LED outdoor lighting is the clear choice to a greener tomorrow, with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio lighting the way

Sustainable living practices

Choices we make in regards to our home and landscapes can impact the environment from our backyard to across the globe.

In the big scheme of things, sometimes it is the little things that can really motivate and cause you to reflect about your individual role on the world around you. As I was flipping through the channels last Saturday afternoon to find something to watch on TV I ran across a movie called “Arctic Tale” which takes the viewer on the journey of a polar bear and a walrus that live in the arctic and how the impact of global warming is changing their natural habitat. After the movie was over, it made me think about my role on the environment and just how important sustainable living practices are all living things in our own backyard, down the street or even thousands of miles away .Each and every choice we make in regards to taking care of our needs and wants impacts the world on a global level. As with many facets of our lives, decisions we make in regards to our home and property can support a greener lifestyle and support sustainable living practices. Outdoor lighting is no exception.

LED's

LED Lights up close

The new outdoor living trend shows that many more homeowners are choosing to complement their home and landscape as well as make it safer and more secure through the use of  outdoor lighting. With that in mind, stunning outdoor lighting designs can be accomplished using “green” technologies that have less impact on the environment and save homeowners in electrical costs. Sustainability is defined by the capacity to endure. Which encompasses a long-term maintenance of responsibility of environmental, economic, and social aspects of the world around us. In 1993 Rosenbaum, a notable Sustainable Architect, defined sustainability clearly by “Sustainable means using methods, systems and materials that won’t deplete resources or harm natural cycles”.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio uses LED technology to deliver a “greener” approach through our outdoor lighting designs. If you are thinking of adding outdoor lighting to your home and landscape from scratch, LED is definitely the way to go. Even if you already have outdoor lighting, our LED conversion program is a viable choice by converting your existing lighting to LED. In many cases the conversion is easier than you may think, and will save you a lot of money in the long run by choosing to convert to this greener more, sustainable technology.We are easily able to convert over 90% of our customers existing systems to LED systems. If you are on the fence about choosing LED for your outdoor lighting, here is a list of reasons why LED is the clear choice…

  • Bulb Life– LED bulbs last 10 times longer than regular bulbs. Some LED bulbs can last as long as 50,000 hours!
  • Cool Burn– LED’s burn cooler than other bulbs. There is no heat-build up in relation to operating an LED bulb. This reduces the risk of overheating, damage and even fire.
  • Durability– Since LED’s contain no filament, when other bulbs would break or shatter, LED’s will hold up to more vibration, bumping or other circumstances.They also burn more efficiently in colder surroundings than other bulbs.
  • No Harm– LED’s contain no dangerous mercury that can impact the environment.
  • Efficiency– LED’s use very little energy to operate which saves you on energy costs, and makes them a sustainable choice in outdoor lighting. Less energy on your end means less impact on the world around us.
  • Beautiful– LED’s burn evenly and cohesive illuminating areas with just the right amount of light for security, safety and to promote ambiance. With a CRI ( color rendering index), rating from 80 to the mid 90’s, which means they exude a high-quality illumination on a CRI scale of 1-100 in terms of light quality.
Outdoor lighting San Antonio

This already stunning home becomes gorgeous under the spell of outdoor lighting

Contact Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio to learn more about our LED outdoor lighting designs. Remember, that the choices we make today will impact the world tomorrow. Call us at (830) 624 – 1300 or you may email us at sanantonio@outdoorlights.com

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Lighting with LED

LED, or Light Emitting Diode, is the next big advancement in the technology of “lamps”, or what we commonly know is the “light bulb.”  LED’s are exciting because they are light sources that use only a fraction of the energy and have ten or more times the lifespan of incandescent or florescent bulbs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

B & B Manufacturing, our Landscape Lighting Fixture supplier, recently attended the 2009 LIGHTFAIR in New York.  LED lighting is right around the corner for applications in residential landscape lighting.  Very soon, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio & the Hill Country, LLC will be offering LED fixtures as part of our fixture choices.

Mark Severance of B & B Manufacturing was kind enough to share these insights with regard to LED applications.

“It is important to remember that just because the technology is capable of producing LED lighting that competes with halogen and HID (high-intensity discharge,) it doesn’t mean there aren’t serious considerations to using LED’s.  First and foremost are costs.  Quality, and I stress ‘quality’ LED fixtures are quite expensive.  In fact they are 4-5 times as expensive as standard halogen low voltage.  It’s also difficult at this early evolutionary stage of outdoor LED fixtures to determine a quality fixture from a piece of junk.

“You might have someone argue that lower wattage LED fixtures require smaller (cheaper) transformers and less wire but even when you consider these costs reductions the hard product costs (to the installer) of a standard low voltage installation nearly triples because of the increased fixture costs.”

What does that mean to the cost of (your) installation?  In order to  make the same operating profit per installation, I would have to raise the fixture price of a standard 20 light installation of $4500 to a 20 light LED installation of $13,500.  Obviously, I would not sell many of these jobs!  Even if I reduced my operating profit by a third and offered the installation at around $9000, the benefits to you, the home owner, are not substantial.

The return on your investment as the customer (considering utility rates and reduced maintenance costs due to fewer bulb replacements) is between 10-12 years.

These are the realistic pros and cons of LED’s.  However, we are still going to make them available to you, our customers, so that those who are jazzed about LED’s and are willing to spend the money have this option available.

Truthfully, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives wants to be a company of innovators, and LED’s are innovative.  That’s why, as LED fixture prices come down in the next few years, we will be ready to supply our customers with LED fixtures that make sense not only emotionally, but financially as well.

Replace your own bulbs, or take the scheduled maintenance plan?

Whether it’s for automobiles, home heating and air conditioning systems or landscape lighting systems, ROUTINE SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE is the key to keeping things running in tip-top shape.

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio,  we recognize and applaud the do-it-yourself homeowner who wants to maintain their own OLP installed Landscape Lights.  That’s why we offer these tips and suggestions for replacing your bulbs:

Be sure to use quality lamps (bulbs) with the same wattage and flood angle as those that came with your original installation.

For the large PAR 36 (headlight style bulbs) in well/canister lights:

  • GE or Phillips Brand
  • 4000 hour rated life
  • PAR 36, 12-volt (low voltage bulbs)
  • Screw Terminals
  • 20 watt, 35 watt, or 50 watt, as was originally installed
  • Wide flood (30 degrees), Very Wide flood (55 degrees), or Narrow Spot (8 degrees) as was originally installed
  • Generally not available at Home Depot/Lowe’s.  Buy from a quality lighting store
  • Cost will run from $10-$15

For the small Bi-pin halogen bulbs in Path and sign fixtures:

  • Osram Sylvania Ministar S Halogen
  • 4000 hour rated life
  • 10 watt, 20 watt, or 35 watt as originally installed
  • G4 or G6 bi-pin base
  • NEVER EVER TOUCH THE GLASS WITH YOUR BARE FINGERS!!  (oils from your skin will dramatically shorten the life of the bulb)
  • cost will run $6-$12

For the MR-16 (projector style bulbs) in small spot light applications:

  • GE or Osram Sylvania
  • BAB (flood beam) or ESX (narrow beam) 20 watt, FMW (flood beam) 35 watt, or EXN (flood beam) 50 watt
  • GU5.3 Bi-pin base
  • 4000 hour rated life
  • CG (Cover Glass) preferred
  • Cost will run $5-$8

Of course, changing the bulb is only part of the periodic maintenance, and a complete inspection of the system should be accomplished at this time.

Many homeowners desire the complete servicing package that our Scheduled Maintenance Plan offers.  When we do a bulb replacement during scheduled maintenance, we take care of all the following items:

  • Bulb replacement with bulbs matching the original installation
  • Trim shrubs to ensure illumination is not shaded by plant growth
  • Treat fixtures with fire-ant retardent
  • Re-aim fixtures correctly for those that may have been bumped or moved
  • Re-bury exposed wire
  • Check Voltages
  • Check Transformer connections

Our service plan runs $19/fixture, and includes all the service mentioned above.  When a homeowner is on our maintenance plan they only pay for the scheduled maintenance, and any additional service calls for system repair are free for the length of the plan.  That means the $90 service call charge is waived!

The Length of the maintenance plan is dependent upon how late each homeowner runs their landscape lighting system each night.

  • Systems that run until around Midnight = Annual (1 year) Service Plan
  • Systems that run until 3 am = 9 month Service Plan
  • Systems that run all night = 6 month Service Plan

These lengths equal the average service life of a 4000 hour quartz halogen bulb.

When the typical service call costs $90, plus $19 per bulb replaced, you can see how quickly the costs can add up, which is why the Scheduled Maintenance Plan is easily the way to go!

If you haven’t taken advantage of our Scheduled Maintenance Plan, call us today at 210-971-8759 and have your system brought back up to the level of performance you had when it was originally installed!

Scott Bellamy, President

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio

Why we are the Best Value

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio has everything necessary to meet your residential and business landscape lighting needs.

In today’s world, businesses often throw out buzzwords like “Quality” and “Value”.  At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we take those terms seriously.  With that in mind, we’d like to share what we mean by “Value”.

WHY WE ARE THE BEST VALUE

OUR DESIGNS. Even if a home is built using the highest quality materials, without a well thought-out blueprint the final reslut is compromised.  We use certified lighting designers.  They listen carefully to your concerns and what you want to accomplish with your new lighting system.  then they will develop a design to achieve your goals.  Best of all, you are able to see the design at night before you decide if this home improvement investment is right for you.

OUR FIXTURES.  Light fixtures are perhaps the single mosst critical component of a lighting system.  the following are the three basic considerations for choosing a light fixture:

  • Which lamp will achieve the desired effect?
  • which fixture can best accomodate this lamp?
  • what is the quality of fixture materials?

We exclusively use corrosion-resistant materials such as hand-spun copper and cast brass.  Our fictures can stand up to years of harsh outdoor settings – rain, fertilizers, sun exposure, etc. – that could easily destroy other products such as those made of steel or aluminum.  although we can source painted fixtures, ours will not fade, chip or peel – ever.

OUR TRANSFORMERS.  Often termed the “engine” of a professional outdoor lighting system, we use commercial-grade multiple volt transformers.  with a multi-volt unit our installers can select the proper startig voltage to ensure perfect and balanced illumination – regardless of the individual fixture distances.  Also, unlike lesser units, our transformers are “potted,” which means the electrical components are completely sealed with epoxy to prevent corrosion.

OUR INSTALLATIONS.  Outdoor lighting is our focus, and our installers are fully trained with the primary goal of leaving your property in better condition than they found it.  nearly all work is done by hand with careful attention to costly plantings and hardscaping.  If you can’t tell the installer was at your home, we have succeeded.

OUR MAINTENANCE.  The single biggest complaint customers have about the home improvement sector is poor maintenance and seervice after the sale.  We are not like most contractors because we want a long-term relationship with you and take pride in prompt, capable servie even years after the initial installation.  We offer ongoing and very cost-effective maintenance programs, where each year the lighting system is completely checked out and all lamps are replaced.

OUR LIGHTING CONTROL.  We offer standard on-off options and also are an exclusive provider of LCA – Lighting Control Automation.  This allows you to set the on- and off- times once and never change them again.  Should you, for both convenience and security reasons, want any number of interior lights controlled, we can accommodate these needs as well – during the initial installation or years later as your needs change.

OUR STRENGTH.  We are the numbe one provider of professional outdoor lighting with a worldwide location count approaching 100.  Since 1995 we have grown to be the category leader by providing the best overall value.  We walk the talk.

Scott Bellamy, President

Outoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio

210-971-8759

Comparison Shopping for Landscape Lights

In today’s economic times, it pays more than ever to do comparison shopping.  The same advice holds true when looking for a landscape lighting company to handle your landscape lighting needs.

The following list are some things you should inquire about when evaluating a Landscape Lighting Company:

  1. Reputation.  How long have they been in business?  Do they have references?  Are they a member of the local Better Business Bureau?
  2. Type of Fixtures.  Do they use a variety of fixtures based on the application, or is it “one type for all applications”?  Do they use well lights for facade lighting?  Do they do uplighting?  Downlighting?  Do they offer low voltage?  Line voltage (household current)?
  3. Quality of Fixtures.  Are they painted fixtures?  Copper?  Aluminum?  Plastic?
  4. Warranty.  What kind of warranty is offered on the fixtures?  Is the warranty for at least ten years?
  5. Service Plan.  Do they offer an annual maintenance plan?  What does it consist of?
  6. Type of Transformer.  Is the transformer a pluggable type?  Is it a multi-tap?  Is the timer built in or is it a separate unit?
  7. Lighting Control.  How is the lighting controlled?  Timer?  Photocell?  Lighting control from inside the home?  Can I integrate my porch lights and existing lights/switches with the system?
  8. Night Time Demonstration.  Do they offer a night time demonstration?  Is it complimentary?
  9. Made in the USA.  Are their fixtures made in the USA?  Are they handcrafted?
  10. Dark Sky Compliant.  Is their system Dark Sky Compliant?

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio, we’ve done your homework for you!  We’ve asked ourselves these very questions, and are proud to say we can answer each and every one of them in a manner that will benefit YOU, the homeowner!  Here are our answers to the ten areas mentioned above:

  1. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio has been in business in San Antonio for almost two years, and is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau.  The Our parent company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Franchise Corporation, has been in business for almost fifteen years, and has over 70 locations around the world.
  2. We use a variety of fixtures depending upon the specific application.  We use well lights with large PAR-36 bulbs for lighting the façade, large trees, and other objects, smaller bullet type fixtures with MR-16 (projector style) bulbs for smaller shrubs, number signs, or statues.
  3. We use extruded PVC in the construction of our well lights, and all our path and specialty lights are made of solid copper.  We never use painted or powder coated fixtures, as they still peel with time.
  4. We offer a one year warranty on our bulbs, assuming a normal operation time of sunset to approximately midnight; a ten year warranty on our fixtures; a lifetime warranty on our transformers; a two year warranty on our Lighting Control Automation.
  5. We offer an annual maintenance plan, where we will come and change all bulbs, rebury exposed wire, trim shrubs, treat with fire ant retardant, and check voltages and transformer operation to completely recondition the system for another year.
  6. Our transformers are all pluggable, multi-tap transformers, which allow us to use a variety of timing systems, especially our state-of-the art Lighting Control Automation.  A multi-tap transformer allows us to fine tune the voltages at each fixture to be sure every one is between 11.0-11.5 volts.  Because the timer is a separate system, a timer failure does not render the entire transformer unusable, as happens with the cheaper integrated timer/transformer systems you find at the box stores.
  7. While we offer timers and photocells, our state-of-the-art Lighting Control Automation allows the homeowner complete control of the lighting from inside the home, along with allowing the integration of porch lights, security lights, and switches into the system, for an added level of home security.
  8. We always offer the homeowner a Night Time Demonstration, so they can see exactly what their home looks like with our lighting installed.
  9. All of our fixtures are handcrafted right here in the USA.
  10. Our low voltage systems are fully Dark Sky Compliant.

For answers to addtional questions you may have, feel free to read our blog posts, visit our website, or call us at 210-971-8759 for more information.

Kenneth Wells

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio