibit

February 12 – 20, 2011

Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO
Booth #1442

The Colorado Garden and Home Show with over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of gardens, over 600 exhibitors from 25 states and Canada, and 60,000 attendees during the nine-day show is the largest home and garden show between the Mississippi River and the west coast.

Stay tuned for more information about the show and our exhibit and products.  We hope to see you there!

Solar Photovoltaic/LED Dark-Sky Compliant Entrance Lighting

Continuing our theme of highlights for 2009, the most interesting project was our solar photovoltaic lighting installation for the Village of Genesee. We had received a request from the Villages’s property management firm to provide lighting at two entrances – one with power and one without power. The site without power therefore would require the installation of an off-grid solar photovoltaic lighting system.

Site without Power

Both sites required that the fixtures be dark-sky compliant; i.e., the fixtures must point downward so as to not discharge any light into the night sky. In addition, both installations had to withstand the extra wear and tear of heavy snowstorms, the excessive mountain winds, and last but not least, the large herd of elk.

What made this installation feasible was the introduction of the next generation LED (light emitting diode) fixture that draws only 3.7 watts. Our manufacturing partner is now providing us with very high-quality LED lighting fixtures with excellent color and lighting effect. By changing the lens optics, we could vary the lighting effect to create just the right lighting for the monument signage. A photo taken during the actual evening demonstration is shown below.

Evening LED Demo

On the solar photovoltaic (PV) side, the technology in terms of cost and quality has also improved significantly over the last few years. Coupled with the advances of the LED lighting technology, a high quality, long lasting solar PV/LED installation was now a reality.

A 20W solar PV panel was installed along with a solar gel battery that would provide at least five days of stored power for the system – enough to outlast long periods of clouds and snow during the winter months.

The battery, the controller (the brains of the system), and the lighting surge suppression system were installed in the aluminum equipment bay which was itself installed at the top of a structural aluminum pole. A photo of the completed installation is shown below.

Completed Installation with Solar PV Mast in Background

Interestingly, the solar PV panel has been blocked by snow only once this season. Prior to last Halloween, the foothills received 37-inches of snow and the HOA president had to brush off the panel with a broom with an extension handle.

In addition, the LED lighting installation at the second site that already had power was completed – and that installation is shown below. For this installation, two box floods each having 35-watt high pressure sodium bulbs were replaced by the two 3.7-watt LED lighting fixtures. The monthly electric bill for the HOA at this entrance dropped from $80.00 to $11.00!

LED Lighting Installation with Power

COME SEE US AT THE COLORADO FALL HOME SHOW

     fall_cgs                                                                      Come visit us at the upcoming Colorado Fall Home Show – Booth #717 at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver – September 19th and 20th. Saturday hours are from 10:00 AM through 8:00 PM and Sunday hours are from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

This Fall Show – Denver’s only fall home show – will feature almost 300 companies with a focus on home renovation, remodeling, and sustainable living. The show also features two demonstration theaters offering educational seminars provided by experts in sustainability, energy efficiency, interior design, remodeling and cooking.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado will be displaying and launching its newest low-voltage LED landscape/architectural lighting fixtures and products. These are the first LED products that meet OLP’s hgh standards for quality lighting effect as well as durability.

In addition, permanent and more traditional LED holiday lighting products will be on display, as well as a new truly unique LED ribbon lighting product that is the only UL-approved LED ribbon available today that is suitable for a wet location.

Of course, our standard low voltage quartz halogen fixtures, ceramic metal halide commercial fixtures, and Lighting Control Automation™ will also be on display for your review and/or questions. We hope to see you there!

Mead and Cathy Noss

GO GREEN SAVE GREEN SIGN

Complimentary Nighttime Lighting Design in Colorado

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Most people do not know it’s possible to have a free lighting design preview for their home, business or community entrance/park/clubhouse, etc. While it is possible to lay out a preliminary design on paper, there is absolutely no substitute for conducting an evening lighting design demonstration to ensure that the desired lighting effect is achieved.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that the first step in  lighting design is to select the fixtures. Until you know what you want to illuminate and what bulb and wattage you need for the desired lighting effect, the last thing you want to do is select the wrong fixture for the intended application. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time. We get calls almost every week from homeowners who are unhappy with their lighting system – and they are quick to add that they had no idea what the lighting would look like until AFTER the installation. We always tell them not to feel too badly because their contractor had no idea either.

With our national company, we always like to say that we’re not in the business of selling fixtures, we’re in the business of selling lighting effect. Unlike most of our competitors, we do not just point and recommend where the fixtures should go – we set them up so that you can judge for yourself whether we have achieved the lighting effect that meets your needs.

Even seasoned building architects and landscape architects are surprised by the different possibilities of lighting effects – especially when they can see them prior to the final installation. To give you a case in point, I once received a call from a nationally known commercial landscape architect who needed path lighting for his home’s front sidewalk.

He told me difinitively that he needed five path lights. When I asked him what neighborhood he lived in, I knew that the house setbacks were not excessively far from the street and suggested that he could probably get by with only three path lights. No, he replied, stating that this is what I do for a living. When we did the evening lighting demonstration, the commercial landscape architect was incredulous that he only needed a total of three path lights. Interestingly, landscape architecture programs throughout the U.S. typically require only ONE three credit course in landscape lighting – and it’s rare that students actually get to see an evening lighting design demonstration during this course.

Depending on the ambient lighting conditions and lighting needs of a customer, we may actually set up either low voltage (quartz halogen or LED) fixtures or line voltage fixtures (Ceramic Metal Halide). If we’re trying to illuminate a large commercial building that is located next to a busy street with sodium street lights for example, we know that a low voltage lighting system will not provide the intended lighting effect next to these bright sodium street lights.

For any evening lighting design demonstration, we always sit down with the home or business owner to determine what their primary lighting needs are. For example, are they primarily interested in safety and security or are they more interested in highlighting the unique architectural features of their house/business and/or expanding their usable living space in the evening? Sometimes the answer is all of the above. Until you have an answer to this question, you cannot possibly know how to even begin a lighting design.

By seeing a lighting design laid out with a temporary lighting system, you will know exactly what you will be getting if you decide to proceed with an installation – no guessing and no surprises. Any changes to this preliminary design are easily made as a home/business owner adjusts the system to their particular tastes.

Once the desired lighting effect is achieved, flags can be put in place to accurately mark the position of each and every fixture. By that point in the demonstration, you will have seen that in a lot of cases moving a fixture a couple of feet one way or the other can make a huge difference in the lighting effect.

Another key point is that not all fixtures and installations are created equally. The customer needs to be confident that a lighting installation will look as good ten years from now as it looks today.

A lot of our friends and business associates marvel at our late-night design demonstrations and ask – isn’t that a lot of work? Our answer is always no because this is what we do to ensure that our customers are 100% satisfied with their lighting systems. And it’s always easier to do something the right way the first time.

Our hope is that home and business owners will find these complimentary nighttime lighting designs in Colorado educational, enjoyable and useful. A quality lighting system can add value to a home or business, and we believe that you the one best suited to make this decision for yourself.

LC 7 Bollard Night Park

CELEBRATE EARTH HOUR TODAY

voteearth_enEarth Hour is being sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to bring attention to the growing problem of global warming and its adverse effects on the planet. Even though we’re a lighting company, we urge you to show your support and make a statement by turning off your non-essential indoor and outdoor lights between the hours of 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM. This will help decrease your carbon footprint slightly but more importantly it will show your symbolic support for this global iniative.

In downtown Denver, the State Capitol, the Denver City and County building, and several skyscrapers will go dark during this time. Over 4,000 cities worldwide are participating this year. By comparison, only 400 cities were involved last year. From the pyramids in Egypt to the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, all of these well-known structures will have their outdoor lighting dim or be turned off completely during this period.

As an outoor lighting contractor, we are already committed to energy efficiency and conservation. The good news is that outdoor lighting and landscape lighting we install for residential applications is either low-voltage quartz halogen (12-volts) or low-voltage LED (light-emitting diode). On commercial applications where line voltage (120-volts) is required because of loads and distances, we still employ very energy-efficient 39W to 70W ceramic metal halide bulbs.  So what makes our lighting systems green? Please read the following:

Low Voltage Lighting. Every outdoor lighting system we install is low voltage rather than line voltage. Our outdoor lighting system transformers are designed to reduce the standard 120-volt line voltage used throughout homes to low voltage 12-volt electricity, which powers our outdoor lighting systems. In otherwords, 12 volts of power run from the low voltage transformer through the wire to the low-wattage bulbs mounted in the lighting fixtures. Our lighting systems provide energy efficiency while illuminating your home and property with soft, ambient accent lighting. In addition, our professionally designed low voltage lighting systems are precisely bright enough to illuminate a home’s exterior and landscaping, at a cost about 50- to 60-percent less to operate than with a standard 120-volt outdoor lighting system. To further enhance energy conservation, our low voltage lighting fixtures are strategically placed to highlight the key features of the architecture or landscaping, so that the light is not “wasted” by just flooding an entire area. And sometimes if not done properly, the light can spill into a neighbor’s yard and this is called light trespass.

Low voltage LEDs can save even more energy than low voltage quartz halogen systems but the initial investment cost is much higher. We’ll have information about our LED lighting systems in a future blog.

Heavier-Gauge Wire. The heavier the gauge of wire used in electrical systems, the less energy is lost as current travels through it. We use 12-, 10-, and 8-gauge wire in our lighting systems, with the 12-gauge wire being used primarily in residential installations. Also, voltage loss increases as more fixtures (or higher loads) are connected to a single wire run. To prevent this, we construct our systems with multiple wire runs and multitap transformers with output voltages ranging between 12-volts and 22-volts.

Choice of Lamps (Bulbs). Rather than incandescent bulbs, we use low-voltage quartz halogen bulbs (4,000 hour life), low-voltage LED (50,000 hour life), or line voltage CMH (ceramic metal halide – 15,000 hour life bulbs for commercial applications). All of our bulbs also incorporate reflectors which help to brighten and focus the resulting light without having to use higher wattage bulbs.

Control Technology. Our company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado, recommends the use of control technology to automatically turn on and off necessary indoor and outdoor lighting on the interior and exterior of the house. The control system we use is Lighting Control Automation(TM) (LCA). With this system, the latitude and longitude of the house is programmed into the controller (and on a daily basis any time of year) the lights will come on at exactly astronomical sunset – not two hours before or an hour late. This system eliminates the energy wasted by the old-technology timer/photocell systems; invariably the photocell becomes shaded and the lights turn on too soon or the mechanical timer ends up being three hours out of synch because of power failures.

In addition, the LCA system can be used to automatically dim exterior architectural carriage lights, porch lights, soffit lights, and/or garage lights by 20- to 40- percent for additional energy savings. Interior lights can be integrated into this system as well for more energy savings. In addition to automatic control, any of these “intelligent” lights on the interior or exterior can be manually controlled from inside the house for even more energy savings.

So tonight, celebrate Earth Hour and if you already own a low voltage outdoor lighting system or a whole-house lighting control system, give yourself a pat on the back for helping to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet!

Best regards,

Mead Noss

Welcome to our lighting blog!

Welcome to our webblog – Outdoor Lighting of Colorado’s Blog! As the owners of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado for the last ten years, we have designed, installed, and maintained lighting systems throughout Colorado at elevations between a mile high and two miles high! Ten years ago outdoor lighting for homes in Colorado primarily consisted of architectural carriage lights, lamp posts, and DIY kits from hardware stores and big box stores, and the occasional line voltage landscape lighting system. We’re proud of the fact that we have played a role in bringing professionally designed/installed and environmentally-sensitive outdoor lighting systems during these last ten years to the most beautiful state in the country – Colorado!

Our blog is intended to share our experiences and insight about lighting design, product development, installation techniques, maintenance issues, control considerations, and general business lighting practices. We hope our blog will assist homeowners and business ownrs to better understand what goes into a professional lighting system – and do-it-yourselfers (DIY) may find it of benefit as well.

So we hope you find our blog enjoyable and informative as we go forward.

Best regards,

Mead and Cathy Noss

Owners, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado