Posts Tagged ‘green lighting’

Hubbardton Forge 10-4105-20For the fifth time since its inception, Hubbardton Forge has awarded the prestigious Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence & Pollution Prevention.
This prestigious award honors Vermont companies that use innovative approaches
to reduce or eliminate the generation of pollutants and wastes at the source. Hubbardton Forge received the award in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2005 for several advances they made in their finishing systems.

This year, Hubbardton Forge was recognized for their adoption of automated centrifuge separation technology.  This change resulted in a 97% reduction in water usage, a 150% increase in cleaning efficiency, elimination of a hazardous waste stream, improved worker safety, improved part quality and a reduction in labor.



Ingo Maurer Lucellino

Ingo Maurer Lucellino

“What a sick idea to eliminate an icon like the light bulb”
-Ingo Maurer

When we were in Munich this spring and ran into Ingo Maurer the discussion regarding the new European regulations to ban the incandescent bulb by September were heated.

Never one to just accept things passively, Ingo Maurer was using his showroom to demonstrate how silly the new rules are.

I’ll never forget his display of the charming Lucellino desk lamps outfitted with squiggly compact fluorescent lamps. Horrid! More »

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break-your-old-habits1What an impact a few changes we make in our everyday lives can have on the environment!

I found it amazing what I read today. Seems so trivial, but what a difference a simple change could make!

“If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an Energy Star qualified CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes. That would prevent the release of greenhouse gas emissions equal to that of abut 800,000 cars.”

Read more here: Mercury Fact Sheet (PDF)

So, love CFLs or not, I think we all have a spot or two in the house – or outside, where we can replace an incandescent bulb for a CFL.

Personally I can’t take the plunge and live without the warm light of incandescents, but I’m making small changes here and there.

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Nightfall Sconce Outdoor Lighting for Dark Sky On my recent trip I looked out of the window of the plane at night and was blown away by the contrast of coming from Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado with its practically solid black nighttime landscape and then flying over Denver, a big city bursting with light. It was breathtaking and I spontaneously fell in love with this vibrant display of lights. Twinkling lights for most of us evoke feelings of festivity, charm and warmth. We are drawn to light. It makes us feel good and safe.

Then I couldn’t help myself, but started to wonder about all that light. As stunning as the sight was from above, I had to confess that this was indeed what we call light pollution.

How much of this beautiful display was actually necessary and how much was a total waste of resources?

What would this landscape look like if everybody would only use exactly the amount of light needed for a task, for safety and feeling good?

It would probably have a lot less of a Wow effect, but be just as beautiful.

Recent scientific studies show that light pollution among many things obscures the stars for city dwellers, disrupts the migration pattern of birds, has adverse effects on our health and is a huge waste of energy. I could go on and on with sound and compelling reasons to make some serious changes to our city light exuberance.

A growing number of cities and towns across the United States are drafting ordinances as we speak that require new light fixtures– both commercial and residential – not to shine any light above a horizontal line, not up into the atmosphere. Instead, everything must be directed downwards unto what needs to be illuminated.

As more and more homeowners are starting to look for ways to reduce their energy usage, the Dark Sky Movement is gaining ground even though
most consumers might never have heard about “Light Pollution” or, as a matter of fact,  “The Dark Sky Movement”. Awareness has luckily been growing among local government leaders, who have been drafting ordinances to bring the night sky back.

More and more pressure is therefore put on manufacturers to come out with more Dark Sky-Friendly outdoor light fixtures and of course they are not only listening but reacting to these new demands.

We still have a long way to go before the last neighbor with the horrible 150W spotlight will understand that a little light goes a long way outdoors and that lots of light does not translate to safety. Great contrasts between bright lights and darkness are actually much more of a safety issue.

With an outdoor wall sconce shielded on top instead of spreading light into the night sky, less wattage is needed to achieve the same amount of light. Where a 100W bulb was needed to illuminate the steps a 40W bulb will  provide just as much direct light.

Hubbardton Forge offers several sconces that have received the Dark Sky Fixture Seal of Approval. One, the Nightfall features a beautiful ceramic shield with natural stone motifs that only allows the light to shine downwards.

Justice Design also features a large selection of outdoor wall sconces that are closed on top and the Minka Group has several outdoor lanterns with metal tops that block the upward light.

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CFL versus Incandescant Bulbs“I have this beautiful antique foyer light with exposed bulbs and it will look horrible  with squiggly compact fluorescent lamps. Will incandescent bulbs soon be unavailable?”

We get questions like this almost every week, so here I’ll try to clarify a few things.

The energy bill that was signed end of 2007 does require that all light bulbs use 30% less energy than today’s incandescent bulbs by 2014, which is a good thing.

The phase-out will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. After this a second tier of requirements will become effective which asks for all bulbs to be at least 70% more efficient, which would mean that they will have to be as efficient as the CFLs we are using right now.

Since the manufacturers of incandescent bulbs are probably more aware of this than anyone else they are of course working hard on finding ways of improving the efficiency of their products. It might very well be possible that a next generation of incandescent bulbs could satisfy the requirement of 30% increased efficiency by 2012.

All this said, there are now so many really great CFLs on the market that are good looking and fit a variety of needs: You can get candelabra bulb-shaped CFLs that will fit your foyer light and not change the overall look.

In our showroom we actually now sell more unique CFLs than anything else. (CFLs for outdoor use, dimmable CFLs etc etc).

Another lamp we have now introduced is an LED mR16. It is WONDERFUL.

More about that in a later post.

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gas guzzler car

Read an article in Home Lighting and Accessories today and stumbled over this interesting question:

Which car would would you buy? The one that gets 14 miles per gallon or a car that gets 70  miles per gallon??  With the question put like that it of course seems like a no-brainer.

So looking at the common household bulb versus the squiggly CFL it should be an equally easy choice.
An incandescent light bulb produces 14.4 lumens per watt compared to a whopping 70 lumens per watt for a CFL, so you could actually save quite a bit by going greener in your lighting.

You noticed my “greener?” As I have said before, I think it’s extremely important for us to be aware of the changes we as individuals can make to the environment, so I am all for promoting ways to save energy. But personally I still love the warmth of an incandescent bulb. There, I said it!

The CFL lighting technology is evolving at a staggering pace and new products are hitting the market on a daily basis, so I know that the day will come when I won’t have to feel guilty for throwing money out the window and ruining the environment with my old fashioned and self-indulgent ways .

At my home I have replaced all the light bulbs that are covered by shades in warm tones  and all bulbs in our wall sconces with CFLs. The more exposed bulbs are still the “good” (ok, bad)  old kind.
In our showroomwe have completely switched to CFLs and it’s actually looking very good.