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!

Hubbell Lighting honored with internship award

Posted by kbanks & filed under Internships, Public Relations, awards.

      

Our parent company, Hubbell Lighting, is proud to accept an Outstanding Community Internship Program (CIP) Employer of the Year award for 2010-2011.  Awarded by the University of South Carolina, winning criteria included providing interns with a diverse learning and training experience led by exceptional company managers.  There is no doubt that Hubbell Lighting has just that!

Fun facts about the Hubbell Lighting Internship Program include:

  • Interns have the opportunity to work on real projects in a team-based atmosphere.  Doing so gives them real world experience.
  • Interns are required to prepare a formal presentation to the executive team concluding the program.  This allows them to get comfortable with the executive world, as we are confident they will be an integral part of it soon.

Interested in joining Hubbell Lighting and seeing what all of the talk is about?  Check out http://www.hubbelllighting.com/corp_info/careers.php for opportunities that just might light up your life and resume.

Lighting showrooms: How do you manage energy use?

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

      

We talk about the benefits of LEDs, CFLs and other energy efficient sources all the time in the lighting industry. But how can efficiency be maintained in a lighting showroom, where hundreds – maybe even thousands – of lamps and fixtures are lit on the sales floor? The September issue of Residential Lighting explores this topic in the article “Power Play.”

Lighting showrooms give customers a chance to look, feel, evaluate and compare each product – a benefit over online retailers. But with the power burden to keep the lights running and maintain a comfortable temperature, the advantage can come with a hefty price tag.

Many showrooms are discovering lighting control systems to help keep energy consumption and air conditioning costs in check. These systems operate by limiting the number of fixtures that can be illuminated at any given time, and may also help showrooms cut down on maintenance time and costs.

In addition, controlling the number of fixtures lit at any given time may help easily overwhelmed customers concentrate on one product at a time.

For those of you in the showroom business, are you using lighting control systems? If so, what benefits have you seen in your store?

The role of color in health care lighting

Posted by kbanks & filed under lighting designs.

      

Health care interior environments include a number of elements that must work together to create a healing space, and everyone’s experience is unique. But did you know that the color of light can have a profound effect on circadian rhythms, which affect a patient’s ability to heal more quickly?

We read a few key findings in the most recent issue of Health Facilities Management:

  • Light with a cool blue color tend to suppress the nocturnal fall of the core temperature and the amount of melatonin produced by the body.
  • Warm light does not suppress either of these biological reactions.

In simple terms, cool light at night essentially wakes up the body. Research also shows the influence of light in different temperatures on humans affects blood pressure and heart rate.

So what are the options for lighting design in these environments? Interior designers may not have control over the light emitted by monitors and medical equipment, but they can control the colors of the light sources and provide the correct lamps in the spaces they design.

What do you think the future holds for lighting design in unique environments like health care facilities? Do you see lighting technology becoming capable  of simulating a day’s change in light color? We’d love to hear from designers on their strategy for choosing lighting color in different applications!