Blog

My blog - here is where I talk about the latest in lighting design and how to make it work for you. 

When Will We take Collective Action on Sustainability?

The Earth Is On It's Way to 10 Billion People

Think about that for a second. Population growth (though slowing) is continuing and it's estimated that we will hit 10 billion people by roughly the year 2100. While there is certainly debate about what that means, there can be no doubt that there are already too few resources for the world's population to share. Don't believe me? Here are a few stats:

  1. 1.2 billion people don't have access to electricity. (Source: Washington Post)
  2. 11% of the world's population 783 million people don't have access to clean drinking water. (Source: UN) 
  3. 870 million people are hungry. (Source Worldhunger.org citing the UN
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 Now consider that average American uses:  

  • 11,040 Kilowatts of electricity 
  • 441 gallons of gasoline
  • 4,759 cubic feet of natural gas

...per year. (These facts are nicely inforgraphic'd here. They come from EIA.) 

I don't bring up these facts to make us feel guilty. I bring them up because the developing world aspires to someday be, well, us. They want our cars and our big houses and our glowing televisions. At the rate of population growth and as the rate of wealth increase in places like China and India, it is becoming clear we are on a path of too few resources for too many people. 

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I won't pretend to have a grand plan for how to solve this problem, though Richard Branson has a pretty cool idea. However, in the face of these facts and simply looking down the road ahead it is flatly irresponsible to go on with business as usual. We must reconsider how we do everything and get ourselves on a greener, more sustainable path.  Our kids will wonder how we knowingly continued to consume in the same manner, kept up with business as usual.  

Stop Passing the Buck

  • No, lighting designers, energy consumption isn't a supply side issue. Stop being wasteful.
  • Yes, it's possible to build a luxury home out of sustainable supplies. Don't do what's cheapest and fastest.  
  • Interior Designers - specify brands with a commitment to sustainability.  
  • You are a decision maker on some level. Decide to conserve resources, try to work differently. Make the world a little better.  

 

Defining White Light with an MR16 is Nearly Impossible

The White Light Problem

Later on this afternoon I have a site visit with a client. We'll be trying out a number of different MR16s to re-light her living room and kitchen. This morning I did a little testing just to refresh myself on the quality of light between the different lamps. The testing revealed to me that consistency in the MR16 form factor, whether it's halogen or LED is completely lacking.  

 

Halogen MR16 Flood versus two LED MR16s

Halogen MR16 Flood versus two LED MR16s

The purpose of my initial testing was to compare the color of a common Halogen MR16 flood light (the beam on the left and two 3000k LED MR16s. As you can tell, even the iPhone's camera picks up the subtle differences in the color temperature of the different sources. I expected LED to be different from the halogen, but not as different as they were from each other.  Keep in ming the LED MR16s are from one manufacturer and were ordered at the same time. 

 

Halogen MR16 Flood on the left, LED MR16 Flood on the right

Halogen MR16 Flood on the left, LED MR16 Flood on the right

This test was meant to compare a halogen MR16 Flood to an LED MR16 flood. They were closer in color temperature, but there were some other interesting things. Note the strange warm area in the halogen beam. and the un-evenness of the center beam. Meanwhile on the LED side you can see the edge of the beam are trending warmer than the center, though for the most part I thought the LED had fewer artifacts within the beam than the halogen.  

 

Three different beam spreads of LED MR16 all from the same manufacturer. 

Three different beam spreads of LED MR16 all from the same manufacturer. 

As an LED advocate this test might have been the most disappointing. These are three different lamps with three different beam spreads all from the same manufacturer all stamped 3000k. I don't know about you, but I see three different colors here. Granted the iPhone camera actually exaggerates the differences here, but I can assure you they were equally noticeable to the naked eye.  

 

Three different halogen beam spreads same manufacturer.

Three different halogen beam spreads same manufacturer.

Before traditionalist lighting folks walk away smugly, here's one last shot comparing a flood a medium flood and a narrow flood MR16 from the same halogen manufacturer. Each lamp is brand new. Yet again I see three distinct colors on the white wall. There are also distinct artifacts and "junk" in the beam from all three. 

So let's not pretend we already had a perfect lighting technology before LED came along.  

Conclusion

In the field it would be much more difficult to notice the inconsistencies between these lamps. When you have a downlight system especially, the inconsistencies between lamps tend to blend into one another. The problem comes when you want to pin spot a piece of art or table tops. Will these look the same as the rest of the room? Based on today's test it's fair to say that the MR16 form factor while small and elegant is also enormously inconsistent in terms of light quality.  

Wednesday at 7pm EST, Join me as I hangout live with Raina Kattelson

Wednesday at 7pm EST I'll be hanging out ON AIR with Raina Kattleson

Still Life styled by Raina Kattelson

Still Life styled by Raina Kattelson

Raina Kattelson is renowned stylist who's work has been seen in magazines including Country Living and Anthology. She's worked with designers Thom Filicia, Darren Henault and Matthew Patrick Smyth. 

We're going to talk about what a stylist does and why it's critical to our business. Join us as we hangout live! Follow me on G+ or Twitter for links to hangout on G+ and YouTube.

 

Writing All Over the Web

Dear Readers,  

My current work situation makes it very difficult to get get any writing of substance done for the website. I'm doing my best to blog regularly, but it's been tricky. However, I've been far from inactive on the web. You can find me in a few places.

Find me on Google Plus

As of late I've been much more active on G+ posting not only to our Interior Design Community but sharing links and information on things lighting. If you haven't spent any real time on G+ I encourage you to, it's a place where there's a lot less noise and much more depth.  

Instagram

I've been active on instagram for a long time, I even published a book of lighting inspirations shared with Instagram called Lightstagram. Want to know what I'm up to? Here's a good place to check.  

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Medium

I've taken to writing the occasional essay. Its something of a hobby of mine. If you'd like to glean my musings on things not lighting related, Medium is a good place to look. BTW, there is some fantastic writing on Medium in general. I really enjoy it as a social network.  

Lighting Magazine

I write a monthly piece for Lighting Magazine. Generally these pieces are deep dives into specific issues facing our industry. My latest piece examined the value of CRI as a metric when specifying light sources. If you're interested in lighting at all, make sure you follow the magazine. 

So that's me around the web. I'll be writing more for my own blog as well, but in the mean time, you can find me all over the web. You can also follow me twitter. 

Thanks so much for your continued interest. More to share soon!

50,000-hour claim leaves firms open to legal action, top lawyer warns - Lux magazine

Lux Magazine is up with an interesting short read. It's commonplace for LED manufacturers to claim 50,000 hour life for their products, but that could lead to future litigation. 

From the piece:

If you quote 50,000 hours on your website but the product fails after a fraction of that, then it’s an open goal frankly,’ Stone told the Lighting Fixture Design 2013 conference in London yesterday. ‘If you offer a warranty, fine – but don’t think you’re in the clear after the warranty period has expired. Under the Sale of Goods Act, the product must be fit for the purpose described.
— Lux Magazine