Tag Archives: green design

Light Fair 2011: All about LEDs


When Judy and I visited Light Fair International this year, one thing was immediately obvious – the future of lighting is LED technology.  In fact, more than 90% of the new products we saw used some sort of LED as a light source.

So what exactly is an LED?  And what are the advantages/disadvantages of using them?  I’ll answer these questions so that you can feel comfortable about bringing LED technology into your life.  It’s just a matter of time before we see them everywhere!


What is an LED?

LED stands for “light emitting diode.”  It is a semiconductor light source that has been used since 1962 as indicator lights in many devices.   Recent advances in technology have increased the color range and brightness of LEDs, so that they are now widely used in all types of lighting – from street lamps to desk lamps.

Advantages of LEDs

LEDs have two main advantages – they are extremely energy efficient, and they have a very long life.  It only takes about 13Watts to power an LED with the light output of a 100Watt Incandescent!  And they have a life span of 50,000-100,000 hours.   These attributes make LEDs a favorite among green designers.

LEDs can be very compact and give off little heat.  This allows them to be used in places where traditional light sources would not work.  Flexible LED strips are available that are paper thin and can be placed in almost any location – including outdoors.

Disadvantages (and things to watch out for)

Despite advances in technology, many LEDs are known to have inconsistent light color output.  This means that two “identical” LED fixtures placed side-by-side could give off different colors of light.  Usually, the differences are small.   But in some cases the differences can be noticeable and ugly.  The only way to be sure is to order samples or see the products in person before you buy.

LEDs can also be prone to “flicker,” a phenomenon where the diode turns on and off in rapid succession.  Flicker can lead to all sorts of problems – hyperactivity or distraction in children, migraines, and even epileptic seizures.  In most cases, flicker can be avoided by choosing a better ballast for your light fixture.  As with fluorescent lights, electronic ballasts are usually better than magnetic ballasts.

LEDs are typically more expensive than older lighting technologies.  But their increased efficiency means that they will “pay for themselves” in the form of reduced electricity bills.

There’s no avoiding LEDs – they are quickly becoming the future of lighting.  I hope these tips will make the transition easier for you!


image 1 &  6: studio1onethousand.com

image 2: wikipedia

image 3: frogdesign

image 4: google

image 5: tech lighting

Living Green: 2009 Green Home Tour Presented by Stock Building Supply

The 4th Annual Green Home Tour presented by Stock Building Supply is running May 2nd 10am-6pm and May 3rd noon-6pm across 6 counties in the Triangle area. Design Lines provided the interior design services for the entry by Rufty Homes. This house is worth checking out!

The house is located in Preston Grande II on 111 Trellingwood Drive in Morrisville. Click here for a map.

Molly Simmons, ASID of Design Lines was part of the team Rufty Homes, Inc. put together who designed and built a home that was not only beautiful for the client but also one that was environmentally friendly. The green approach is documented in a set of guidelines put out by the Green Home Builders of the Triangle Green Building Initiative.

The green design included a selection of the following:

• Kitchen counter tops came from recycled glass- Rockin ‘teriors

• Cabinetry met green specifications- used with no formaldehydes

• Solar panels are used to heat the water

• Carpet was made using recycled material

• Water based floor stain instead of chemical based was used

• Hardwood floors were sourced locally to cut down on energy expense of transportation

Energy Star appliances and windows

• Sprayed foam insulation to increase thermal envelope effectiveness

• Siding with EPA approved borates

(Visit the house to see a complete listing of the green features.)

Being green does not have to be tiring, time consuming or an after thought; but rather should be efficient, beautiful and best of all environmentally sound.

Award Winning Interior Design | Raleigh, NC