Recently, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimated that nearly one-quarter of all United States metros are improving housing markets. Altogether, there have been 80 metropolitan areas across 32 states that show measureable improvement.
In order to be considered for the First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), metro areas must have shown improvement in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
The interesting fact about the newest additions to the IMI is that the list includes metros across every region of the country, all which have distinctly different economic and employment characteristics. The one thing each metro area has in common is a tight lending environment for both builders and buyers, which drives their positive momentum.
There is a growing recognition among consumers that now is an opportune time to consider a home purchase as one-quarter of the U.S. metros are currently improving housing markets. Have you noticed any changes across your city?
Our friends at enLIGHTenment further explain this in their article, Statistics Point to Housing Growth in 80 Cities.
We hope everyone has had a great week! In case you were too busy to keep up with all of our social media highlights for the past few days, here’s our weekly round up. This week we were busy on our blog writing about new trends and tips for lighting your home. We’ve also included one of Houzz.com’s favorite photos of the day, what are your thoughts? Enjoy!
High Performance Lighting Designs
When installing HPL in any room of a home, it is important to change the lighting design in accordance with one of three packages: direct, recessed and indirect lighting. The designs include incorporating as much hard-wired fluorescent and LED lighting as possible, while still providing ambient, task and accent lighting (as described in HPL: Part 1).
Direct Lighting- This is the simplest design and in some respects the most efficient. Rooms with direct lighting are illuminated entirely by surface-mounted ceiling or wall fixtures. The most appropriate area for this design is in a laundry room, closet, garage or basement.
Recessed Lighting- This type of design is considered as another direct lighting application, as it floods the entire room with light. The main concern with this unshielded light source is glare. The most appropriate space for recessed lighting design is in the laundry room, closet, garage or basement.
Indirect Lighting- Indirect lighting applications are illuminated by concealed sources such as coves, valances, soffits and ceiling recessed wall washers. For example, the natural cove above kitchen cabinets where linear fluorescents can easily provide ambient lighting. The greatest advantage of this design is the “naturalness,” which is great for the living room or kitchen spaces.
Have you applied any of these HPL designs to your home?
Studies indicate that homeowners are planning remodeling projects on a greater scale for the first time in years. RemodelOrMove.com distributes an annual survey to 5,000 homeowners (with an average home value of $100,000) who are actively planning to remodel, but have yet to start their project.
This year the survey indicated that the vast majority of homeowners show three common trends:
- Increase in the scale of remodeling projects
- Increase in the average cost of the projects
- Increase in the average number of rooms that users plan to add or remodel
The remodeling industry has also noticed a growing preference for using luxury home products, as the average remodeling cost is now approximately $100,000. This is the most homeowners have spent since 2007, and 35% of respondents are reporting that the economy is not affecting their remodeling plans.
So what exactly are homeowners spending such large dollar amounts on? Kitchens have taken the lead as the No.1 remodeling project for the first time since 2008.
In previous years, the bathroom was the most popular renovation, which is probably a result of financial uncertainty, as remodeling a bathroom is seen as a necessity. The kitchen is perceived by homeowners to be a luxury renovation.
If you are considering remodeling your kitchen, here are a few lighting tips to help you out:
- Blend lighting types- The most effective lighting in a kitchen involves four layers blended together: task, ambient, accent and decorative lighting
- Decorative lighting should be considered in direct proportion to the size of your kitchen
- Install under cabinet lights towards the front the cabinet to prevent shadows
- If working on a budget, add a dimmer switch for a cheap way to provide various levels of light for different needs
What are some lighting tips you have successfully found in remodeling your kitchen?
Sources: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/remodeling-trends/the-return-of-luxury.aspx, http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Lighting/Kitchen-Lighting/kitchen-lighting-tips/View-All, http://www.hgtv.com/kitchens/kitchen-lighting-design-tips/pictures/index.html
Who knew an app on your phone or tablet could assist you in finding the best way to illuminate your home while keeping the most energy and cost efficient options in mind?
The LightSmart app has recently been updated to provide consumers and lighting professionals expert advice at their fingertips through four different functions: Save, Find, Learn and Shop.
Save- Allows users to compare operating costs of different replacement bulbs and calculate the energy savings.
Find- Users have the availability to discover their preferred light color temperature and brightness by uploading photos from their own homes and adjusting the levels on their screen.
Learn- Provides technical information.
Shop- Users can locate the nearest American Lighting Association (ALA) showroom to get help from lighting professionals and purchase desired fixtures.
The LightSmart app is free and available for Apple and Android markets. Check it out!
Woohoo, Happy Friday! In case you missed out on our favorite social media highlights and posts for the past few days, here’s our weekly round up. This week we enjoyed reading about creative Halloween decorations and viewing some beautiful homes on Houzz.com. In addition, we included our new blog content on ways to be more efficient with your ceiling fan and our weekly guide to High Performance Lighting for the home. Enjoy!
Country Living: 15 Spooktacular Outdoor Halloween Decorations
Ceiling Fans: A simple solution for winter warmth and efficiency
High Performance Lighting Guide for the Home: Part 4
Houzz.com Photo of the Day
The Availability and Cost of High Performance Lighting
Traditional residential, incandescent lighting varies widely in both availability and cost. This is also true for the five categories of High Performance Lighting: tubular fluorescents, built-in CFLs, decorative CFLs, built-in LEDs and decorative LEDs.
Tubular Fluorescents- These strip lights are the simplest of fluorescent fixtures, and are typically used in coves, valances and soffits. The cost ranges from $20 to $30 depending on length and lamp diameter.
Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL)- CFL fixtures for built in applications, recessed down lights and wall washers are somewhat limited in availability. Big box retailers tend to stock the simplest versions. For recessed downlights the CFL versions cost approximately double what the incandescent versions cost ranging around $30 to $60.
Decorative CFLs- Close-to-ceiling fixtures, sconces and pendants come in a wide variety of styles and prices. However, big box retailers typically offer a very limited range for these fixtures. Decorative CFLs are more costly than incandescent fixtures because they have more components, such as ballasts.
Built-in LEDs- These downlights and strip lights are becoming more popular and widely available. Some of these LED fixtures cost no more than their CFL equivalents. LEDs are rapidly improving in performance and decreasing in cost, however they are still pricier than incandescent lamps.
Decorative LEDs- Decorative LEDs are in the beginning stages of development; therefore their cost is changing rapidly. These types of fixtures are available for order through electrical supply houses and lighting showrooms.
You can find just about any type of fixture to fulfill your lighting needs in a more environmentally friendly product. What are your thoughts on paying extra to become more energy efficient and saving money long term?
Fall is definitely in the air! The temperature in now in the 50′s at our headquarters in Greenville, S.C., which looks like cooler weather is here to stay.
With all the hype of conserving energy while saving money today, you might be wondering how you can reduce your heating bill during the winter months. Have you ever thought about changing the direction of your ceiling fan to make the rooms of your home warmer?
Almost every home has a ceiling fan in at least one room. Typically, they are used to help cool down a room and keep the air flowing with a counter- clockwise blade direction. However, fans can also keep a room warm when the direction of the blades is reversed.
Most ceiling fans have a small switch above the blades labeled “warming and cooling” or “forward and reverse.” If your ceiling fan tells you which is the warming setting, you have an easy fix! However, if it reads the latter of the two, you will have to decide which setting you need.
To begin, turn the fan on at a slow speed, and take note of which way the blades are spinning. If your blades are spinning to the right, then your fan is blowing clockwise. If it’s going to the left, your fan is blowing counter-clockwise. Here’s the difference:
Clockwise: This direction is used during the cooler months as it makes a room warmer by creating a draft that pushes warm air to the ceiling, along the walls and into the room. You will not feel much of a breeze in this setting.
Counter-Clockwise: This direction is used during the warmer half of the year as it makes a room cooler. By blowing the air downward, you will be able to feel a draft directly from the ceiling fan.
Try out this simple switch to help your central heating and air conditioning systems. It will help you save energy and stay cozy inside your home.
Source: Home Improvements Blog: “Ceiling Fan Direction Makes A Room Cooler or Warmer”
Wow, the first week of October has already come and gone. Can you believe it? We have had quite an exciting week with our favorite posts and links surrounding social media. Today is the last day of our “Fall Back in Love with your Bathroom” Pinterest promotion, we recently announced a new hire and we have shared with you our most recent HPL blog. We hope you have a great weekend!
Fall Back in Love: Pinterest Promotion
enLIGHTenment’s Latest Issue
High Performance Lighting for the Home: Part 3
Louie Morales Joins Progress Lighting
Houzz.com Favorite Kitchen Space
We are excited to welcome Louie Morales to the Progress Lighting team as commercial product manager! Louie will be responsible for all aspects of our commercial products, including recessed, track and linear fluorescents. He has an electronics engineering degree and more than 13 years experience in the industry. Join us in welcoming Louie to the team!