What Does Your Outdoor Lighting Say About You?

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

      

This post is courtesy of our guest blogger Linda Longo. Linda is a feature writer in the New York City area specializing in residential lighting design. For 17 years, she has served as the editor-in-chief of Home Lighting & Accessories magazine. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more lighting tidbits.

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Believe it or not, it can convey a lot! People don’t often think about outdoor lighting until the holidays when evenings come quick, entertaining is frequent, and the mood is festive. We pay attention to detail and delight in showing off our individuality. It makes us smile to drive through our neighborhoods at night when the properties are all decked out.

Why ditch the fun as soon as the season is over? You can make your home and yard look sensational all year long with a few simple lighting techniques.

One of your first priorities is to make sure the path to your door is adequately illuminated. The boxed sets of solar-powered lanterns that you see everywhere really don’t do the job. The light they give off – even when using a new technology such as LED – is not very strong, consistent, or long-lasting. Using such sets also leads to what many of us in the lighting industry refer to as the “airport runway look.” There are probably many homes in your neighborhood with this landing strip look, so I know you know what I’m talking about!

Achieving truly great landscape lighting is rarely a successful do-it-yourself endeavor. I strongly recommend visiting your local lighting showroom for a consultation. Bring in photos of your front and back yard (use your cell phone if you don’t have a camera handy) so the experts can make the most concrete and effective suggestions. Perhaps you never thought that the giant oak that was there when you bought the house or the small palm tree you added last year or the flower garden you planted in spring that looks so sensational during the day could really pop at night. Lighting experts are trained to locate such elements as areas where you can create visual interest and “landing spots” for the eye.

Merely finding the parts of your landscape that you want to highlight is not enough. You’ll need to evaluate how different light sources – halogen, LED, CFL – will change or enhance the natural colors. You’ll also want to know how to position the lighting to produce various effects. By moving the angle of a fixture (some have a locking mechanism for precise aiming), you can position the beam of light so it casts dramatic shadows along the tree bark or catch the edges of a stone or brick façade. The shadows provide “texture” and make the objects you’re illuminating appear three-dimensional and vivid, not washed out as can happen with a too-bright floodlight. Again, there’s no need to try and figure it all yourself. Many lighting stores offer free consultations and others apply the design fee toward the purchase of landscape lighting products.

If you do a lot of entertaining in your backyard, patio, or deck, you won’t believe how much better you’ll love that area when it’s lit properly. Enjoying summer evenings outdoors is the stuff great memories are made of! Whether you’re having the neighborhood over for a party or just unwinding from your day, good lighting creates a warm atmosphere where everyone looks great under the glow of low light levels.

Sometimes floodlights are needed for security purposes, but please turn them off while you are entertaining. No guest feels comfortable sitting under the glare of harsh light meant to deter burglars. There are plenty of decorative outdoor fixtures on the market that will suit the architecture of your home perfectly from the front entryway to the back door.

There are a lot of options for using light to enhance your backyard enjoyment. Deck lights today are decorative, small in size, and incredibly handy for ensuring the safety of people going up and down deck stairs at night. If you have an inground pool or a water feature in the yard (i.e. fountains), submerging waterproof lights will create a spectacular visual effect. The choice is yours whether you want to use colored light or not, but this is another area where a professional’s expertise will help you find the perfect products to do the job.

Whichever method or products you choose, illuminating your property properly is a beautiful way to make your home stand out from the crowd.


Update: The phase out of the traditional light bulb

Posted by kbanks & filed under lighting industry.

      

We recently wrote about the legislation behind the phase out of traditional incandescent bulbs. Since then, we’ve seen a variety of articles that not only outline the new regulations, but also describe how people are responding.

To start, some are under the assumption that the incandescent bulb is being outlawed by the federal government. But here’s what’s really happening: It’s a planned phase out of today’s general service 40W, 60W, 75W and 100W incandescent bulbs from January 2012-January 2014. The law will simply set new standards that today’s bulbs will not be able to meet. The new regulations are also technology-neutral so any light source that meets these standards can be used – including CFL, halogen, high efficiency incandescent, LEDs, etc.

Some folks are simply opposed to this change. We came across one article describing how people are stockpiling traditional incandescents to avoid changing light sources in their homes. But in reality, there’s no reason to keep old incandescents unless you prefer paying higher electricity costs.

Despite the hoarders, another news story explains that, according to a recent poll, most Americans are o.k. with the changes. In fact, 71% say they have already replaced standard bulbs in their homes with CFL or LEDs alternatives.

So, have you heard any incandescent hoarding stories? Or are you opposed to the new legislation and stockpiling bulbs yourself? If so, what reasons do you have for holding back?

Which Lifestyle palette is for you?

Posted by kbanks & filed under Lifestyle palettes.

      

You may remember we introduced our Lifestyle palettes for 2011, and you might have seen these Progress Lighting families in our new catalog. But do you know which Lifestyle is right for you?

We designed our Lifestyle palettes to help connect your lighting fixtures to the environment you have created in your home. You may have a preference for bold and modern accessories, and fixtures in the Loft group best suit your tastes. Or maybe you’ve created a “livably luxury” vibe in your home and you’re drawn towards collections in the Grace palette.

Whatever home decor taste, Progress Lighting is here to help you match your style with a name and a set of fabulous lighting fixtures from which to choose.

By taking a few minutes to fill out the quiz on our Facebook page, we can let you know which Lifestyle palette we suggest for you based on your answers.

Once you know whether your style fits in Loft, Transcend, Relax, Elements or Grace, check out our photo albums on Facebook for images of a few fixtures from your palette. You can also browse our latest catalog online to view Progress Lighting’s full offering.

So which Progress Lighting Lifestyle palette are you?

Clayton from the Elements family

Haven from the Transcend group

Flirt from the Relax palette

Chanelle from the Grace collection

Calven from the Loft palette

The phase out of the traditional light bulb

Posted by kbanks & filed under lighting industry.

      

The light bulb is iconic in our society as an illustration of ideas and innovation. At a young age American children learn about Thomas Edison and his invention of light with the creation of the incandescent bulb. It has remained much unchanged since its design was completed in 1879.

Fast forward to the past few years when the “green movement” has people scrutinizing their homes and workplaces in an effort to improve energy efficiency. We now know that traditional light bulbs are inefficient and waste energy when producing uneccessary heat to light an inner filament. But rather than make the initial investment into long term energy efficient sources like CFLs and LEDs, many of us continue to use standard 40, 60 and 100 watt incandescents.

But in case you haven’t heard, new standards required by the Energy Independence and Security Act were signed into law in 2007 that will make it more costly and complex to buy light bulbs. By next January, 100 watt bulbs can use no more than 75 watts of power to produce the same amount of light. There will be new labeling rules to emphasize bulb lumens (light output) rather than wattage (power output). And where 60 watt bulbs now cost around $0.60 each, the price is expected to be around $2-3 in 2012. That gives the U.S. around a year to prepare for these changes – well, everyone except California.

To get a head start on implementing the new requirements, California began phasing out the sale of older, less efficient 100 watt bulbs on January 1, one year earlier than required. Simultaneously, home furnishings giant IKEA announced it was stopping the sale of traditional, incandescent light bulbs. It’s the first major retailer to take this step.

So, are we seeing the beginning of the end of incandescent lighting as we know it? In ten years, do you think we’ll be lighting our homes and businesses with CFLs, LEDs or other sources? And in the meantime, what steps do you think need to be taken to educate consumers on this rapid transition away from the light bulbs we’re all so familiar with?

Dallas Market Center

Posted by kbanks & filed under Dallas Market, Lifestyle palettes, Uncategorized, lighting industry, special events.

      

The Progress Lighting team recently returned from a fantastic week in Dallas where we have a permanent showroom at the Dallas Market Center.

Here we were able to introduce our new 2011 lighting collections, as well as our new lifestyle classifications.  A lot of people gravitated towards one of our new families, Calven, which even made the cover of our new catalog!

Here are a few snapshots for those who couldn’t attend.  And to see more pictures, visit our Facebook page today!

And the winner of our Dallas Market iPad Giveaway is…

Posted by kbanks & filed under special events.

      

…Wendy Mastin of Springwater, New York! Wendy works at a local middle school where she’s been a secretary for 23 years. She’s the mother of a physical therapist in Philadelphia and a graphic designer in Chicago.

Wendy came across our giveaway online and recognized Progress Lighting from shopping for lighting at The Home Depot. She decided to “Like” our page and enter the contest – and she won!

So what does Wendy plan to do with her new Apple iPad? She said she’ll enjoy using it to surf the web at home after being behind a computer all day at work. Wendy and her husband also enjoy travelling, and the iPad will be much easier to take along on trips than a laptop computer.

“I can’t wait to use the iPad and see what my children and the kids at school have been talking about,” Wendy said. “It’s amazing what new technologies are out there, and I’m so excited to be ahead of the curve!”

Thank you to everyone who participated in our contest and who stopped by and saw us at Dallas Market last week. Please join us in congratulating Wendy!

Who has the Worst Kitchen in America?

Posted by kbanks & filed under lighting designs, special events.

      

DIY Network recently hosted the “Worst Kitchen in America” contest – a chance for one deserving cook to win a complete kitchen makeover. And tonight at 9 p.m. EST, the winning transformation will be revealed!

We were excited to have the chance to donate Progress Lighting fixtures for the project, and we hope you’ll join us in watching the complete kitchen remodel this evening. If you miss tonight’s showing, the segment will air later this week on the DIY Network, and be sure to check out the winning kitchen in the January/February 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine.

To learn more about the contest and transformation, visit DIY Network’s Worst Kitchen in America website.

So, if you had the chance to do a similar project, what would your dream kitchen look like?