February 6th, 2015 Newsletter
Lighting: Bringing Light to the Darkness
The lighting in a room has a tremendous impact on the feel of the space. Every detail in a room design can be just right, but without the right lighting, the look and feel presented can be ruined. When designing a room, consider lighting just as important as any other detail.
There are three primary styles of lighting:
Ambient Lighting: Provides an area with a softer overall illumination; Sources like candles, low wattage lightbulbs, and natural lighting; This type of lighting is often used to create a calming effect
Task Lighting: Freely adjusted lighting; sources like an office lamp, book light, or an under counter light; These are primarily used to highlight a work area, or where a brighter light is needed in a concentrated area
Accent Lighting: Mainly decorative, used to highlight a particular object or scene; Adds drama to create a visual interest
Once a style is chosen and placed as needed, the quantity and quality of that lighting can have a large part to play beyond just the artistic layout of lighting fixtures.
When choosing a lighting style, another factor to consider is the type of bulb. There are many different styles of light bulbs available and the type selected can be a determining factor in the final look and feel of the room. These are the three subfactors that should be considered when purchasing the bulbs for your light fixtures:
Color Temperature: Changes the hue and emotion conventionalized with a room; A warm or cold contrast; Lighting color is measured in Kelvin: the lower the Kelvin the warmer the color, and the higher the Kelvin the cooler the color.
Color Rendition: The quality of the lighting that gives off the distinct variation of the colors in a room; This is based off of type of bulb that is chosen and the Color rendering index (CRI); The higher the CRI, the better the light source is at rendering colors accurately; Above 80 CRI is recommended
Glare: The overpowering of a subject or source; Quantity of light; Brightness of a bulb is measured in Lumens: The higher the lumen, the more light that is emitted; Replaces Watts
Natural light from windows, doors and skylights also impacts lighting choices in each room. At EcoElectric we have a wide range of experience in specialty lighting. Contact us for help in both selecting, and installing the best lighting solution for your home.
Remodeling: Layout of Electrical Outlets
Designing a room is complicated and requires time and patience.
Whether building a new home or remodeling an existing home, it’s important to spend some time determining the electrical needs of the room during the conception and planning stage. Picturing the completed space with furnishings is a great way to begin. From here, consider specifics such as television and lamp placement as well as any specialty lighting that may be desirable for highlighting artwork or work areas. A little pre-planning can help avoid either extreme. Start with this list of questions to begin determining the electrical needs of the room:
- Where will furniture be located, and will it require an outlet?
- Will you need floor outlets for items not placed along a wall?
- What kind of lighting sources will be needed? Will they need to be plugged in or hardwired?
- What kind of electronics will be used in the room? Temporary or Permanent.
- What type of decorations will be put up for holidays or special events?
- How easy does it need to be to access the outlets?
Don’t be afraid to be creative when it comes to outlet placement. Consider recessed outlets in floors, cabinets, mantles and even in the wall. Some outlets can even painted to match the color scheme of a room. Others types of outlets can include a built-in nightlight, can pop-up from your cabinet or have USB ports available. Imagination is one of the biggest parts of designing any room, and the limits are endless. For help with installation of outlets, contact EcoElectric, and we can help light up your dream home.
Vampire Power: Reduce Your Power Bill
Standby power, also referred to as “vampire” power, is the electricity used when a device is not in use but is still plugged into a power source. Individually, each item is not drawing a lot of power but the sum of the wide range of electrical items found in most homes can create a significant impact on the monthly electric bill. Something as simple as leaving a few unused electronics plugged in every day can be the difference between a $90 power bill and a $120 bill.
The easiest way to reduce your vampire power use is to simply unplug items when not in use. Another alternative is a ‘smart’ power strip that automatically cuts power to a device when not in use, or can automatically turn off at night; this allows device power to be cut down significantly. For even more aggressive savings, there are outlet modifiers that have a timer to limit how long power can source through a device, or built-in modifiers that are multi-savers. There are many devices to help limit and monitor power usage. For questions about money-saving devices and their installation, contact Eco Electric.
Net-Metering: Renewable Sources
Renewable power sources are slowly gaining popularity as more people decide to invest in a ‘green’ future. Campaigns nationally have been building upon investing in electricity sources like solar, and wind technologies for residential homes. Allowing consumers to rely more on natural, renewable-produced processes. Net-metering is becoming more common. This process allows owners to generate their own solar energy, and return it to the power grid for credit on their energy bill. This often generates enough power to offset usage during the night, especially with a PV system on the roof.
As Net-metering works directly with your state, not all areas offer the same benefits when it comes to return credits on bills. Net-metering ranges quite dramatically depending on the programs in place, rules and regulations tied to the electricity credits, and certain maximum rebates that are allowed. Renewable sources are in the long term a good investment, but the rate of return can vary based on location, so doing the research will be required.
With incentives from electric companies, homeowners have the ability to create a net-zero style of living, or even to invest in green energy initiatives like Certified Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s). So instead of investing money in non-renewable resources like coal or oil, homeowners can save money and feel good about knowing that most, if not all, of their power comes from clean sources.