High Performance Lighting Guide for the Home: Part 6

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, controls, energy efficiency, lighting designs, lighting lifestyles, remodeling.


One of the most important parts of a High Performance Lighting (HPL) design is the selection of appropriate controls for lighting each room. Controls that are used for HPL are categorized into three types:

1)   Use limiting: switches, occupancy sensors, timers and solar controls

2)   Intensity lighting: dimmers

3)   Programmed patterns of use: lighting management systems

The installations of use limiting controls are the least expensive and most commonly applied to residential applications. Every light has an on/off switch and some offer an occupancy sensor control feature. The most useful type of use limiting control is the manual on/automatic off setting that prevents light from staying on after occupants have left the room. Motion control settings are ideal for outdoor lighting applications, but may require sensitivity adjustments to prevent animals from triggering the light.

Intensity limiting controls are very useful in rooms that are used for various activities like in the dining room or living area. Dimmers give occupants the availability to adjust lighting for different activities such as formal dining or completing homework.  Dimmers must be properly teamed with the fixtures they control.

Light management systems, which provide programmable controls, may be installed to control some or all of the lights in a home. Different lighting combinations may be preset for certain occasions or times of day. Some of the features of programmable controls are the availability to dim lighting, on/off controls, occupancy sensors, timers, temperature controls and daylight sensors. This system can be controlled from a wall mount or by remote.

Here are some examples of where to install these types of controls:

  • Manual On/Off: Basement, Children’s bedrooms
  • Automatic On/Off: Interior rooms with no daylight, exterior security lighting
  • Timers: Garage
  • Dimmers: Dining room, kitchen, family room, entryway
  • Timers/Solar Control: Exterior lighting

Installations of these types of controls in your HPL home should result in energy savings over and above that of the more efficient lamps and luminaires. However, the amount of energy and cost savings are highly variable due to the homeowner’s pattern of use.

Are housing markets improving?

Posted by kbanks & filed under Homebuilders.

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.

Weekly Round Up!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, Progress Lighting, lighting designs, lighting lifestyles, remodeling, renovations.

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 Guide for the Home: Part 5

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

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?

Trend Watch: The Return of Luxury

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, lighting designs, lighting lifestyles, remodeling, renovations.

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

LightSmart app helps you choose the right light

Posted by kbanks & filed under lighting lifestyles.

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!

This Week’s Lighting Round Up!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, holiday lighting, lighting lifestyles.

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

High Performance Lighting Guide for the Home: Part 4

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lighting, Progress Lighting, energy efficiency, lighting designs, lighting lifestyles, remodeling, renovations.

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?

Ceiling Fans: A simple solution for winter warmth and efficiency

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, ceiling fans, energy efficiency, lighting lifestyles.

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”

Weekly Lighting Round Up!

Posted by kbanks & filed under Progress Lighting, lighting industry, lighting lifestyles.

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