Lighting is one of the easier things to change about an existing building. If you are planning new construction, it’s convenient to pre-plan wiring for whole-house control systems, add solar tubes, or specify Energy Star-rated light fixtures. CFs and LEDs do work a bit better with dedicated fixtures. But the good news is that all you have to do is screw them into the old, legacy fixtures.
You may have three or more lighting strategies to achieve the desired look, feel, and function for the space. For example, you could use linear fluorescent or LED strip lighting in a cove for ambient illumination, bouncing light off of the ceiling for a soft fill light. You might select recessed, adjustable LED down-lights for artwork accent lighting or to provide focal glow and drama in your home. A decorative pendant or wall sconce with CF or LED lamps for added color and sparkle could add ornamentation to the space. You also might need some under-cabinet linear fluorescent lighting to illuminate a counter where specific tasks are performed.
With the lighting controls, you can adjust these various light sources to create mood, save energy, and change the function of the space as needed. A multisource approach to lighting is a great strategy for homes. The use of high color-rendering (CRI) products with consistent color temperature and the selection of high-quality lighting equipment and controls will make your home feel comfortable, functional, and flexible. With the new lighting products and some knowledge, we can now have both energy efficiency and beautiful design.
Brian Clark Howard is an environmental journalist who has written for TheAtlantic.com, PopularMechanics.com, The Daily Green, and E Magazine. He co-wrote the book Green Lighting (McGraw-Hill) with Seth Leitman and William J. Brinsky.
Julia Rezek, IALD, is an architectural lighting designer in Ashland, Oregon. She has been practicing lighting design since 1983 and has worked on projects that range from corporate headquarters to hotel resorts to theme parks. Julia Rezek Lighting Design (www.rezeklighting.com) was established in 1996 with a primary focus on high-end residential, retail, religious, and light commercial projects.
CF recycling • www.lamprecycle.org