Total Lighting Blog

  • Das Gallery Fine Art Griplock track lighting suspension system installation

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    Tags: GripLock, Track lighting, Track Suspension System, Gallery

  • Calleis Sussex Griplock Track Lighting Suspension System Installation

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    Tags: GripLock, Track lighting, Track Suspension System, Gallery

  • The new Soraa GU10 MR16 LED light bulb is Here!

    Soraa has released the new Soraa GU10 MR16 LED light bulb and we have all of them. You can get the new Soraa LED GU10 MR16 in 10°, 25°, 36° and the whopping 60° beam spreads to meet your lighting demands.

    Not only can you get the new Soraa LED MR16 in such a wide range of beam spreads there are also available 2700K, 3000K and 5000K color temperatures to get the color you need in your lighting application.

     

    Go check them out by clicking on the links below!

    For recessed lighting go here: http://totalrecessedlighting.com/recessed-lighting-light-bulbs/led-bulbs/soraa-led-bulbs/soraa-2-gu10-mr16-light-bulbs.html

    For track lighting here: http://totaltracklighting.com/track-lighting-bulbs/led-bulbs/soraa-led-bulbs/soraa-2-gu10-mr16-light-bulbs.html

    For bulk go here: http://totalbulklighting.com/led-lamps/mr16-led-bulbs/soraa-led-mr16-lamps/soraa-2-gu10-mr16-light-bulbs.html

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    Tags: led, Soraa, GU10, MR16

  • Track Lighting Design That's Smart and Sustainable

    Savvy Salon Style With Grip Lock Lighting and SORAA LED Bulbs: Smart track lighting solutions for a smart design-a true story about sustainable track lighting design.

    Calleisinteriors-SussexConstruction-020

    Calleis Salon and Spa. Photography by Wandering Albatross Photography

    Concept: an Aveda Salon, Calleis Salon and Spa, wanted an image of their space to work functionally and to have a feel of quality, yet convey a naturalness. For the designer of the space, it was fortunate that the Aveda Company did not come with design specific restrictions-the designer had free reign.

    Location: Helena, Montana. The space of the salon/spa is modern and colorful-so is the packaging of the Aveda products. The designer, Rebekka (Bekka) Cantrell of Sussex Construction, wanted to work with a monochromatic color palette that conveyed serenity; one that was quiet and understated. Bekka chose to work with the color palette of driftwood. From a design standpoint, she needed the track lighting to compliment the earthy feel, and yet have it be bright and feel natural. The lighting also needed to be high color rendering. One side of the space had lots of natural light and the other side did not-the designer also wanted lighting between these two areas to be balanced and to be able to control it in order to be able to adjust with the seasonal changes. The designer also wanted to be able to use a lighting source that was sustainable-as that is part of the mission and reputation of Sussex Construction-for green building experience while being sustainable.

    When our lighting designer here at Total Lighting Supply told Bekka about the SORAA bulb, she fell in love with it as it was a single point light source that offered crisp, clear light with no harsh shadows. You can find out more about the SORAA bulb here. With the space having a lot of natural light on one side and none on the other, there really needed to be a balance of light on both sides. There were a lot of areas where the light needed to be closer to the product-where it had to be brought down into the space, as the ceilings were 14 ft. high. The designer wanted an uncluttered look and also needed to be able to change the lighting with the light shifts that come with seasonal changes. She needed a suspended track lighting system to solve the problem and Grip Lock offered that solution since it was totally unobtrusive. With the Grip Lock Suspension System, it gave the designer a way to bring lighting down in to the area without having the lighting fixture be a key visual feature when clients walked in to the space. It also allowed for a more natural feel to the space.

    Calleisinteriors-SussexConstruction-009

    Calleis Salon and Spa. Photography by Wandering Albatross Photography

    The salon/spa is also in a green building and SORAA met the bill on that one. In addition, Helena's building code requires 70% efficiency on lights-a tough one to meet, but becoming more and more do-able with all the lighting choices out there. Even in track lighting.

    Calleisinteriors-SussexConstruction-011

    Calleis Salon and Spa. Photography by Wandering Albatross Photography

    For the client, going with the SORAA bulbs were a big initial investment, but the designer did some number crunching and calculated that it would only take 3 years and 2 months to realize the payback on this. Plus, this also met the building code, satisfied the clients needs for the space and leaves a smaller carbon footprint. From a design and client standpoint, the math worked on this, as did the visual and the esthetics. Definitely a win-win scenario.

    The track lighting allows the client to show off a lot of natural products in a natural looking light. Everything is soft and muted. Even the wood is eco friendly in this site being locally harvested and reclaimed. The light is diffused. The areas where the designer dropped down light was the cash register and the wash basin areas where a lot of light is needed. The designer says that even with artificial light in these areas, it still had a sense of it being a natural light source. This lighting effect is something that can never be achieved with halogen lights since they are not a single source light. SORAA is a natural looking light source that is even-halogen is not. Not to mention, that for the designer, SORAA had the color temperature she was looking for AND the right amount of lumens.

    Calleisinteriors-SussexConstruction-025

    Calleis Salon and Spa. Photography by Wandering Albatross Photography

    If you've worked with Total Lighting Supply on a lighting project and would like to see an article about your experience here at our blog, contact us-we'd love to work with you on this!

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    Tags: retail lighting, Salon and spa design, lighting retail space, sustainable track lighitng

  • What is Specular Lighting and When Is It Good?

    pin point light sources

    Specular lighting is a reflective light which causes highlights upon the object(s) it is lighting-that bright spot that you see on the object from the reflective light is what is known as specular light.

    OK, so now you are asking me, "why is this important to me?".  You might not care about the fact that specular lighting falls off of the surface faster than diffused lighting (as my son used to say when he was a teenager, "who cares, mom?"). But, you will want to know that it does add significant detail to the object. Whether or not your application has to do with retail, design, or just making your living space look better, this is certainly relevant information (if it isn't, it should be!).  Even in computer graphics, using the principles of specular lighting is important because it "provides a strong visual cue for the shape of an object and its location with respect to light sources in the scene" (Wikipedia). If specular lighting principles were not used in computer graphic design the images would appear to be very flat, lacking detail and dimension.

    Hold on to that thought.

    Now, take it and apply it to real life surroundings. A good way to illustrate specular is to point out examples of what isn't specular lighting. Diffused light sources are NOT specular. Take the image of the sparkly necklace pictured above. If it were lit with diffused light source, it would not have the depth, dimension and more importantly (in this case), the SPARKLE that it has. There would be less detail because the light source does not give a good separation from the background to the foreground. So, if you wanted to light a room so that it had depth, detail, and drama, would you use a single light source such as an overhead fluorescent fixture? Absolutely not. Fluorescent light sources can never be specular-nor any other light bulb that is coated. Light bulbs that are coated create a diffused light-therefore the object that it is lighting will not have as much depth and detail. Any light bulb that is clear would be a specular light source. The sun is a specular light source (it is not diffused light unless it is very overcast).

    Shadows are just important to good lighting just as much as the light source is. Shadows create depth. When viewing an object, the eye automatically goes to the brightest spot in the light field. Very much so like the effect a spotlight creates in theatrical lighting.

    specular lighting example specular lighting example

    Pictured above is a dish of foil wrapped chocolate-notice how you can see all the details in the image (if you can't, then find your reading glasses and put them on, for heaven's sake!). The corrugated edges of the paper, all the folds and wrinkles in the foil, and the distinct edges of the glass-it is this depth and detail that I am referring to that a specular light source will yield when used properly. In this example, the image was lit with a very small lighting fixture: our LED under cabinet light strip.

    So, if you want depth, detail, attention to what is being lit, go with a specular light source-which is any light bulb that does not have a coating on the glass. Be sure to check out our other blog articles for more helpful information and visit and subscribe to our You Tube Channel (which has even more helpful information than you could ever imagine). "Like' us on our Face Book page-which will help you keep track of what's new at Total Lighting Supply.

    And, as always, we welcome your comments-we love hearing from you!

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    Tags: led, LED under cabinet lighitng, trade show lighting solutions, led showcase light fixture, lighting basics, how to do proper lighting, retail lighting, home lighitng design, showcase lighting

  • Lighting Your Kitchen Like Pro

    Whether one is doing a kitchen remodel or starting from scratch, the lighting design is frequently the last thing considered and often the first thing to get cut from the budget. Design and planning should be phase 1 of a kitchen project whether you are starting from scratch or remodeling. If you want your lighting to look like it was done by a pro, choosing the right light and the right placement of the light will make all the difference in the world. And, these decisions need to occur in the initial stage of the project and not as a 'hindsight is 20-20' kind of thing.

    Lighting designers say that using three types of lighting functions is paramount to good lighting design-whether it is in your kitchen or elsewhere. It is a 'layering' technique:

    1) general light source

    2) task lighting

    3) drama or accent lighting (also known as focal lighting)

    Some designers like to incorporate dimming systems in their lighting design. Our designer recommends that dimming systems be avoided in most cases-with the exception of dining rooms and media rooms. Here are some reasons why a dimming system should be avoided: 1) color temperature shifts 2) bulb does not dim in the full range and will drop out around 15-20% 3) flickering. Halogen bulbs experience color temperature shifts when being dimmed-not to mention that they require more energy to run and create unwanted heat. Fluorescent bulbs do not have a filament-which translates to it not being conducive to being dimmed-they drop out at 15-20%-which in turn, does not give you the full range. Fluorescent bulbs will also flicker when being dimmed. LEDs do not have a filament either, and suffer from the same things that fluorescent bulbs do; dropping out at 15-20% and flickering. Flickering is a bigger deal than one would initially think: it can cause neurological disturbances, headaches, fatigue, eye strain, affects your perception of motion and is a distraction, to name a few of the problems. Hopefully, we've succeeded in talking you out of using a dimming system.

    You can achieve a more pleasing effect by using the layering technique. You can also keep your lighting costs down by using fixtures that can perform multiple functions.

    General Light Source

    6" recessed cans are a great choice for the general lights-and will give you the most choice by way of lamps/bulbs that fit into the fixture. When I did a kitchen remodel in my own home in 2008, LED lights for 6" recessed had just been introduced to the market. Yes, initially, LED bulbs cost more than their counterparts. However, I have no regrets to making that choice. For one, it takes less energy to have it on and keep it on. The bulbs provides up to 60,000 of continuous light that is cool burning nor does it have to warm up first. No other bulb can do that! LED is also the most 'green' choice you can make in keeping your carbon footprint down. Initially, we tried out LED bulbs that had a color temperature of 27K. We found these to look too 'yellow' and ended up going with a brighter, slightly cooler color temperature of 30K. Much better!

    LED 6" recessed kitchen lights

    Here is an example in my kitchen with just some of the recessed lights on-this is my 'everyday' lighting choice. The lights are LED bulbs in 6" recessed cans (my camera did yield some unwanted lens flare from pointing up in to the lights-those reflections are not really there on the ceiling).

    LED 6" and 4" CFL recessed kitchen lights

    In this example of my kitchen lighting, I have all of the recessed lights on. All decisions for the lighting source and placement were intentional. We looked for a light that had a broad, white, diffused, bright, even light-one that did not have 'edges' to the beam spread. This reduces the shadows on the work surfaces and the amount of glare. The LED lights we chose met that criteria. Track lighting was not a good choice because it is harsh, directional and creates lots of shadows. It wasn't appropriate for our application (you might have call for a directional light in your kitchen layout, however).

    My lighting designer wanted all my work surfaces to be evenly lit. Notice the distance of the recessed lights in relation to the cabinets. They are place 18" out from the cabinets so that it would light the cabinets and allow the light to light the inside of the cabinet when opened. This distance also minimized shadows cast in the area of the work space when standing at the counter. The space between each recessed light is about 2 feet-allowing for a well lit room. Notice too, that one is placed over the doorway.

    Look carefully at the bank of recessed lights above the table (far top right of image). These are 4" shower trims with a CFL bulb in each of them. "Why shower trims?", you ask. Shower trims were selected because of the glass insert is frosted (esthetics) and shower trims are offered in many attractive trims. Using the 4" trims also breaks things up and adds interest-we didn't need as much light over the table area.

    With the 6"recessed cans, our lighting designer put them on two switches so that you could just have some on and at other times, have them all on when you want it to be brighter. That provided two levels of general lighting.

    Task Lighting

    The next layer of lighting in my kitchen is task lighting. Right above my kitchen sink is a light to provide me with an additional layer of light-by way of a fluorescent fixture.

    kitchen sink task light

    Fluorescent light fixture over the kitchen sink for additional task lighting (I turned the general lighting off so that you can see this light source better).

    My stove top area also has two MR-16 halogens (soon to be switched over to the SORAA LED MR-16).

    task lighting over the stove top area achieve by way of halogen MR-16s

    Additional task lighting over the stove top achieved by way of two MR-16 halogen lights.

    Accent Lighting (for added drama)

    Accent lighting in my kitchen was achieved by way of additional fixtures under the cabinets (and how I wish the LED under cabinet fixtures were available then-instead I have fluorescent fixtures). The LED under the cabinet fixture is a great choice over a fluorescent since it lasts longer, is more energy efficient AND has a lower profile. Not to mention that the color rendering is much better. However, most LED under the cabinet fixtures require special wiring and hiding a transformer-not something that is easily done after the fact. Had this product been available when I did my kitchen remodel, I would have included it in the design. The LED under the cabinet is a specular light source-it gives an added dimension that a fluorescent bulb cannot. Think of it as adding more 'bling'.

    under cabinet lighting

    Under cabinet lighting achieved here by way of  fluorescent fixtures.

    cabinet lighting specials

    Pictured here are the fluorescent under the cabinet lights and MR-16 halogen lights in the upper cabinets. We do experience a problem with the halogen MR-16's in the cabinet-even when using the lowest wattage of 20 watts, over time, heat builds up in the cabinet and the lights go out. On our list of things to do is to replace it with a  1-3 watt LED MR-16 which will easily remedy the situation.

    Of course, it goes without saying, that if you have natural light to work with, by all means incorporate that in to your lighting design. Natural light always makes a home more appealing. When trying to achieve natural lighting with lighting fixtures, be sure to use bulbs that are described as 'daylight' instead of those described as warm-that way the color temperature is more closely matched.

    Hopefully, by sharing what went in to the decision making process for lighting choices in my kitchen remodel, you will have at least a better starting point. Avoid using a dimming system and avoid trying to light the entire room with just one light source such as a ceiling mounted fixture.  Please feel free to contact us for solutions to your lighting challenges-we are here to help!

    If you found this article to be helpful, please send us your before and after photos and a brief description of your experience-we'd love to share your success story!

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    Tags: led, lighting for kitchen remodels, LED kitchen lights, kitchen lighting

  • Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!

    Wishing you the very best!

    All of us here at Total Lighting Supply are sending you and yours the very best for this Holiday Season! We thank you for your support and look forward to working with you in the upcoming year.

    Posted in: .

  • Unequivocally, the most perfect LED MR-16 you can buy

    MR-16 LED

    We have all waited a long time for technology to catch up to our expectations of the perfect LED MR-16. The wait is over as the SORAA team took performances issues head on in their design and development of this bulb and conquered them all, we might add.

    Here are the top ten reasons why the SORAA LED MR16 lamp is on the top of our list:

    1) Perfect fit. SORAA conforms to the ANSI standard, so they do fit standard lighting fixtures (MR16) when used as specified.

    2) No noise. Performance, performance, performance. These bulbs do not blink, they do not buzz. SORAA lamps turn on and operate properly with both magnetic and electronic transformers.

    3) Fully UL listed. What does this mean to you? It means that you can trust them to work safely as a retrofit lamp in UL listed fixtures.

    4) Dimmable-SORAA lamps work properly with many commonly installed leading-edge and trailing-edge dimmers.

    5) Flexible. The SORAA LED MR16 works in both NEC Class 1 and Class 2 transformers. While most LED lamps are designed to work only with Class 2 systems, SORAA lamps are UL listed for both systems.

    6) Single source light output. Why is this important? The SORAA design allows for a high lumen density which in turn gives you more light output from a single source. Which in turn, gives you more design flexibility and control. Isn't that what you want? A Halogen MR16 lamp have multifaceted reflectors which in turn, do not project crisp shadows as does the SORAA single source light.

    benefits of the SORAA LED MR16

    (left) SORAA single source (right) other LED MR16 multi source

    7) More natural light. SORAA lamps are designed to replicate halogen illumination with one color and one shadow.

     

    8) Elegant (and smart) design. The thermally optimized heat sink (all LEDs are designed to have heat sinks) mimics the Halogen counterpart:

    9) Lightweight. SORAA lamps are the same weight as standard halogen lamps.

    10) Energy efficient. Are you thinking green here? Green as in energy efficient and green as in the money you will save on your utility bill-not just by way of this bulb requiring less energy, but lowering the cost of cooling your space. Here is a chance to make a difference on your carbon footprint.

    Still not convinced? Check out our video here that does a side by side comparison of the SORAA MR16 lamp against the Halogen MR16 lamp:

     

    Total Recessed Lighting currently carries the SORAA Premium and Vivid bulbs.You can find the selection of lamps under our "bulbs and accessories" section in recessed lighting.

    The premium lamp line is the choice for when you want a quality, 'no compromise' LED solution for a 50W halogen MR16 lamp. If you need a high quality output for interior applications that is energy saving, choose the SORAA premium lamp.

    When high color rendering is of utmost importance, the SORAA Vivid lamp line is the lamp of choice. With a CRI (color rendering index) of 95, it will yield rich, saturated colors along with color stability. These lamps are designed to replace standard 50W MR16 Halogen lamps with a savings of up to 75% of the energy that halogen lamps require. Now you not only can choose a superior light quality as well as save on your energy consumption.

    At long last. The perfect LED MR16 lamps has arrived."

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    Tags: led, led mr16 bulbs, led mr16 lamps, Soraa, MR16

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