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Earth Day, 2015 – How You Can Help

Image used courtesy of Lima Pix

It’s Earth Day once again, a time for celebration and planning for how best to preserve our planet for next year and the next generation.  This year we have some great news:  Annual global emissions of CO2 gasses have, for the first time in 40 years, remained the same as the previous year.  This shows that measures which work are starting to be adopted across the globe.  All of the energy-star rated light bulbs, renewable energy plants, recycling centers, and conservation efforts put into place over this past generation are bringing a visible effect to the world.  Next Wednesday (April 22nd) marks the 45th Annual Earth Day celebration and, in honor of this fantastic milestone and the people who will gather in Washington on Saturday, we’d like to highlight some simple ways you can help when it comes to the global climate and health of the Earth. Continue Reading

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Lighting Ideas for your Backyard Barbecue

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It’s almost that time of year again: time for dressing down in your favorite pair of shorts, calling up your closest family and friends, and of course throwing a few slabs onto the sizzling grill. That’s right—it’s time for a barbecue! But before you begin making those phone calls and inquiring about who’s bringing which side, consider swanking up your backyard barbecue with a few lights. These decorative lighting options can help to create a fun ambiance and are also helpful if your barbecue bash lasts into the evening. Note that in deciding on lighting for your barbecue you should be certain that your lights are also outdoor rated.

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Current Underdriving and Overdriving for LEDs

Overdriving and Underdriving LEDs

Sometimes LED light bulbs glow faintly when the power is off, sometimes they’re brighter than listed, and sometimes they aren’t as bright as we feel they should be.  It’s a current problem, by which I mean the flow of electricity is the cause of these issues.  Electrical current (the rate at which electricity flows in a circuit) controls just how much wattage is being used by the LED and how bright, or active, that LED chip is.  Changes in this electrical current, above or below the optimal driving current, can lead to underdriving or overdriving of the LED.  These changes can decrease efficiency and lifespan, but how and why?  Over- and under-driven LEDs are controlled by the drivers associated with them.  This is why you typically see this as an issue with low voltage (12- or 24-volt) LED lamps.  The driver regulates either the current or the voltage being delivered to the LEDs.  Using the wrong driver can deliver either too much current or too little, leading to one of these two driving states. Continue Reading

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The Evolution of Artificial Lighting, Pt. 1

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In the many tens of thousands of years preceding electricity, animal fats, oils, wicks, fuels, and gasses were just some of the substances used to create artificial lighting. Since then, our species has made great strides towards improving the way we illuminate our world, from the invention of the light bulb in the early 1800s to the increasingly more energy-efficient and convenient lighting of the 21st century, and we continue to refine our techniques to this day. Here are the key milestones in the development of manmade light, starting with pre-electrical lamps. Continue Reading

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Three Important Factors for ENERGY STAR® Rated Light Bulbs

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We’ve all seen it: the blue label with white cursive writing and a star behind it. ENERGY STAR® has served as a trademarked standard in energy-efficient consumer related products for over 20 years. Light bulbs are awarded an ENERGY STAR approval rating if they meet or exceed the qualifications on a list of lighting standards. While these are not all of the standards for ENERGY STAR, light output, energy efficiency, and life-span are vital guidelines that must be met. Let’s take a closer look at these light bulb standards and how they work.

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How to Care for Easter Lilies

Image used courtesy of Wanna Be Creative

Once again Easter is here.  Amidst the baby bunnies, pastel-pigmented poultry, and colored candies, you’ll find many different kinds of flowers adorning homes, houses of worship, and businesses.  But out of these flowers, one stands out the strongest:  The Easter Lily.  A beautiful white flower that has come to symbolize, at least in some way, the period of rebirth after winter ends and spring begins once more.  In even better news, Easter Lilies can live and bloom for multiple years. Continue Reading