We hope you have had a great week! Check out these articles and blog posts we found most interesting from the past few days. We took a look into the evolution of Residential Lighting, consumer tips and favorites, as well as some intriguing Mars footage. Enjoy!
While there are plenty of news stories and opinions about new light bulb standards and equivalencies, many people are still unsure about what to buy. Our friends at the American Lighting Association recently highlighted three of the most common questions consumers have and offer expert answers.
Q: What it is the best replacement for incandescent light bulbs?
A: The only bulb that no longer meets basic efficiency requirements is the 100-watt traditional incandescent. A 100-watt bulb is now required to use no more than 72 watts of electricity.
Good replacement choices for your traditional incandescent bulbs are LEDs (light-emitting diodes), CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and halogen incandescent bulbs.
Q: Which light bulbs are most energy-efficient and cost-efficient?
A: LEDs are most energy efficient. A single Energy Star-qualified LED light bulb can last up to 25,000 hours and use 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb. Keep in mind that while a traditional incandescent costs only about 50 cents to buy, it costs more than $7 per year to operate. While an LED bulb might cost $40, it should last about 25 years.
Another good choice is Energy Star-qualified CFLs. These bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last eight to 10 times longer. Halogen incandescent bulbs are also fairly efficient. They use 25 to 30 percent less energy and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Q: What kind of lighting creates a cozy, relaxed feeling?
A: This mood generally comes from any light sources fairly close to eye level, such as table lamps, floors lamps, desk lamps and wall sconces. Other lighting mounted at the ceiling, such as chandeliers or close-to-ceiling fixtures, can also provide that comfort feeling when dimmed.
Have questions about lighting in your home? Leave your inquiries and suggestions in the Comments section.
We recently read a survey conducted by Casual Living magazine and Consumer Reports on the popularity and preferences on outdoor rooms of the home. By definition, this is any outdoor area that’s been converted into a comfortable living space and is used for grilling, relaxing and entertaining.
Here are a few of the findings we found most interesting:
- 7 out of 10 consumers have an outdoor room, or are creating one
- The grill and outdoor dining set are the leading two outdoor products
- Outdoor lighting is listed as one of the top 10 leading products/features consumers want to add
- The majority of consumers classify their main decorating style as casual
- Two-thirds of respondents prefer traditional styles over more modern ones
- Designers explain that outdoor color should be based on existing environments and an extension of the interior color palette
To our blog readers: Do you have an outdoor room – or are you planning one? If so, what’s your favorite feature? What would you like to add to this space?
For those of you who may have been too busy with back-to-school preparation this week, here’s our lighting weekly round-up! Overall, this was an exciting week for us and our fans – with design tips, conference previews, lifestyle news and the unveiling of our Progress Lighting Match Maker Contest winner! Enjoy:
Today, Americans are more sleepless than ever. Studies show that a growing number of individuals are consistently lacking sleep due to a variety of factors such as high stress levels, restless bed partners, medication, technology and even lighting. We recently watched an interview with David K. Randall, author of “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep,” who discusses the problem and ways to improve our sleep habits.
Randall pointed to technology and lighting sources as major players in the sleepless phenomenon affecting so many people.
- We live in a technology-driven society, causing our brains to constantly be “on” – We are always wired. From our workday to entertainment selection, technology is consistently a key element. This 24-7 stimulation makes it difficult for our brains to settle down when it is time for sleep.
- We are exposed to endless light sources – While lighting is important, as with anything, too much of a good thing can have its consequences. Our constant exposure to computers, TVs, mobile devices – in addition to regular light sources – tricks our brain into thinking we should still be awake in the evening. Because technology, and inevitably light, are often integral parts of our everyday reality, it may seem difficult to cut out, or even reduce, our exposure to these sources.
- Turn off bright lights, TVs, phone devices and computers one hour before going to sleep – Randall suggests that making an effort to trim down on our exposure to light and technology before bed can help our brains settle down and prepare for sleep mode.
- Limit caffeine before bedtime – Randall also suggests taking steps to limit how much caffeine we consume, especially before bed, to help our bodies fall asleep.
- Track sleep and identify patterns – With the benefit of sleep technology, people are able to track their sleep during the night. Consistently tracking sleep can help individuals identify sleep patterns related to a variety of factors such as exposure to technology, eating habits, caffeine and medications.
Progress Lighting recently hosted the exclusive Match Maker Contest on Pinterest, and we are excited to officially announce the winner!
We were impressed by Suzanne Burnett’s choices in lighting fixtures and images of her dream home. As her “Match Maker board explains, “I think lighting is very important in a house. Especially for me. I live in the Pacific Northwest where you can go months on end without bright natural sunlight. So what I pick is important to me. The lights in my house I can’t say I am crazy about. I am satisfied with about a third of them. I am in a dilemma about my parlor, foyer and great room. I have always wanted something more than functional but also with a little pizzazz. So I went looking for it…..”
Suzanne went above and beyond the contest requirements by explaining how each Progress Lighting fixture she selected would beautify her home. As a result, Suzanne will win three of the fixtures she “pinned” as part of the contest!
Please join us in giving a big congratulations to Suzanne!
This week, our favorite articles and blog posts revolved around social media, economic improvements and beautiful interiors. Hope you enjoy reading these as much as we did!
Social media has revolutionized social media – Mashable.com
Top 5 Cities with the Lowest Unemployment Rate – MultiFamily Executive
Velvet Shows Piles of Playfulness – Houzz.com
8 Great Kitchen Color Schemes – Houzz.com
Kitchen Island Designs We Love – Better Homes & Gardens
In 2001, the U.S. Department of Energy found that lighting accounted for around 7 percent of a home’s energy use. In 2010, the most recent data, that statistic rose to more than 15 percent.
CFL lighting is one of the most realistic options for homeowners to reduce lighting consumption in their home. But because it is still a fairly new technology, many consumers have questions on how to choose a solution that’s right for them. Here are a few tips for selecting CFLs shared in a recent article by Qualified Remodeler magazine.
- Choose a CFL bulb with a color temperature between 2,700-3,000 Kelvin (K). Any higher, and the light will appear white.
- CFLs that bear the Energy Star label are proven to last more than 6,000 hours.
- Find a bulb with a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of at least 80. The higher the number, the more accurately colors will appear under the light.
Many CFLs are available in decorative forms, too. Seen here is our unique Haven collection, a CFL fixture!
- Beautiful Outdoor Dining from Leslie Fine Interiors
- Dark Rooms are a Bright Idea from the Wall Street Journal
- Housing Starts Rise 6.9 Percent in June from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
- The Rise of the Outdoor Office from Design Milk
- Home Builder Confidence Continues Increase in July from the NAHB
- Progress Lighting’s Match Maker Contest on Pinterest
Pinterest, the social networking site that allows users to share photos by “pinning” them on categorized boards, can be quite a valuable tool for homebuilders. As a visual platform highly trusted and used by women, the site offers easy access to a target market willing to share their home development desires. Here are some quick comments from a recent article, Pinterest for New-Home Sales, which highlights why Pinterest may be the best new social resource for homebuilders.
Pinterest’s target audience correlates with the home building market – Pinterest hit 11 million unique monthly visitors earlier this year. From those visitors, 97% are women, with an exceptionally strong presence of women aged 18-34 – a homebuilder’s target market. A recent poll also revealed that women trust recommendations made on Pinterest more than any other social media site on the web.
A photo really is worth 1,000 words– People are consuming so much information online daily and Pinterest offers a new way for people to gather information and communicate. Instead of reading a 300-word blog post, users can access and share what they like in a visual and less time-consuming manner.
Pinterest’s ultra-visual format allows for quick brand advertising – Photos that highlight beautiful design are particularly popular on Pinterest, which presents a great opportunity for builders to position their brand with sought-after design.
Design and product photos can illustrate a lifestyle – Creating product photos to illustrate a particular lifestyle presents an opportunity for builders to tell the story of living in a given home or community. Homebuilders can reach out to their target market by creating specific boards that cater to a particular market segment.
Use caution to avoid copyright issues – Because Pinterest is so dependent on photography, builders must be cautious of copyright issues. Instead of re-pinning other people’s pictures, upload pictures that reflect the latest design trends and focus on “liking” and commenting on other people’s pins to drive traffic back to your builder page.
For more information and tips for homebuilders, check out the Progress Lighting for Builders Facebook page.