Can Line Voltage Lamp Posts be Converted to Low Voltage?

Retrofit Low Voltage Quartz Halogen Column Lights

In many of the older neighborhoods in Denver and along the front range, line voltage column lights or lamp posts had been used to illuminate the entrance walkway or driveway to a home. Over many years of time, this underground wiring has become corroded, frayed and/or cut – rendering the lighting fixtures inoperable.

One solution of course would be to trace and identify the defective wiring and either fix it or replace it completely. However, trenching and burying new line voltage wiring (18-inches deep in conduit or 24-inches deep for direct burial) can be very costly, not to mention the disruption and damage to the mature landscaping.

Fortunately, there is a much more cost effective solution for restoring power to these line voltage lamp posts and column lights – and that is by installing a low voltage transformer by the house – and running new low voltage wiring (6-inches deep) to the fixtures. The above photo shows an Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) installation along the 6th Avenue Parkway in Denver. In addition to not having any power to the columns, the existing fixtures were beyond repair as well. OLP installed two of its copper/brass BB-14 lanterns with 35W quartz halogen bulbs to replace the old fixtures. Not only did the homeowners save money by not having to replace the line voltage wiring, they will also be saving money over time by using more energy efficient bulbs.

LED vs. Incandescent Post Light Comparison

By using GE Vio LED technology, OLP can now provide a 50,000 hour lighting retrofit solution for new or existing lamp posts or column lights. In the photo, the fixture powered by GE Vio LED 7.2W total (left) is shown next to a regular 40W incandescent bulb. Fixtures having a frosted lens or globe work best as it allows for a better diffusion of the light.

 
So if you currently have any lamp posts or column lights that are having power issues, you may want to consider the less expensive option of retrofitting them to low voltage LED or quartz halogen – and saving additional money on your monthly electric bill.
 

 

 

 

 

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.

See Our Lights at the Colorado Garden and Home Show

OLP’s Exhibit Showcasing the Latest in LEDs

The 52nd Annual Colorado Garden and Home Show started yesterday, and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is proud to be making its 12th appearance in this important show.  Our exhibit is centrally located in the Colorado Convention Center Exhibit Hall in booth # 1442.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Showcases the Latest in Internet-Based Lighting Control Automation(TM)

Several new products and services are being launched at this show including new internet-based Lighting Control Automation™, new LED products and LED retrofits, Do-It-Yourself Kits, and Lighting Energy Audits/Retrofits for both the residential and commercial markets. We can show you how to have beautiful outdoor and indoor lighting, while decreasing your carbon footprint and your monthly electric bills.

Residential and Commercial Lighting Products on Display at the Colorado Garden and Home Show

The show continues for eight more days – through Sunday, February 20th. With the 60-degree weather expected to last through much of this week, now is the time to start planning your outdoor projects for the upcoming year. So enjoy the show and we look forward to seeing you at the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives exhibit.

What Does it Cost to Operate a Landscape Lighting System?

Over the years a lot of homeowners have asked us how much their monthly electricity bill would increase after their landscape lighting system was installed. The short answer and the good news is not very much!

Most recently some townhome owners in Denver needed to share a low voltage quartz halogen landscape lighting system to illuminate their front entrances. The as-built configuration of the townhomes dictated that only one of the townhomes would have the low voltage transformer installed – and subsequently would have to provide all of the power for the entire lighting system. The respective homeowners agreed to split the annual electricity bill/usage for the system and asked me to compute how much that would be.

For this system, there were a total of two uplights (well lights at 35W each) and four path lights for the walkways (at 20W each) – for a total energy usage of 150W. For safety and security, the homeowners wanted the lights to be on from dusk to dawn throughout the year.

By accessing the U.S. Naval Observatory website and doing some computations, I was able to determine that there are a total of 4,306.29 hours of darkness for the entire year in Denver, Colorado. By multiplying 150W times 4,306.29 hours you get 645,943.5 watt-hours or 645.9 kWH. The average cost per kilowatt-hour in Denver is projected to be 11.3 cents through the year. By multiplying $.113/kW-H times 645.9kWH, you end up with a total operating cost of $72.99 per year, or $6.08 per month or $.20 per night. Most police departments will tell you that this is a small price to pay to enhance your home’s safety and security every night of the year.

Ken-Caryl House Lighting

The house on the left (also using a low voltage quartz halogen lighting system) has a total of 8 uplights (35W each) and 3 path lights (20W) each – for a total of 340W. Dusk to dawn operation costs $165.44 per year or $13.78 per month or $.45 per night.

If this same low voltage quartz halogen system is replaced by a low voltage LED lighting system in the future, the total power requirement would only be 80.7W and would result in annual energy costs of $39.26 per year or $3.27 per month or $.11 per night – a 76-percent energy savings over the quartz halogen system.

So in other words LEDs are the future but even with a low voltage quartz halogen lighting system, you’re still saving money with operating your outdoor lighting in comparison to line voltage lighting.

Flying High with CAI – Spring Showcase and Trade Show

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) of Colorado will be exhibiting at the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Community Associations Institute Spring Showcase and Trade Show with this year’s theme FLYING HIGH WITH CAI. Being billed as the biggest trade show in the chapter’s history, the event will take place on May 5 from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum located at 7711 East Academy Boulevard in Denver.

OLP of Colorado will be showcasing the latest energy efficient lighting products for illuminating community entrances, parks, clubhouses and common areas. LED, ceramic metal halide, and quartz halogen fixtures will be on display, and multimedia photos will show what actual installations look like after dark.

The event provides an opportunity for hundreds of community/HOA managers, property managers, and contractors to interact and attend the trade show and educational sessions.

Between the hours of 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm, friends, family and business associates of OLP of Colorado are welcome to come visit us (Booth #74) and stroll throughout the air and space museum to view the historical aircraft and aerospace exhibits. As a former aerospace engineer, I know I can’t wait!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Celebrate Earth Hour Today!

Tonight from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm in each local time zone around the world, supporters of the World Wildlife Federation’s annual EARTH HOUR campaign will turn off their lights to take a stand against global climate change. While the energy savings for this one-hour effort may be minimal, more important will be the global show of support by making a visual statement for the sustainability movement.

Started in Australia in 2007, EARTH HOUR’S support has grown worldwide and some of the most famous buildings will go dark for one hour during their local 8:30 to 9:30 pm time period including Toronto’s CN Tower, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Rome’s Colisseum, and Paris’ Eiffel Tower.

In Colorado, both the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol building will go dark for one hour. Governor Bill Ritter said that Colorado has become a great example of how a state can implement aggressive energy reduction goals while growing a New Energy Economy. I am proud that Colorado can be a part of this worldwide effort to bring attention to the dire consequences of global climate change.

Please join Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado in supporting this worldwide effort. We of course are trying to do our part by reducing the energy/carbon footprints of both our residential and commercial lighting installations. By introducing and installing energy efficient LED lighting systems for residential applications as well as Lighting Control Automation™ we are greatly reducing our customer’s usage of electricity. On the commercial side, we are installing energy efficient Ceramic Metal Halide fixtures.

LED Fixtures Do Melt Snow!

Close Up of LED Fixture at Diamond Ridge Installation

About a month ago there was a story reported around the country that many northern cities had been experiencing problems with their new LED traffic lights. Apparently in some of these cities, the LED traffic lights would not generate enough heat in order to melt the accumulating build up of snow and ice during the winter months. It was also reported in the local news that fortunately this has not been a problem in the Denver metro area with all of the hours of sunshine we typically receive.

Before we actually began using LED fixtures for architectural and landscape lighting, we also wondered how well our new and innovative fixtures would melt the snow. As you can see in the above photo, they do quite well – thank you.

The actual reason that these fixtures melt the snow is inherent in their initial design as well as manufacturing. The main factor that limits the life of the LEDs/electronics is the heat build up inside the fixture. Our manufacturer has placed the LED driver in the mounting stake for the fixture – not inside the fixture itself as have most manufacturers.

In addition, any remaining heat generated by the LED bulb itself is dissipated by means of cooling fins as shown in the Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) thermal model below that was used to design a deck light. As a forner aerospace engineer, my expertise had been in thermal and fluid flow modeling for jet engines, rockets, spacecraft, and solar energy projects – so I tip my hat to the innovative engineers at our manufacturing company!

CAE Thermal Design Model for LED Deck Light

The fixtures are machined out of solid brass (aluminum is also an option) to provide the thermal heat exchange capabilities. Not only are the fins an engineering design feature, they add to the aesthetic appearance of the fixtures as well. By pulling the heat away from the LED bulb itself, the fins and fixture reach an outside surface temperature of 96-degrees F – enough to melt snow.

The design and testing of these fixtures have been on-going during the last seven years. Brass fixtures have a lifetime warranty, and the LEDs and electronics have had a five year warranty. However, we have heard that this warranty may be getting a lot better in the near future – so stay tuned!

LED Entrance Lighting at Diamond Ridge Estates

LED Lighting at Diamond Ridge Estates

Our largest LED lighting project to date was completed about a month and a half ago for the Diamond Ridge Estates HOA. The entrance is located east of Castle Rock along North Crowfoot Valley Road. A total of 39 8.7W  low voltage LED fixtures were installed to illuminate the entrance monument as well as trees along Diamond Ridge Parkway on both sides of the street and island. In addition, a 3.7W LED underwater fixture was also installed to illuminate the water feature located at the end of the entrance island.

The HOA made the decision to be GREEN and select the LED lighting option – not only for reduced energy costs but longer bulb life as well. By installing low voltage LED fixtures instead of low voltage quartz halogen fixtures, the HOA will reduce their energy usage for lighting this entrance by roughly 75 to 80 percent.

So the next time you’re driving along North Crowfoot Valley Road after dark, be sure to watch for the beautiful and energy-efficient lighting at Diamond Ridge Estates.

No Street Lights? We Can Help

OLP Exhibit at HBA Home & Garden Show

We just finished a three-day HBA Home and Garden Show in Colorado Springs last weekend. The low voltage LED landscape lighting fixtures were a big hit at the show. Many visitors to our exhibit commented that the fixtures were beautifully crafted and were so bright and white that they could not possibly be LEDs!

There seemed to be a lot more interest at this year’s show due to the financial difficulties being experienced by the city of Colorado Springs, not unlike many state and municipal governments nationwide. You might wonder what budgetary cutbacks have to do with landscape and architectural lighting, but the fact of the matter is that the city has literally turned off one-third to one-half of the streetlights throughout the area.

That has effectively created vast expanses of “dark and scary” areas throughout the metro area. Some of our existing customers have lighting to deter vandalism and others have lighting so that they can see the neighborhood bear or mountain lion before letting their dog out after dark.

The good news is that our energy efficient lighting systems can provide lighting for safety and security to those homeowners who no longer have the use of their neighborhood streetlight.

Only 4 More Days to See the Colorado Garden and Home Show

Woolly Mammoth in Entrance Garden

There are only FOUR days remaining in the beautiful Colorado Garden and Home Show. You can begin your day at the show in the entrance garden where ice age creatures such as the woolly mammoth and ancient tigers come to life. Stroll the magnificent gardens and see the sights and aromas of spring as you take in the 400,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Colorado Convention Center.

Please be sure to save some time to visit the 9News Hot Products Zone which is located at the top of the escalators near the show entrance. There you will see the nine latest and greatest gardening and home improvement products – including the LED landscape lighting line by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado.

Our exhibit is located in booth #1442 – and there you can see the LED lighting fixtures up close as well as the latest in low voltage quartz halogen fixtures, line voltage Ceramic Metal Halide fixtures, and Lighting Control Automation™.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado Exhibit - Booth #1442

We certainly look forward to seeing you at the show!