Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lighting in today's modern homes

Modern Day Construction for custom homes Part 15

In today’s modern world of construction things are changing year to year faster than they did decade to decade in any other previous time period. In this multi part series I will traverse through an entire house starting with the foundation and working my way up to the roof and then to the finishing’s. I will explain what has changed in the last twenty years in custom home building.

One thing that you should be able to take away from this is how important it is to not just hire the right general contractor to build your custom home but how important it is to hire one that is up on today’s building methods.


Twenty years ago pot lights were 6 inches big and used normal incandescent bulbs that used a pile of electricity and created endless heat. The only other option was table and standing floor lights. Fluorescents where used under the cabinets in the kitchen to help light the cabinets. The rule of one light in the middle of the bedroom ceiling was used.

Today nothing is changing faster than interior lighting. Every year there is a new product out that is more energy efficient then the last and is also more expensive. Here are some examples;

Low voltage pot lights. Low voltage pot lights are extremely expensive but use less then 1 watt of power when they are on. These pots lights give a very pure white light that can be considered by many to be cold. They are brighter then all other types of light as well, easily lighting up the darkest of rooms.

4” pot lights. 4” pot lights are the norm now, they gimble 30 degrees in any direction allowing you to direct light without moving the whole pot light. Most pot lights are halogen, which are more efficient then the old incandescent lights, but an easy fix if you want more energy efficiency is replace the bulb with a LED bulb. They LED replacement bulbs will only use 4 or 5 watts.

Zeon lights are now used for under counter lights in the kitchen. These are an LED light that is encased to look like a strip light. The great thing about these lights are that they don’t give off any heat and are extremely energy efficient.

Low voltage puck lights are now installed inside of cabinets to light up glass cabinet doors. Low voltage is required so that the cabinet doesn't heat up and damage items or start fires.

Pot lights and wall sconces are now placed in bedrooms instead of the one light in the middle of the room theory. With dimmers you can never have enough light in your home.

There is a retro-fit LED pot light that is on the market. It doesn’t require you to change the entire pot light housing, all it does is allow you to change the trim of the pot light. The trim has a transformer built into it to allow it to except LED low voltage bulbs. This changes the power usuage of the pot light from 80 watt halogen to 3 or 4 watt LED bulb. The light is also much brighter.

Lighting controls are starting to really change the way people have homes wired. With automatic lighting controls people are opting out of putting light switches in there normal locations. You now have the ability to have lights turned on by the time of the day or by a remote that can be carried. You can even turn on your lighting with your cell phone.

Interior light switches have the ability to have motion detection in them so that when you enter a room the light would automatically come on and then after a short period of time when there is no movement would turn itself off. Great for teenagers that forget to turn the light off when they finish using the bathroom.

Lights that are installed inside the walls that are mounted several inches off the floor have become popular. They are ideal to light up hallways and stairs at night when you don’t want to turn overhead lights on but you still want to be able to safely walk around.

Exterior pot lights are a common theme in soffits and porches. They help accent the outside of the building at night.

Rope lights are being placed in the top of crown molding to give some up light on a ceiling. Rope lights are so small that they only need an inch or two of coverage to be out of sight.

Looking for part 16 coming soon....

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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