Style and Use Determine Efficiency


Style and Use Determine EfficiencyПодпись: Frugal features. The most popular features with consumers—such as automatic defrosting and through-the- door ice and water dispensers—are not always the most energy efficient. Still, Maytag®'s Ice20® refrigerator meets Energy Star requirements and is equipped with two potentially energy-saving features: an alarm that alerts homeowners to a refrigerator door left ajar and a vacation mode that saves energy by limiting automatic defrosting when the fridge isn't opened for several days.
• Through-the-door ice and water dispensers. Both the lost insulation and the additional cooling coils in a through – the-door ice and water dispenser increase electricity consumption.

Подпись:Automatic ice makers. Ice makers con­sume energy, though exactly how much is difficult to determine.


• The Energy Star label. The U. S. Environ­mental Protection Agency confers its En­ergy Star label on models that are at least 20% more energy efficient than the federal minimum. Shopping for this label is an easy way to be sure the refrigerator you choose is not an energy waster.

• Freezers on top or bottom. Side-by-side refrigerators use more energy.

• Manual defrost cycles. The most energy – efficient refrigerators and freezers

have manual defrost, although they can be hard to find, particularly among high – end models.

• Door alarms. Some manufacturers offer an alarm that will sound if the fridge door is left open—helping to save energy and to prevent food spoilage.


• Place fridges away from heat sources—

especially a range or oven, but also a dish­washer. Radiant heat from these appliances warms the surface of the fridge, requiring more energy to keep the inside cool. If the refrigerator must be adjacent to a heat source, provide space for air circulation.

• Clean the coils, at least annually. Dust and dirt buildup on refrigerator/freezer coils reduces the heat-exchange efficiency and makes the compressor work harder. Most refrigerators now have coils that can be accessed from the front, eliminating the need to pull the unit away from the wall.

• Turn off the condensation-control feature. Essentially, these are heating elements under the protective shell that consume energy in two ways: by using electricity to warm the outer shell and by increasing the difference in temperature across the unit’s insulation. Models with
this feature usually have a switch to turn it off; do so, unless condensation becomes a problem.

• Keep the freezer full. Frozen food serves as a thermal stabilizer that reduces the amount of on-off cycling. If you don’t have a lot of frozen food, freeze containers of water (use plastic, and allow for expan­sion as the water freezes) to take up the ex­tra space. When you need ice for a cooler, you can use these frozen containers.

• Don’t keep an extra fridge in the garage.

When you buy a new refrigerator, avoid the costly mistake of keeping the old one as a backup.

The Energy – Smart Kitchen

The Energy - Smart Kitchen


hen it comes to electricity consump­tion, the kitchen is the hungriest room in the house. Kitchen appliances— including refrigerators, freezers, ranges, and dishwashers—account for nearly 27% of household electricity use. Collectively, that’s more than 300 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) per year in the United States, or roughly the electricity output of 90 average-size coal – fired power plants.

Not all appliances are equally voracious, however. Refrigerators and freezers account

for nearly two-thirds of kitchen energy use, with ranges, ovens, and cooktops ac­counting for a little over one-quarter, and dishwashers the rest. Add in the heating, air-conditioning, hot water, and lighting used in a kitchen, and this room is clearly the energy hog of most houses. Putting your kitchen on an energy diet might be one of the best things you can do to save money and resources. Like most diets, it all comes down to making informed choices.

Подпись: Two Tools to Measure Energy EfficiencyПодпись:ENERGY STAR

The Energy - Smart Kitchen

Refrigerators Are the Top Energy Guzzlers

In a typical American home, the refrigerator accounts for about 15% of total electricity use. Assuming heat and hot water are not electric, that makes the refrigerator a home’s single largest electricity consumer. This is the case even though refrigerators have im­proved dramatically since the mid-1970s; today’s models use about a third as much power as those from 30 years ago.

Task and Accent Lighting Require Focused Light

LEDs produce a focused beam of light. Al­though their relatively small output means they can’t throw light as far as some incan – descents, there are plenty of circumstances where they work well as task lights. And they’re ideal for accent lights because they don’t produce UV-light that damages paint­ings and fabrics. Because LEDs are small and easily produced as pucks or strip lighting, they are ideal for undercabinet illumination or as accent lights hidden in coves or inside cabinets, where small size and low heat out­put are important.

Glare can be a concern with bright LED fixtures, especially recessed lights. San Francisco Bay Area lighting designer Eric

Подпись:Task and Accent Lighting Require Focused LightKind of canlike. Although the fixtures look quite common, like the Halo model above, the light module for recessed LED fixtures bears little resemblance to a bulb. With a screw-in adapter like the one shown attached to the Halo module at right, LEDs can be retrofit to existing recessed fixtures.

Подпись: 1 Sources The companies listed here had products that impressed us at LightFair®, the annual lighting-industry trade show. Visit for a comprehensive list of lighting manufacturers. American Fluorescent: Kichler: www.americanfluorescent .com Lightolier: Cooper Lighting (Halo): MaxLite: Cree: Nexxus: Feelux: OSRAM® Sylvania®: Ilumisys: Philips: Journee Lighting®: Подпись: Sean Groom is a contributing editor to Fine Homebuilding. He lives outside Hartford, Conn.

Johnson recommends using a diffuser with recessed cans or, at the very least, recessing the bulb as deep into the fixture as possible.

Lightolier®’s Calculite™ is a lensed fixture that uses a diffuser to create white light. Instead of coating the LED bulbs with phos­phor, the phosphor is applied to the diffuser.

Under the first approach, variations in the amount of phosphor coating on each diode affect the overall color of the light. When you have multiple downlights in a room, this can result in variations in the light from the different fixtures. It’s easier to apply an even, consistent phosphor coating to a glass diffuser, improving the consistency and the color of the light. Placing the reflector above the phosphor layer results in more light output than other methods and less glare, according to the manufacturer.

A unique feature of LEDs is that a single fixture with different types of diodes can create multiple temperatures and colors of light, opening new design possibilities for accent lighting.

One last thing: Both CFLs and LEDs can be tricky to dim. The ballasts and drivers, respectively, must be compatible with the dimmers, and the light may cut out before dimming down all the way. This informa­tion is usually indicated on the product.

Подпись: 10

Match the Light to the Job

Both CFLs and LEDs are available with screw-in bases as replacement bulbs for ex­isting fixtures, but if you are building a new home or remodeling, you might consider fixtures dedicated to one technology or the other. Dedicated fixtures can lengthen the lifespan of the bulb and maximize its strengths. Both CFLs and LEDs play a role in providing ambient, accent, task, and deco­rative lighting, the four layers that create a well-lit room. But CFLs and LEDs aren’t necessarily interchangeable. That’s largely because CFLs are a multidirectional light source and LEDs are a point source.

Because they are multidirectional and produce large amounts of diffuse light, CFLs work well for ambient, task, and decorative lighting (photos pp. 160-161). They can be used nearly everywhere that incandescent bulbs are used, particularly in table lamps and in shielded sconces, where the fabric or glass adds color to the light. In the bath­room, when they’re used behind opaque glass, CFLs do a great job of lighting your face. In kitchens, in laundry rooms, and in offices, CFLs produce bright-enough ambi­ent light to illuminate worksurfaces.

CFLs are not appropriate everywhere, however. Locations where lights are switched on and off quickly—say an entry hall or a coat closet—are not ideal because CFLs need time to attain their full brightness and because short-cycle switching reduces the bulbs’ lifespan. Also, if you’re using a CFL bulb in an outdoor fixture, make sure that it’s labeled for outside use, which means that the ballast will work in cold temperatures.

Light-Emitting Diodes Are the Future

LEDs are a Silicon Valley technology, manu­factured in a clean room, just like a comput­er chip. Electrical current runs through the 1-sq.-mm chip, exciting the electrons and creating light. A small bulblike cover focuses the light. LEDs can’t actually produce white light; white light must be created either by combining colors or by using a phosphor coating inside the bulb.

The lighting industry is betting heavily on forging ahead with significant advances in white-light LED technology in the next few years. Many of today’s LEDs, however, already perform well when used in the ap­propriate location.

Подпись:Manufacturers describe LEDs as cool – operating lamps. While it’s true that the lit end of an LED is cool to the touch, the semiconductors do produce heat. And just as computer chips require cooling to perform

Light-Emitting Diodes Are the FutureLight-Emitting Diodes Are the FutureПодпись: Out-of-sight task light. Under cabinets is a natural place to use LEDs because their small size keeps them out of sight and because they're cool to the touch. Also, unlike fluorescents, they don't interfere with radio or TV reception. Lights are available in a range of styles. Select only the amount of light you need so that glare off the counter isn’t an issue. The fixture to the left from Kichler® is one example. Light-Emitting Diodes Are the FutureLight-Emitting Diodes Are the Future

Replacement bulbs. Most LED replacement bulbs are directional for accent or task lights, such as the MR16 replacement from Nexxus, above left. A new generation of LEDs is trying to offer multidirectional ambient light with replacements for fluorescent tubes (from Ilumisys®, above center) and for the common table lamp (from Philips®, above right).

properly, LEDs need thermal management. The heat sink, usually a number of large aluminum fins located near the base of the lamp, is a critical component of an LED.

LEDs are already more efficient than in­candescent bulbs, producing approximately 60 to 70 lumens per watt, and manufactur­ers expect efficiency to surpass that of CFLs soon. Their 50,000-hour average life span translates into 34 years when used four hours a day. There are other advantages to LEDs’ solid-state engineering as well: They are immune to vibration, and their perfor­mance improves in cold temperatures, mak­ing them ideal for outdoor applications.

Cost is currently the biggest drawback to LEDs. A screw-in LED replacement for a

Light-Emitting Diodes Are the FutureLight-Emitting Diodes Are the FutureLight-Emitting Diodes Are the FutureПодпись: Excellent accent lighting. Small disks (from Kichler, above left) and night-lights (from Kichler, above right) provide the low light levels needed for highlighting artwork or providing safe nighttime navigation. Easily concealed, they work in enclosed cabinets without heat buildup and use very little energy to illuminate.recessed light costs about $120, but remem­

ber that LEDs are the lighting equivalent

of a computer chip: Just as Intel® founder Gordon Moore predicted that chip capacity would double every two years (Moore’s Law), Haitz’s Law (named for scientist Roland Haitz) states that every decade, LED prices will fall by a factor of 10 while performance will increase by a factor of 20.

Still, a word of caution is appropriate. There are some well-engineered LED bulbs and fixtures on the market, but with so many manufacturers jumping on the band-

Подпись:Подпись: COMPARING RECESSED FIXTURES Incandescent CFL LED Watts 65 15 12 Lumens 52 675 730 Efficacy (lm/w) 10 45 60

wagon, there are plenty of LEDs with harsh light and poor switching and dimming response. It’s a good idea to evaluate these products carefully before purchasing.

. The Bright Future of

Подпись: ■ BY SEAN GROOM. The Bright Future of. The Bright Future of

Подпись: Small, powerful, and efficient. Now that they produce white light appropriate for residential settings, LEDs grouped together in a bulb pack enough punch that this 8w LED from Nexxus™ can replace a 75w PAR30 incandescent bulb.



lthough still a relatively small slice of the incandescent-dominated light­ing market, energy-efficient compact fluo – rescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have gained traction over the past few years, thanks to green-building pro­grams and some progressive local energy codes. They’re about to get a real boost.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 soon will limit the number of watts a bulb can consume for a given number of lumens, a measure of light output. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2012, when the luminary equivalent of today’s 100w incan-



. The Bright Future of. The Bright Future of

Подпись:. The Bright Future of

. The Bright Future of

sion. Today’s CFLs, however, produce light in the 2,700 K range, mimicking the warm, amber-hued light of incandescent bulbs (see the sidebar on the facing page). Also, the old magnetic ballasts have been replaced with quiet electronic ballasts that don’t flicker.

CFLs are dramatically more efficient than incandescent lightbulbs, using between 50% and 80% less energy, and they last for about

10,0 hours, nearly 10 times longer than incandescents. They also cost dramatically more. However, replacing one 50c, 75w in­candescent bulb with a $3.50, 19w CFL saves 563kwh of electricity over the life of the bulb. That comes to about $75 in savings,

Подпись: Replacement bulbs for every application. Often part of the fixture, fluorescent lights need a ballast to operate. These replacement bulbs from Philips, however, have onboard electronic ballasts, which means they can be screwed into existing fixtures for more efficient ambient and decorative lighting. CFLs with pin bases are for fluorescent-only fixtures required by some energy codes.Подпись: and flickered, making a poor first impres-

descent bulb will be allowed to consume only 72w. (Lower-wattage bulbs also will be affected.)

In other words, incandescent lightbulbs need to become about 28% more efficient to survive. Some industry insiders think they will, but CFLs and LEDs already meet the new requirements. Consequently, the most likely scenario is that incandescent bulbs will be replaced either by CFLs or LEDs, de­pending on the application.

Compact Fluorescents Come of Age

CFLs were introduced in the early 1990s, but they weren’t ready for prime time. Early CFLs produced harsh blue light, hummed,
depending on the cost of electricity where you live.

On the downside, a typical CFL contains somewhere between 4 mg and 5 mg of mer­cury. Critics of CFLs highlight the health and environmental hazards of mercury, and special precautions should be taken if the bulbs break in your house. Proponents argue that the mercury in a CFL is far less than the amount of mercury emissions that would be released from a coal-fired power plant if you were using an incandescent bulb. Regardless,

when a CFL burns out, it must be recycled so that the mercury doesn’t end up polluting the environment. Some retailers of CFLs, in­cluding Ikea® and The Home Depot®, offer CFL recycling. To find other recycling loca­tions, visit www. epa. gov.

. The Bright Future ofDedicated ambient light. Retrofitting an old recessed can with a screw-base CFL could cause premature heat-induced bulb failure. CFL-dedicated recessed cans properly dissipate heat and maximize light output. The can at top, from Halo®, is remarkably similar to a standard incandescent fixture with the addition of a ballast attached to the junction box. The fixture below, from Lightolier®, orients the bulb horizon­tally and needs just 3V2 in. of clearance.

Green—and Unseen

When I show my clients a typical CFL— the type shaped like swirly soft ice cream— they immediately hate it. It doesn’t matter if the light it produces has a beautiful color, if it operates quietly, or if it’s dimmable. They just have a visceral, negative reac­tion because they can see that the source
of light is fluorescent. I’ve learned to apply a technique I call stealth lighting. Stealth lighting simply means hiding the bulb be­hind a diffusion material such as a shade, an architectural detail, or a lens. If they can’t see that it’s a fluorescent source, most people assume the light is incandescent and find it perfectly acceptable.

When selecting a decorative fixture—for example, a pendant light—find a bowl­shaped one that hides the bulbs; in the case of a drum-shaped fixture, look for one with a lensed (translucent) bottom. The CCFLs that are now on the market are available in shapes that are closer to traditional "A" lamps and flame-tipped bulbs that are eas­ily accepted as incandescent without any disguise.

Green—and UnseenПодпись: Layers of efficiency. All four basic layers of light combine in this open-plan living room/ kitchen. The Flotation pendant fixtures by Ingo Maurer® are fitted with dimmable cFLs, providing both decorative and ambient light. Reading lamps flanking the sofa provide task light, and the square aperture recessed lights add ambient light.Подпись: High on efficacy. ambient light for this kitchen comes from linear fluorescent lighting mounted on top of the kitchen cabinets. the lighting over the counters comes from warm- colored fluorescent puck lights, made by tresco international.Green—and Unseen
Another good way to create energy – efficient ambient light for a space is to in­stall the light source within an architectural

Подпись: 1 sources for Energy-Efficient Decorative Fixtures The Basic Source®: with LED and GU-24 options; Faux and real alabaster pendants with fluorescent JH Lighting: lamp options; traditional and transitional alabaster www.thebasicsourcexom fixtures with hardwired cFL options; Birch & Willow: Light fixtures made of natural Juno Lighting: materials with flu°rescent lamp Recessed, track, undercabinet, op^ons,; and decorative lighting; Boyd Lighting: High-fashion fixtures with fluorescent Kalco®: lamp options; Decorative lighting, much of which Dave Meeker Art: is available in hardwired fluorescent pendants, wall sconces, and portable versions using GU-24 technology; fixtures made of plastic straws, using cFLs; Lightspenn: Elice®: sculptural fixtures with GU-24 lamp pendants with integrated fans; options; wwwelicacom Schmitt Design: Hens Duus Blacksmith: Bamboo pendants with GU-24 lamp traditional and transitional fixtures options; Green—and Unseen
Stealth lighting. Energy-efficient light sources can be unobtrusive: The Lightspann pendant fix­tures in this living room conceal dimmable cFLs. Art and tabletops are lit by Juno® track fixtures using Led MR16s, and Led strips by edge lighting mounted on top of the trusses provide ambient light.

detail that runs the perimeter of the room or on top of cabinetry that does not go all the way to the ceiling. Here, a dimmable linear fluorescent source can do an excel­lent job, as well as some of the newer LED strip lights now available. In these cases, the light is bounced off the ceiling, so you want to make sure that the actual light source is completely hidden from view and that the paint on the ceiling is a flat or matte finish. A gloss, semigloss, or eggshell finish reflects an image of the light source onto the ceiling and ruins the effect.

Green—and Unseen

Randall Whitehead is a San Francisco-based lighting designer.

High-Energy Design: Creating a Well-Lit Room with Four Types of Lighting


Task lighting is the lighting by which you do work, including undercabinet lighting in a kitchen, closet lighting, and reading lamps. The optimum task light provides shadow – free light and is located between your head and the worksurface.

Depending on the type of fixtures being used, both fluorescents and LEDs can provide effective task lighting. Fluorescent puck lights, such as those by Tresco Interna­tional (www. trescointernational. com), offer shadow-free illumination along worksurfaces such as kitchen counters. Because much of today’s architecture is open plan (where one room flows into the other), choose a light with a color temperature of 2,700 K so that the color is complementary to light sources in other rooms.

For task lighting in closets and laundry rooms, consider using 5,000 K lamps from LEDs or CFLs for excellent color matching. Although some people dislike the lag time associated with CFLs, I like to use them in closets. In fact, I don’t need a sudden punch of light in the morning. I also appreciate the color rendering—very important when matching clothes—that’s possible with a combination of CFLs and LEDs.

Those energy-eating xenon and halogen festoon lamps used in undercabinet task lights and shelf lights come in LED versions; those offered by companies such as Phan­tom Lighting (www. phantomlighting. com)

Closet coordinated.

High-Energy Design: Creating a Well-Lit Room with Four Types of Lightinga strip of 5,000 K LED festoon lights above the clothing shows their true colors under daylight conditions (top) com­pared to incandescent lighting (bottom).

High-Energy Design: Creating a Well-Lit Room with Four Types of Lighting
High-Energy Design: Creating a Well-Lit Room with Four Types of LightingПодпись: The right accent. Here, this niche is illuminated with a single LED MR16 housed inside a square-trimmed recessed low-voltage fixture from lucifer lighting. The absence of UV light will help to preserve the integrity of the photograph.

are dimmable. Other options for undercabi­net task lights include LED puck lights from Lucifer Lighting (www. luciferlighting. com) and LED strip lights by Edge Lighting (www. edgelighting. com).

One caution when using LEDs as task lights: because they are point sources of il­lumination, they tend to create multiple shadows, which can be distracting. Hiding LED sources behind a diffusion material eliminates this problem.



Accent lighting is used to highlight specific objects, adding depth and dimension to an environment. Recessed adjustable fixtures, track lights, portable uplights, and directional landscape lights all fall into this category. Accent lighting can be very dramatic, but when overused can make the objects you own appear more important than friends

and family. This unfortunate result is often referred to as the "museum effect."

LEDs work well as accent lighting for several reasons: They provide directional light, they produce no UV (ultraviolet) rays that can harm fine artwork or textiles, and, unlike incandescents, the color temperature doesn’t alter when they are dimmed. Fluo­rescent light sources are usually too broad in their beam spreads to be effective as accent lights. An exception to this rule would be the illumination of a wall mural or a large hanging tapestry. In these cases, I recom­mend adding a UV-filter to the light fixture to reduce possible degradation of the art.



Decorative lighting also could be called ar­chitectural bling. Its purpose is simple: to look pretty and to add visual sparkle to a space. Chandeliers and candlestick-type wall

Just enough light.

High-Energy Design: Creating a Well-Lit Room with Four Types of LightingBecause they can be obtained in flame – tip styles and lower wattages than typical cFLs, ccFLs are often more suitable (and less overpowering) in decorative fixtures with multiple bulbs, such as this breakfast – room chandelier.

sconces fall into this category. Decorative lighting should not be relied on to provide primary light for a room. If it’s too bright, it can be overpowering. These fixtures were originally designed around incandescent light sources, particularly those of a low – enough wattage so as not to be overpower­ing. The best replacement, then, among the newer light sources would be CCFLs, because they can have a color temperature similar to that of a dimmed incandescent lamp. I particularly like the MicroBrite™ A19 by LiteTronics, which has a very warm color temperature of 2,250 K and, being a CCFL, dims down a full 90%. LEDs would have to be the worst choice for decorative lighting because they do not provide an even, overall glow.



Ambient lighting is the gentle light that fills the volume of an interior with a warm glow. Because it is indirect light, it not only
provides overall illumination, but it also softens the shadows on people’s faces, help­ing them to look more relaxed and youth­ful. I refer to it as architectural Botox. The best ambient light comes from illumination that is bounced off the ceiling. Opaque wall sconces, torchieres, pendant-hung indirect fixtures, and cove lighting can be used to create ambient light (see "Green—and Unseen," below). Translucent fixtures can sometimes serve double-duty as both ambient and decorative light. Both LEDs and fluorescents can provide excellent ambient light.

Low-Energy Lighting: The Latest Bulb Technologies

Подпись: П MAXLITE © III


An aversion to fluorescents is understand­able because they have been so awful for so long. They didn’t dim easily; they buzzed and gave off weird colors. And sadly, the push to offer CFLs at a price point close to that of a standard incandescent household bulb has given fluorescents a bad name all over again. The color of these cheap CFLs is poor, they burn out prematurely, and they aren’t dimmable. There are much bet­ter products on the market. Be prepared to pay more, but they will be worth it. Top – of-the-line screw-in CFLs by manufacturers like MaxLite™ and Earthtronics® (see "Bulb Sources," on p. 154) offer an energy – efficient, dimmable (down to 30%) light source that can be controlled by a standard incandescent dimmer.

A new category of CFL is the GU-24, characterized by a proprietary lamp and socket assembly that cannot be replaced with a standard screw-in incandescent lamp
(although MaxLite makes a screw-in adapter that allows a typical lamp to accept a GU – 24 socket). The GU-24 lamps meet Califor­nia’s Title 24, which requires that 50% of the wattage in kitchens must come from hardwired high-efficacy sources and 100% of the wattage in the bath must come from high-efficacy sources, unless controlled by a switched motion sensor.

For savvy people everywhere, lighting manufacturers are now offering decorative fixtures in modern and traditional styles that have hardwired fluorescent sources. CFL

Many use the new GU-24 socket and lamp technology, which is no bigger than a standard household bulb and socket assembly. They

Подпись:Low-Energy Lighting: The Latest Bulb Technologiescan be installed where there is an existing incandescent fixture and can be dimmed with the existing incandescent dimmer. No special wiring or dimmer is needed.


CCFLs are a newer generation of fluores­cent lamps. They can look just like regular household bulbs, globe lamps, or flame-tip lamps. They cost more than an incandes­cent, about $12 each, but save an average of $33 in energy costs over their lifetime. An 8w CCFL produces 40w worth of illumina­tion and lasts 25,000 hours, compared to an incandescent with an average rated lamp life of 750 hours. What makes them better than regular CFLS is their wide variety of color temperatures and that they can dim down a full 90% (CFLs can’t dim that much). Their swirls are thinner, and they’re more widely available than CFLs in low wattages. They are still a bit hard to find; they must be special – ordered through light­ing specialty stores or bought online.


In use since the 1960s, LEDs were used as colored indicator lights. About three years ago, manufacturers came up with an LED source with the same color qualities of in­candescent light and daylight. These new LEDs use considerably less electricity than standard incandescent sources and last much longer—30,000 to 50,000 hours, while emitting no ultraviolet radiation. Even bet­ter, they contain no mercury, as do fluores-

Low-Energy Lighting: The Latest Bulb Technologies

cents. Companies like Cree Lighting® and Progress Lighting® offer both screw-in and hardwired LED kits as retrofits for existing housings, as well as IC-rated, airtight hous­ings for new construction.

Layering: Shining New Light on the Old Rules

While new ways of producing light offer lots of design possibilities, it still makes sense to stick with the tried-and-true basics of light
layering that designers have long relied on to produce attractive, well-lit spaces. Light layering incorporates four specific types of lighting to create a well-lit environment: task, accent, decorative, and most impor­tant, ambient light. The rule here is that more than one light source is needed to illuminate a room properly. The challenge when working with new, energy-efficient types of lighting is that you have to go be­yond light layering and understand how these new sources create light in order to use them correctly.

For example, CFLs, CCFLs, and ESLs (see "Low-Energy Lighting: The Latest Bulb Technologies" on the facing page) are omnidirectional sources of light. This means they throw light out evenly in all directions, which is what a standard household "A" lamp (like our old incandescent) does. That makes all of these types good sources of am­bient and decorative lighting, and occasion­ally task lighting; but they are ineffective as accent lights.

LEDs, by contrast, are unidirectional, meaning that their light is projected out in
one direction. As a result, they can provide a very good source of accent lighting and task lighting, and occasionally ambient light if used correctly or if designed in a luminaire (fixture) that compensates for their unidirec­tional tendencies.

In addition to the differences in how they project light, these new light sources differ in the color (temperature) of light they produce. Other characteristics, such as resistance to temperature change, ability to dim, and available wattages, also can influ­ence your decision on what type of bulb to use where.

Once you know the properties of these earth-friendly light sources, you can begin to include them more confidently to produce each of the layers of light that combine to produce a well-lit room.