Here's A Bright Idea!

A blog about lights, and how they can save energy, money and the environment

Archive for the ‘Save money’ Category

Outdoor LED Display – See it in Action!

Posted by adventurelightingblog on April 19, 2012

UPDATED!! New fixtures added!

One of the fastest growing LED markets is in the Outdoor area.  We’ve discussed in earlier posts how the indoor LED products are starting to come around, but for the most part, numbers don’t add up.  Well in outdoor situations the numbers are a no-brainer!  The hardest part about understanding LED is actually seeing it live and in person.  We can tell you how a 20w LED fixture will replace a 100 watt High pressure Sodium fixture, but wouldn’t it be nice to actually see it person???  We thought so.  So we built a board of LED fixtures to do just that.

Adventure Lighting Outdoor Lighting Display. LED lighting at your fingertips!

Listed from Top Left being #1, to bottom right being #12.  Here’s what we have:

1) RAB Lighting’s – 91 Watt Area Light.  This fixture is perfect for parking lot lighting and walkway lighting throughout a facility’s property.

2)  RAB Lighting’s – 13 Watt Flood/Spot Light.  This fixture is perfect for lighting up a flag pole or any outdoor sign.

3) Lithonia Lighting’s – 35 Watt Wall Pack.  This general purpose wall pack has an excellent beam pattern and is able to replace up to 175w Metal Halide Wall Pack fixtures.

4) Juno Lighting’s – 50 Watt Decorative Wall Pack – Polaris wall pack designed for higher end architectural look.  Ultra efficient LED Fixture with a nice look to match.
5) RAB Lighting’s – 52 Watt Wall Pack – Designed to replace up to a 250w HPS / Metal Halide Wall Pack
6) RAB Lighting’s –  78 Watt Flood Light – Designed to Replace 250w to 320w Metal Halide Flood Lights.  Perfect for lighting up the side of building.
7) Lithonia Lighting’s – OLW14 – 26w LED Wall Pack – Ideal above man doors on your building!
8) Lithonia Lighting’s – OLAW – 35w LED Wall/Area Light.  Perfect Dusk to Dawn Fixture Replacement
9) Lithonia Lightins’s – OLW – 35w LED Wall Pack – For larger HID Replacement applications
10) RAB Lighting’s – 13w Wall Pack – Designed to replace 50w-70w HID Wall pack, above man doors.
11) RAB Lighting’s – 20w Wall Pack – Designed to replace 70w-100w HID Wall Pack
12) RAB Lighting’s – 26w Wall Pack – Designed to replace 150w HID Wall Pack

Adventure Lighting LED Display Board - Lights On!

The lights are on!

One of great features of our display is the nLight Touchpad Control.  Thanks to our friends from SensorSwitch, we are able to individually control each light on the board to easily compare like fixtures.  The wiring is all done over Cat5 cable, making it easy and cheap to install.  This switch will individually control 16 different channels.  And it looks cool to boot!

nLight Touch Control Pad - Programmed Channels - Adventure Lighting LED Display Board

nLight Touch Control Pad – Programmed Channels – Adventure Lighting LED Display Board

Here’s what the inner workings look like from the back. 
Adventure Lighting - LED Display - Back of Display

Adventure Lighting – LED Display – Back side of display

We’re excited to show our display to anyone who would like to see the latest and greatest in LED Fixtures on display.  Stop by if you’re in town.

Adventure Lighting - LED Display - Full Shot

Adventure Lighting – LED Display – Full Shot

Questions? Comments?

Brian Huff
Adventure Lighting
515.288.0444

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Posted in Business Lighting, Buying Local, Great Lighting Products, Latest News, LED's, Lighting, Save energy, Save money, The environment, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Turn Out The Lights? Read This Before You Flip The Switch

Posted by adventurelightingblog on February 26, 2010

 

We’ve been told over the years – by our parents, spouses, bosses and even the U.S. Government – to “turn the lights off when you leave the room.” The reasons are simple – turning off lights conserves energy, saves money and prolongs the life of the light. Right?

On or off? Here's a bright idea

Well not always. Believe it or not there are some very good reasons to leave the light on

First, let’s make it clear – if the light is an old-school incandescent, go ahead and turn it off. And leave it off. Forever. Only 10-15% of the energy consumed by incandescents, actually goes towards illumination. The rest is wasted as heat. So the first step is to replace all of your inefficient incandescent bulbs with modern CFL’s (from Adventure Lighting) – a longer lasting, more energy-efficient, better for the environment, better light, period. 

Now to the great fluorescent debate – to turn off or not to turn off? 

Fluorescents, when turned on, are like me when I’m watching an NFL game on Sunday afternoons – they really like to be left alone. CFL’s were designed and built to be energy-efficient and thus, happiest when they’re doing their job, providing light. In general, the more you turn a fluorescent on and off, the more you shorten the life of the lamp. The rule of thumb is, if you’re going to be gone more than 15 minutes, go ahead and turn off the light. If it’s less, leave them on. 

But there are other considerations. 

Fluorescents (and incandescents) require a relatively high “inrush” current when they’re first turned on. The amount of extra electricity required depends on the type of light and the ballast, which provides the initially high voltage needed for igniting the lamp and also regulates the current during the light’s illumination. 

There are three basic types of ballasts and three basic forms of ignition, but we won’t go there. Instead, just remember that the amount of electricity used to “start” a fluorescent is roughly equal to operating the light for around five seconds or so.  It’s similar to the “should I keep my car running or turn it off” question. In other words, every time you turn on a light, it’s taking you five seconds worth of cost to do so.

Our best advice is to keep your car – and your lights – on. 

The last consideration is when you’re operating the lights. Peak times – when energy companies charge the most because the most consumers are using the most electricity – vary from state to state, to country to country.

Wow - glad we don't watch TV in India

For example, in India it’s all peak electrical time – there are no off-peak hours. (Glad we’re not running our 50 inch plasma TV over there.) Here in the U.S., peak or “on-peak” hours generally start in the afternoon and last through the early evening. So if you’re going to turn off your fluorescents, do it during this time – but only if you’ll be gone more than 15 minutes. 

Otherwise, leave those beautifully stingy, energy-sipping wonders of technology on, let them do their job.  They’ll be happy, because they get to light up the room, and so will your smile, because you’ll be happy, too. 

And now we want to make you even happier, by giving you something for free!  

As we’ve talked about in previous posts, your response to “Here’s A Bright Idea” has been amazing – we can’t thank you enough for your comments, calls and shared interest in saving money and the environment. 

To say thank you, we’d like to give you two free CFL’s. No purchase necessary. All you have to do is subscribe to our “Here’s A Bright Idea” blog by email. We’ll then send you an email, telling you how to pick up your two free CFL’s. It’s that easy! 

As an email subscriber you’ll also receive other great offers from Adventure Lighting. So sign up, get your two free CFL’s and other great offers from us at Adventure Lighting – and thank you! And if you have a topic or question you’d like us to address in a future blog post, please let us know!

 

 

Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to www.adventurelighting.com 

Posted in CFL's, Save energy, Save money | 3 Comments »

Countering The Rap That LED’s Aren’t So Hot

Posted by adventurelightingblog on February 24, 2010

LED’s have been taking a bum rap recently and we want to set the record straight.

Unlike CFL’s or incandescents, LED, or Light Emitting Diode, create light by running a current through a small computer chip which then emits light. There’s no gas, no mercury, no moving parts – making it one of the most energy efficient and durable lights in the world.

Can LED's keep up with Ole' Man Winter?

That incredible energy efficiency, however, has LED to some problems. (excuse the pun) In Des Moines and other cold weather cities, incandescent traffic lights are being replaced with high energy efficient LED’s, which are 90% more energy efficient and can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for cash-strapped cities. The downside is the very advantage that LED’s have – they produce far less heat than their predecessors, which allows snow and ice to build up, particularly during this record breaking winter. That has created visibility issues for drivers and headaches for the city road crews who have to clear the snow and ice by hand.

Truth be told, on the coldest, snowiest, windiest days, no traffic light – incandescent, LED or burning caveman torch – can keep up with the snow and ice. Otherwise there are solutions. Plastic covers can be placed over the lights, or they can be coated with a special moisture repellent substance. Airports usually add heating elements to their energy efficient LED’s and still see dramatic savings.

But many businesses also use the cooler running characteristic of LED’s and CFL’s to their advantage.

New LED's chillin in the cooler

 Adventure Lighting is currently retrofitting the cooler lights – literally the lights in the coolers, where beverages are kept cold – at all Short Stop Convenience Store locations, as well as other businesses where refrigerated products require display lighting. These new energy efficient LED’s produce 60% energy savings by themselves, plus their lower operating temperature means refrigeration units don’t have to work as hard. That energy saving one-two punch is great news for business owners looking to pinch every penny in this economy.

This type of savings also holds true for businesses where there are lots of lights in general – replacing wasteful incandescents with more energy efficient, cooler running CFL’s means lower lighting costs year-round plus lower cooling costs in the summer. There’s also a safety factor for residential customers who switch to CFL’s – they generate less heat which means they won’t burn your kids’ (or your) hands or create the high heat of incandescents that can, and do, ignite nearby cloth and other combustibles.

Incandescents, out. Roaring fire, in.

And while we probably wouldn’t mind a little extra heat from our lights during this coldest of winters, think about it this way – you can put your hands around an old 100 watt incandescent bulb to stay warm, or you can replace it with an energy efficient CFL and use the money you’ll be saving to pay for turning up the furnace a bit. Or to buy extra fire wood for your fireplace. Or an extra blanket. 🙂

 

 

Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to www.adventurelighting.com 

Posted in CFL's, LED's, Save energy, Save money, Traffic lights, Winter | 1 Comment »

Get Your Rebates Now – But Will They Last?

Posted by adventurelightingblog on February 8, 2010

Want these lights? Click here!

The lights that pay for themselves

One of the biggest selling points of our Adventure Lighting lights, especially for business owners, is that over time, the lights pay for themselves and then some – through their light efficiency and cost savings.

Therer’s also another very compelling reason to switch your company’s lights from incandescents to CFL’s – in most cases, the retrofit is paid for,  lights and labor, with the Mid-American Energy Rebate program.

Find out more about Mid-American Energy rebates

They really ARE at our service

But now comes the scary part – will the rebates last? We’ve heard about approaching deadlines for TARP funds, and news headlines talking about funding running out for other savings programs. We also hear from company owners and consumers who question whether the Mid-American rebate program will be around long-term.

Not to worry, says Mark Reinders, communications manager for Mid-American Energy.

He told us that, while he would “never say never,” the rebate program, which started in Iowa 10 years ago, has “no sunset clause” and will be around a long time. Reinders emphasized  that the Mid-American’s energy efficiency programs have had “a huge impact on lowering greehouse gases and producing costs savings for customers.” An additional benefit, says Reinders, is that “Mid-American Energy doesn’t have to keep building new plants.” So it’s  a win-win-win, for consumers, the company and the environment.

Rebates work - for everybody

The program has become so popular that it’s been expanded by Mid-American Energy to include Illinois, South Dakota and most recently, Nebraska – but Iowa was the first and, we think, the best! In fact, Mark told us that one of the reasons the program has been so measureably successful in Iowa is because of our steady population numbers – while energy consumption has increased (all those computers and big screen TV’s and Ipods, I suppose) our state population has remained constant, therefore the overall impact of the program has been greater.

In a future post, I’ll talk more about the rebate program process, how it works and how much money it can save your business – the numbers are truly amazing!

For now anyway, we can all rest easy – those fantastic Mid-American Energy rebates aren’t going anywhere. 🙂 

Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to www.adventurelighting.com.

Posted in Lighting, Rebates, Save energy, Save money, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

T8 vs. T12 Lamps

Posted by adventurelightingblog on February 1, 2010

One of the most common questions we receive at Adventure Lighting is, should I upgrade from T12 to T8 lamps

Here’s the rundown on why this is a no-brainer. T12 Lamps are being phased out of production.  I’ve heard that 2012 will be the last year they’re made. Now, I’m sure the lamps will still be available, but there are reasons why they’re going away. 

Upgrading to a T8 is a no-brainer

A standard 4 lamp fixture, similar to what most every office in America uses, has a standard 40 watt T12 lamp on a standard magnetic ballast (which won’t be produced after June of 2010) and uses 172 watts of energy.  The same fixture retrofitted with T8 lamps and a new electronic ballast uses 112 watts of energy – that’s a 35% reduction in energy usage!  To retrofit an existing fixture with the new ballasts is a simple process that requires very basic wiring knowledge.  Remove (2) T12 ballasts, replace with (1) T8 ballast, and replace old lamps with new ones in the same sockets.

Find out how to save money on your lighting!

Lower costs, brighter lights

Not only are you going to see a 35% reduction in energy consumption, you’ll also see a dramatic difference in light output.  The Standard T12 lamp produces 2,650 initial lumens per lamp.  The standard T8 produces 2,800 initial lumens per lamp, 6% brighter.  But the standard T12 lamp produces 2,300 design lumens and the T8 produces 2,660 design lumens.   

DEFINITIONS

Initial lumens –  the average lumen output of the lamp after 100 hours of operation under controlled lab conditions. 

Design Lumens are the average lumen output of the lamp after 40% of its rated life. 

You can see that the T12 lamp loses 14% of its light output over the first 40% of its life, whereas the T8 only loses 5% of its light output.  Combine that over 4 lamps and you have a loss of 1,400 lumens per fixture as compared to 560 lumens lost on a T8 fixture. I’ll get into why the T8 lamp is a better lamp as far as color later – but the 35% energy savings and a better lumen maintenance are 2 of the reasons why switching is better. 

Let’s say your office runs those fixtures 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.  At an average energy cost of $0.07 per KWh you’re looking at a savings of $13.10 per year.  If you have 50 fixtures in your building, that’s a savings of $655.00 per year. And by the way, MidAmerican Energy gives you a rebate of $18 per fixture to do this.  $54 dollars if you have an audit done. (We’ll get into this at a later post.)

Find out how retrofitting your lights can save you money!

Making the switch, makes cents - and sense

I think I’ve made a compelling argument as to why upgrading from T12 to T8 technology is a no-brainer.  Call us and let me come out to look at your situation to give you a free assessment of what can be done to upgrade you today! 

Brian Huff, along with Jack and Sue, own and manage Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. To find out more, visit www.adventurelighting.com.

 

Posted in Lighting, Save energy, Save money, Uncategorized | 88 Comments »

A Light That Pays You To Use It?

Posted by adventurelightingblog on January 22, 2010

Come see how far we've come!

We've come a long way

Since 1806, when Humphrey Davy created an electric arc between two charcoal rods connected to a battery (Thomas Edison wouldn’t patent the light bulb for another 70 years) inventors have been building brighter, longer-lasting, more energy efficient bulbs.

Today’s CFL’s (Compact Flourescent Lights) generate 20% more light yet burn 70% cooler than standard incandescents (the kind we all grew up with) and last up to 10 times longer. When you do the math (or if you’re like me, have your wife do it for you) you find out very quickly that CFL’s literally save you money, even compared to their slightly higher cost.

Find out why CFL's are better

CFL's continue the light's evolution

For example, on average, a CFL will save you $22 in a year of normal useage, compared to an incandescent. And that’s just one bulb – the average home has 30 light fixtures. Again, do the math – or better yet go to our web site, www.adventurelighting.com and use our energy savings calculator.

The other great benefit of CFL’s is their lower impact on the environment. If every homeowner in the United States replaced just one of their old-school incandescent bulbs with a CFL, it would be the energy emmisions equivalent of taking one million cars off our highways. Plus at Adventure Lighting we sell Philips brand CFL’s, which also have 30% less mercury – easier on the environment.  

So whether you’re a business owner or home owner, think about retrofitting your lights – it pays in so many ways!

Brian Huff, along with Sue and Jack, own and operate Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information visit www.adventurelighting.com.

Posted in Lighting, Save energy, Save money, The environment, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Accidental Environmentalists

Posted by adventurelightingblog on January 21, 2010

We all want to save money, especially in these very hard economic times, and any company that can help people do that is probably going to do pretty well. Little did I realize that Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, the company my wife and I bought back in 2003, would not only be accomplishing this but would also end up being on the front lines of saving the world.

That’s probably a little heavy-handed and over-dramatic but it also happens to be true! Over 30% of America’s energy costs come from lights, and those same lights account for 0ver 10% of the billions of tons of garbage that piles up in our nation’s landfills every year – so any process that helps people and businesses cut down on their energy useage and lower the number of lights they throw away, is truly doing something great for our planet.

Which is exactly what we do at Adventure Lighting, every day.

Find out how helping the environment can also save you money

We're all accidental environmentalists

Yet I tell friends, this certainly wasn’t my goal when I bought the business in 2003. My wife Sue and I were ready to be our own boss and were also looking for something safe for our retirement – a company that sold lights seemed like a good bet. Of course I understood that energy efficiency is just good business and smart for anyone’s bottom line, business owner or home owner. But I truly had no idea that what we were really investing in was a “Green Machine,” – not of money (although we’re doing well) but of helping the environment.

And so I look back at then and look at where we’re at now and it’s ironic and amusing and yet, also rewarding – that Adventure Lighting is on the edge of the green wave, leading the way in energy efficient lighting technology. We didn’t buy the company for that reason – yet it turns out to be an even better reason.

Want to know what you can do to save the environment?

We're all in this together

What I will try to do with this blog, with the help of my wife Sue, my smart son Brian and the other smart, dedicated people that are part of the team at Adventure Lighting, is pass along energy saving tips, do’s and don’t when it comes to lighting, and ways to lower your energy bill – the little tricks of our trade that we’ve learned over the past 20 years in the business. And if you have some of your own, please do pass them along to us – we all want to save money, and help save the environment – even if some of us came upon the latter by accident 🙂

Jack Huff, along with his wife Sue and son Brian, own and manage Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, visit www.adventurelighting.com

Posted in Save energy, Save money, The environment, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »