Lighting - Not As Simple As it Used To Be

Often overlooked by home building novices, lighting is critically important. Without the right lighting, your beautiful space can barely be seen. Lighting affects the mood, functionality, and ambience of the space. If you leave it up to your builder, you may just get a bunch of CFL or fluorescent lights that make your Kitchen look like a garage workshop. Interior Designers, Custom Home Builders, and Architects are often left in the dark about the latest trends in lighting with all the recent changes in the industry.

In December 2007, the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which included legislation to make incandescent light bulbs more efficient by setting maximum wattage requirements for all general service Incandescent light bulbs producing 310-2600 lumens of light. Light bulbs outside of this range are exempt from the restrictions. Also exempt are several classes of specialty lights, including 3-way, colored lamps, stage lighting, plant lights, candelabra lights under 60 watts, outdoor post lights less than 100 watts, appliance lamps, rough service bulbs, nightlights and shatter resistant bulbs. This effectively banned the manufacturing or importing of most incandescent bulbs of that time. Ultimately, the implementation took place in October 2012.

In an effort to reduce consumer concerns about efficient light bulbs due to variable quality of products, in 2008, the EPA's Energy Star program established rules for labeling lamps that meet a set of standards for efficiency, starting time, life expectancy, color, and consistency of performance. Those CFLs with a recent Energy Star certification start in less than one second and do not flicker. Energy Star Light Bulbs for Consumers is a resource for finding and comparing Energy Star qualified lamps. That’s only a piece of the puzzle, though, as the laws seemingly took effect prior to the industry’s ability to supply mass market solutions at affordable prices.

In a recent custom home project, I had to consult with a Lighting Designer, Electrician, Builder, and Lighting Buyer who had access to multiple major suppliers to get clarification on the best options for lighting temperature (color and physical heat output), wiring requirements, and compatible dimmers. Did you know, for example, that LED fixtures are only dimmable with specific digital dimmers? Did you also know it is not recommended that LED fixtures be comingled with Halogen fixtures on the same dimmable circuit? I didn’t, until I the team did all the research.

Lighting is not as simple as putting a bunch of recessed cans across the ceiling (sometimes pocking the ceiling in what is called “ceiling acne”) or relying on the way it’s always

been done. Lighting Designers have a great deal of lighting experience and know-how to give you the effect you want. Lighting is not just an art – it’s science. There are so many considerations, including wattage, color temperature, LED vs. incandescent vs. Halogen vs. CFL, wiring requirements, dimmers, cost and energy consumption to name a few. Let our team’s expertise and experience help you in these decisions. We know who to ask, what to buy, and how to get the fixtures you need and want. Just ask your concierge.

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