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Illumination And Your Home By Clifford Scholz

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How Does Illumination Influence The Atmosphere And Energy Usage Within Your Home?

By Clifford M. Scholz

 
Lighting adds drama and dimension in any room of the home- inside and out. The play of light and shadow, both natural and artificial, is a part of the core curriculum in every architectural education. Light instinctively effects a person’s emotional state through differing levels of brightness, color and texture. There are essentially three main categories of artificial illumination-ambient, task and accent lighting. Each illumination type should be carefully analyzed and support architectural design decisions.

cmsa-foyerFor example, placement of artwork and collectibles is always a topic of conversation in the conceptual design stages of a new home or renovation. These collections usually reveal a story and mirror the personality of the homeowner. It is our goal to visually accent these unique pieces in a unique way. The placement of artwork can be deliberate through use of direct axes or spontaneous by incorporating the piece(s) into case furniture. Hallways become galleries. Vestibules and carved out niches become placeholders of your memories. The emphasis of these special spaces can be achieved with the proper illumination.

There are three lamp types that we consistently use in our home designs: incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED. 

cmsa-poolThe 60W light bulb has been the standard in lighting the home for over 100 years. It has a warm, soft and steady attractive glow. Incandescent light bulbs work by heating a tungsten filament until it glows. Unfortunately, it only uses 10% of the electricity to produce light, and the remaining 90% is burned off as heat. A typical 60W incandescent bulb lasts approximately 1,000 hours. This type of lamp is commonly available and used through the majority of the home.

CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) create a considerably harsher but brighter light. Even the latest bulbs, have a slightly bluer tint. Energy Star qualified CFLs produce 75% less heat and require 75% less energy in comparison to an equal light transmitting incandescent. It will also last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. However, the chamber contains harmful mercury vapor and should be disposed by the consumer according to EPA guidelines. The flickering from the fluorescent can be bothersome and cause fatigue after prolonged eye exposure. Typically, we specify these lamps only for utilitarian areas where brighter light and better color rendition is needed such as laundry rooms, craft rooms, garages, equipment rooms and clothing closets.

cmsa-kitchenLEDs (light emitting diode) now have the ability to match the warm, soft white light found in a standard incandescent. These lights burn cooler than incandescent and compact fluorescents and they do not produce ultraviolet radiation that can damage artwork and upholstery. The light produced is direct and has an even spread making it excellent for exterior applications as well. The high upfront cost is due to its electrical components. As technology progresses and the manufacturing/availability gains momentum, the costs will begin to decline. Even so, LED lights, in general, currently have a lower life cycle cost than CFLs and incandescent bulbs.

Philips has recently introduced a 12-watt EnduraLED that is capable of lasting 25 times longer (25,000 hours) than a standard 60W incandescent and saves 80% of the energy over its predecessor. These new bulbs will be available in the U.S. market in the fall 2010.

According to the Environmental News Network, lighting accounts for 19% of our electrical consumption in the world. U.S. legislation will begin regulating a more prominent use of CFLs and LEDs and phasing out low efficiency incandescent bulbs in 2012. Each time we purchase one of these products we have the ability to make an impact on our own ecological footprint.

cmsa-outdoorThrough many years of experience, CMSA develops our own lighting design plans in-house, but we also employ professional lighting designers depending on the home’s lighting requirements. Artificial illumination requires a trained eye and the impact is integral to great design.

As founder of CMSA, Cliff has over 35 years of experience in architecture and construction. His sense of design and clear-cut goals has created a reputation for quality and excellence for his firm. As lead architect, he is responsible for the design of projects consisting of custom residential developments, office structures, commercial renovations, golf clubs and high-rise condominium buildings. He takes a proactive role in every project as the client contact, and directs his team of highly skilled professionals to keep every endeavor in balance.  Cliff received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Lawrence Institute of Technology in Southfield, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Cliff is also a Licensed General Contractor in the State of Florida and certified as a LEED AP. Cliff may be reached at 941-923-2400 or via email at cscholz@cmsa1.com.

Copyright © 2010 REAL Magazine

Any reproduction in part or whole is expressly prohibited and will be in direct violation of Federal Copyright Law.

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