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Sustainable Tennessee Farmhouse: Energy-Efficient Fixtures and Light Bulbs for our Home

6/28/2010 4:58:02 PM

Tags: sustainable tennessee farmhouse, LEED Platinum house, tennessee, rebecca selove,

Early in the process of building our home, I felt overwhelmed by what seemed to be an enormous task: choosing the various kinds of energy-efficient lighting fixtures for our house within our budget.

The most daunting part of the equation was attempting to figure out what kind of illumination would be produced by each fixture/bulb/space combination. I found explanations of some of the differences in how LED bulbs look at Earth Easy as well as information about lumens (how much brightness a bulb produces) and Kelvin (how warm or cool the light appears) at a number of other sites and magazines (including an article on energy-efficient lighting I’d saved from the November/December 2007 issue of Natural Home).

We chose Energy Star-rated fixtures when we could find them, which included all but one interior ceiling light and 3 exterior flush-mounted lights. Photo-sensitivity is important for energy efficiency in exterior lights, as are fluorescent or LED bulbs, which we have in all interior fixtures. Our Energy Star-rated exterior floodlights came with halogen bulbs. I learned that some energy rating systems count fluorescent fixtures for bulbs with pins as more efficient than ones that screw in because incandescent bulbs can’t be substituted in fixtures made for bulbs with pins. Because we ordered most fixtures from catalogs, I was guessing about some aspects of appearance. Prices ranged considerably, and were not necessarily related to quality (according to our consultants), except that fixtures that came with LED bulbs were more expensive. 

LED lights
LBL LED pendants add an elegant touch to our home. Photo By Rebecca Selove.

I preferred white rather than warm white bulbs when I had a choice, and knew I wanted a really bright overhead light in the kitchen. We found a large selection and lower prices for ceiling can LED bulbs and LED tube lights for closets and utility rooms at LED Liquidators. I chose bulbs based on the incandescent watt equivalent provided for each bulb, as well as size, shape, degrees of lighting and appearance of bulbs. Our exterior fixtures came from Seagull Lighting and most of the interior lights are from Minka-Lavery.

seagull light pole
We chose an outdoor light pole from Sea Gull Lighting. Photo By Rebecca Selove.

I am grateful for the guidance I received from our interior designer, Melanie Leader, and two especially knowledgeable lighting consultants at Hermitage Lighting (Dan) and the Ferguson Gallery (Nicci) where we bought most of our lights. Their assistance brought the task down to a scale I could manage. I knew I would not be able to tell if we had what we wanted until we saw the lights on in our home at night. We turned on our electricity last week, and I feel lucky that it turned out so much to my liking.

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