Spot lights, path lights and other miscellaneous lighting equipment too often takes center stage in the conversation about landscape lighting design. While it is important to have high quality products that will withstand the elements, it is important to remember that the light fixtures we use are simply just tools we use to create the breathtaking lighting effects on your home and landscape. Our motto is see the effect-not the source.
Avoiding "Fixture Fixation"
When you are discussing lighting with a company that you are considering hiring for designing and installing your landscape lighting, take note of where they put the emphasis in your meeting. Most companies will come to you with a big brochure or catalog or they will spend most of their time talking about the superiority of their fixtures over another brand, blah blah blah. What it all boils down to is that your are dealing with a company that has little to no experience or confidence in landscape lighting design. So, instead of talking about the desired "effects and layers of lighting" they can create, they will instead dazzle you with a wide variety of lighting equipment. I like to diagnose this disease as, "fixture fixation". While it is fundamentally important to the long term success of your project to use top quality lighting equipment, the design of your project is what seperates the the lighting artists from the fixture peddlers.
Lighthouse of Indianapolis is part of a bigger national group that has the financial backing and strength to manufacture its own products to standards that exceed industry norms, this way both the lighting designer and the homeowner can have supreme confidence in knowing that the equipment being installed is second to none. This is what allows us focus our conversation and emphasis on what is most important- The Lighting Design.
Brass, Bronze & Copper
When we design and install our lighting, we do it with the intent of hiding the lighting equipment as much as possible so the emphasis is less on the fixtures and more on the effect of the lighting. That being said, we also realize that the finish and construction of the lighting equipment is important. Our harsh Indiana winters can take a tall on anything that is left outside, therefore we only use non-ferous materials such as brass, bronze and copper for our lighting equipment. These durable metal blends have been proven over millenia to withstand the elements and the test of time. We also use fixtures with a dark bronze finish so that they will seemlessly blend into the surroundings of mulch and other landscape features. All of our fixtures are furnace cast bronze and brass and are very substantial in weight. Our copper fixtures have a combination of brass and spun copper housings in natural finishes that will patina over time.
LED Lamps vs Integrated Fixtures
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the types of LEDs used in fixtures today. An integrated LED, which essentially means that the LED board is permenantly bonded to the fixture and there are LED lamps. Lighthouse uses LED lamps because they hold many advantages over fixed, integrated fixtures.
Landscapes are dynamic and always changing. LED lamps allow us to change the power and beam spreads as needed over time without having to cut out and replace the entire integrated fixture.
If an LED lamp fails, we simply drop in a new lamp
We can change out to colored lamps for seasonal celebrations
LEDs- Lumens, CRI and CCT
LEDs have revolutionized the landscape lighting industry over the past 5 years. At first there was little standardization about lumens, color and other variables like we have had in the incandescent world for ages. Recently though, LEDs have undergone major upgrades in color and consistancy across the board. Lighthouse uses a 4 step bining process is very selective of the CREE LED chipsets they choose for their lamps. Furthermore, all of our LED products undergo rigorous testing to L70 for predictive lifespan guarantees. We no longer measure our lamps by wattage like the old days. Now everything is based in lumen measurements, which is simply a meausre of the efficacy or brightness of the light source in terms of lumen measurements. Most of the lamps we use are a warm white 2700 kelvin, CCT (very much like the wam incandescant and halogen lamps that we love and are used to). We do use a variety of different color temperatures in our designs, it is soley dependent upon what we are lighting and the desired overall feel of the space. There are other factors that determine the quality of a good LED chipset such as CRI (Color Rendering Index) or the percent indicating how accurate a given light source is at rendering color when compared to a reference light source. The higher the percentage, the more accurate the true color rendering. Our LED lamps top the charts for most LEDs with percentages in the high 80s and 90s for percentage.
A Lighthouse transformer or (power center) is the heart of the landscape lighting system. It converts the line voltage in your home down by a factor of 10 to 12 volts. Low voltage lighting is much more appropriate for residential spaces and the variety of lamps available to use allow us to paint our lighting portraits with a fine brush instead of a paint roller like line voltage. Our power centers utilize a toroidal core which is more efficient than the old laminated cores and they also do not buzz and hum like a cheaper, laminated core transformer. Our professional transformers are housed in a weather tight, stainless steel case that conceals easily on the side of a house or in the garage. Our units have multiple voltage taps that allow us to fine tune the input voltage to our LED lamps and overcome voltage loss due to voltage drop that occurs in low volt lighting systems. We will also couple a control device with out transformer depending on how our clients prefer to control their lighting. We can keep things very simple with a photocell, or we can geek you out with smart phone or tablet control of your lighting as well.
Industry Leading Warranty
Having a warranty on what you buy is very important, but it is often only as good as the company you purchased from. Sadly, In our Indianapolis area, I have seen far too many "tail-light" warranties that were never honored. A tail light warranty means, your warranty left with the person you just paid pulling out of your driveway, who you may or may not ever see again. This is very common with "mom and pop" type companies and those who undercut everyone else with low pricing to win the job, only to be out of business in 2 years because their low pricing couldn't sustain their business operation. We have seen many come and go and we have repaired many of those systems. Lighthouse is different than most lighting companies. Your products are not only backed by us, your local lighthouse company, but they are also backed wtih the power of a national franchise corporation that guarantees 100% satisfaction with all of it's customers nationwide. When you purchase a customized Lighthouse design, you will actually register your system with a corporate entity that will have your back and will always be around to honor their warranty to you.