“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

Copper price hits two month high

-By Ron Styne

Copper prices hit a two month high for the week ending May 16th, impacted by a combination of falling warehouse inventories of raw copper and technical tightness in the markets.

Despite the recent recovery in the LME-(London Metals Exchange), market analysts remain bearish on copper’s long term pricing for the rest of this year. That attitude is being arrived at based on factors such as the Chinese construction market and a surge in supplies. New housing starts in China remain weak.

China still accounts for 35-40% of global copper consumption. In addition there is a large amount of copper accumulated in bonded warehouses used for profitable lending. However demand for copper seems to be improving outside of China.

Safety First in the Electrical World

We all take electricity for granted; we turn the power on, lights come up, computers turn on, etc. When our electrical gadgets don’t work, we try to troubleshoot the issues ourselves. This troubleshooting is why we have a yearly safety reminder – May is National Electrical Safety Month.

National Electrical Safety Month Steiner Electric Continue reading “Safety First in the Electrical World”

The Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker is one of the most important safety devices in your home, but most people don’t give them much thought until their lights go off or they can’t watch TV because the breaker has tripped.  When the electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through it, the breaker cuts the power.

But do you know how old the circuit breaker is?

Circuit Breaker Steiner Electric Continue reading “The Circuit Breaker”

How Did this Winter’s Weather Affect Steel Conduit?

-By Ron Styne

The date may tell you its spring, but it still looks like winter when it comes to Lake Superior. The major effect of ice on the Great Lakes is crucial because it impacts many things from the fishing industry to commercial shipping and has actually had an impact on steel conduit. The amount of ice cover on the Great Lakes varies from year to year. However, according to the NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, the average thickness of ice on Lake Superior is 8.9 inches thick.

A key ingredient in the production of steel conduit is iron ore. Iron ore loaded on ships needs to come through the Great Lakes and make its way to production facilities so that it can be used in the production of rolled steel, which in turn is used to make steel conduit. According to the director of traffic services for the US Coast Guard, while shipping times are improving on the Great Lakes, there are 60 vessels waiting to lock through Lake Superior.

In wake of one of the worst winters in decades, there are calls for more US ice breaking capacity for its water ways.

So in essence, the harsh winter is still impacting the production of steel conduit.

Your Electricity and Climate Change

When the power goes out do you have a backup generator ready? Bad weather, electrical overload…climate change?

Extreme weather plays a huge role with its affect on our nation’s electrical grid.

Continue reading “Your Electricity and Climate Change”

What is the London Metals Exchange?

-By Ron Styne

People wonder how the price of copper and steel are determined because those levels have such an impact on many of the products sold in both the electrical and industrial industries. The price on metals is determined by the London Metal Exchange (LME).London Metal Exchange Continue reading “What is the London Metals Exchange?”