Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Finding the Right Lighting For Your Closet

Closets are storage areas in the interior of the house and have no access to natural outside light, at any time of day. While large walk-ins may have lots of spots and other lights, closets either have no light or just an exposed bulb fitted to a basic fixture with a pull chain to turn it on and off. In both cases, there are problems that need to be addressed.

The Problems

A big, luxurious walk-in closet is very useful and a great convenience. However, using artificial light to illuminate it has 2 problems. The first is that the lighting uses electricity and that pushes up utility bills and adds to the home’s carbon footprint. The second is that anything seen under artificial light, especially clothes may look very different when seen in daylight and you won’t be sure of how an item of apparel will look outdoors.

In the case of the small dingy closet, not only is the single exposed bulb inefficient, it could also be dangerous because faulty wiring or a defective fixture could result in a short circuit which is a major hazard in a confined interior space that may not be open or used often. Here also, the artificial light will make colors and shades look different from how they will look in the open, in sunlight.

Solving Part of the Problem

When faced with these issues many homeowners replace their power-hungry bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs. LEDs are the most efficient, but CFLs give off a “cooler” light that many people prefer. Even with energy-efficient bulbs in place, electricity is still being used during the day when the closet is open.

However, the problem of an unnoticed short circuit in an infrequently used area remains, as does the issue of artificial light making colors look different from what they do in sunlight.

Solving All of the Problem

Getting free, clean natural sunlight into a closet is not just possible; it is also a simple matter. All you need to do is install a Tubular Daylighting Device or a daylighting system. This will use a small roof-mounted light collection dome to capture sunlight and then channel, it using special highly reflective pipes, through walls and ceiling to the closet. An elegant light fitting in the closet will diffuse the light so that the space is brightly lit. This light is free, clean and since it is natural sunlight, how the colors and hues look in the closet will be the same as they will appear outdoors.

Installing a daylighting device takes just a few hours and requires no structural modifications. Once in place, as long as the sun is shining, there will be sunlight in the closet. The best-daylighting devices come with optional dimmers to control the light intensity, ventilation kits to control humidity and electric light add-ons so the same fixture can be used at night. To know more about daylighting systems and all the possible applications, contact the leading manufacturer – that way you know you will be getting the best.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Add Value to Your Home with Daylighting

Your home is your biggest asset and the one you have will probably be the only one you ever buy. It does not only provide your family with shelter and protection; it’s also a significant part of the equity you have built up for years. Maintaining a home is something that all homeowners do. Adding to its value is hugely important but is often thought of as a major hassle and for this reason, is not give its rightful importance. Your family’s needs increase over time and your equity should increase proportionately. The simplest and most cost-effective way of doing this is by making it into a high performance or Green Home.

The Cost of Going Green

There are two major factors driving the Green Home movement. The first is the continuing upward movement of fossil fuel costs. In the past 20 years, oil prices have more than tripled. In the last 14 years, the cost of residential electricity has risen by about 65%. There is no reason to think that this trend will change. Continuing international unrest that threatens to disrupt oil supplies and cause massive shortages in supplies and price surges must also be kept in mind. The second factor is the rapid development of solar energy and lighting technology. The ideal home is one that is a net-zero home – one that generates as much electricity as it uses.  Such a home for a family of four would result in a savings of $400 per month, according to the Department of Energy. That is $4800 a year and over a 10-year cycle, $48000.

These are figures that a potential buyer will take into account when making a purchase offer for your home, if you should decide to sell it. That is $48,000 more you can spend on a new home. The bottom line is that going Green is not simply a matter of protecting our environment – a subject of growing importance and which is receiving increasing coverage in the news. It also makes sound economic sense.

The Starting Point

A home cannot be made Green overnight. It is a multi-stage process that takes time and planning. There is, however, a simple and easy way to get started. Or, if the process is already underway, make it even more efficient. Daylighting systems are the perfect starting point for a Green Home or value addition point to a process that is ongoing. These are high tech devices that capture daylight from the roof of a house and carry it, using special tubing, to even the most interior parts of the building – places where there is not enough natural sunlight. These systems not only reduce the use of artificial lighting during the day, they offer a wide range of benefits in terms of health and alertness to the occupants of the home. Installation is quick – typically just a few hours and once done, you have the benefits of having Green technology in your home which includes an increase in its value. Contact the dealer of the leading manufacturer of daylighting systems to learn more about the ways your home benefits from daylighting systems.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Windowless Rooms Are Not Lost Spaces

A house with a windowless room or one with extremely limited openings through which sunlight may enter is not common, but they do exist. For example, what was originally a large storage area that has been converted into a room may not have a window since the original storage function did not need one. Now that the use of the space has changed, providing natural sunlight during the day is essential. There could also be cases where an obstruction that came up after the house was built is now blocking the windows and preventing natural light from entering. Whatever the reason, a room without windows does not have to be dark and gloomy. Here are some ways to brighten it up.

•   Mirrors: Placing large mirrors on the walls will both make the room look larger and more open as well as amplifying available light by reflecting it.

•   Light colored walls: White or light-colored walls give a room an open look and also brighten it by reflecting whatever light is available far better than dark-colored walls would. Keeping the ceiling the same color will remove the hard delineation of the top of the room and make it feel larger.

•  Large paintings or photographs: One large photo or painting placed on a wall will create a window-like effect by breaking the symmetry and if the image is light-colored, will give a feeling of depth to the surface.

•  Concealed lighting: Diffused illumination from well placed concealed light located high up in the space will create a glow that will open up the whole area and reduce the darkness of any shadows that maybe there from other light sources.

•  Transoms: A transom is, technically speaking, a piece of wall dividing a door and a window. In common usage, a transom window is a window placed between 2 enclosed spaces to improve visibility between the rooms while retaining the separation of the spaces.

•  Frosted glass: If the space in the room is to be divided into separate areas, using frosted glass partition will provide the division and privacy required while avoiding the aura of a heavy wall that an opaque partition will create.

•  Daylighting systems: A daylighting system uses a small roof-mounted dome to capture sunlight during the day and carry it, using special high reflectivity tubes, through walls, to the inner areas of the house. These are places where natural light is often not available or is inadequate. The light carried through the tubes is diffused into the interior space using elegant light fittings. Space will now be filled with brilliant natural sunlight, with the ability to control light intensity to suit the use of the room and the occupants’ mood. Daylighting systems made by the leading manufacturer are highly efficient, easy to install, low maintenance and extremely cost-effective. Contact a daylighting systems dealer to learn more about how these can light up even the darkest parts of your home, with using electricity and inflating your utility bills.

Don’t think of a windowless or dark area of the house as unusable space. With a few small modifications and the use of a daylighting system, it can be turned into a working, useful and appealing room.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Importance of garage ventilation

Air circulation in a garage is important, whether it is through a window, a fan, or a vent. Garages are kept shut most of the time and opened only when the car is being taken out or being brought in. This lack of ventilation could make the air inside the garage harmful to health.

What causes the build-up of toxins in the garage?

When the car engine is running, it is giving out a steady stream of carbon monoxide. When you start a car and drive it out, or when you bring it back in, the brief time that the engine is running, you have trapped carbon monoxide in the garage. Over time, the percentage of carbon monoxide in the garage builds up and if there is no vent for it to be expelled and replaced with fresh air, it increases the toxicity of the air in the garage.

Garages are used not only to keep cars, but they are also used to store other DIY paraphernalia like paints, chemicals, pesticides, etc. The fumes from these items contain toxins which are being released into the air in the garage. These toxic fumes can build up when there is a lack of ventilation.

How does an unventilated garage affect the air in the house?

Garage ventilation may not seem like a big deal to you as the time that is spent in the garage may be minimal. You may reason that the brief exposure to the toxins in the garage is not harmful to you or your family. But consider this! Is your garage abutting your home? Most do. Do they share a common wall? They probably do. This means that the carbon monoxide that has built up over time in your garage is permeating directly into your living spaces through the wall.

The fumes of your DIY paraphernalia also build up in an unventilated garage, when temperatures go high and will seep into the house through tiny structural cracks that can occur between joints in any kind of home. It can even enter the house when the door between the garage and the main house is opened.

Apart from polluting air inside your home, the heat build up in an unventilated garage can radiate through the common wall and raise the temperatures in the house during summer. This can decrease the efficiency of your cooling system and can increase your electricity bills as the cooling system will have to work harder to bring the temperature down.

A perfect way to ventilate your garage is by installing Solatube's RM 1500 roof-mounted solar fan. It runs the whole day without using electricity so entire space is cool with no additional cost. Call (408) 844-0081 to make an appointment with one of our consultants. You can check out our solar ventilation solutions for the garage at http://sunlightconcept.com/sunlight-concepts/garage-fans

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Reduce Your Lighting Bill

A home that is not well lit can be a dreary and depressing place. That is why homeowners go the extra mile to ensure that their homes are will illuminated. A downside of this is that often electricity consumption increases resulting in high utility bills. It is possible to keep a home bright and happy while minimizing the power consumption. All it takes is the cost-effective purchase of user friendly new technology and adopting some simple power saving concepts.

  • Maximize The Use Of Daylight: Sunlight is clean, healthy and free and when the sun is out, the use of the light it produces should be maximized. The obvious way to do this is to keep curtains and blinds open to allow light to enter the home. However, this may not be enough. Geographical, environmental and architectural design issues may not allow adequate amounts of sunlight to enter. That is when electricity has to be used to add brightness to the home, even if it is bright outside. Adding windows and skylights to allow more light to enter a house, if at all possible, is a costly, messy and time-consuming process that could also ruin the appearance of the home. Daylighting systems, or Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) offer an economical, clean and quick way to bring more natural sunlight into your home. TDDS use roof mounted light collectors to capture sunlight and then carry it, via special highly reflective tubes, to the most interior parts of a home. This means that even parts of the house where there is no access to sunlight, such as closets, can be illuminated with bright, clear natural light. Installation of TDDS is quick, clean and does not require any structural modifications to the home. And, of course, TDDs run for free.
  • Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: Use only LEDs in your home. They consume only about 20% of the electricity of traditional bulbs and last far longer. This more than compensates for the slightly higher cost of the LEDs.
  • Control Brightness:  It is possible for a room to be over illuminated. A room that is so bright that it hurts the eyes or makes people in it uncomfortable, is an overly bright room. Reducing the wattage of the bulbs used will make the room more comfortable and also lower the amount of electricity consumed.
  • Choose The Right Fittings: Light fittings are an integral part of the décor of the home and styles and designs are chosen for that reason. While there is no need to compromise on this, using fittings that work with the décor but do not obstruct the light that is radiated will also allow fewer lights or lower wattage bulbs to be used.
  • Use Dimmers: The amount of light required in a room can vary depending on time of day, occupancy and what is happening there. Dimmers allow you to control the lighting to suit the requirement and by doing so, control the amount of electricity consumed.
  • Sensors And Timers: Installing these enable you to set the time when lights come on or ensure that lights do not remain on in empty rooms.
These few basic steps can make a significant impact on your utility bills. The right place to start is by installing daylighting systems. This will reduce the need for electric lighting during the day and with these in place, deciding on the other actions you can take to reduce power consumption becomes much easier.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Making Your Home Green

When used in reference to buildings, green is not a color – it is a statement that the structure is ecologically friendly. That means that it makes, preferably, a positive impact on the environment or, at least creates only a minimal negative impact. There is no set standard on what makes a building green. Generally speaking for a building to be truly green, it must have been designed and built with the environmental factors in mind.

Image Courtesy: Pexels
What It Means

However, that does not mean that older buildings, especially homes, cannot be made greener. These are a few of things that can be done. Remember, going green means reducing resource consumption, so utility bills reduce saving significant amounts of money. Over time, the green changes that are made will pay for themselves.
  • Install Daylighting Systems: Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) collect light from the roof and use high tech piping to carry the light through walls and floors to even the most interior parts of a home. This eliminates the need to use electric lights during the day, reduces power consumption and brings down electricity bills.
  • Install A Whole House Fan: These attic mounted fans run at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. They suck warm stale air out of the home and replace it with cooler fresh air drawn in through open windows. The cool air, drawn in during the mornings and evenings when the exterior temperatures are low, can keep the home pleasant for many hours. A whole house fan may eliminate the need for air conditioning. If the ambient temperature is very high, air conditioning may still be required, but the load will be greatly reduced so the power consumption will come down and that means lower electricity bills.
  • Upgrade the Insulation: The warmer the home is in winter and the cooler in summer, the less power consumed to heat or cool it.
  • Be Water Efficient: Install sanitary fittings and appliances that use a minimum amount of water.
  • Use Energy Efficient Appliances: Replacing older fridges, washing machines and so on with new energy efficient ones will have a major impact on the amount of power the home uses.
  • Use Solar Energy: If viable, consider installing solar panels to provide electricity and heat to the home.
These few upgrades can turn any home into a green, energy efficient one.

Make Your Home A Greener and Healthier Place

Of all the modifications, installing TDDS and whole house fans are the easiest and among the most cost-effective. Unlike windows and skylights, TDDs are quick to install and can carry light to even the most interior parts of a home. No structural changes have to be made. The same is true of whole house fans. The attic installation does not affect the rest of the home or the building structure in any way. With both these in a home, it becomes a greener, more comfortable and healthier place. 

Purchasing the best quality products is not as expensive as people may presume and it will ensure many years of trouble-free service and money saving. Contact the dealer of a reputed manufacturer to now more about daylighting systems and whole house fans and how they can change your home environment.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

How Do Whole House Fans Work?

Before the advent of the whole house fan, there were 2 basic options for staying cool at home in the hot weather:
  • Using a ceiling or table fan to blow air on people within the small air flow area so that they felt a little cooler.
  • Using air conditioning to cool the structure.
The problem with the first option is that all it really does is circulate the same old air and it is the movement of the air on the skin that creates a sense of coolness. The room itself or the house does not really become much cooler. Air conditioning does effectively cool the room or house, but it consumes a huge amount of electricity, so the operating cost is high. Also, buying and installing air conditioner is expensive. Another factor to keep in mind is that with air conditioning, the amount of fresh, clean air that enters the home is limited. The need for a cost effective and highly efficient way of cooling the home has been met with the development of the whole house fan.

Cool Air, Fresh Air, Indoors And Out

Whole house fans have revolutionized the way homes are cooled. They stand out for their efficiency and effectiveness. Air conditioners and fans are costly to buy and run or operate in an efficient manner. They also take time for the cooling to become tangible. A properly designed and manufactured whole house fan from a leading company will effectively cool down a home in just a few minutes. Whole house fans do not push air in the direction where the limited circulation is required. Instead, they pull the stale warm air out of the whole house. Because of the outflow of stale air, fresh cool air is able to enter the home though open windows and cool the whole house. Whole house fans are mounted in the attic so they are able to pull air from all the lower floors.

While a whole house fan can be used at any time of day, the best results are obtained if it is used when the outside temperature is lower than the temperature indoors. This new air will be cooler than the air it replaced. Once the interior has been cooled, closing the windows will help to retain the coolness for hours until it is time to run the whole house fan again. For example, running the fan in the morning will cool the house and keep it comfortable through the hot afternoon. This is done at a fraction of the cost of running an air conditioner.

All Whole House Fans Are Not the Same

How effective a fan is and its durability and reliability depends on how it is manufactured. If you are considering installing a whole house fan, look for one made by a highly reputed company that has the following features:
  • Longer lasting strength and energy efficient operation with brushless motor
  • Rust proof operation and durability with powder coated metal fan blade
  • Fan with 5 blades for smoother airflow
  • Insulated ducting ensures quiet cooling
  • Airflow is maximized with a damper box design
  • A cleaner look as there are no visible vents
  • Dishwasher-safe intake grill which is easily removable for quick and easy cleaning
  • Innovative technology for near silent operation

Look online for the dealer of a whole house fan manufacturer that offers all this and more.