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Lighting Improves Learning in the Classroom

Lighting does way more than help you see at night or set the mood. It actually help learning in a classroom setting. New studies support that lighting can be optimized for a wide variety of different needs in the classroom such as test-taking, gym class, and reading.

It can even be adjusted to help our well-being such as our physical and mental conditions. Overall “the lighting facilities in educational environments were much poorer than we’d anticipated.”- Dr. Hyeon-Jeong Suk, associate professor at the institute.

The study in question involved 54 fourth-grade students in two classrooms. One of the classrooms was equipped with LED lights that “could be tuned to CCTs of 3500 K (which is a “warm” yellowish white), 5000 K (neutral), and 6500 K (a “cool,” bluish white that mimics natural daylight). The other classroom had standard fluorescent lighting and served as a control group.”

The students in the 6500 K lighting room scored much higher on their tests. 3500 K warm lighting is best for a relaxing recess setting while 5000 K is best for reading activities while 6500 k dynamic lighting supports intense, academic activities such as tests.

You can read more about the study here.

 

Lighting Trends you Need to Know About

Lighting is changing and for the better! It’s getting cheaper and more efficient while also giving us way more options as far as ambiance goes. The lighting in your home shouldn’t be the same from room to room. Lighting can set the mood more than you may think. Don’t believe us? Just ask Rome!

So, it’s important to keep yourself in the loop with all the changes to technology. Below we’ve outlined some of the biggest trends you need to know about!

Internet of Things

What is the internet of things? We are all used to having our phones and computers connected to the internet but what about our lights, coffee makers, washing machines, lamps or any other household appliances? That’s essentially what the internet of things aims to do. Your indoor lighting will be a big part of this.

No Wires

Everything is so wireless that it’s becoming weird to see things without them. Pretty soon, everyone will be controlling lighting with their smart phones and there will be lots of homes without a light switch.

Healthier

Lighting can affect productivity, mood, how quickly we recover from illness and also how quickly we learn things. More and more businesses are adjusting lighting to mimic natural light for more restful sleep as well.

Learn more about trends in LED lighting here.

 

Whats the Difference Between Watts and Lumen

While everyone switches to LED lighting, we all have to learn new terms that we’ve never even heard of before. Most of the time, we are satisfied with a bigger number and that’s enough to make the purchase. Before going all-in on the LED light bandwagon lets figure out what Lumens and Watts even mean.

What are Watts?

Watts are a measurement of power consumption or how much energy is released per second. The higher the watts, the brighter the light will be. Watts is more a measurement of energy use rather than brightness even though there is a direct connection between the two.

What are Lumens?

Lumens is something we just started to hear about but it’s been around for decades. It measures how much light a bulb emits. In 2011, the US Federal Trade Commission made it a requirement of manufacturers to use lumens to indicate how bright a bulb will be. The higher the lumen rating the more bright your bulb will be.

This article shines more light on the difference between watts and lumens.

What is Solid-State Lighting?

According to Wikipedia, Solid-state lighting (SSL) refers to a type of lighting that uses semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), or polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED) as sources of illumination rather than electrical filamentsplasma (used in arc lamps such as fluorescent lamps), or gas.

In other words, when you hear about LED lighting, it is a form of Solid-state lighting.

While incandescent bulbs use thermal radiation, Solid-state lighting creates light with less energy used and a reduction in heat generation. If you’d like to learn more about Solid-State Lighting, use the resources below.

Solid-State Lighting Program at the LRC

OLED Lighting

LED Industrial Luminaries by U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy’s CaLiPER program just released a report on industrial luminaries.

Compared to traditional light sources, LED luminaires can deliver longer life, enhanced energy efficiency, greater eco-friendliness, lowered maintenance demands and equal or better quality of light.

They have some very cool data visualizations to go along with the findings. Some of the highlights are as follows but I highly suggest you download the report of which there is a link of below:

  • Color and power quality for industrial luminaires are similar to that of incumbent fixtures. The products have a variety of CCTs, with the majority (51%) at or above a nominal CCT of 5000 K; and 65% of the luminaires have a CIE Ra (CRI) in the 80s.
  • Early-generation LED high-bay luminaires lacked the lumen output to compete in the market, but by 2013, LED Lighting Facts® listed 379 industrial products, with more than half exceeding 15,000 lumens. LED Lighting Facts currently lists more than 8,000 industrial products, 41% of which emit between 5,000 and 15,000 lumens and 55% of which emit more than 15,000 lumens.
  • Listed industrial fixtures have higher efficacy performance than do listed linear, troffer, area/roadway, and parking garage fixtures.
  • The efficacy of LED industrial luminaires is notably higher than what is typical of incumbent fixtures. About 23% of the listed with LED Lighting Facts products have a luminous efficacy greater.
  • • As of the CALiPER Snapshot report published in September 2016, lamps comprised approximately 20% of the products listed with LED Lighting Facts. This number had been steadily diminishing since the program’s inception of in 2009.

 

 

You can download the LED industrial Luminaries report here.

See the Benefits of LED Lighting with this infographic

The benefits of LED lighting are well-documented but that doesn’t mean everyone is on board. Because people are now just starting to make the switch in masses to LED lighting to save money, we won’t truly know it’s impact for many years.

One of the benefits of LED lighting is the different colors and hues that can help you sleep better while also changing the entire atmosphere of a room. Statistics and savings are great but we need to see it to believe it. 

That’s why the infographic above is so helpful in visualizing the actual benefits of LED Efficiency.

The main benefits it outlines are:

  1. 5.1 quads of energy saved each year by 2035
  2. Scientific progress on key technology frontiers 
  3. Better quality in efficient lighting products
  4. Affordable products with competitive first costs
  5. U.S. jobs with domestic manufacturer

 

LED Lights on Bikes help Riders be Seen

The annual burning man festival is a gathering of thousands of people in a desert environment to share an incredible experience. While there are all sorts of amazing sights and sounds present, one attraction in particular always drew a crowd and it was never meant to be a part of the show.

Dan Goldwater used to ride around with his kaleidoscopic LED lights on the spokes of his wheels through Burning Man at night wowing people in the process. 

Everywhere that I took it, people would run down the street after me and ask, where could they get this thing?” Mr. Goldwater said.

It was those experiences that laid the foundation for Monkeyelectric, a bicycle equipment company that sells LED lighting for your wheels instead of just front and back. 

You can buy a set of LED lights anywhere from $25-$60 and when they spin, they produce a mini light show for anyone watching such as hearts, skulls, and rainbows.

Rome Swaps to LED Lighting and Suffer Backlash

Everyone seems to be on board with swapping to LED lighting and for good reason. LED lights last longer and use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

There is a time and a place for LED lighting and different colors and hues can affect your mood. Unfortunately, Virginia Raggi did not get the memo as there have been a 100,000 LED lamps installed on the streets of Rome. While they are estimated to save Rome millions on their electricity bills, the residents are less than impressed. 

Some have compared it to a “hospital, a morgue or a cemetery.”  

Despite the potential environmental and savings benefits, there are people leading the charge to reverse the decision. One resident, Nathalie Naim, is leading the charge.

“Illumination is atmosphere,” she said emphatically. “They are assassins of the beauty of Rome, of its history.”

 

How the World is Embracing the Way for Electric Cars

One of the issues with everyone switching to electric cars is the lack of charging stations available. This is often times what critics point to when saying that making a full switch to electric cars isn’t doable. While this is a valid point, it isn’t very sound logic. We’ve all seen this play out multiple times in history where if something is important enough, people will make changes to make sure it happens. 

The same goes for charging station infrastructure. According to this article on electric vehicle charging equipment, EV charging infrastructure is on the rise. China’s demand for “fleet PEVs” is rising and overall sales for PEVs will grow to 6 million in 2026.

With the whole world aware of the effects of global warming, I anticipate more and more people will embrace the switch to electric cars.

How to Save Money on your Electricity Bill

There are thousands of ways to save money on your monthly and yearly energy bill. Most people think you have to upgrade to save money but that couldn’t be further from the truth. All you have to do is make a few minor adjustments to your electronics and appliances and you could have hundreds of dollars each year back in your pocket.

Cook Efficiently

Most people will go straight for the oven when baking but most things will do just fine in the toaster oven instead. You’ll also save more time as the toaster oven doesn’t take as long to heat up. By cooking, you’ll also warm up the area and not have to crank up the heating system as high.

Energy Star or Nothing

Energy Star uses much less energy than other appliances. This includes washers, water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators and more. You may pay more up front but the savings, in the long run, are well worth it.

Dishwasher Etiquette

Most people put everything in the dishwasher by default but this isn’t the best approach. Wash large pots and pans by hand as they take up the most space. When loading the dishwasher, make sure you pack it full and never leave space. Let your dishes air dry instead of using “heat dry.”

Use cold water to wash your clothes

Up to 90% of the energy from washing your clothes goes to heating the water. Here are some interesting stats about the impact of using hot/cold cycle to wash your clothes:

Similarly, if you wash with the hot/cold cycle (in a top loading machine and an electric water heater), you’ll end up with 2407 pounds of CO2 per year — just over a metric ton — which is equal to about one round-trip cross-country flight (6171 miles of long-haul flying).–Collin Dunn, Treehugger.com

Use a Low-Flow Shower Head

Older shower heads use 4-6 gallons of water per minute.

“The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).”–home-water-works.org

Low-flow shower heads are easy to install and use only 1.5 gallons per minute. They range in cost so you’ll have to choose wisely to save the most money.

Utilize a Programmable Thermostat

You can save up to 10% off your utility bill with a programmable thermostat and it’s relatively easy to install. There is a sweet spot to every house so you’ll have to experiment to see what works and doesn’t work.

Insulate your Outlets and Light Switches 

Light switches and outlets can be a source of air leaks. Insulating can prevent leaks and save you money.

Add Attic Insulation 

Your attic is where most of the heat in your home escapes. Heat rises and most homes aren’t built with enough insulation to keep it from seeping out through the attic. You can save the most money by going with Fiberglass insulation and installing it yourself. You can save up to 20%-30% on heating and cooling costs by insulating your home.

Cover Your Floors

This is for people who have tile or laminate in their home as it absorbs cold air and then circulates it back through your home. A rug will retain heat and become an insulator between the floor and your house.

Use Home Window Tinting

Home window tinting is an inexpensive way to retain heat and save lots of money. Most people will change out their windows before even thinking of home window tinting. It’s a film you can apply to your windows that reflect light and also help regulate temperature and in your home. Not only will it keep your home cooler during the summer but also warmer in the winter.

Wear Layers

Winters can be especially cold in Windsor and Ft. Collins but most people enjoy the shift in weather once it hits. Wearing layers is a great way to keep warm with out spending too much on your monthly energy bills.

Switch to LED Lighting

LED lighting is all the rage. While they didn’t start out very cheap, they are more affordable than ever before. They are still more of a long term investment but they have rendered incandescent lights just about obsolete. More on LED lights..

While Incandescent lights convert 10% of energy into light, LED converts 95% of energy consumed into light. They can last up to 25 times longer than a standard light bulb and use at least 75% less energy.

Low Flow Toilets

As more and more people go green, there will be better technology to save money and energy. Low flow toilets are part of the next big wave.

Toilets can consume up to 40% of the total water used in your home. A low-flow, 1.6-gallon toilet will reduce usage and can save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year. A dual-flush toilet allows you to choose between 1-gallon flush or a 1.6-gallon flush.”

Use Electronics and Appliances Responsibly

Believe it or not, your appliances and electronics can account for 20%-30% of your household energy bill. There are simple things you can do to save money on your monthly energy bill. When going on vacation, unplug your computers, TVs, appliances and other electronics. Leaving them plugged in wastes energy. Shut off your computer when it’s no longer in use. Most people will leave them in sleep mode. Laptop computers use less electricity than desktop computers.

Choose your lighting Wisely

Not every room has to be lit up like a Christmas tree. You may not want as bright of lights in your bedroom as you would in your living room. Installing dimmers can also reduce the amount of electricity you use in each room. You could also install motion detectors so when you leave the area, the lights turn off. Also, something simple as cleaning your lights can help reduce energy costs.

Insulate and Seal your Home

Insulating and Sealing your home can make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient, ultimately saving a lot of money over the year. Some common places leaks may occur are electrical outlets, attic hatches, around pipes and wires, baseboards, window frames and mail slots.

 

Alternate Ways to Keep your home Cool

Installing a ceiling fan can help cool your home without an air conditioner. If you have an air conditioner, replacing your air filter will increase airflow and reduce friction. Set a thermostat to a good temperature and then turn it down at night when you aren’t home. Roughly 2% of the heating bill will be saved per each degree that the thermostat is lowered. Installing a programmable thermostat gives you more control over and can save you anywhere between $100-$200 per year! Make sure to lower your curtains to better insulate your room.

If you have any questions about saving money on energy or need help with repairs or installation, give us a call.  970-457-4099

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