Where to Buy Color Lens Covers for Your Landscape Lighting Fixtures

Where to buy color lens coversOver the last 15 years, we’ve been asked repeatedly about the availability of color lens covers for landscape lighting fixtures in general, and for the well lights that Outdoor Lighting Perspectives  of Colorado sells and installs in particular. As you can see in the graphic to the right, we do have color acrylic lens covers for the oval (above ground) well lights and the circular in-ground (flush mounted) well lights. These lenses are designed and manufactured to specifically fit the dimensions of the OLP well lights. The lenses are available in the following colors – amber, blue, green, light blue, purple, red, smoke and yellow.

What options do you have if your spot lights are smaller diameter (say the diameter of MR16 bulbs) or if your well lights have a different configuration than the OLP well lights?

There are two viable options for the owners of non-OLP systems. The first option is to simply lay or tape the OLP color lenses over the aperture of the existing non-OLP fixtures. The important thing to remember is that the lens should never come in contact with the bulb!

The second option is to find your nearest photographic or theatrical supply store, and purchase some rolls or precut squares of color gels that come in any color imaginable. You would then need to secure these gels to the landscape lighting fixtures using heavy-duty rubber bands or all-weather tape. The gels are not as durable as the acrylic lenses so you may need to purchase a new set of gels at the beginning of each holiday season.

Happy lighting and Happy Holidays from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado!

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LED Landscape Lights Celebrate Earth Day Every Day of the Year… for Many Years!

earth-day-bigThis Spring we exhibited at two garden and home shows. Almost every attendee who stopped by to speak with us said that if they’re going to invest in a landscape lighting system, it had to be LEDs.

Earth Day 2013 is being celebrated on Monday, April 22nd – and with LED landscape lighting, you can be sure that you are doing your part to lower your carbon footprint on the planet not just on Earth Day, but during the rest of the year as well.

# of Halogen 35W PAR36 Bulbs Required for One Fixture in 11 Years

# of Halogen 35W PAR36 Bulbs Required for One Fixture in 11 Years

LED bulbs are green for a number of reasons, including the fact that they use on average 75- to 83-percent less energy than the comparable halogen bulb. LED bulbs also last longer (50,000 hours) compared to halogens (3,000 – 4,000 hours).  During an 11-year period of time, a single well light in a landscape lighting system  could use as many as 15 bulbs (shown in the photo at right) – and unfortunately all of them would find their way to a local landfill. We tried unsuccessfully to find a recycler who would accept glass halogen bulbs, but unfortunately there is no economical way today to recycle these bulbs. As a result, no one recycles them.

# of LED 6W PAR36 Bulbs Needed for One Fixture in 11 YearsWith LED bulbs, there are no defective parts being sent to the landfill annually, or ever. The bulbs can be returned to the factory to be rebuilt every 11 years or so, or the individual components can be recycled. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for the homeowner and Mother Earth.

Because the LEDs are more reliable, fewer service visits are required resulting in fewer vehicle miles and carbon emissions. One scheduled maintenance visit each year will ensure that LED landscape lighting systems continue to operate perfectly for many, many years to come.

With the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives line of products, the standard halogen fixtures can be retrofitted to LED. In other words, we’re re-purposing the fixtures to LED, we’re not requiring the homeowner to buy all new fixtures. Brand-new LED landscape lighting systems also require considerably  smaller low voltage transformers and much less low voltage copper wiring than their halogen counterparts.

Whether we’re retrofitting a landscape lighting system to LED or installing a new LED system, we’ve been finding that the payback period for the investment (compared to halogen) occurs in a very reasonable timeframe (anywhere between one and four years typically). In a retrofit system, the primary factors are energy and maintenance cost savings. In a new system, the primary factors are component/labor cost savings (smaller transformer and less wire, less labor time), as well as the energy and maintenance cost savings.

For more information about Earth Day events in your area, please check the following:

Have a Happy Earth Day!

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4 Days Remaining to See the LED Makeover at the 2013 Colorado Garden & Home Show

]There are only four days remaining to see the 2013 Colorado Garden and Home Show – and to see the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives exhibit (#1442) where we are showcasing the latest LED products that are truly transforming the landscape and architectural lighting world.

Please enjoy the videos below that will provide you with a short tour of our exhibit.

We hope to see you at the show!

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Can Decorative Holiday Lights Be Used in Outdoor Trees Year Round?

Today is Friday, December 21st – the winter solstice – on which day we will experience the shortest number of daylight hours and the longest number of nighttime hours. It is not surprising that many homeowners and businesses like to keep their decorative holiday lights installed for a longer period of time, especially in trees. Today you will see trees (primarily deciduous) illuminated throughout the year along city streets in shopping and arts districts, at restaurants, and at private residences.

Permanent Tree Lighting

Permanent Tree Lighting

Many people ask whether you can use the same type of lights used at Christmas – and just leave them installed in the trees after the holidays. Many people do use these regular lights, but these lights are not certified for year-round use and are not very well-protected from long-term damage caused by moisture or the sun’s UV rays. Invariably, these lights will begin to fail in six or nine month’s time, and the lights will need to be removed and replaced with new ones.

A much better option is to use professional-grade line or low voltage incandescent or LED mini lights that are permanently sealed and watertight, have IP44-rated coaxial connectors, and are UL and CSA approved.  IP44 is the Ingress Protection rating for a connector that is protected from water spray from all directions; i.e., it is a very good choice for an outdoor installation to be used long term.

One of our first installations using these year-round lights was back in 2001. Our customer’s kitchen window looked out into a dark void between her house and the adjacent property. But in this dark void were two beautiful ornamental trees that were invisible for most of the year in the evenings. We could have uplighted them with our standard low voltage well lights (uplights), but the homeowner decided that she wanted something more decorative and whimsical. So we decided that low voltage incandescent clip lights would create the ambience that she was seeking. Except for minor annual adjustments as the trees have grown over the years, these lights have worked well during the last eleven years until recently. In fact, our one crew is back there today to remove the old lights and install the new. So eleven years has been a pretty good run for this type of decorative lighting.

So here’s to enjoying all of the beautiful lighting – and Happy Holidays from everyone here at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado.

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Mockingbird Lane Entrance Lighting Retrofitted to Induction Fluorescent Bulbs

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado recently completed Phase I of a project to enhance the lighting at the Mockingbird Lane entrance of Cherrywood Meadows in Cherry Hills Village. The entrance has a set of four beautiful copper and brass carriage lights over two feet tall that had been installed initially with 75W high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs. HPS bulbs cast an orangish/yellowish glow which might be great for Halloween, but not so great during the rest of the year.

Fortunately these carriage lights were configured with a reflector in the top of the light (similar to the shoe box lights used for parking lots), and we were able to remove the previous HPS socket and replace it with a new socket compatible with our new self-ballasted induction fluorescent bulb. This particular bulb is a 40W bulb with its own built-in ballast, and it has an average life of 60,000 hours with a Color-Rendering Index (CRI) of 80. By replacing these four carriage lights with the new induction fluorescent bulbs will result in an energy savings of 47-percent for just this phase of the project.

You can see the completed installation for one of the carriage lights in the photo on the left, and in a nighttime view below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the rest of the project is completed, we’ll post additional photos showing the lighting effect from our energy-efficient, high lumen-output low voltage LED fixtures.

Outdoor & Holiday Lighting Specials at the 2012 Colorado Fall Home Show

 

The 2012 Colorado Fall Home Show is underway and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is running some exciting outdoor and holiday lighting specials for those folks who stop by to see us at the show.

We are exhibiting the latest in outdoor lighting solutions and technology including –

  •  Architectural & Landscape Lighting – LEDs and quartz halogen
  • LED retrofits for gas lanterns
  • Lighting Control Automation™ to control interior and exterior lights
  • SmartPhone control of your lights – or of any other devices
  • Holiday Lighting including LEDs, LightLinks, laser lights, lightsculptures and snowfall lights

 7-Light Special (Halogen)  

  • 7 well lights with acrylic lens covers
  • 300W multitap transformer
  • Timer controls
  • Wiring and complete installation – total price installed=$1,499 (Regular price $1,985) – offer good thru October 31, 2012

10-Light Special (Halogen)Holiday Lighting Special

  • 7 well lights with acrylic lens covers
  • 3 copper path lights
  • 600W multitap transformer
  • Timer controls
  • Wiring and complete installation – total price installed = $2,100 (Regular price = $2,995) – offer good thru October 31, 2012

Holiday Lighting Special

Get a free 3-foot lighted wreath with each turnkey holiday lighting package at or above $1,500. This special cannot be combined with any other holiday lighting offers. Offer good through October 31, 2012.

In order to qualify for these specials, you must register at our exhibit at the show. We look forward to seeing you there.

What Is the Proper Way to Illuminate a U.S. Flag?

 As Memorial Day 2012 approaches, it is once again a time to remember and honor those men and women who gave their lives while serving their country. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the fallen who helped preserve the liberty and freedom we still enjoy today.

Many homeowners like to honor all military veterans and current enlistees by displaying a flag on their property from dusk to dawn, and many choose to display it during the evening by installing lighting.

The U.S. Flag Code states that –

It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness.

The Congressional Research Service in interpreting the U.S. Flag Code said that –

It would seem that the display of the flag in a respectful manner with appropriate lighting does not violate the spirit of the Flag Code since the dignity accorded to the flag is preserved by lighting that prevents its being enveloped in darkness.

Unfortunately, far too many homeowners will hang a U.S. flag on a bracket by the front porch, and when the front porch light is turned off – the flag will remain in darkness until sunrise. Fortunately, most homeowners who have actual flagstaffs on their property, realize that the flag must be lit properly.

Lighting Scheme for Residential Flag Poles

Most residential flag poles are up to 20 feet tall, and for this application low voltage quartz halogen or LED lighting will work just fine. As you can see in the drawing to the right, for flag poles in the 14- to 20-foot range and for a typical flag size (3- by 5-feet), we recommend the use of two well lights installed 180 degrees apart to uplight the flag pole and flag. Regardless of which way the wind is blowing, the flag will always be properly illuminated.  For shorter flag poles with the well light mounted less than a foot from the flag pole, sometimes only one well light will be sufficient. This is especially the case for installations in or near the foothills where the prevailing wind is typically from one direction most of the time. 

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we’ve also learned through experience that the wide flood bulbs do a much better job of ensuring that the flag is illuminated properly. While the narrow spot bulbs will make the flag really stand out when it’s exactly in the right spot, the wide floods seem to work better the other 95-percent of the time.

So display your flag proudly, have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, and last but not least – save some time to remember what the holiday is truly about.