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Why Is Security Lighting Important?

How Outdoor Lighting Enhances the Beauty, Safety, and Security of Your Home

Outdoor lighting adds beauty and dimension to a home. Lighting is also an integral part of an effective home security system. Outdoor security lighting discourages would-be intruders from targeting your home by increasing the risk of being caught. The best lighting design allows physical detection and facial recognition, minimizes hiding spots, and increases your sense of safety.

 

You don't have to light your home like a Christmas tree to feel safe. Over-illumination can draw unwanted attention to valuable items in your home or business. Here are some simple tips to help you identify potential safety and security risks, select the best security lights, and determine their placement to ensure your safety and security.

Security Lighting Placement Infographic

See which type of security lights work best for your home.

The Purpose of Outdoor Security Lighting

Andrew Coleman, a lighting designer for McKay Landscape Lighting in Omaha, NE, reveals the purpose of residential outdoor lighting is threefold. First, it must be aesthetically pleasing to the homeowners. Second, it must help the residents safely navigate the landscape and perimeter of the home, and allow them to identify obstructions and potential hazards such as a change in elevation. Third, it must provide security by discouraging trespassers. A well-lit home is less likely to be broken into, he says.

 

A 2007 Washington Post article found burglars search for homes that appear to be unoccupied. Lighting adds an element of surprise and establishes an occupancy pattern that deters intruders from targeting a home in the first place. Residents that use outdoor lighting as part of their security plan significantly decrease their changes of being burglarized.

 

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) further explains that good security lighting anticipates potential threats and predators, and increases the means necessary to commit a crime, discouraging would-be criminals from breaking into a home. This security approach is known as target hardening. In other words, the longer it takes to plan and execute a break in, the less likely criminals are to target that home. According to the IES, home security lighting must have the following aims:

 

  • Provide a clear view of the area; including people and objects such as fences, walls and barriers
  • Allow facial recognition at a minimum distance of 30 feet
  • Make tasks such as finding your keys, retrieving the mail, or walking the dog easier and safer
  • Help people avoid criminal threats and/or defend themselves when a threat is perceived
  • Enhance your sense of safety when spending time outdoors

How To: Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling

Seasonal Tips to Heat and Cool Your Home Efficiently

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) averages most families spend roughly $1,900 a year on electricity. The bulk of that comes directly from the heating and cooling of your home. Adjusting a handful of factors will save your wallet and the environment big time. We will break these energy efficient heating and cooling tips into winter, summer and anytime categories.  At the end of this article we will highlight why energy efficient heating and cooling is so important to our environment.

 

Keeping it Efficiently Cool in Summer

 

If you’re trying to beat the summer heat without beating up your electric bill or the environment, we have a great list of summer energy efficient cooling tips for you. We have compiled them in order ranging from easy-peasy to serious-lifting.

Small Summer Infographix

*Click the image to open a larger version.

 

  • Checkbox Lower your AC. A good rule of thumb when using your AC in the summer is to try to keep it at 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees when you leave your home. Do not turn the unit completely off unless you’re leaving for more than 24 hours. You will be saving one to three percent of your energy bill for every degree higher you set it. Consider using this tactic with energy saving ceiling fans to help keep you cool.

 

Checkbox Let a draft flow. One main reason your home begins to heat up is the lack of air circulation. Opening the windows and doors in the early mornings or evenings, when the temperature is still low outside, will allow cool air to move through, letting your home cool itself naturally before the summer heat kicks in. Pair this technique with ceiling fans, desk fans or floor fans and you will not even need your AC on during the first part of the day.

8 LED Bulbs Leading the Way to a Bright Future

Future LED Bulbs Go Beyond Illuminating Your Home, Improving Your Health and Mood

 

Light-emitting diode (LED) technology is advancing rapidly, leaving other energy-efficient lighting technology in the dust. Future LED bulbs will cost less, consume less energy, last longer, and do much more than illuminate your home. The LEDs of the future will be able to create lights in multiple colors, stream music, and communicate alerts and data. You do not have to wait much longer to experience this technology, here are eight LED bulbs lighting the way to a brighter, healthier and more convenient future.

 

Philips SlimStyle LED Bulb

1. Philips SlimStyle LED Bulb

The SlimStyle bulb by Philips Lighting makes transitioning from incandescent lighting to LED lighting easy and affordable. The SlimStyle LED bulb is a modern, energy-efficient alternative to any 60-watt incandescent light bulb and costs about $10 per bulb. The slim light bulb features a flat A19 design with LED lights arranged in a unique horseshoe shape for even illumination. A durable rubber coating protects the bulb from shattering. The bulb turns on instantly and emits 360 degrees of soft white light similar to that of an incandescent light bulb. The bulb can also be used with most light dimmers to create mood lighting. The SlimStyle bulb lasts about 22.8 years and saves up to $136 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. This LED bulb is suitable for lamps, pendants, and wall-mounted light fixtures.

 

MiPow LED Playbulb

2. MiPow LED Playbulb

The MiPow PlayBulb allows users to easily adjusts the lighting and play music in a room from their mobile devices. The A-Type LED light bulb has 80 LED lights that emit cool and warm shades of white light equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb. A built-in Bluetooth 4.0 speaker allows users within 30 feet to stream music directly to the PlayBulb. A dedicated smartphone app controls the light brightness and music. The app also includes four advanced settings - wake up, energy saving, night mode, and sleep mode for added convenience. The wireless, versatile device saves space and is ideal for dorm rooms, home offices and other small spaces. The MiPow PlayBulb is available for purchase for $79.

The Facts About Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

LED vs. CFL vs. Halogen - Which light bulb is best for your home?

 

According to EnergyStar.gov, more than 70 percent of sockets in America still contain the old inefficient incandescent light bulbs. They’ve challenged America to change just 20 million light bulbs to super energy saving light-emitting diodes or LED light bulbs in 2014. See the infographic below for more information about how much this small change could mean to our environment and your wallet.

Energy Star's Switching to LED Challenge

With so many countries phasing out heavy wattage incandescent bulbs, we feel it's time to take a hard look at the light bulb options on the market right now.

 

Using light bulbs to save energy is extremely important to our environment and your energy costs. We now have a better understanding of how much energy small gestures such as changing your light bulbs can make. Remember these numbers the next time someone says replacing your bulbs will not save much energy.

 

Over the last few years in the European Union incandescent bulbs have been phased out and replaced by compact florescent light bulbs or CFLs. The Ecodesign Regulatory Committee believes this small change will save citizens almost 40 TWh a year, a TWh is equal to 114 million watts. If you are not sure what that means, this infographic puts those numbers into perspective.

History of the Light Bulb

How Inventing the Light Bulb Revolutionized Our Lives, Landscape and Economy

 

In The Beginning...
 
  1. Sunlight and fire were the earliest forms of lighting.

    The electric light bulb has been called the most important invention since man-made fire. The light bulb helped to establish social order after sundown, extended the workday well into the night, and allowed us to navigate and travel safely in the dark. Without the light bulb, there would be no nightlife. However, creating a steady and affordable source of illumination was not as easy as many history textbooks suggest. The modern light bulb is the result of many innovators' work and continuous improvements over 150 years.

  2. 1700s
    The First Artificial Sources of Light

    Before the arrival of electric lighting, people used a variety of tricks for navigating their neighborhoods at night. In The Downs, an area near the English Channel, patches of chalky soil were used as beacons known as down lanterns. In wooded areas, bark was strategically cut from trees to expose the lighter wood underneath. However, on most clear nights, the moon and starlight was strong enough to navigate at night.

     

    In the 18th century, candles and oil lamps illuminated most homes and businesses. These early sources of illumination emitted a weak light, smoked, and gave off foul odors. They were also dangerous and required constant attention. Wealthy aristocrats used beeswax and spermaceti candles to light up their lavish households. The middle class used cheap tallow candles while the poor used rushlights, makeshift candles made from reeds dipped in animal or vegetable fat and ignited, which burned for a short time.

    Rushlights, candles and oil lamps were early forms of lighting.

  3. 1800s

    During the 19th century, gas lighting replaced candles and oil lamps in many homes, businesses, and streets. Gas lamps produced a brighter and more efficient illumination. They also cost 75 percent less than candles or oil lamps, and were easier and safer to operate. By the 1850s, most city streets in the United States and Europe were illuminated by gas lamps. Gas lighting is credited with reducing crime rates and increasing literacy in many areas. As electricity became more widespread during the turn of the century, gas lamps were replaced by incandescent lamps in streets, businesses, and theaters.

    Gas lighting was popular during the 1800s.

  4. 1802
    The First Electric Lights

    In 1802, Sir Humphry Davy, an English physician, created the first electric light by passing current through a platinum strip. The glow did not last long, but it marked the beginning of the development of electric light bulbs. In 1809, Davy demonstrated the first carbon arc lamp at the Royal Institute in London by connecting two wires to a battery and attaching a charcoal strip between the other ends of the wires. While the scientific community and the public raved about the demonstration, the arc lamp burned too brightly and consumed a large amount of current, which quickly drained the battery and rendered the lamp impractical for commercial development and production. Several decades passed before electric generators made arc lamps practical for street and theater lighting.

    Sir Humphry Davy

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