Most households in the U.S. use natural gas to heat water. Other fuel types include electricity, propane, and heating oil. A typical gas storage water heater has an Energy Factor (efficiency rating) of about 0.6, while a typical electric storage water heater will be rated about 0.9. Based on these Energy Factors it would seem an electric water heater uses less energy. Actually the opposite is true, here’s why: (more…)
When people think about energy efficient lighting, they’re typically thinking about switching out light bulbs and retrofitting inefficient light fixtures.
However, sustainable lighting is more of a mindset than a simple effort to reduce watt consumption. It’s about challenging yourself to avoid wasting electricity. (more…)
In 1943 Herbert and Katherine Jacobs, of Madison, Wisconsin, commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home for them for the second time. The first they had built in 1936, the design that became known as “Usonian I” (or Jacobs I), a home that featured low cost construction, an open interior plan, floor-to-ceiling living room glass, and a slab floor, as well as the first adaptation in the United States of radiant floor heating. Today’s home styles owe much to this original concept.
41 years ago Denis Hayes, a young activist with a vision for a post-carbon energy future, organized the first Earth Day. That day of celebration and teach-ins was my first realization of how the resource flows through buildings impact the land, air and water.
145-151 Laurel St.
Northern Liberties, Philadelphia
The first LEED for Homes Platinum duplex residences
in the U.S.A.
This eight unit residential project explores the highly efficient and architecturally latent potentials hidden within the traditional form of the Philadelphia “Row” home. The vertical rhythm, regularity yet diversity of this most prevalent residential urban typology was the primary source of inspiration for this experiment. (more…)
LOST IN THE SHADOWS
For me, using LEDs as task lighting is still a developing technology. I am very happy with the lumen output that we are starting to see now, along with the color quality. I personally lean towards a warmer color tone that is close to that of incandescent (2700° Kelvin), but many others do prefer the slightly cooler color temperature like that of halogen (3000° Kelvin). Still others that are doing fine detail work, such as jewelry making, like to have a color temperature close to that of daylight (5000° Kelvin).
Where I am seeing room for improvement is how to deal with the creation of multiple shadowing when more than one LED source is used in a task light. Those fixtures on the market with a single source LED act like a single source incandescent or fluorescent. One source equals one shadow, which is what we have all grown up with what we are used to seeing. But a single source LED may not provide enough illumination for many people. When multiple light sources are used, as we are seeing in the LED task lights that are coming onto the market, you get a shadow image for each light source. The more individual LED diodes you have in a fixture the more shadowing you get as well. When reading a book or a magazine this really isn’t an issue, but if your hand, pen or pencil comes in between the light source and the work surface it can have a lot of disconcerting shadowing with which to contend.
Although I am not lighting fixture designer, per se, I think of myself as an informed consumer who is constantly testing what is available out there on the market. My suggestion to the task light designers is that when multiple LED sources are used then some sort of diffusion material, in the form of a lens, will help ameliorate the problem. As individual LED sources become stronger and only one source is used then shadowing no longer is an issue.
Many manufacturers of recessed LED fixtures have seen that that this multiple shadowing was an issue and have produced fixtures with an integral diffusion lens. It would be a good idea if the manufacturers of LED task lights would take a look at what the recessed LED fixture manufacturers are doing and see how they can incorporate the addition of a diffusion material into their products.
I still am a very strong advocate of using LED sources for task lighting. I would just like to see the next step in refinement; so that when people make the investment they are getting something that they can live happily with for the next 16 or 17 years. Since LEDs last for so darn long I want to make sure that my love will last.