Save Energy During the Winter Months

With Thanksgiving and Christmas making this time of year expensive, the last thing you want is energy bills leaving you cold. There are a variety of ways in which to save energy this winter, including some free tips that could save you money on a regular basis. Energy bills will be higher in the winter months, with shorter days and cooling temperatures, but you can combat those increases with these few simple tricks.

Audit your current lighting

Knowing where the increase in energy comes from is essential for coming up with a plan to decrease your energy bills. Take an audit of the bulbs used within your space and any external displays you may have. Throughout winter the use of window and external displays means a lot more light bulbs in use, therefore higher energy bills. Go from room to room and make a list of all the lighting sources both inside and outside your location.

Change your lighting

Energy for lighting accounts for around 10% of energy bills. With the darker mornings and evenings occurring in winter, lights are on even more than usual. Many homes and businesses put up additional lighting, both inside and out, which adds to the energy bills. Switching from your current bulbs and lights to low energy LED light bulbs can save you up to 80% of your previous lighting energy usage. This is quite a savings!

Although the cost for LED bulbs is slightly higher than traditional bulbs, the savings far make up for the investment. LED bulbs also emit no heat, so they are safer to use. Plus they last longer than traditional incandescent lighting options.

Consider investing in solar powered lights for lighting displays, especially  for south facing windows, or external needs to receive the same quality of light but save even more money on your bills.

Once you have made the above changes you should notice a difference from the previous year’s utility costs without having to cut back on your lighting needs. If you need a help choosing the correct lighting, then get in touch with us today, we offer a variety of LED lighting solutions for both residential and commercial properties.

What Type Of Light Bulbs And Fixtures Are Best For Office Environments?

What Type Of Light Bulbs And Fixtures Are Best For Office Environments?

When it comes to promoting productivity and morale, every detail about the office environment is important. Although you may not consider factors such as the color of the walls or the type of lighting that illuminates your workspace, such factors can make dramatic differences to those who work in the office each day. After all, humans are visual, and nearly every occupation requires affixing one’s attention to a particular object, be it a computer screen, a piece of paper, or anything else for hours at a time. This kind of attention can be mentally draining and physically tiring, particularly if workers are forced to strain their eyes throughout the day due to improper lighting.

The Effects of Bad Lighting

As an employer, your top priority to help your employees be at their best. Looking after your workers’ needs is, of course, your legal obligation. In addition, creating an environment in which your workers feel comfortable and happy encourages them to care more about their work and to do better work. Sometimes, little changes can be the impetus for promoting pride in one’s work and driving a worker to be more detail-oriented and motivated each day.

Because lighting is part of the background environment, a worker might not recognize that eyestrain or lack of focus is related to poor lighting. Thus, he or she may shrug off those feelings as simply a bad day or some other more obvious factor in the work environment. Because of this, your employees may not report these feelings to you or complain about lighting. Yet every day, your employees will have to expend extra effort just to reach baseline productivity. This extra effort may not only reduce efficiency and encourage workers’ attention to wander, it can also harm morale, causing problems that will stretch into the future and affect your bottom line. Morale encompasses everything from productivity to retention, meaning that even a seemingly minor concern such as lighting can have major consequences to your business.

Best Lights for Office Environments

So which are the best lights for office environments? One key factor in this determination is consistency of light production. Any lighting option that creates darker and brighter spots in places can lead to a dungeon-like feeling and is highly undesirable. In addition, excessively harsh or bright lighting can cause headaches. Because they are not designed to shine light to guide work for hours on end, regular light bulbs are typically not an ideal option.

One good option is a spiral fluorescent lighting setup. This setup allows you to have lighting at various wattage with long-lasting service requiring minimal maintenance. Light is consistent and cost-effective, which is highly beneficial for office environments. These lights do not encounter the same problems with reliability that traditional filament-based bulbs do, so you can enjoy long-lasting, dependable lighting.

Another reliable and favorable option for lighting your office environment is LED lighting. These offer another highly cost-effective option and can last up to 10 years. Installing LED lighting is simple and quick, and they can be used in place of flood lighting, which may only last as little as three months. Thus, replacing floodlights with LED lights can be a significantly better investment, and LED lights can offer much better and more pleasant lighting for your employees, helping improve productivity and employee morale.

What Lights Are Best For Growing Weed Indoors?

What Lights Are Best For Growing Weed Indoors?

First-time cannabis growers might be overwhelmed when confronted with the options for the best lights for growing weed indoors. You may be wondering whether to go the soil or hydro route, and whether or not LED lights are better than HPS lights in your grow room. With so many ways to go about growing cannabis, it is really a matter of personal preference.

CFLs

Compact Florescent Lights are common, everyday household bulbs you find in any grocery store. Bulbs in the 40-watt range are ideal for growing weed because they put out plenty of light while remaining on the small side. Any more wattage than this and you run the risk of directing too much heat on your plants. Once the cannabis reaches the flowering stage, it’s important to add additional CFLs to fill in any shadowed areas, which naturally puts off even more heat. Err on the side of caution and stick with a soft white bulb in a lower wattage, but have enough on hand to ensure that your plants are getting the optimal amount of light.

HPS Lights

High-pressure Sodium bulbs are a go-to choice for weed growers because they allow the plant to achieve an impressive amount of vertical growth. This is ideal if you have enough space to watch your plants flourish in these conditions. Keep in mind, however, that HPS bulbs are generally used during the flowering phase of production, as the light they emit is not beneficial to the cannabis during its growth phase. Much like CFLs, these lights also radiate heat that is directed onto the plants, meaning you will have to plan for considerable distance between your lighting system and the cannabis to avoid heat damage.

MH Grow Lights

Metal Halide Grow lights promote impressive green vegetative growth because they encourage photosynthesis like no other indoor light. In fact, these bulbs are the closest thing you can get to sunlight indoors, making them a great option for cannabis growers. Because of this, if you can only afford to invest in one type of bulb for your lighting, metal halide is a sure bet when setting up your own system. The blue light emitted from MH Grow lights produces a more compact plant, while super metal halide bulbs pump out 15 percent more lumens than regular bulbs, producing greater yields.

LED Lighting Systems

Growers who want to invest money into their business should consider a professional horticulture lighting system specifically designed for cannabis and similar plants. The latest LED systems replace both high-pressure sodium bulbs and metal halide lights, giving you a single system that is perfect for every stage of growth. This can ultimately save you money in the end. Utilize LED lights in both large-scale and compact growing areas, including setups that feature vertically stacked layers for maximum output. LED bulbs minimize energy consumptions, which is something to consider when growing weed for profit, as the energy costs will affect your bottom line.

Finding the best lights for growing weed indoors is as individual as the grower is, so play around with your setup. Whether you design your own lighting system or opt for a professional one, the choice is yours.

What Are The Best Lights For Outdoor Sports Events?

What Are The Best Lights For Outdoor Sports Events?

Outdoor sporting event attendees do not give much thought to the lights overhead illuminating the playing field after dark, and why should they? The focus is on the field and the action going on there rather than the action going on above the field. Chances are that if you’ve recently attended a sporting event at night, the game that unfolded before you was illuminated by metal halide lighting.

What is metal halide lighting?

Metal halide lighting emerged around 2005 and is considered today to be some of the best lights for outdoor sports events. It is one of the fastest growing segments of the commercial lighting industry, and there are good reasons for this. Most of those reasons relate to metal halide lighting performance, which represents a huge improvement over its predecessor, mercury vapor lights.

Metal halide lights are electric lights with illumination produced by sending an electric arc through a mixture of gases and compounds of bromine or iodine; these are the metal halides. While this method of light generation is similar to the mercury vapor approach, the light produced in the metal halide arc tube is of higher intensity and has better color presentation. The intense light produced by metal halide lamps is nearly twice as powerful as the mercury vapor lights and roughly five times as intense as incandescent lighting.

In terms of composition, metal halide lamps consist of an arc tube where the gases and halides are contained, which is either ceramic or fused quartz and surrounded by a larger glass bulb that has been specially coated to filter out ultraviolet light. This outer bulb also serves to protect the interior components and conserve generated heat. Since metal halide lamps are some of the most efficient lamps at producing high intensity illumination, they are now considered to be one of the best lights for outdoor sports events, especially since they can be relied upon to have an operating life of between 6,000 to 15,000 hours, and often even more than that.

Operating Characteristics

To generate all that high-intensity illumination, metal halide lamps require a transformer to supply them with a specific and steady flow of electricity, usually between 175 watts to 1,500 watts. This wattage depends on the intended use for the lamp, and the transformer wattage must match the lamp wattage. For example, a 250-watt lamp must be associated with a 250-watt transformer or it will not operate.

As with any outdoor illumination setup, there is a certain percentage of light loss that is disseminated into the atmosphere and not concentrated on the arena or stadium below. To minimize this, lamps can be fitted with visors that reduce any “up-lighting” that would otherwise be lost.

When metal halide lamps are first turned on, it takes a short time for pressure to build up in the arc tube before full intensity is achieved, so if there is a sudden disruption to the power source, it will take time for that pressure to rebuild to the maximum lighting intensity. If you have ever seen the stadium lights go dark at a football game, you’ll know that lamps like these take up to five minutes to warm up again to full intensity.

Metal halide lamps have more uses than outdoor sporting events of course. They are commonly used to illuminate parking lots and shopping centers for the same reasons they are so useful in lighting outdoor sporting events: They produce intense light more effectively than any other outdoor lighting strategy.

What Are The Most Efficient Parking Lot Lights?

What Are The Most Efficient Parking Lot Lights?

When it comes to running a successful business, keeping the bottom line in sight at all times is crucial. However, cutting costs in production and service is a task that should be undertaken with great care as such measures can negatively affect customer experience. By streamlining expenses in a wise manner, you can keep customer satisfaction high while lowering costs. One wise way to reduce costs is by looking for hidden expenditures, those you don’t think about on a day-to-day basis, or those you assume have a fixed cost. These expenses may actually be reduced by choosing an alternative product, service or arrangement. A prime example of this is parking lot lighting.

Parking Lot Lighting: a Hidden Cost Area

Providing parking for customers and tenants is undoubtedly a valuable service, but for some it can actually be a loss area. Where companies do not charge for parking, every bit of maintenance and upkeep represents an uncompensated cost. This is a ripe area for finding hidden costs that you may be able to lower, such as lighting. Obviously, lighting is a necessity in a parking garage, but your lighting bill doesn’t have to be such a significant dent in your bottom line. In fact, by changing the type of lighting you have in your parking facility, you may be able to reduce significantly your monthly energy bill without sacrificing any quality of service.

What are the Best Parking Lot Lights?

While you might consider parking lot lights to be an afterthought, they are worthy of more contemplation. After all, parking lot lights are unique, not only in their location but also in their mode of service, so you’ll need to get a product designed for cost-efficient and effective lighting. Tailoring your choice to the particular needs of parking garages can help you find lights that function better, last longer, and cost less to operate and maintain than alternatives.

Although lighting options such as yellow sodium (also known as high pressure) and metal halide have long been popular for parking lots, a superior and more efficient parking lot lights option has established itself: the use of induction lighting systems. Unlike other lighting options, induction systems do not have bulbs that frequently need changing. There are no filaments or electrodes, meaning fewer shorts and dead bulbs will pop up and present bad surprises. Additionally, induction systems do not have transformers and tend to require little to no maintenance for decades on end.

Induction systems offer more efficient parking lot lights because there is no energy lost to vibration and no risk of downtime due to seal breaches. These systems have a novel mode of operation, as they produce light by channeling an intense, high-frequency energy transmission into gaseous form. This process allows for the production of light until all of the mercury ions, which emit light when excited, are depleted. This takes years to occur and ensures longer endurance than a filament-based lighting system.

Induction lighting systems provide versatility as they are offered in tubes, circles, or bulb-like lamps. The systems can either be installed in a more permanent manner or screwed in like traditional light bulbs. You can find an induction lighting system no matter what your lighting needs, as potential wattage ranges from 35 watts to 400 watts depending on the system.

What Are The Most Efficient Warehouse Lights?

What Are The Most Efficient Warehouse Lights?

When choosing the most efficient warehouse lights, the goal is to minimize outlays while providing a safe, efficient working environment. The latter goal is simple and clear: you want to minimize injuries and provide adequate light to accomplish the task at hand. The former is slightly more complex, as costs consist of both capital outlays and ongoing energy expenditure.

One can install either a high-pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide lighting system, with a third option in fluorescent fixtures. Without a doubt, HPS is more efficient in terms of lumens per watt. HPS lamps also last longer than metal halide units.

The Knock on HPS

While HPS has many advantages, warehouse operators often avoid it due to the yellowish color of the light. This may not be a significant drawback, depending on the nature of the work done in the facility. For example, the color of the light may not impede operations such as storage, receiving and shipping. However, color identification gains in importance if workers are boxing product or performing assembly tasks.

Employees often dislike HPS due to its yellowish light. Workers perceive light from a metal halide lamp as brighter, even if it emits no more light than an HPS lamp.

The color-rendering index (CRI) of a light source indicates its ability to render colors accurately. A higher CRI indicates more natural light, the highest possible score being 100. The CRI of a fluorescent lamp is 80, while HPS scores 20 and metal halide comes in at 65.

A Closer Look at Metal Halide

Pulse-start lamps are the most efficient metal halide lamps, emitting almost 40 percent more light per watt than a standard metal halide lamp. They offer other advantages as well, such as warming up faster to maximum brightness. These lamps are more expensive but cost less to install and operate.

Don’t Forget Fluorescent

Improvements in fluorescent lamps have made them more viable in warehouses. Today’s fluorescent fixtures are particularly well suited to facilities with high ceilings. They consume about half the energy per lumen of a metal halide lamp.

Fluorescent lamps turn on instantly, while a metal halide lamp can take as long as 22 minutes to cool down and power back up after a power outage.

Fluorescent lamps also run cooler than metal halide units, saving on cooling costs.

The one disadvantage of fluorescent lighting is its sensitivity to heat, which may not be an issue in some areas, but could be its downfall in a hot environment.

Fluorescent fixtures also suffer less light depreciation than metal halide lamps. Fluorescent lamps have a lumen maintenance level as high as 95 percent, which is much better than metal halide lamps with electronic ballasts at 86 percent. At 64 percent, metal halide units with older, magnetic ballasts are not even close.

Other Considerations

You can save a bit more money with some ingenuity. Use LED lighting in exit signs. These consume as little as 10 percent of the power used by a fluorescent or incandescent unit, and they should last a decade or longer.

Mother Nature provides the most efficient warehouse lights. Install skylights where practical. Especially in new construction, install windows that will allow natural light into your warehouse.