Entertaining and Inspiring with Light

Encoded within light are the secrets of the universe. Yet, nothing is more intrinsic to our modern way of life than light, as easy to take for granted as the air we breathe. Somewhere between the unfathomable and the practical lies the inspirational. From fireworks that take months to choreograph to psychedelic light shows set to classic rock to a fierce round of Laser Tag at a child’s birthday party, light does more than simply illuminate our entertainments.

Light can actually be our entertainment.Laser-light-showLaser-tag

If nothing can impress like excess, Las Vegas is one of the most impressive cities in the world. That is the home of the Fountains of Bellagio, where light, water, and sound are mingled into one of the most complex fountain choreographies ever conceived. The Dubai Fountain, the largest dancing fountain system in the world, is equally impressive and in a city that is every bit as excessive. Watch for the skillful integration of light with the jetting water streams, which suggest a cadre of dancers flitting across the surface of the lake.

Click here for Fountains of Bellagio

Click here for The Dubai Fountain

Of course, most people will not be using light as whimsically on such a grand scale. However, everyday uses of inspirational lighting is more important in the long run. How people choose to accentuate the environments of homes, businesses, and public places has a significant and enduring effect on day-to-day life – especially compared to the fleeting, albeit amazing, performances of light in a dancing fountain or a fireworks display. That is why, at Steiner Electric, accentuating environments is one of our specialties.

Fountain Chicago-LightingAn energy audit from our proud Lighting Applications Group is capable of evaluating every lighting concern imaginable, whether residential, industrial, or municipal. While our lighting assessment includes security, efficiency, and productivity considerations, our design professionals are also experts in the aesthetics of environmental lighting. In addition to providing you with the many practical benefits of an energy audit from Steiner Electric, we can also advise you how to best coax your space to excite, inspire, or simply impress. And when we have a child’s birthday party as an excuse, some of us will even play a round or two of Laser Tag.

Harvesting Daylight for Your Business

Did you know that you can harvest daylight through your windows at work?

We all know how much the sunlight can affect employee moods as well as sales of products, but it’s affect on the office space works in better ways…for your pocketbook. Plus, using daylight as the primary source for illuminating a space is more sustainable in the long run. Continue reading “Harvesting Daylight for Your Business”

Lighting and Breast Cancer Drugs

Our sleep cycle is affected by melatonin and light. When the sun goes down, the pineal gland secretes melatonin and that helps us sleep. Melatonin has also been shown to help with immune system issues, age related disorders and even the shrinking of tumors. New research has shown though, that when we have artificial lights on, even in dim settings, we are affecting melatonin levels and that is causing issues with the breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen.lights-Rats-tamoxifen Continue reading “Lighting and Breast Cancer Drugs”

Changing Out Your 700 Series T8 Lamps

After a 2 year reprieve from the US Department of Energy, it’s time to replace your 700-series T8 general service fluorescent lamps and Philips is going to help you do that immediately. The phase-out period began a few weeks ago, July 14th, 2014. It involves more than just the 8-foot high-output 700 series T-8s; the 4-foot medium bi-pin, 2-foot U-shaped, 8-foot Slimline are also included.

700 Series T8 LampsIn response to the required change for new energy efficiency and lumens per watt requirements, Philips has changed its 700 Series T8 Lamps and added ALTO II Technology, which offers the lowest mercury content in the lighting industry while providing 8-10% additional lumens per the DOE requirement. The ALTO II technology is TCLP compliant and only has 1.7 mg of mercury. This will reduce the impact on the environment but is not going to change the performance of the GSFL. This is 50% less mercury that the original T8 lamps.

There will be an additional cost to the new 700 Series T8s because there is a higher cost in the manufacturing process. The price increase is 15-25%. Philips will be adding the cost to existing orders – as more and more companies will be making the required switch.

Of course, if you have any questions, your Steiner Representative is here to help you! We are a phone call or a “click” away for online support!

The Power of LED in the Future

To start off July, Detroit announced it had installed its 10,000th LED street light and was on track to add 55,000 more. Lighting Motor City is no easy task but Detroit’s Mayor says this project has helped some neighborhoods be illuminated for the first time in years leading to safer streets at night. On a larger scale, news like this for the lighting industry is even bigger.

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Detroit installed it’s 10,000th LED street light in early July

Continue reading “The Power of LED in the Future”

“Choose Chicago” to illuminate some of Chicago’s most famous landmarks

-By Ron Styne

An initiative created to increase tourism for the city, called “Choose Chicago” was announced this month by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. A request for proposal has been put out to create a city-wide framework to illuminate some of Chicago’s most famous landmarks.

The city is looking for a company to light up the Willis Tower, 180 bridges throughout the city over the Chicago River, CTA platforms, the modern wing addition at the Art Institute and the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.

The proposal notes that at the present time the city has seven disconnected areas such as Navy Pier, the John Hancock building, Michigan Avenue, the Chicago River, Millennium Park, Willis Tower, Buckingham Fountain and the museum campus along Lake Shore Drive. The lighting plan work create an illuminated connection that would encourage tourists to explore the neighborhoods within the city.

Emanuel is looking to boost the city’s standing as a worldwide destination for tourists and the bid documents feels the light plan could help make that happen. The bidding process is meant to generate ideas and at this time there is no estimate as to how much the lighting network would cost or how much electricity it would take. In addition light pollution within the city has long been a topic of debate and this may be an issue as well.

The Future Business of Lighting

One of the bigger takeaways from LIGHTFAIR 2014 in Las Vegas earlier this month was how quickly the world of lighting changes – not in terms of years, but in terms of months. We already know LED lighting has permeated our daily lives starting in offices, moving into homes and in our cars. As the industry changes, the demand to make our lights more efficient while maintaining optimal light output is key.OLED-The-Organic-light-Emitting-Diode Continue reading “The Future Business of Lighting”

Keeping the Lights From Blocking the Stars

Every year, especially if you live in a city, you can see less and less stars. Light pollution from homes, businesses, cars makes it harder and harder to enjoy the night sky. This is what started the “Dark Sky” movement and has prompted some towns and cities to implement Dark Sky ordinances. If you are preparing to change the outdoor lighting at your home or business, you might want to consider not only the efficiency of your lights but their ability to light the ground rather than the sky.Dark-Sky-initiative-Steiner-Electric

Everything that makes light reduces our ability to see the heavens.

We all know this when we head out of town.  Not properly shielding lights allows that light to travel upwards, blocking what is coming down from the heavens. Skyglow in cities, that’s the orange haze you see over major metro areas is mostly manmade by our over-illumination. But there are ways you can, even just a little, help curb that skyglow.

Steiner offers options when it comes to installing complete cut off for commercial buildings.

In fact this is mandatory for earning ComEd incentives. We can then work with you to determine the best ways to light the area around your building and not the area above it. We know how important it is to keep paths lit, but we also want to be sure the light stays on the path and isn’t reflected. These fixtures are also more efficient since you aren’t wasting electricity into space. The International Dark-Sky Association has offered some simple guidelines when it comes outdoor lighting and some communities in the U.S. have adopted them –

  • Use the lowest wattage of lamp that is feasible. The maximum wattage for most commercial applications should be 250 watts of high intensity discharge lighting, but less is usually sufficient.

  • Incorporate curfews (i.e. turn lights off automatically after a certain hour when businesses close or traffic is minimal).

  • In regards to safety, one needs only the right amount of light, in the right place, at the right time. More light often means wasted light and energy.

While some of these aren’t feasible in the larger cities, considering Dark Sky options is a great way to save money on your electrical bills while also keeping the stars shining bright for the next generation, and also earn LEED points – www.usgbc.org/leed/certification