Mar 2014

Floor Lamps – A Pleasing Layer of Useful Light

Floor lamp 2

Please be sure to think about floor lamps as you consider how to add light to your rooms. Floor lamps add interesting design elements and provide a pleasing layer of light.

In living  rooms and family rooms you do not need a specific amount of illumination to perform tasks, you need layers of light to add interest and make the room feel inviting for friends and  family.There are thousands of different styles of floor lamps from which to chose, something for every taste and situation.

Please visit FoggLighting.con for more useful suggestions. We are here to help if you need it.

Mar 2014

Why the CRI – Color Rendering Index – Is Important For You

Technical Explanation: The CRI is a unit that measures the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal source of light, or natural sources such as sunlight. The CRI is a determined value ​​from 0 to 100, with 100 being the value “perfect” or daylight.

Real World Explanation: The CRI determines how you and your surroundings appear to you and the other people in your environment.



Mar 2014

Current Trends in the Lighting Industry

Here is an example of what is happening in the the world of lighting today and what will continue to happen in the foreseeable future. LED’s are all the rage and designers are finding all sorts of new ways to incorporate them into light fixtures. The reasons are clear: LED’s consume far less energy than incandescent light bulbs, LED’s are cool to the touch, LED’s have better color temperature than they did in the past, LED’s have a super long life, and LED’s are small so fixture design can be very creative. In addition to LED fixtures like this one, LED light bulb design is evolving very quickly also. Technicians are finding ways to make them more attractive and more like the good old fashioned incandescent light bulbs. Some of the new LED light bulbs even grow warmer in color temperature as they are dimmed, just like incandescent light bulbs do. Additionally, new, more efficient heat sink materials are being developed which allow LED light bulbs be more streamlined and closer in appearance to both A-lamps and candelabra bulbs. Pretty soon you will be able to use LED bulbs in chandeliers and not notice a difference between them and the candelabra bulbs they replace. Best of all, LED’s are becoming less expensive all the time as manufacturing becomes more efficient and more manufacturers enter the marketplace. As with anything though, I urge you to be careful when buying any LED product as there still are huge quality differences among the myriad of products and producers out there. Try to see the product before you buy it to make sure the color of the light is acceptable to you. I recommend buying dimmable LED light bulbs and fixtures – some LED’s are not dimmable. I also recommend caution in using dedicated LED recessed lighting fixtures. Once you install them they are in the ceiling a long time and the quality of the light might not be satisfactory for you. Instead, consider buying a regular recessed fixture and using an LED light bulb. That way you are not locked in. Please visit our website www.fogglighting.com and like us on Facebook. You also might be interested in the Underwriter’s Laboratory app, LightSmart, which can be downloaded from the App Store. It has all kinds of great information about lighting…and its free.

Mar 2014

Light for Better Sleep

 Old People

Re-Printed From Residential Lighting Magazine November 2013 Issue

A Lighting Research Center study on lighting systems for Alzheimer’s patients could help an aging population.

Residential Lighting: Tell us how light levels affect circadian rhythms. (more…)

Dec 2013

Residential Lighting by the Numbers

The following is a re-print of an ALA Technology Newsletter that was written by Terry McGowan at the ALA. It contains some interesting facts about current lighting usage and future trends.

“Reliable data about the energy use of lighting products, together with numbers about the types and the quantity of products sold into the residential market, has become an increasingly important part of ALA activities in recent years. I pay particular attention to lighting energy data and the mix of light source products in various lighting applications.  Those numbers indicate market trends and information about the technology being used. Demographic numbers are a good predictor of market activity too. An example is the market for elderly-friendly lighting which is growing because every day more than 11,000 people reach 65 years of age in the U.S.

Starting in 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy began publishing detailed lighting inventory and energy consumption data by sector – residential, commercial, industrial and outdoor.   An update was published in 2012 based upon 2010 data, but last December, for the first time, residential lighting energy use was examined in detail.  

Report Results fromResidential Lighting End-Use Consumption Study: Estimation Framework and Initial Estimates

(Download at no charge, here: http://alturl.com/qgbh2)   

  • In U.S. residences, the average daily use per bulb is 1.6 hours.

  • The average bulb uses 47.7 watts. (That’s down substantially from the 67 watt average reported in the 2002 report.)

  • There are more than 67 bulbs in the average home considering all home types   (single family, multi-family, etc.); but single family homes average more than 85   bulbs/home. (The average reported in the 2002 report was 37 bulbs/home.)

  • Household lighting energy use varies substantially by region but averages

  • 1,700 kWh/home per year. New York and California use the least averaging

  • Less than 1,500 kWh while states including Montana, Wyoming, Arizona and Missouri used the most averaging over 2,100 kWh per home annually.

  • The cost of energy used for residential lighting also varies by region, but total home lighting energy costs range from $200-300 per year.

  • Bulbs in bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens consume the most lighting energy in the average home.

  • Dimmers control only 4% of the bulbs in the average home and almost 80% of those bulbs are in ceiling fixtures.

  • Incandescent bulbs (2010 data) remain the most widely used light source in homes (They are in more than 62% of the sockets); but the use of CFLs and LED bulbs has increased with CFLs at slightly more than 20% of the socketson average (also 2010 data).

Since the 2010 data above didn’t include the rapid growth in the use of LED bulbs during the past couple of years, I looked at another DOE report which uses the same database, but which analyzed the LED adoption rate over the 2010-2012 time period.   

Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications.

(You can find that report at http://alturl.com/7z6yd)

  • What the 2010-2012 report shows is that the conversion of residential sockets from standard incandescent to halogen incandescent, CFL or LED bulbs has rapidly increased over this last two-year period.  

  • Some of that increase is due, of course, to the phase-out of standard incandescent bulbs; but lower prices for CFL and LED bulbs, better bulb performance, more product choice and market activities such as rebates and the entry of new manufacturers into the market have all played a role as well.  

  • Of the “A-line” bulb sockets, 62% of the 3.2 billion in homes contained standard incandescent bulbs in 2010. That number has now dropped to 55%.

  • But, LED bulbs, even though some 20 million have been installed over the last two years, still fill less than 1% of the total available sockets.  

  • The next two years, however, will likely see a dramatic change in those numbers because of the phase-out of the standard 40 watt and 60 watt bulbs beginning on January 1, 2014. Those two bulb types represent almost 60% of the standard bulb market.

 The big question is: What will consumers put into those sockets as the conventional bulbs are replaced? The answer to that question will make 2014-15 an unusual and interesting time in the lighting business.”

Please visit us at fogglighting.com and like us on Face Book.

Nov 2013

Why Is There A Fire Risk If I Use More Than The MAX Watts On My Light Bulb Socket Label?

Most lamps sold today have a label similar to the one pictured here.Why, might you ask, is there a fire risk if you use a higher watt light bulb than the one listed? The reason is because higher watts equates to higher temperatures. A watt is a unit of heat and is the amount of energy a light bulb uses. A watt is not to be confused with a lumen which is the measure of light output.

Lampshades confine a certain amount of heat depending on the diameter of the top opening. The smaller the opening, the smaller wattage light bulb should be used. Metal lampshades get hot themselves, sometimes too hot to touch. Sockets are made in lots of different quality levels and can get really hot also. The components of a light fixture all work together is a certain way. Whatever you do, pay attention to the label and use the proper incandescent light bulb.

All that being said however, CFL’s do not generate much heat at all so you can use a higher wattage equivalent CFL to produce more lumens than a lower wattage incandescent light bulb. For example, a 13 watt CFL produces about the same amount of light as a 75 watt incandescent light bulb so you could use it in a fixture that limits the watts to 40. Just don’t mess around with incandescent light bulbs, they can really be a fire hazard!

Download the UL app, LightSmart, from the app store for all kinds of lighting information and visit FoggLighting.com.


Oct 2013

Lighting and Color – Why Color Rendering Index is Important

Now that regular incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past and LED’s and CFL’s are the new “go to” light bulbs, what can you expect your house to look like? The reason I am asking this question is because the colors in your home are going to appear differently than they do under good, old fashioned incandescent lighting. This is because of something know as CRI or Color Rendering Index, a scale of 0-100 where incandescent light bulbs are at the top of scale, 100.

Different light source have different CRI’s, all of which are compared to incandescent light bulbs, but non of which are equal to incandescent. Fluorescent and LED light sources vary in CRI between about 75 to about 85 with some LED’s approaching 90. Therefore things are going to look different depending on the CRI of you light bulb. Note the picture of the fruit and vegetables above. For most purposes, a CRI of 85 is considered good enough in residential applications.
This chart lists different light sources and their associated CRI values. At the bottom of the list is Low Pressure Sodium, a light source that was primarily used in highway lighting in the past. With this kind of lighting, a police officer could not tell the difference between blood and oil at an accident scene. CRI does make a difference!
New light bulb labeling laws are useful in selecting the correct light bulb with a satisfactory CRI. Please see this label and note that in addition to other important information the CRI value is shown as “Color Accuracy”.
Please be advised that higher CRI’s require a higher standard of manufacturing. In a fluorescent light bulb more expensive phosphors must be used and in LED’s higher quality computer chips must be used. Therefore you can expect to pay more for better quality light. There is no right or wrong, just be sure you understand the differences. 
Visit the App Store and download the UL app, LightSmart, for all kinds of great information. And please visit FoggLighting.com and like us on Face Book.


Oct 2013

Sizing Light Fixtures

I am often asked about the proper size of a lighting fixture so when I saw this article in “Residential Lighting” magazine I decided to share it with you. Randall Whitehead is a regular contributor to the magazine.

Helpful advice for calculating proportional decorative lighting based on a room’s dimensions.



Q: What is the rule of thumb for determining the size of a chandelier or pendant fixture for a given space? I have a 25-by-30-foot area over a stairwell and I don’t want too large or too small a fixture. If you could help me out, it would make me very happy.

 A: Just think of me as verbal Prozac. Try this formula: Add the dimensions of the width and length of the foyer area together. This number will be the measurement in inches what the width of your fixture should be. Based on the dimensions that you have given me, I think you should be looking at a chandelier that is 55 inches in diameter. The length will be a little bit harder to determine, as it depends on the ceiling height. Taller ceilings can take longer fixtures. Somebody in your family or your contractor could make a mock-up out of wooden dowels and strings to get a feel for what the fixture would look like in the space.

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include “Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide.” Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.comand follow his blog www.lightmakesright.comfor more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Please visit www.fogglighting.com and like us on Face Book. Be sure to download the free UL app, “LightSmart” from the app store for lots of good lighting information.

Oct 2013

LED Technology is Becoming Mainstream

The following story appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, September 28. I pass this along to you because it is an example of how LED technology is becoming more popular.

Where LED Leads, Design Will Follow

Smaller, cooler and increasingly programmable, LEDs are making possible some startling tricks of the light—from glowing wallpaper to hackable chandeliers



Piercingly bright yet implausibly small, light-emitting diodes—or LEDs, to use their somewhat catchier nickname—are having an outsize influence on interior design. These energy-efficient light sources, which require a fraction of the electricity of incandescent and even the much-loathed compact-fluorescent bulbs, aren’t just giving stressed-out environmentalists reason for optimism. They’re also freeing designers to reinvent lamps—and light itself—in ways that once seemed impossible.

“It’s similar to what happened in the ’80s, when halogen arrived: Everything became smaller,” said Piero Gandini, chairman of Flos, a design-driven lighting company. But Mr. Gandini predicts that the impact of the LED will be more dramatic: “Design will be less and less about the fixture itself and more about the immaterial aspect of lighting.”

Here are five talking points about this game-changing light source that you’ll want to memorize in case you attend a cocktail party entirely populated by futurists, or just want to know how LEDs are going to affect your living room, your kitchen and the way you read yourself to sleep.

The incredible shrinking light bulb

LEDs are tiny and thin—often about the width of a pencil eraser—which is letting designers give all sorts of light fixtures a nip and tuck. Take, for example, the old-school banker’s lamp, typically a rather hulking presence. By replacing the standard bulb with a slender strip of warm white LEDs, Ron Gilad created a sleeker version, his Goldman lamp for Flos. Given the petiteness of LEDs, he was able to replace the traditionally bulky shade with a sliver of injection-molded plastic and considerably whittle down the brass base, since it no longer needs to support a hefty top. His lamp reads like a suit tailored for a particularly slim banker. “If we were using an incandescent bulb, we would not be able to reach the same level of minimalism,” said Mr. Gilad.

Coolness under pressure

Unlike traditional light sources, the surface of an LED is cool to the touch, which means you can tuck them into tight spaces without heating up surrounding surfaces. In-the-know kitchen designers, for instance, are mounting strips of LEDs under upper cabinets to illuminate the countertop without inadvertently slow-roasting any food stashed inside cupboards. Architect David Rockwell installs LED fixtures directly into the perimeters of floors to uplight walls. While scorching incandescent lamps can discolor surrounding materials, like drywall and wallpaper, he explained, “with LEDs, you don’t have the heat issues.”

The coolness factor is also contributing to the continuing slenderization of lamps. The shade of Flos’s Goldman, for example, sits very close to the light source, mainly because it can. And while Isamu Noguchi’s circa-1950s paper lanterns—voluminous, semirigid globes—were designed to keep the paper far away from the incandescent bulb, the soft shade of their intricately folded descendant, Issey Miyake’s new LED-equipped Mendori, can be stretched or compressed like an accordion, coming into proximity to the bulb with little risk of combustion.

Power in a snap

LEDs’ energy efficiency may please the eco-conscious and the environmental regulators, but the lights’ meager appetite for electricity also offers a distinct aesthetic advantage: It allows wires to be thinner and less thickly insulated. With certain LED chandeliers, the power cord is indistinguishable from the thin cables suspending the fixture from the ceiling. The word “floating” is frequently invoked.

This characteristic is also letting designers embed LEDs in paper-thin materials, creating wallpaper, for instance, that’s studded with dim points of light. In such cases, the “wires” have been reduced to a very thin conductive material. To create its Abyss wallpaper collection, released this month, London-based Meystyle applies the material by hand; Ingo Maurer’s LED Wallpaper goes a step further: A conductive ink is printed directly on the paper.

The ease of powering LEDs also allows designers to “daisy chain” lights—kind of like attaching one string of Christmas tree lights to another. Luceplan took advantage of this when creating its Synapse system, a module-based approach to room dividers. Each star-shaped piece, illuminated by a color-adjustable LED, snaps together with the next, providing electricity to the others connected to it. The result: a glowing web of stars that can subtly divide a living room from a dining room.

Chameleonic color

Perhaps the most powerful new tool that LEDs offer lighting designers is the ability to adjust the color temperature of white light. A controllable feature known as “dynamic white” offers almost as many minute variations on paleness as Benjamin Moore does with paint.

Dynamic white fixtures contain arrangements of warm and cool white LEDs, and achieve their effects by delivering different blends of the respective light, explained lighting designer Linnaea Tillett, who has illuminated spaces created by architects including Maya Lin and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. “It’s amazing how much subtlety and finesse they provide,” said Ms. Tillett. “You can change the whole emotional tone of a room using the same light fixture.”

For one client with a windowless room, Ms. Tillett set a dynamic white LED on a timer to cast a pure, sunlight-like glow early in the day that gradually became more golden in the afternoon. “Particularly in windowless rooms, it allows you to create a sense of the passage of time,” she said.

Although this feature is primarily available in products aimed at architects and interior designers, it is trickling down to the consumer level. Luceplan’s Curl lamp, for example, has a phosphorous lens that lets you shift the color temperature of the 8-watt lamp from a warm 2400K to a cooler 3500K by twisting a dial.

The hackable light

LEDs are essentially light-producing semiconductors—which means it’s increasingly easy to build “smart” features directly into the light source itself. “With LED, we are moving from electrics to electronics,” said Mr. Gandini of Flos. He predicts that lamps will eventually be able to interact with their surroundings, perhaps by tuning their color temperature and brightness levels to settings triggered by the presence of an individual’s smartphone. (Some of his company’s lamps already have built-in occupancy sensors, as well as sensors that adjust the intensity of a beam depending on the ambient light levels in a room.)

Innovation is accelerating. “In the past, there were only three or four good suppliers of traditional light sources in the world,” said Mr. Gandini. But because of LEDs’ overlap with the semiconductor industry, he added, a wide range of electronics companies, especially in Asia, are now manufacturing them—and each is contributing its own ideas on how light and electronics can be integrated.

On a smaller scale, the open-source movement is letting independent designers deliver advanced features that previously would have required an engineering team to execute. The Dim(some) Phonezone chandelier, by Brooklyn-based designer Brendan Keim, incorporates eight LEDs that can be controlled individually with a smartphone app—a trick Mr. Keim was able to pull off using an open-source electronics platform called Arduino. “It’s very accessible for artists and designers to jump into,” he said. “Anyone who is familiar with Arduino could hack this lamp. You could make the LEDs twinkle or fade light from one side to another.”

The technological potential of LEDs is only beginning to be realized. “It’s about the evolution of software and control gear,” said Mr. Gandini, “but also our cultural imagination.”
Please visit us at www.fogglighting.com and be sure to call with all your lighting questions and needs.

Sep 2013

Things to Consider When Buying Exterior Lighting Fixtures

Your outdoor lighting fixtures are one of the first thing people notice when they look at your house. The fixtures set the tone and say a lot about the home owners. There are many, many different types, styles, sizes and quality levels of exterior lights so you should learn some of the basics before buying.

Hubbardton Forge Exterior Fixture
(I have several of these on my house)

 Size – This is an important consideration that many buyers overlook in their purchasing decision. A fixture on display in a lighting store may look large in the store but when mounted on the side of a house may look really too small. So before buying a fixture I recommend that you make a model of the fixture by cutting out a piece of paper or cardboard the size of the fixture and pinning it to your house. Then go down the driveway to the street and look at your house from a distance. How does the fixture look? Too big, too small or just right?

Glare – My biggest gripe with most exterior lighting is the amount of glare it produces. A prime example are the flood lights that many people mount to the garage that come on when somebody drives into the yard. How does that help you see anything! The glare of the lights blinds you so you can not see anything until your pupils dilate again. You do not need much light outside when it is dark; it is the contrast produced by a little light that helps you see, think of the moon. (Also, the neighbors might not like the light pollution produced by glarey exterior fixtures). So I recommend you buy fixtures that do not produce glare and use frosted light bulbs.

Quality – There is no question that good quality is more expensive than poor quality, but good quality is

Dark Sky Fixture

usually a better value and it shows! If you plan to live in your house for a while buy a better fixture once rather than a cheap fixture twice or three times, especially if you live in a harsh climate, like almost everywhere. Salt air, ice, wind, excessive sun and heat are all tough on an exterior fixture. Better quality is usually noticeable also. 

Dark Sky – These fixtures are being mandated in a lot of communities for good reason, they contain the light and prevent it from spilling over and causing light pollution. This is especially important in sensitive areas where the night sky is still visible. They provide security and safety and do not allow light to escape into the night sky. I am a big advocate for dark sky fixtures for lots of reasons, no light pollution and no glare to name two.

Style – Style is purely a matter of personal taste. Styles range from Colonial America to Mission to Ultra Modern and everything in between. Chose what you feel looks good on your house. It is your house after all. There are all sorts of different finishes available too. So, for example, you can see the same fixture in a dark brass, raw copper, antique brass, green verdigris, raw brass or mission brown finish. They all might look great, but pick the one that you think will look best on your house.

Exterior lighting is important for safety and security, and it also enhances the appearance of you house. Visit an independent lighting showroom for the best quality and design options. Visit us at www.fogglighting.com and like us on Face Book. Be sure to download the UL app, “LightSmart” from the app store for all kinds of useful information about lighting.