Happy New Year!
Happy New Year everyone! New Year's resolutions are cliche but I thought I'd start the year with some lighting projects to embark on for 2014. I find my blog pulls in a small but dedicated audience across the spectrum of design. Architects, interior designers, builders and lighting people seem to follow along in equal measure. So I wanted to make a list of lighting related things you should seriously consider for yourself and your clients in 2014. If you have others let me know in the comments or tell me on twitter.
Find a Replacement for the 40 and 60 Watt Incandescent Bulbs That You Can Live With...
I already wrote about this, so I'm not going to beat the dead horse. I have found my go-to resource (see the link) but in this new digital age, light bulbs don't have to just be light bulbs. There are bulbs that can help you fall asleep at night, and bulbs that can change color on command. Even less fancy LED bulbs come in a wide variety of "white" light. So this is a time to get out there and experiment and don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them.
Get Educated on Lighting Control Options
Whether you're renovating a home for a client, or getting ready to work on a commercial office space get educated on what's available as lighting control options. If you're working on commercial spaces I highly recommend investigating Wattstopper and their DLM system. It's plug and play, dead simple and still offers a level of granular control for users who want it. If you're working in the high end residential market, it's time to consider Vantage Controls. Vantage offers a wide array of beautiful touch screen controls. These screens mirror to tablets and smart phones and are infinitely programmable. Full disclosure my company represents Wattstopper and Vantage in the NY Metro area, that said I would recommend their products anyway.
If you're a home owner looking at low cost home automation options, check out the piece I ran a few days ago. Whether you're looking for a system to control a single outlet or way to control all of your lighting there are low cost, smartphone based control systems out there.
Learn Your Local Energy Codes
State by state energy codes are shifting and becoming a higher priority in terms of code enforcement. Does your city conform to ASHRAE 2007 or 2010? Who does enforcement? What lighting power densities are required in the spaces you're designing? These are all important questions to ask at the outset. Some areas, NY and California spring to mind, will be further tightening their energy codes in the coming year.
Learn How to Read Photometric Calculation Reports
Photometric reports like the very basic sample I have on the right tell you exactly how much light is being generated by a proposed scheme at different locations in your space. Calculations like this shouldn't be the beginning or the end of your design process, but they do provide hard data to back up the validity of your design. Get used to thinking in terms of footcandles and working planes, especially in commercial work.
These reports have been around a long time, but they are increasingly becoming requirements in our industry and with good reason. There's not reason to guess at home much light your scheme will produce and where that light will land. So even if you don't learn how to create these reports. Make sure you know how to read them.
We all get stuck in ruts. We find a specifications for a few fixtures we like and we use them over and over again in our projects. Don't let this happen in your designs or installations. Whether it means hiring your local lighting consultant or reaching out to reps on specific products, I encourage you to use the real people in the industry. It's so easy to keep clicking your way from website to website. Send an email, make a phone call. Lighting people love talking about light. Make their day in 2014.
What did I miss? Are their lighting projects or resolutions you'll be taking on in 2014?