The sustainable outdoor room

Posted by kbanks & filed under Outdoor Living.

      

“Outdoor rooms” are an extension of the living environments within our homes. And these spaces are increasingly designed with a strong focus towards sustainability.

An article in a recent issue of Residential Design + Build shares how using the right materials can help home owners save on water consumption and electricity costs.

  • “Green roofs” utilize plants to control the ambient temperature through shading, creating oxygen and reflecting heat.
  • Installing plant material “on” buildings can help manage weather changes that affect a building’s temperature.
  • Using native plant material in landscapes can naturally reduce water consumption, reduce the need for pesticides and minimize a project’s overall maintenance requirements.
  • Many irrigation systems can be used with smart controllers that monitor the needs of plants.

Do you use any of these sustainable practices in the outdoor rooms of your home? What green materials would you add to this list? Let’s continue the conversation on making outdoor living beautiful and efficient!

Landscaping for energy efficiency

Posted by kbanks & filed under Landscape Lighting.

      

A well-landscaped yard can beautify a home’s exterior. But did you know it can also reduce heating and cooling costs?

Consider these four elements of an energy-efficient landscape design:

Climate

Each climate zone requires a different landscaping strategy.

  • In temperate climates like California you want to shade against the summer sun, allow for solar gain in the winter and allow for a cross breeze in the summer to help cool the home.
  • In hot humid climates like Atlanta and Houston, you want to avoid planting water intensive trees and shrubs too close the house in order to avoid mildew issues.
  • In hot and dry regions like Arizona, you want to maximize shade on roofs, windows and walls.
  • In cold areas like Chicago you want to create wind breaks along the north west side of the home, but keep trees on the south side only if they do not block winter sun from entering the windows to help warm the house.

Microclimate

Microclimate is the area directly around the home.  If you live on a lake your home may be cooler than the surrounding area.  If you’re on the sunny slope of a hill your home may be warmer than others.  Take this into consideration when installing or thinning trees.

Shading

Use trees and other plants to help shade your home to help reduce cooling costs.  But, be careful not to provide shading that may prevent solar warmth from helping to heat your home in the winter.

Windbreaks

Use windbreaks—tree and/or shrub plantings—around your home to help reduce heating costs.  Simply put, a windbreak will reduce the wind chill around your home.

Summer is the time of year when most homeowners consider landscaping for beauty. Keep these tips in mind to also improve your home’s energy efficiency – and add your own in the comments section!

Source: Old House Web

Join us on Pinterest!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting.

      

Looking for decorating, DIY or lighting inspiration? Check out Progress Lighting’s page on Pinterest!

We have collected fabulous images of our collections and things that inspire us on our “/style boards” – including:

  • DIY/style
  • Unique/style
  • Bath/style
  • Color/style
  • Outdoor/style
  • Green/style

…and more! “Follow” us for frequent image updates, and leave your “Pin” suggestions in the Comments section.

Happy Pinning!

Bingo: Endless custom design possibilties

Posted by kbanks & filed under Projects, lighting designs.

      

Our recently introduced Bingo collection was designed with beauty and functionality in mind. Bingo fixtures offer fashion-forward circular forms that can be can be wall- or ceiling-mounted for functional illumination in a unique statement piece.

Beyond these details, Bingo’s distressed mirror surfaces may be painted, or covered with fabric, paper or photographs – to match any range of home decor style.

How would you customize a Bingo fixture in your home?

Progress Lighting goes mobile!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, Progress Lighting.

      

We are excited to announce that our full product catalog – which showcases more than 5,000 lighting fixtures – is now available on a mobile app!

Have an iPhone, iPad or Android-powered phone? Now, you can review all of Progress Lighting’s products that deliver aesthetic appeal and stellar performance right at your fingertips.

Special features of the Progress Lighting app include:

  • Review items by category
  • Add or remove category items to cart or jobsheet
  • Searchable items by keyword, family, finish, or brand
  • Dealer mode allows you the ability to have separate
    jobsheets and convert the jobsheet into an order through the website
  • Downloadable local content for use in offline mode
  • Easily toggle Dealer Modes and Local Content on/off

Download the app today, and let us know what you think!

Incandescent bulbs: The debate continues

Posted by kbanks & filed under energy efficiency.

      

If the incandescent light bulb “ban” wasn’t confusing enough for consumers, there’s a new push to stop funding for the legislation. A debate over whether the government can require manufacturers to sell energy-saving lights is expected to reignite.

Last year, Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas successfully pushed to stop the Energy Department from using taxpayer dollars to enforce a law requiring light bulbs to become more efficient – and plans to offer an amendment this year to extend that ban.

Many manufacturers have already planned on meeting the new standards, but if the incandescent “ban” isn’t funded, it won’t be consistently enforced – and could stunt further progress in making light bulbs more efficient.

What are your thoughts on the incandescent phase-out – and the measures being taken to stop its enforcement? We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions.

Source: E&E Daily

UPDATE (July 6, 2012): We have recently learned of consumer-driven initiatives to educate others on the incandescent phase-out and government product regulation. We  recommend reading the Freedom Light Bulb blog to learn more about the different arguments and perspectives. Let’s continue the conversation by sharing additional thoughts in the Comments section.

What do you want to do at your kitchen island?

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, lighting designs.

      

Kitchens are the gathering spots of today’s home – and islands are stylish workspaces that help make these areas efficient and inviting.

So, what do you want to do at your kitchen island? Knowing the goal of this space will help you design the perfect station.

  • Cook. An island meant for cooking includes appliances such as cooktops, ranges, microwaves and warming drawers. Make sure to consider your ventilation needs, too.
  • Prepare meals. Though it might have a prep sink at one end, an island used mainly for preparation needs a large, uninterrupted surface. A dishwasher is a great addition for post-meal cleanup.
  • Entertain. Space is key for an entertaining island. The countertop must provide ample surface for serving or dining. There should also be plenty of room for guests to mingle or be seated outside the work zones.

And, no matter what you want to do at your kitchen island, the proper lighting is key. We recommend illuminating this area with downlights, track lighting or a series of decorative pendants.

Let’s keep talking! What is your favorite thing to do at your kitchen island? What would you love to add to this space to make it more functional and inviting?

Source: Better Homes & Gardens – Kitchen and Bath Ideas

This kitchen island is ideal for preparing meals - and illuminated with Progress Lighting's Archie pendants.

Choosing the right lighting fixture – by designer Laurie Smith

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, lighting designs, lighting industry.

      

The American Lighting Association has produced and launched a new series of videos about lighting features well-known designer Laurie Smith.

View this quick, informational video, which focuses on how to use lighting to contrast or coordinate with your interior environment.

Let lighting be that unexpected element in your design process – and let us know how you choose the right lighting fixture for your home!

Landscape Lighting 101 (Part 3) – and Outdoor Lighting Giveaway!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Landscape Lighting.

      

In the third and final segment of our Landscape Lighting 101 blog series, we’ll explore important points to consider when you’re ready to purchase lighting fixtures.

Selection and placement of landscape lighting is crucial to achieving the desired overall look. However, a common mistake is to focus entirely on this process – and not on the overall lighting system.

Here are five points to keep in mind when purchasing lighting:

  • Plan for long-term function.
  • Account for energy cost.
  • Plan for consistent voltage.
  • Account for bulb replacement costs.
  • When purchasing a transformer, allow the option of adding additional lighting in the future.

With these last tips in mind, we would love to hear about your successes and challenges in lighting the outside of your home. What additional questions do you have? Do you have advice to share from your landscape lighting experience?

In addition, we invite you to share photos from your home’s landscape that needs new or additional lighting. Between now and Friday, March 23, 2012, submit your photos in our Outdoor Lighting Giveaway!

After the submission period, our judges will choose one winner of a lantern series (3 fixtures) from our Westport collection and one winner of two Mission landscape fixtures. We can’t wait to see your submissions!

You could win three fixtures from our Westport outdoor collection!