All posts by Clarolux

Designing a lighting system with the lamp in mind – Brilliance LED, LLC

Any professional lighting designer knows that one size lamp does not fit all applications.  Yet, some lighting manufacturers continue to sell their fixtures with the lamp included. We have yet to figure out how they know what will be lit.

The first step in designing a successful and aesthetically pleasing landscape lighting system is to start with the lamp, not the fixture.  Different objects deserve to be lit with the optimum wattage and beam angle to maximize the desired effect.  You wouldn’t want to light a tall narrow tree with a wide beam angle lamp where half the light is ineffective. Conversely, you wouldn’t wash a wall with a narrow spot.  Once the proper lamp has been selected, the contractor or designer can choose the best housing or fixture to support the lamp.

In an effort to be the best lighting designer possible, we encourage you to design with the desired end result in mind, hence your customers satisfaction.  Don’t settle for a “mediocre” result; go for the “WOW effect”!

Below is an example of how the same fixture and type of lamp with different beam angles/spreads can make a difference in the finished product.  Big difference!

Brilliance LED

Great examples of designing with light landscape images below courtesy of Light It Right in Houston, Texas utilizing 2700K Brilliance LED lamps in various beam angles. Photos by Gary Zvonkovic Photography. Copyright 2015
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Brilliance LED Front of house


Brilliance LED landscape lighting


ClaroLux’s Lighting & Design Award – 2014 Winners

Each year ClaroLux® conducts their annual Lighting & Design photo contest, open to all of ClaroLux’s® valued dealers. The Lighting & Design Competition is a great opportunity for ClaroLux’s® Dealers to display their finest work, and to be recognized and rewarded for it. All of the 2014 Lighting & Design Award recipients not only win notoarity for winning but they also win 100 ClaroBucks that is loaded onto their ClaroLux® Visa Reward Card.

This year ClaroLux® selected winners in 4 categories:

  • Best Architectural Lighting – Home Project
  • Best Architectural Lighting – Commerical Project
  • Best Outdoor Living Area
  • Best Landscape (and/or Garden Area)

ClaroLux® is very proud to annouce the 2014 winners and their dedication to the outdoor lighting industry.

Congratulations to Light It Right – Winner of Architectural Home Project Category

500 Light Project on a Beautiful Estate in Houston, Texas


Lighting & Design 1278 / PRIVATE RESIDENCE, THE WOODLANDS / LIGHT IT RIGHT

Lighting & Design PRIVATE RESIDENCE LIGHT IT RIGHT Win

Lighting & Design PRIVATE RESIDENCE, THE WOODLANDS Winner

Lighting & Design Award Winner for Light It Right




PRIVATE RESIDENCE Winner Lighting & Design

Lighting & Design Photo Winner

Image Winner Lighting & Design



Congratulations to Southern Lights – Winner of Architectural Commercial Project Category

Downtown Randleman Revitalization Project


Lighting & Design winner

Commercial Project Lighting & Design

Project Winner Lighting & Design



Congratulations to Southern Showplace Landscapes – Winner of Outdoor Living Area Category

Bocce Ball Court on Lake Norman Estate


Winner Outdoor Living Space Lighting & Design

Lighting & Design Outdoor Winner



Congratulations to Carolina Outdoor Lighting Professionals – Winner of Landscape/Garden Area Category

Water Feature/Garden Area on an Estate in Raleigh, North Carolina

Garden Winner Lighting & Design

2015 AOLP Annual Conference & Expo

This week ClaroLux® was in San Antonio, Texas enjoying the beautiful weather and great company at the annual AOLP Annual Conference & Expo. ClaroLux® was proud to be one of the Gold Sponsors of the 2015 show.  The AOLP Conference took place at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel.  It was an absolutely beautiful place and was the perfect setting for the AOLP Expo.

 

AOLP Annual Conference We would just like to say thank you to all of the members and speakers for a wonderful trip that was put together.  A special thanks to the 2015 AOLP Executive Board Members including Matthew Broyles (President), Paul Welty (Vice President), Gerry De La Vega (Treasurer), John Niggli (Secretary), Paul Gosselin, John Niggli, Michael Deo, Victor Samano, Lisa Frye (Executive Director). Thank you all again for the time and effort that you put into the AOLP expo and conference.  Each and every year it gets bigger and better.

If you are looking to expand your knowledge in the industry please visit the AOLP website.  AOLP offers many certification programs for outdoor lighting designers and professionals including COLD and CLVLT.

Make sure that the fixtures you are using carry the proper electrical listings

Many companies today in the market place offer fixtures that do not carry the proper electrical listings.  What does this mean to you?

When a fixture or electrical component is not properly tested by UL (or any other electrical listing entity), this fixture becomes a liability to your company.  No matter which brand of fixtures you are thinking of using, keep in mind the necessity of proper electrical listings.

All projects that are going in the ground today have the right to be inspected.  Even if you are not pulling the proper permits prior to the project being installed inspectors still have the right to inspect your work.  This means if you are installing a project and your local electrical inspector happens to drive by, he will most likely stop to check to see that you have the proper permits and are installing properly listed equipment. This is becoming more and more prevalent due to electrical fires that are occuring from inproper installation techniques and non-listed fixtures (fixtures that are usually imported from China).

proper electrical listings UL Logo

There is just far too much product being sold (from a variety of sources) that does not carry the appropriate listings. You as a professional installer must be certain that the components you are installing are properly inspected and listed. If the lighting fixtures that you are using are not properly listed, you could find yourself in a situation where your insurance is void and you are liable for anything that might happen to the system you have installed. Even if nothing ever happens to the system (safety wise), if your local electrical inspectors find unlisted product being installed they can take action against you.

Be smart!  Use properly listed products and help to protect our industry!  All ClaroLux Landscape Lighting products are UL Listed and meet UL code 1838.

Announcing ClaroLux’s® 2015 ClaroBucks Rewards Program

ClaroBucks Rewards ProgramClaroLux® is very excited to announce their new and improved 2015 ClaroBucks Rewards Program with the launch of the ClaroLux Visa® Prepaid Card. In 2015 you will earn up to 2% of your net purchases which will be loaded onto your ClaroLux® Card. To kick off the program ClaroBucks Rewards earned in 2014 will be loaded on your ClaroLux® Visa Prepaid Card and distributed in March. Your card can be used at approximately 170 popular retail, travel and entertainment establishments. You can use your card online or in person, making it easy for you to shop, dine, and have fun!

The ClaroLux® Visa Prepaid Card is a reloadable card which means ClaroBucks will be added to your card each quarter as long as you have made qualifying purchases. The ClaroBucks program is open to ClaroLux® Dealers in good standing that make a minimum of $5,000 in annual ClaroLux® purchases. The percentage of purchase dollars awarded to your account is dependent on your annual purchase volume. For full program details please visit ClaroLux’s Dealer website and click on the ClaroBucks Rewards tab within the dealer section.

Visit MyPrepaidCenter.com to see the current listing of participating merchants*, to check your card balance, and get questions answered about your card.

Note: your card is a prepaid card and not a credit card, which means you cannot pay with the card beyond the available balance. You can only use the funds available on your card. Each time you use your card, funds will be deducted from your card balance. This card cannot be used at ATMs or to get cash back from merchants. If your card has a balance after the card expiration date, a $2.50 monthly fee will be accessed on your card until the balance reaches zero.

*Merchants are subject to change. Prepaid cards are issued in connection with an award program. Prepaid card is issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A., Inc. No cash access or recurring payments. Can be used at select merchants that accept Visa debit cards, see website below. Card valid for up to 24 months, funds do not expire and may be available after card expiration date, monthly card account management and post-expiration card re- issuance fees may apply. Card terms and conditions apply, see MyPrepaidCenter.com.

Coastal Environments – The Effects Of Salt Water On Landscape Lighting Systems

As we all know, the effects of salt water on landscape lighting systems and coastal environments are very hard on man-made objects.  With the recent surge in the market antique brass landscape lighting fixtures many landscape lighters are not considering the long term affects of using brass instead of copper.  Antique brass fixtures are great because they offer a beautiful patina look right out of the box.  So unlike copper you do not have to wait for the fixture to patina.  So from day one, you get the natural aged look.  But with most brass fixtures on the market you tend to lose that beautiful aged look within a few weeks of being outside near the coast.

There are many variables that can help you to choose what metal is best for you…the first and most important variable is the environment that you live.  Over time a landscape lighting system is only as good as the materials that they are constructed of.  If you live within three miles of a brackish or saltwater environment then you know what happens to outdoor products of any kind.  Outdoor lighting fixtures take a beating when installed in these areas, that is why it is important to find the right light fixtures for the right areas. Even if you don’t live near the coast using landscape lighting fixtures made from materials that will last is paramount.

At ClaroLux®, we offer several different types of materials for every budget and environment.  If you live near the coast then we have two products that we recommend that you can choose from – copper and brass.

Solid Brass Lighting Fixtures – If you are looking to use primarily brass and you are located near the coast then you will need to understand that the brass look that you purchased will not always look like it did when it was first installed.  Cast brass outdoor light fixtures are designed to stand up well to salt corrosive environments but the brass material will patina with age.  Most raw brass or bronze fixtures must be rinsed to control the salt build-up.

Solid brass outdoor fixtures can come in different finishes like bronze and brushed nickel made by creating a chemical reaction.  ClaroLux’s® brass line has a limited lifetime warranty and is designed specifically for coastal environments.  Their brass fixtures also come with ClaroLux’s® patented protectant sealant that helps to preserve the finish and material for many years to come.

Effects Of Salt Water On Landscape Lighting SystemsThe fixture shown here was manufactured by one of the top landscape lighting companies in the country. This particular fixture does not come with a protectant sealant to preserve the antique brass finish.  The photo was taken by one of ClaroLux’s® Dealers in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after two months of being installed. The photo shows how salt water environments can destroy the finish on some landscape lighting fixtures in a very short period of time. The harsh coastal climate in Puerto Vallarta is one of the reasons for this particular dealer switching to ClaroLux’s® brass line.  He loves the brass look but was having a hard time finding a lighting company that could help him with his request.  ClaroLux® delivered not only a product that could stand up to the test of time but also remained as beautiful as the first day it was installed.

 

Solid Copper Effects Of Salt Water On Landscape Lighting SystemsSolid Copper Lighting Fixtures – – Copper is ClaroLux’s® number one seller to their Dealers in coastal environments.  ClaroLux’s® copper landscape lighting fixtures are designed to stand up well to salt corrosive environments but will need to understand that the polished copper look will patina with age.  ClaroLux® recommends to rinse your light fixtures off periodically to control the salt build-up. Solid copper outdoor fixtures can come in different finishes like polished, brushed or stained copper.  Beware of copper plated aluminum fixtures that are advertised as copper fixtures.  ClaroLux’s® copper line has a limited lifetime warranty and is designed specifically for coastal environments.

The fixture shown here is ClaroLux’s® CL-AL1-I copper landscape lighting fixture that was installed 0.5 miles away from the coast.  The photo was taken by one of ClaroLux’s® Dealers in Charleston, South Carolina after three months of being installed.

As you can see the shinny polished copper look is now a nice brown/green patina.  Copper is one of the most durable metals that also gives you that beautiful natural patina look.  Copper lighting fixtures tend to patina better than any other affordable raw material on the market and that is why copper is ClaroLux’s® #1 choice for coastal environments.

Brilliance’s New 120˚ MR16 LED

MR16 LEDLEDs are becoming more and more versatile as they begin to replace all of the aging halogen landscape lighting systems in the marketplace.  Professionals are now relying on LEDs more so than ever to help them to bring their designs to life.  What used to be a world dominated by halogen landscape lighting fixtures and lamps is now being ruled by LEDs.  As the demand for LEDs continues to grow, so are the choices for LEDs.  Recently Brilliance MR16 LED added a “no lens” 120˚ MR16 LED that can be used in a bullet/spot light fixture like ClaroLux’s CL-BL21 & CL-BL23 MR16 LED.  This enables the fixture to not only be used as a directional spot light but also a wash light.  The 120˚ MR16 LED allows professionals to softly wash surfaces that used to require the use of a bulky wash light and inefficient halogen bi-pins.  With the use of the 120˚ MR16 LEDs in bullet/spot lights like the CL-BL21 and CL-BL23 this not only creates a super efficient luminaire but also a very versatile one.
ClaroLux’s CL-BL21 and CL-BL23 also come with many other accessories like honey comb louvers, colored lens (green, red, amber, metal halide, mercury vapor), etc.    In the past if you were to use a wash light to softly illuminate a surface you would be limited to just how bright you wanted the luminaire to be.  Now, with the introduction of the 120˚ MR16 from Brilliance LED, this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for outdoor lighting designers and professionals.

ClaroLux is excited to be one of the first landscape lighting manufacturers to offer the 4W, 5W and 7W 120˚ MR16 LEDs from Brilliance.

Surge Protectors Are A Must For Your LED Landscape Lighting System

Just like our electrical appliances and computers at home that need surge protectors in case of lightning or electrical storms, so do your outdoor LED luminaires and LED landscape lighting systems.

The arrival of LEDs in the outdoor landscape lighting industry opened the door to new opportunities for highly efficient lighting solutions. LEDs have made it possible to light our homes, landscapes, and other outdoor living areas more efficiently with a much longer lifespan. It has allowed manufacturers like ClaroLux to develop and create landscape lighting products that provide high performance luminaries like never before.

Low voltage LEDs are built with sensitive electronic components that need to be protected against electrical noise sometime called electromagnetic interference (EMI). Because these low voltage landscape LED luminaires are installed outside in harsh electrical outdoor environments these sensitive electronic components MUST be protected to avoid early failure.

What are we protecting our LED luminaires from?

It is important to protect your LED landscape lighting systems from high energy electrical discharges that are transmitted to the landscape lighting luminaire itself or into the electrical grid network. The high energy electrical discharges consist of electrical noise created by other electrical devices that are connected on the same electrical network like HID ballast, or industrial equipment-like motors. A discharge can also be created by electrical flashes, lightning striking nearby electrical networks or buildings and transferring high electrical energy to the luminaires. Depending on where the luminaires are connected on the electrical distribution grid or depending on the geographical location (ie: Tampa Bay known as the lightning city) equipment might be at high risk of failure if there is no surge protector.

How do surge protectors work?

Surge protection devices, also known as SPDs, consist of well-designed assemblies of electronic components, including Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV). ClaroLux recommends connecting the SPD at the very first stage of the luminaire’s power input, the transformer.  The SPD will get the hit first and react rapidly. It detects the abnormal voltage and starts conducting current in order to capture the high energy surge. This is known as “clamping action”. It will bring the voltage back to typical normal level and redirect the high energy surge away from the sensitive components, to the SPD. Since the surge is not redirected to the ground, MOVs inside the SPD made up of a ceramic mass of zinc oxide grain packed between 2 metal plates will start digging and eliminating the surge energy. The higher the rating in energy ( Kjoules) for the SPD, the more energy it will be able to take and the longer it will last over time.

What Surge Protection Device (SPD) does ClaroLux recommend for their 12V LED landscape lighting systems?

Surge Protectors for landscapeSPDs are high energy and high peak current surge protection devices that are designed for electrical immunity in worst possible outdoor locations or scenarios.  When buying and installing outdoor LED luminaires, it is imperative that ClaroLux’s LED lighting systems be equipped with a high-quality surge protecting device.  One SPD that requires no hard wiring and is fairly inexpensive is the Tripp Lite UltraBlok Isobar Plug-In Surge Protection Device.

Isobar’s unique protection system combines large torroidal chokes, HF/VHF capacitors and multiple metal oxide varistors that remove high-level surges and EMI/RFI interference. UltraBlok offers 2 outlets arranged with standard wall socket spacing in a cordless direct plug-in format. Mounting tabs allow permanent connection via a duplex switchplate screw. Surge suppression rated at 1410 joules/48,000 amps offers high-grade protection. Diagnostic LEDs confirm power availability, line fault and protection status. Lifetime warranty with $10,000 Ultimate Lifetime connected equipment Insurance (USA & Canada Only).

Specifications of the Tripp Lite UltraBlok 428 Plug-In SPD:  

• Output capacity: 1800 watts • AC suppression: 1410 joules • Clamping voltage: 140V RMS • AC suppression response time: Less than 1 nanosecond • EMI/RFI filtering: up to 80 dB • Dimensions: 4″ H x 2-1/2″ W x 2-1/2″ D. Certifications: • UL1449 1998 Rev. (AC Suppression) • UL1283 (EMI Filter) • cUL / CSA (Canada) • Exceeds IEEE 587 category A&B specifications.

Manufacturer’s Part #: IGRM519423

Are you looking to set yourself apart from the competition? Look to AOLP

How can you set yourself apart from the competition, gain respect, acquire knowledge and invest in your future?  By becoming certified!  Join AOLP – Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals today.

AOLP Logo

AOLP offers certification programs (CLVLT) and ongoing educational and design programs that further your knowledge and expertise in the landscape lighitng industry.  To become a CLVLT or sign up for the COLD program simply click on the links below. The CLVLT exam and COLD sessions will be held at the AOLP Annual Conference & Expo.  This year the Expo is being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Antonio, TX the week of February 19 – 21, 2015.  The annual AOLP Conference & Expo is praised among members for its educational and networking opportunities.  It is also the perfect time to become certified.  The CLVLT exam and COLD sessions are held in the few days prior to the conference at the hotel.

COLD: Year 2 Session (Wednesday, February 18, 2015)

COLD: Year 4 Session (Tuesday, February 17 & Wednesday, February 18, 2015)

Click here for the registration form.  For more information on COLD, please click here.

CLVLT Exam (Wednesday, February 18, 2015).  Click here for the registration form.  For more information on CLVLT, click here.

If you have any questions about these certification programs, please contact Kelly at 717-238-2504 or certification@aolponline.org.

A Tree Light That Was Designed For Professionals By Professionals!

Tree Light

Manufactured in ClaroLux’s facility in Greensboro, NC, USA – the new TL24-II copper and TL24-III brass down lights are designed from an installers’ point of view.  By pulling together some of ClaroLux’s top Dealers, ClaroLux was able to design a landscape lighting tree light fixture that was not only installer friendly but also a fixture that will last a lifetime.

Many moonlight fixtures on the market today are not properly designed to be mounted to a tree.  These landscape lighting fixtures are usually designed by someone who has never installed a tree light before.  As all professionals in the landscape lighting industry know, tree lights can sometimes be very difficult to install.  Not only are you 30-40ft off of the ground (usually in a ladder).  You are limited to the amount of tools you can hold onto all while trying to install the luminaire.  With ClaroLux’s new slotted surface mount and easy, lock into place tree light fixture there is no need for cumbersome tools any more.  Simply secure the surface mount to the tree and now you are ready to install the fixture; tool free!  Below you can see some of the great features of the new TL24 tree light from ClaroLux…


Features:

  • Raised Surface Mount To Prevent The Tree From Growing Into The Fixture
  • Machined From Solid C110 Copper & C260/C360 Brass
  • Slotted, Easy to Install Fixture Mount – No Tools Required
  • Thumb Screw Adjustments for 360˚ of Adjustment/Rotation
  • Manufactured In ClaroLux’s Facility in Greensboro, NC, USA
  • Top Has Reverse Threads To Prevent Water Intrusion
  • Completely Sealed Luminaire
  • UL Listed
  • Adjustable, Extended Visor To Prevent Light Glare
  • 25ft 16AWG Wire Lead
  • Optional Lenses & Louvers Available
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Provided with Anchor Bolts and Wire Clamps for Proper Installation
  • Copper Beryllium Socket with SS MR16 Lamp Holder Clip