Commercial Lighting Tampa Florida

Hey California, say farewell to your traditional incandescent light bulbs

Here’s a primer on the new rules that will banish them from stores shelves before long

They date back to the time of Thomas Edison. They’ve provided decades and decades of warm bright light to our homes and workplaces. And they’re about go bye-bye.
On Jan. 1, 2018, the humble everyday incandescent light bulb will reach a milestone in its long and steady fade into our collective memory. Under environmental regulations that take effect that day, the bulbs burn too much energy to be sold in California; stores will be able to exhaust current supplies, but they will eventually run out. For consumers, that means choosing among more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72 watts, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs.

This is not the first time the state has focused its regulatory glare on what have been the primary bulbs in many homes for more than a century. Check out this Associated Press story lede from January 2011: “Beginning Jan. 1, the state began phasing out certain energy-sucking bulbs, federal standards the rest of the country will enact next year.”

In other words, it’s deja vu all over again.

“We still have a few incandescent bulbs, but they’re being phased out,” said Dave Butts, a customer service rep at Richert Lumber, an Ace Hardware outlet in Pleasanton. “The LEDs are so much better these days and people have gotten so used to them that the incandescents were going to go away anyway,” regardless of any government regulation. Plus, said Butts, “they are also more expensive than the more energy-efficient LEDs, which use a fraction of the energy the traditional bulbs were using. So that means a lower PG&E bill, too.”

Butts said that when LED bulbs first started selling a few years back, many people found their light too bright and too harsh. “They were fine for a workshop or an operating room,” he said, ”but not for reading a book.” But over time, the LEDs have found more acceptance, especially as manufacturers began producing the so-called ”soft white” versions. “You can still buy the super-bright ones,” said Butts, “but you also have that other option with the warmer, softer light.”

While the California Energy Commission’s website can be fairly user-unfriendly and tough to navigate, consumer-advocacy groups like the San Francisco-based Natural Resources Defense Council have stepped in to help guide you through your next bulb-buying binge:

What’s going on here?

As part of the 2007 national energy bill passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by President George W. Bush, energy efficiency standards were established for new light bulbs that ensured a smooth and gradual national transition to energy-saving bulbs. California’s regulations make the transition happen a little faster.

Why are the old incandescent bulbs going away?

Those common, screw-based light bulbs must meet a minimum energy efficiency level that’s three times more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs as of Jan. 1 in California (and nationally as of 2020). No incandescent or halogen bulb on the market comes close to meeting that level.

So then what?

California consumers will be choosing between energy-saving CFL and LED light bulbs in California stores as of Jan. 1.

Will the bulbs vanish from shelves overnight?

No. Retailers will be allowed to sell what they’ve got left, but then they must stock those shelves with the bulbs that meet the state’s new and tougher environmental standards. The people making and selling light bulbs have known about this coming change for more than ten years now and they’ve responded to the challenge by offering a complete suite of new energy-saving light bulbs that meet the new standards. They’re also winding down their manufacture of incandescents.

Is this a good thing for California consumers?

Do the math: With around 250 million sockets in California that still contain inefficient bulbs, the savings should really add up, says the NRDC. “Once all of these sockets switch over to a more efficient alternative – CFL or LED light bulbs – California consumers and businesses will save an estimated $1 billion every year on their electric bills.”

Which bulbs are covered?

The standards apply to most medium screw-based bulbs used in our homes and businesses, including the ubiquitous pear-shaped bulbs used in table and floor lamps, the globe or round bulbs of more than 40 watts used in bathroom vanities, and the candle-shaped lamps of more than 40 watts used in chandeliers and sconces.

Will it be easy to find replacements?

A wide assortment of energy-saving LED bulbs in every shape and light output level already can be found on the shelves of leading retailers across the state. These bulbs are from well-known lighting companies such as Philips, GE, and Sylvania as well as newer companies that specialize in efficient lighting such as Cree, TCP, Feit, and Maxlite. California’s light bulb regulations currently exempt some types of bulbs, such as those used in ovens.

Finally, the first LED bulbs were a turn-off to many consumers because of their harsh bright light. What now?

LED bulbs are as bright as the inefficient bulbs they replace, says the NRDC, “and provide the additional benefits of lasting up to 25 years under normal operation of three hours per day. Most LEDs are also dimmable, and some of the newer LEDs can even be controlled remotely through a cell phone app. LEDs are so efficient that they use roughly 80 percent less energy than the equivalent incandescent.”

REF: The Mercury News

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This levitating light bulb is what’s missing from your home

Levitating decor items like plant holders and Bluetooth speakers are the thing to have right now — but there’s one other floating gadget on the market that really shines (if you catch our drift). What do you get when you combine the words fly, light, and the Swedish word for float? Um, only the coolest decoration of all time.

Meet Flyte: the gravity defying, levitating light bulb that will leave you and your guests mesmerized. Thomas Edison would be shook right now.

Levitating decor items like plant holders and Bluetooth speakers are the thing to have right now — but there’s one other floating gadget on the market that really shines (if you catch our drift). What do you get when you combine the words fly, light, and the Swedish word for float? Um, only the coolest decoration of all time.

Meet Flyte: the gravity defying, levitating light bulb that will leave you and your guests mesmerized. Thomas Edison would be shook right now.

Flyte takes the common light bulb and merges it with magnetic levitation, allowing it to hover and rotate above its platform for hours. Feel the electromagnets lock it into place, take your hands away, and voilà: gravity defying light.

Unlike the common light bulb, Flyte doesn’t need a switch, wires, or even batteries. It’s powered through the air by induction: a green alternative to the average energy-sucking bulb. Thanks to Nikola Tesla, we can use the electromagnetic field and mercury particles to create a fluorescent, UV light (and forget the electrodes that cause lightbulbs to burn out quickly.) Along with induction, Flyte uses energy efficient LED lights that can last up to 50,000 hours. That’s 12 hours a day for 11 years. Insert jaw drop.

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Amazing 117 year old Light bulb still burning bright for fire fighters.

Worlds longest burning light bulb still providing light for the fire fighters of Fire Station 6 in Livermore, California. This hand blown carbon filament Shelby bulb was first used by the fire department in 1901. Today it can be seen live on the Livermore Bulbcam.
http://www.centennialbulb.org/cam.htm

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This is the only Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled light bulb that costs less than $10

Being able to control your light bulbs using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant is awesome. Having to pay $25 or more for each voice assistant-enabled bulb is not awesome, however. Luckily, we found a top-rated option that couldn’t be any more affordable. The Sengled Element Classic A19 Smart LED Light Bulb costs a penny under $10, and it works just as well as any other voice-controlled bulb we’ve come across. Definitely check it out.

Here are some key details from the product page:

SMART HOME INTEGRATION: connect the bulb Amazon Echo Plus, as well as Samsung SmartThings and Wink hubs. The bulb can also be added to any Sengled Element Starter Kit. (Classic or Plus, hub sold separately. A hub is required for bulb use.)

VOICE CONTROL INTEGRATION: connect the bulb to your favorite hub to use with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (hub required for use)

CONTROL YOUR LIGHTS, AT HOME OR AWAY: use the iOS or Android app to set lighting schedules, dim or turn your lights on and off. Control your lights remotely and have the lights on before you get home at night.

MONITOR ENERGY USE: monitor electricity use (kWh) from anywhere from the iOS or Android app. See if you forgot to turn off the lights, then remotely turn off for added savings.

ENERGY EFFICIENT: LED bulbs use 80% less energy than incandescent lighting. Sengled bulbs last for over 20 years and are ENERGY STAR certified. Kits and bulbs come with a three-year warranty.

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Why you should switch to LED lightbulbs right now, before the law requires it


When Jason Chroman relocated from San Francisco to the suburbs, he and his family moved into a bigger, newer house. It was all very exciting until their first electric bill arrived. “The house was maybe 30 percent bigger, but the electric bill was something like 200 percent more,” Chroman said. So he started looking around to figure out what could be using so much power. He found the answer when he looked up: “Because it was a new house, it had a lot of recessed lighting, all of which was incandescent,” he said.

Chroman is the vice president of finance at a Silicon Valley start-up called Tubular Labs, so he put the money skills he honed on the job to work at home. The question: Since LED lightbulbs cost more but use less energy, how soon would they pay for themselves? He was surprised to find that because of California’s high energy prices, he could recoup his costs in less than two months. “When I figured out the economics of each bulb, I upgraded all the bulbs in the house,” Chroman said. “It cost me a bundle, but my power bill went down by about half. I was blown away by how much electricity lighting consumes.”

The federal government caught on to the high cost and energy consumption of lighting in 2007 and passed a law decreeing that lightbulbs must be three times more efficient by the year 2020. Congress didn’t outlaw the old-fashioned “Edison” lightbulb — so named because it’s what we’ve used since Thomas Edison’s time — but it may as well have, because no incandescent bulb comes anywhere close to meeting the new standard. States then had the choice to accelerate the change, and California moved ahead with it. Starting this New Year’s Day, California retailers must exhaust their supply of incandescents and then sell only bulbs that meet the new standard, which means LEDs and compact fluorescent lightbulbs. The rest of the nation will follow in two years.

Chroman’s home is big and his power rate high, but even for a more average home, the numbers are compelling. The average American house uses 40 lightbulbs. The average rate for electricity is 13 cents per kilowatt hour. If all 40 lightbulbs were 75 watt incandescent, which is pretty typical, you could convert to 11 watt LEDs to get the same amount of light. Let’s say you leave all 40 lights on five hours a day. In this scenario, homeowners would save $600 a year by switching lightbulbs from incandescent to LED.

But what about the cost of the bulbs themselves? When LEDs first came on the market, there was serious sticker shock. LED spotlight bulbs, for example, once cost as much as $100. No more. I scanned the Internet and found plenty of LED bulbs available for $5 apiece, and they can cost less, thanks to rebates offered by power companies. By comparison, incandescent bulbs cost about a dollar each, although prices will probably increase as they become scarce because of the government requirement. Prices vary, but let’s call the difference in cost between a basic LED and an incandescent bulb $4. According to the math above, the monthly usage savings for a single bulb is $1.25. So most people will be able to recoup the cost of a new LED bulb in just over three months.

In addition to saving money, LEDs can save you time — with fewer trips to the store and up the ladder. They last about 25,000 hours. That’s more than 13 years, if you keep your lights on five hours a day, as in the example above. By comparison, incandescent bulbs last just 1,200 hours, and compact fluorescents, 8,000 hours.

And, of course, LED bulbs save energy. That’s what the government was after in the first place. There is less stress on your wallet, but also less strain on the electric grid.

To take advantage of the cost-time-energy savings, there may be a few more objections to overcome. Here goes:

Color: The early LEDs often shed a cold, bright-white light. Newer LED bulbs are branded as “soft white” or “warm white” that glow just like an old-fashioned incandescent. Look for a color temperature of 2,700 Kelvin.

Shape: LED bulbs are now available for almost any purpose. In addition to regular bulbs and spotlight-style bulbs, chandelier-shaped bulbs, three-way bulbs and even Christmas lights are on the market.

Dimming: Many LED bulbs are dimmable, unlike early LEDs and compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs, the vast majority of which still are not dimmable.

Quality: Not all LEDs are created equal. To know you are purchasing LEDs with the maximum benefits, look for the Energy Star label. This means they meet standards for brightness, color quality, efficiency, steadiness and immediate lighting when switched on.

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Best Wishes and Happy New Year!! To a very Prosperous 2018!!!

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May your holidays be Bright and Merry!! From our family to yours!

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So, what is DLC 4.0?

Manufacturers were required, as of Sept. 1, to submit all products for a new, more stringent set of efficacy standards, otherwise known as DLC 4.0. With this new standard, the gap between those standard and premium products will be even greater as DLC calls manufacturers to higher lumen-per-watt, or light output per energy consumption, standards. Just as important, products that no longer meet the DLC 4.0 standards will be de-listed on Apr. 1, 2017.
Here is an outline of the changes and how they may affect your lighting:
1. The primary update to DLC was in regards to the efficacy of all DLC-qualified LED products
LED lighting technology has improved immensely over the last five years, and the attention of the manufacturers has turned toward the efficiency of their drivers and their products’ performance. Efficacy, usually expressed in lumens per watt (LPW), is now a leading parameter for what type of rating will be given to a product, whether Standard or Premium. The more efficient the product, the more lumens (measured light output) you will get out of your wattage.
Let’s take a linear LED troffer as an example. Currently for that product to be DLC Premium, it must achieve 110+ LPW. With the revisions in June 2016 and the new products hitting the QPL in January 2017, the new requirement is 125+ LPW. The reasoning behind this change is to differentiate between the mass amount of product that currently qualifies as DLC.
2. Utility companies are going to follow this revision with their incentive programs
One of the reasons these DLC changes should be paid close attention to is that it will affect the amount of utility rebates you will receive. Utilities need to find unique ways to take energy off the grid, and offer rebate programs to commercial businesses for lowering their electrical load.

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Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving and safe weekend from our family to yours!

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DON’T THROW THAT AWAY! HOW TO DISPOSE OF LIGHT BULBS THE RIGHT WAY

When your light bulbs burn out, where do you put them? Do you chuck them in the trashcan without giving it a second thought? If so, you’re like some other people who assume burnt out light bulbs always belong in the trashcan, or in your recycling bin along with other glass items. But, that’s not necessarily the right way to dispose of light bulbs.

Light bulbs have come a long way from incandescent to fluorescent to LED bulbs; and, with so many different light bulbs available on the market, it can be tough to keep track of which ones you should recycle and which ones you can safely throw away. This brief guide provides information on what to do with your old light bulbs. Read on for more information.

How to dispose of incandescent light bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs typically do not contain toxic chemicals, so you can throw them away with your regular trash. You do, however, need to be careful of glass shards, just as would when throwing away any other glass objects. It may be a good idea to surround your old incandescent bulbs in plastic or other old packaging materials prior to putting them in your trashcan.

If you want to recycle your old incandescent light bulbs, you may have options available to you. For instance, Home Depot has a recycling program, which accepts old incandescent holiday light strings. Ikea also has a recycling program, which accepts “used regular light bulbs.”

How to dispose of CFL and fluorescent light bulbs

Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFL bulbs (or Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) contain a small amount of mercury. Each bulb contains about four milligrams of the toxic metal. Although that is only a fraction of the amount of mercury in those old school thermometers, broken CFL bulbs can be damaging to the environment if they enter landfills or the water supply.

To dispose of your CFL bulbs properly, recycle them. You can take them to any Lowes store, for instance, and there is usually a place to recycle your CFLs near the front entrance. Other home improvement stores and recycling centers in your area may also accept your CFL bulbs.

You may see long, tube-shapes florescent bulbs in your office. Or, you will even see them in closets, older kitchens, or garages. Like CFL bulbs, fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, so you should recycle them.

Before you remove a burnt-out tube, it is wise to turn off the electrical at the circuit for that part of your home to avoid injury. Also, it’s a good idea to wrap your fluorescent bulbs in an old packing material to help prevent them from breaking.

HOW TO DISPOSE OF LED LIGHT BULBS

Light emitting diode, or LED, light bulbs are about 90 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The electrical current passes through a microchip, which lights up tiny LEDs.

LEDs do not contain hazardous chemicals, so it is safe to throw them away in the trashcan. However, some of the components in LED bulbs may be recyclable. So, it’s a good idea to contact your recycling company to see if they will accept your LEDs.

How to dispose of halogen light bulbs

You often see halogen bulbs outside, where people use them as floodlights. Halogen light bulbs are a more advanced form of incandescent bulbs. They are stronger and they are designed to withstand higher pressure than incandescent bulbs. You can safely dispose of halogen bulbs along with your regular household trash, or contact your local recycling center to see if they accept halogen bulbs.

How to repurpose old light bulbs

You can use old bulbs to make a variety of art projects. You can paint your light bulbs to make holiday ornaments, wrap them in twine or yarn to create fruit for a centerpiece, or you can break them into pieces and create mosaic art projects. Here are a few other cool light bulb art project ideas we’ve seen:

Snow globes
Flower vases
Oil lamps
Hanging wall decorations
Spiders or glass animal figurines

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