The move toward energy efficiency has driven most of the manufacturing changes in lighting in the recent past, with the most exciting news being the emergence of and continued development of LED (light emitting diode) for home use. They offer distinct advantages over conventional choices, including dramatically lower energy consumption, longer bulb life, and sometimes greater durability and reliability. Color rendition has been an issue but continual innovations make that no longer the problem it once was. LED technology has historically been used in the electronic, automotive, and aviation industries, but has made its way into commercial and residential lighting. Expect design options, availability, and affordability of these new fixtures to continually expand.
In the movement toward living green, changing a light bulb is an easy way to cut energy consumption and make a difference. The simple incandescent bulb or linear fluorescent tube has moved over on the store shelves to make room for a plethora of choices. Many new fixtures now offer an “Energy Star” rating, signifying improved efficiency. Some fixtures may be also re-lamped with LED bulbs, greatly reducing energy use. Because of their energy efficiency, LED lamps are a great choice for landscape lighting, particularly for expansion of existing voltage system as the system capacity is dependent on the wattage used. LED can also be designed to produce beautiful and stunning color effects with either static or alternating colors.
Light fixture selection and especially the light bulb (or lamp) dramatically affects the final aesthetic for every setting. Lighting literally renders the scene and brings it to life by producing the color tone, highlights and shadows, and the twinkle of reflections. Experiment with different choices for the options of rendition and effects and see the power of lighting firsthand. Some of these choices may have higher initial cost, but the reduced energy use and longer life can actually make them less expensive in the long run.
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