Lighting kitchens right

Posted by kbanks & filed under lighting designs.

      

You may have the best-designed kitchen layout in the world, but if it’s poorly lit, you won’t enjoy working in the space. So when we came across a great set of tips for properly lighting kitchens in Consumer Reports’ most recent Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide, we knew we wanted to pass along this information to our readers.

Good lighting is all the more critical in today’s busy kitchens, which can host activities from cooking to crafting to paying household bills. With this in mind, three types of illumination combined are necessary for function and effect.

  • Ambient (or general) – This type of lighting provides the overall illumination for a room. Good ambient lighting is bright but not glaring, and it can come from ceiling fixtures, pendants and chandeliers and wall-mounted fixtures.

A chandelier, like this one from our Clayton collection, is a great way to add ambient lighting to a kitchen.

  • Task – Task lighting is focused directly on a specific area where activities such as food prep, cleanup or reading take place. This kind of illumination can come from pendant, undercabinet, recessed or track fixtures.

Progress Lighting's LED undercanbinet fixture is ideal for task lighting, and also offers energy saving benefits.

  • Accent – This kind of lighting adds visual interest to a room by accentuating specific design elements, such as artwork, architectural details or items displayed on shelves. It’s typically provided by wall-mounted lights or pendants and should be significantly brighter than the ambient lighting surrounding it.

Provide accent lighting over a kitchen island by adding one or more pendants over the area - like these from our Bay Court collection.

Do you have ambient, task and accent lighting in your kitchen? What types of illumination would you like to add to this space in your home?

Progress Lighting helps surprise a Wounded Warrior

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, Projects, renovations, special events.

      

When the Home Builders Association in our hometown of Greenville, South Carolina wanted to give former Marine Sgt. Michael Batton and his family a new kitchen in honor of his service, we knew we wanted to help.

As part of the Wounded Warrior Project, the surprise home remodel is bringing together several local companies and manufacturers who are donating products and services for the project. We are supplying five lighting fixtures for the Battons’ new kitchen, including a kitchen fluorescent, dining room light, two mini pendants and an undercabinet light.

Check out photos from the event held earlier this month when Michael was surprised with the news – and we can’t wait to see the finished kitchen!

Keep warm (and save money) this season

Posted by kbanks & filed under energy efficiency.

      

‘Tis the season of winter storms and high heating costs. We were reminded of the upcoming seasonal woes in a recent local news article.

Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, it costs more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light and live in homes across the country?

While high utility costs are expected during the colder months of the year, if your home isn’t heated properly, you could be sacrificing energy – and dollars. Here are a few pointers to help ensure your home’s efficiency:

  • Seal air ducts and duct leaks
  • Make sure your home has enough insulation
  • Check problem areas, like spaces around drop-down doors, plumbing entrances and around electrical outlets

Many of these repairs can be done yourself (especially for our DIY readers). Have you assessed your home’s efficiency for the season? If so, do you have any tips to add to this list?

Congratulations to Progress Lighting’s DIY Lighting Giveaway Winners!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, Progress Lighting, special events.

      

During October we held our DIY Lighting Giveaway contest asking Progress Lighting’s Facebook fans to show us their best do-it-yourself home renovation project.  We are excited to say that we had some great entries, and a very deserving group of top 5 winners.  Each winner will receive a Progress Lighting 3-light bath and vanity fixture from our Renovations collection.

Take a look at their handy work!

Erica Yingling: “getting new windows…finally”

Becca: “From Start to Finish!”

Catherine Horner: “Spare Room, getting ready for company”

Jody Arwood: “Bathroom”

Kevin Grove: “Laminate Flooring Installation”

Which home DIY renovation is your favorite?  Be sure to stay tuned on our Facebook page to learn about our upcoming promotions!

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling: Budget Basics

Posted by kbanks & filed under Projects, renovations.

      

When you’re serious about starting a kitchen or bath remodel, “planning” is the magic word – it ensures you money doesn’t run down the drain (no pun intended). Follow the planning pointers below – as shared in Better Homes and Gardens’ Kitchen and Bath Makeovers – to take the guesswork out of budgeting for a remodel.

  • Ask questions upfront. What do you want to accomplish with this remodel? What are your priorities? How much can you afford to invest?
  • Figure out financing. Several options are available to help you cover the cost of your remodel – like refinancing, home equity loans and personal loans. Do your homework to determine which makes the most financial sense.
  • Get estimates. Obtain thorough quotes from designers and contractors. Make sure they visit your home to evaluate the site, and ask them to provide references and examples of past work. Even if you’re a DIYer, it’s worth it to consult a professional.
  • Sweat the small stuff. Even seemingly minute details – such as the placement of electrical outlets – need to be addressed ahead of time to prevent snap decisions and costly mistakes mid-project.
  • Expect the unexpected. Unforeseen conditions can wreak havoc on a remodeling budget. Including a 20% cushion in your budget at the beginning of a project can offset surprises that often happen as the remodel progresses.

For our readers who have recently completed – or are in the middle of – a home remodeling project, what other suggestions would you add to this list?

Budget-Friendly Tips for Green Living

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, renovations.

      

Getting on board with green living can be easy but costly at the same time.  Thanks to Re-Nest and HGTV Remodels, we found these 5 quick tips for remodeling your home green.  Both budget and eco-friendly, we hope you find these tips helpful!

1.  Reduce your air conditioning bill by avoiding east and west facing windows.

2. Landscape using native plants, as they won’t require as much irrigation.

3. Use exposed areas of your home, such as wooden beams, as design elements.

4. To avoid the possibilities of mold, opt for uncovered wooden or concrete floors instead of carpet.

5. Switch to water efficient equipment to both save on costs and conserve this natural resource.

To all of our budget-savvy readers, do you have any other tips to add?  We would love to hear them!

Progress Contributes to 2011 Solar Decathlon

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, Public Relations, ceiling fans, special events.

      

The Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon was held September 23-October 2 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  19 teams of college students from across the globe competed to design eco-friendly, cost efficient and desirable homes.

When Team Florida needed energy efficient ceiling fans with light kits, we knew we wanted to help!  We contributed two Energy Star-qualified P2530-30W ceiling fans to help in their design and construction efforts. Team Florida consisted of four universities including Florida State University, the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida.  Their house was creatively named the FLeX House, as their prototype was designed as a pre-fabricated, sustainable home, flexible and adaptable to numerous situations.

We are excited that we were able to be involved in this innovative design competition.  Great job Team Florida!

To see images of Team Florida’s FLeX house, visit http://www.solardecathlon.gov/gallery_florida.html.

ABCs of LEDs: Lighting Metrics

Posted by kbanks & filed under LEDs, Lighting.

      

Have you ever been confused by some of the terminology surrounding LEDs – words like “efficacy” or “correlated color temperature?” If so, you’re not alone.

We recently attended an educational webinar, ABCs of LEDs, presented by Residential Lighting magazine. The course offered a wealth of information on LED lighting technology – including lighting metrics.

Here’s a quick overview of the key terms and what they mean:

  • Lumen – the most common measure of light output.


  • Watt - measure of electric power; the rate at which electric energy is transferred by an electric circuit.


  • Efficacy – the light output emitted by a light source, divided by the nominal light source wattage and expressed in lumens per watt (lm/W).


  • Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) – a measure of the color appearance of a white light source. CCT is measured on the Kelvin absolute temperature scale.


  • Color Rendering Index (CRI) – 0-100 scale used to compare the effect of a light source on the color appearance of its surroundings. A higher CRI means better color rendering, or less color shift. CRIs in the range of 75-100 are considered excellent.

Are there any other terms you have come across when considering LED lighting?

Lighting Controls 2.0

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

      

How would you like to come home at night to a lit house without leaving the lights on the entire time while you were out?  If you love the idea as much as we do, be happy to know that solution is here, as we read in Residential Lighting’s September 2011 issue.

Today’s consumer has the ability to control everything by the simple click of a button and even not by any button at all.  Wireless Internet has opened the doors for communication to anyone or anything around the world, including your house.
Developers have successfully created software where consumers can turn their lights on and even adjust their thermostat temperature before they arrive home via their mobile devices.  This way when they walk in their house, lights are already on and the temperature is perfect to welcome them comfortably.

Innovations in lighting controls and dimmers are giving consumers the option to control their entire house lighting systems from work or travel.  And this isn’t just for the mega-mansion.  These cutting-edge technologies are scalable to each consumer’s individual needs, allowing these exciting products to span across multiple markets.

Check out Lutron’s newest iPad and iPhone app shown above.

Attention DIYers: This Facebook giveaway is for you!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, special events.

      

We designed our third social media promotion for those of you who love do-it-yourself projects and home renovations. Have a recent home improvement project to share? Send us your before-and-after pictures along with a short description, and you’ll be entered to win one of five of our three-light bath and vanity fixtures from the Renovations collection!

Here’s how it the contest works:

  • “Like” Progress Lighting on Facebook
  • Visit the Contest tab on the page
  • Enter your contact information and follow the steps to provide a title and upload your before-and-after photos

That’s it! Good luck to everyone entering!