Artful Decision Why Gallery Curators Choose Amerlux

Amerlux’s SPEQ LED track heads illuminate the “Never Built NY” exhibit at the Queens Museum, in New York City.

Like a cast of supporting actors who help the lead shine, superior lighting casts art in the best light.

Gallery curators carefully choose what part of the exhibit should be well lit and which part should be left to the shadows. The dynamic is a play within itself.

Lighting art is an art—and the new gold standard for galleries is Amerlux’s SPEQ track lighting.

LED lights can help protect the artworks, enhance the visiting experience and provide significant energy cost savings. When it comes to lighting precious works of art, more and more galleries are choosing Amerlux for the elegant lighting solution they need.

One of those galleries is the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Its recent “Never Built New York” exhibit, which showcased New York City architecture projects that were never constructed, was lit with SPEQ LED lighting from Amerlux, which remains in the space for future exhibits.

SPEQ, a modern-styled and highly efficient LED tracking lighting system by Amerlux, offers exactly what galleries need including, most importantly, light that does not damage the art as well as energy savings that do not sacrifice color quality. Maintaining this balance has long been a difficult problem for museums and galleries to manage.

Halogen and metal-halide lights provided an imperfect solution and could seriously damage artwork over time with their UV emissions, not to mention maintenance issues from lamps burning out during exhibits. With Amerlux’s SPEQ lights, it could easily be a decade or two before the LEDs need to be replaced.

SPEQ LED track heads come in three sizes Small (15 w max, 1,310 lm), Medium (26 w max, 2,056 lm) and Large (48 w max, 3,977 lm).

SPEQ LEDs emit neither harmful UV rays nor high amounts of heat, making their use with priceless art entirely safe. Since there is no UV light or substantial heat, galleries can illuminate delicate art much brighter without risking damage. With SPEQ LEDs, heat and UV concerns are a thing of the past.

Furthermore, now LED lamps have the color control to completely supersede halogen lights. Halogen lighting’s strength was its warm color rendering, but LEDs like SPEQ have evolved to render color even better than the outdated halogen lights, especially with whites, blues and other which appeared yellowish under halogen lights. Additionally, SPEQ LEDs hold their color temperature when dimmed, maintaining the same light color at any power level. Finally, low light does not have to mean orange light!

Highly adjustable and repositionable, SPEQ’s track heads have a clean and minimal design that does not draw attention to itself, instead putting the spotlight on the display. Unlike several competitor’s lights, SPEQ lights have excellent beam control without any glare as well as customizable controls (e.g. snoots, louvers) to ensure that the light goes exactly where it is needed without any spillover.

In addition to SPEQ’s art preserving qualities and customizability, the lighting system really shines when it comes to energy efficiency and longevity. The 48-watt SPEQ LED lights installed at the Queens Museum, used about 15 percent of the 300-watt quartz lamps they replaced, resulting in significant energy savings for the museum.

Most of the power going to halogen lamps is actually wasted in the form of heat, which causes paintings to fade and increases electric bills. With LEDs, instead of wasting lots of energy in the form of heat, they use a tiny amount of electricity and all of it goes into lighting the space.

Galleries can enjoy these significant energy savings for years, if not decades, due to SPEQ’s long life. While halogen lamps last for about 2,000 hours, SPEQ LEDs suffer no depreciation in light quality for more than 50,000 hours. This is especially key for high ceiling applications, where costly lifts and scaffolds are not needed for years after installing SPEQ lighting.

Amerlux can ship SPEQ lights in just 10 days, so your next exhibit will be seen in the best light.


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How Retailers Attract Shoppers with Eye-Popping Clothes

When it comes to selling clothes, good lighting is essential. Flat lighting makes for dull-looking clothes while the right lighting makes clothing look truly eye-popping (it is a short jump from eye-popping to wallet-opening).

With the right retail lighting, you can revitalize your store and turn it into a destination where customers will see it in the best possible light. The whole journey plays out in your store, with an inspiring window display to entice shoppers, gorgeous displays lit with inconspicuous and modern-styled track lighting. Beautifully-lit dressing rooms are the final step, where customers can see how great the clothes look on them with flattering light that makes them feel in control.

LEDs are the retail lighting of the future and they are the lights that can best help you create the attractive and compelling environment in your stores that stirs customers’ desires and galvanizes purchases.

LEDs are also a potent weapon in the competition between bricks-and-mortar stores and online retailers: online, a customer will have a photo or two of the product to see, but color subtleties and textures are easily lost in translation when viewed on screens. On the other hand, when customers see the actual clothing articles in person and under the right light, they can appreciate nuanced differences in color shades and pair items better. This influences customers to purchase additional items as LED lighting better facilitates color matching and makes the colors really pop.

LED technology has many benefits over outdated lighting types like halogen and fluorescent lights, including excellent light consistency, maximal flexibility, significant energy savings and longevity.

The light quality for LED lights is superb. In the past, halogen lights were needed for their color control, but modern LEDs can render color even better, especially with whites and blues. Colors on the cool side of the spectrum often show up as yellowish under halogen lamps. But not so with LEDs. Under LED light, colors can look brilliant and really pop, which is exactly what clothing retailers need to showcase the beauty of their wares. Even art galleries and museums are using LEDs for this reason now.

Besides offering excellent light quality, LEDs deliver that quality consistently. It doesn’t matter if the lamp is at 5 percent or 100 percent power, the color of an LED light will remain constant. With older lighting types—like halogens for example—the light would glow warm as it got dimmer. Now, low light no longer has to mean orange light! Additionally, LEDs look consistent with each other—each LED light will be the same as the others configured the same way next to it. Older fluorescent lighting is far less dependable, and it is common to see all different shades and brightness levels from a collection of otherwise identical fluorescent lights as they age.

Flexibility in lighting is important for retailers and in this area, LEDs really excel. It is easy to reposition and move LED lights, as well and change the color of the light, allowing displays to be lit differently as new products come in or for season events and holidays. For example, a store could quite literally and very easily “go pink” for breast cancer or any other color for any other reason.

When it comes to saving money, LEDs can lower power bills like no other lighting technology. Real energy sippers, LEDs are substantially different from other light types that tend to be energy hogs. With halogen lamps, for example, most of the energy used is actually wasted in the form of heat instead of light. Some stores have to run the air conditioning all year to counteract the heat from the lamps. Switching to LEDs can make a dramatic difference in energy costs.

The final benefit of LED lighting is that all the other benefits last for a very long time. LEDs typically give 50,000 to 100,000 hours of consistent light without any depreciation. In contrast, halogen and incandescent lights need to be replaced after 2,000 hours. The maintenance savings resulting from this long life can be huge.

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Top Streetlights: A Checklist for University Facility Managers

When it comes to campus safety, one of the easiest ways to quickly make a safer campus is through exterior lighting improvements.

People tend to feel unsafe on unevenly lit walkways and around dark corners. In fact, “walking on unlit pathways” was one of the top safety concerns listed by the 179,000 college students recently surveyed by New lighting on campus is a quick fix that actually works.

More colleges and universities recognize that upgrading their lighting to LEDs, can improve campus safety, reduce energy costs, and reduce their carbon footprint. LED lighting technology is a win-win on every front and it is revolutionizing the lighting industry.

A Checklist for LED Street Lighting Upgrades

Here are the factors to consider when retrofitting pedestrian lighting on campus:

  • Safer campuses: More light on walkways and around academic buildings and residence halls makes for a safer environment on campus. Additionally, LED technology can significantly improve the quality of images captured through closed-circuit television systems (CCTV) and security cameras. Having better images makes law enforcement’s job much easier when they are investigating incidents and makes for a more secure campus.
  • Significant energy savings: LED technology is extremely efficient and uses dramatically less power than conventional lighting. Energy bills can be slashed by as much as 90 percent with LED lighting. That difference can result in $100s of thousands in annual savings — a major boost to the operating budget.
  • Easy retrofitting: Maintain your current campus aesthetics by using Amerlux’s Avista LED lighting in your existing light fixtures (luminaires). Designed for easy retrofitting, Avista LED light engines can be installed in just 15 minutes in most fixtures. Avista can be simply retrofitted into a wide variety of luminaires, including those by Holophane, Hadco, King, Louis Poulsen, Lumec, Pemco, Sternberg, Visco.
  • Long-term reliability: Avista lights can deliver years of maintenance-free operation, due to the LED technology and durable construction. The quality of the light (lumen output) in LEDs remains constant and consistent for 50,000 – 100,000 hours of use, versus 100 hours for outdated conventional lighting such as metal halide and high-pressure sodium. Additionally, Avista LEDs are IP66-rated to withstand water and dust intrusion, ensuring functional operation in cold, wet and dusty conditions and prolonging the life of the lighting engine. Install Avista LEDs on your campus today and your current students will be bringing their children back to campus for tours before you have to replace the lights, which is why university facility managers choose Amerlux.
  • Environmentally friendly: LEDs use a fraction of the energy that conventional lighting requires and frequently delivers more lumens for that power. Besides the savings this brings to your energy bills, it also helps the environment by wasting less power. Avista lighting has three different lighting distribution options (symmetric, asymmetric, and low-glare street optic) so you can customize the lamps output. This ensures the light goes where it is needed without waste and does not trespass outside its designated area — all factors that help with green certifications such as LEED. Besides using less energy, LEDs also lack the hazardous materials, such as mercury that fluorescent and HID lights contain, making them more environmentally-friendly all around. Avista lighting is an easy tool to help your institution enhance its sustainability and position it as a leader in green practices.
  • Get started right away: You can have Avista lights in your hands in as few as 10 days.

Campus security is not something to make light of. You can help your university be seen in the best light by upgrading to Amerlux Avista lights. See how.


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How Los Angeles cut energy costs by 75% with Avista lights

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Best Retrofit: Why ESCOs Choose Amerlux’s Avista

Los Angeles, C.A. cut energy costs by 75 percent in its historic downtown area by retrofitting street lights with Amerlux Avista LED light engines.

Upgrading street lights from outdated and energy hogging lighting systems is a great way to quickly transition a city to lower energy consumption levels. Since they use only a tiny fraction of the energy required by conventional lighting, LED lights are hands down the best option for reducing power usage. Enter Amerlux’s Avista — a highly efficient LED light engine designed with easy retrofitting in mind.

Avista LEDs are simple-to-use light engines ideal for retrofitting traditional and post-top light fixtures (luminaires), as well as new construction applications. With a completely-sealed LED optical chamber, the highly-efficient Avista delivers cutting-edge optics and extraordinary output to meet the most demanding streetlighting needs. Avista’s simple-to-install design features adjustable height levels and other customizations to ensure optimal application and maximum performance.

The versatility baked into Avista’s design allows Avista to be a “skeleton key” of sorts because it can be used in a wide variety of fixtures, including those by Holophane, Hadco, King, Louis Poulsen, Lumec, Pemco, Sternberg and Visco. Most installations take 15 minutes or less.

Avista is made to accommodate some of the most challenging light fixtures (luminaires) around, including the vintage fixtures still in use in many historic areas and city centers today.

The cities of Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California, both recently found themselves stuck between trying to decrease their energy consumption and preserve the character of the cities’ historic neighborhoods.

Using Amerlux’s Avista, Portland decreased its energy consumption by 60%, while keeping its beautiful vintage luminaires in place all over the city. LA did even better, cutting energy costs by 75% in the historic downtown area.

Amerlux’s Avista LED light engines helped Portland, Oregon preserve its vintage light fixtures, while reducing energy consumption by 60 percent.

In Portland, the “acorn” fixtures were the challenge: “Our poles and ornamental castings go back as much as 100 years and are attractive, but finding LEDs to adapt to them was difficult,” said Lisa Elbert, P.E., Signals and Lighting Engineer with the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Some manufacturers wanted to sell us a complete fixture with the pole, but Portland’s castings are historic and we wanted to use them – we absolutely didn’t want to replace them.”

Amerlux customized Avista LEDs to Portland’s exact needs, allowing the city to retain its original fixtures, while also significantly reducing energy costs. The installation process was so simple that city contractors did not even need tools to affix the new lighting engines, and they were quickly installing more than 80 a night.

In Los Angeles, the 1920s-era streetlights dotting the downtown area (including the Arts District and Historic Core) were a difficulty.

“Some of our bigger post-top and glass globe fixtures throughout the city and downtown couldn’t use a standard screw-in lamp. We needed a more creative solution and this led us to Amerlux’s Avista fixtures, which are working very well,” said Norma Isahakian, assistant director for LA’s Bureau of Street Lighting. “Our total LED program is saving up to 75 percent in energy consumption, which amounts to quite a bit of cost savings annually, and is meeting all of our lighting needs.”

Besides the significant savings in energy usage, Avista LEDs also provide savings in reduced maintenance costs. Avista lights deliver 50,000 to 100,000 hours of maintenance-free operation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, maintenance savings derived from installing LED lighting equates to roughly $50 annually per fixture, delivering tremendous financial advantages over the life of the lighting engine.

With its ability to fit in almost any existing light fixture and its easy installation, Avista lighting lets cities enjoy the benefits of modern lighting and while maintaining their history.

Avista by Amerlux can be delivered in just 10 days, so your city can start seeing energy savings immediately.


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Avista Receives U.S. Patent Protection for Game-Changing Pedestrian Lights

Avista lights

Amerlux, an award-winning design-and-manufacture lighting company, announced today it has been granted U.S. patent protection for intellectual property incorporated into its game-changing Avista pedestrian light engine.

Avista’s breakthrough IP66 sealed LED optical chamber prevents water intrusion, which is the No. 1 cause of light failure. In addition, Avista was designed for new construction applications and retrofits, which take less than 15 minutes per unit to install.

“Amerlux continues to solve marketplace problems with innovation,” said Amerlux CEO and President Chuck Campagna. “From supermarkets, high-end retail boutiques to exterior lighting, our design teams create new solutions that allow more brands to be seen in the best light.”

Co-developers Itai Leshniak and Tori Poppenheimer designed the technology nearly five years ago. Avista was originally launched in 2014 with a generational update earlier this year.

“We achieved high efficacy by using a driver with advanced power factor correction technology that enables very high power conversion efficiency,” said Leshniak, who worked on the electrical aspects of the technology. “In addition, we also achieved superior surge protection by incorporating the best available components. Avista can handle up to 10,000 amps of surge tested to ANSI C136.2-2015.”

Poppenheimer, who worked on the optics and thermal components, said she was able to distribute the power to a larger area of the LED die, which increased energy efficiency and useful life by allowing all the components to operate at a cooler temperature.

“Instead of putting some butter on a little Ritz cracker, I spread it out over the whole piece of toast,” she said. “We are killing our competitors on efficacy in terms of lumens per watt.”

Amerlux’s upgraded Avista light engine delivers 110 lumens per watt, compared to a marketplace standard of 90 lumens.

Mike Kempf, who is Amerlux’s exterior product manager, said Avista uses the directional nature of LEDs to gain an advantage over competitors who simply used LED to create a different type of 360 degree light source.

“Avista harnesses LED technology like no others,” Kempf said. “It directs 96 percent of the light down to the ground, essentially eliminating the light pollution that was common in so many decorative post top fixtures, while dramatically saving energy.”

The upgraded Avista meets new 4.0 standards of the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which qualifies the product for rebates to shorten the ROI payback period. The light engine, which is now available for teardrop style luminaires, offers specification options, including wattages up to 68 and a lumen output up to 7500.

Avista’s new LED engine is available in standard CCTs of 2700K, 3000K and 4000K, plus customized color temperatures. The award-winning product offers three horizontal lighting distributions—symmetric, asymmetric and low-glare street optic—so clients can direct the light where it is needed.

In 2014, Avista won a Product Innovation Award in the exterior lighting category from Architectural Products magazine.

Avista Reduces Energy Bill, Preserves Aesthetics

To date, the City of Los Angeles has upgraded more than 600 decorative streetlights with Avista LED light engines. Since the upgrade, the city has realized up to 75 percent reduction in lighting energy consumption and costs in the upgraded area, while visitors are benefiting from enhanced visibility and greater peace of mind.

“The downtown area went from dingy, yellow 250-watt HPS fixtures with a monochromatic 2100K color temperature and ‘glare bomb’ properties to long-life, 60-watt LED technology with a much cooler color temperature and significantly improved color rendering,” said Charles Valdepena, principal of Los Angeles-based manufacturer’s rep agency ACV Lighting Consultants, about the transformation. “The effect is now a brighter, pleasant, soft blanket of light that enhances visual acuity and uniformly distributes the majority of light downward where it’s needed.”

For the City of Portland, the challenge was the shape of the globe and how to adapt LED technology to its exact specifications. Amerlux’s Avista addressed the challenge.

Kenny Hettrich, principal of Hillsboro, Oregon-based manufacturer’s rep agency Hy-Light Group, Inc., said: “Amerlux took great efforts to customize fixtures to the city’s exact needs, deliver pristine product, and provide exceptional customer service”—from fine-tuning the design to ensure Type III street optics with the optimal amount of lighting both in front of and behind each pole to matching the exact floral design of the fixture’s filigree ring, placing bar codes in a specific spot to support the city’s asset management requirements, and securing a manufacturer to create a specialized acrylic version of the original globe based on detailed drawings of the vintage product.

Since completing installation of the bulk of its acorn fixtures in July 2017, the city has been delighted with the results. “We went from 100-watt HPS to 42-watt LEDs, saving the city approximately 60 percent in energy consumption and costs,” said Lisa Elbert, P.E., signals and lighting engineer with the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, who added that a rebate the city secured on the LEDs from the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy further boosted the project’s ROI and reduced its payback period.

Standard Avista light engines can ship in 10 days or less from the time they are ordered to quickly advance any new construction or retrofit project.

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About Amerlux

Amerlux creates bold lighting solutions that add warmth and brilliance to the world. The design-and-manufacture company builds long-term relationships with architects, facility managers and lighting designers by taking every complex problem personally. Its award-winning portfolio includes innovative interior and exterior lighting products that deliver striking aesthetics and rich performance through advanced engineering. For more information, please visit or call 201.416.2284.

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9 Reasons Why Cities Choose Amerlux for Streetlighting

pedestrian lights

Light-emitting diode (LED) technology has created a great opportunity for city managers to dramatically reduce the energy bill for their municipalities.

But not all lighting solutions are created equally in terms of value and performance.

As a result, more cities are turning to Amerlux to help with pedestrian streetlighting. Designed to bring an ease and seamlessness to city streetlighting, Amerlux’s Avista LED fixture is a simple-to-use yet advanced LED light engine ideal for retrofitting traditional and post-top luminaires, as well as use in new construction applications.

Featuring a completely-sealed LED optical chamber, the highly-efficient Avista delivers cutting-edge optics and extraordinary output to meet the most demanding streetlighting needs within today’s cities and municipalities, while its simple-to-install design incorporating adjustable height levels allows users to position the light exactly where it’s needed for optimal application and maximum performance, taking LED streetlighting to the next level.

Two industry experts—Lisa Elbert, P.E., signals and lighting engineer with the City of Portland at Oregon’s Bureau of Transportation (which recently oversaw the upgrade of Portland’s 6,100 century-old single and twin ornamental decorative fixtures to Amerlux’s Avista LED light engine), and Jason Strano, C.E.M., energy sales manager at leading lighting agency Reflex Lighting in Wethersfield, Connecticut—discuss the many reasons why cities are wise to invest in Amerlux’s Avista fixtures for their streetlighting needs.

  1. Quality – Strano said that the difference between an Amerlux fixture and competitive products is clear. “When you hold an Avista fixture in your hand, you can see that it’s a substantial, well-made piece with strong set screw, durable materials, and great build quality,” he said. “While it’s customizable, it’s well-designed up front.”
  1. Flexibility – “Amerlux created four different styles of the Avista retrofit kit for us—all were the same basic product but incorporated different adaptor plates to mount onto our different streetlighting fixtures,” Elbert said. “The system’s adjustable height levels gave us additional flexibility as well.”
  1. Customized Options – While many manufacturers can be resistant to customization, “the Amerlux team is so open and adaptable to customer requests for changes that users don’t have to jump through hoops to make the changes they require,” Strano said. “Amerlux can do everything from meeting a specific Kelvin temperature standard to providing product in customized colors and more.” Based on her experience in Portland, Elbert agreed. “Amerlux met all of our needs, from fine-tuning the fixture design to ensure Type III street optics with the optimal amount of lighting both in front of and behind each pole to matching the exact floral design of our fixture’s filigree ring, placing bar codes in a specific spot to support our asset management requirements, and securing a manufacturer to create a specialized acrylic version of the original globe, based on detailed drawings of the vintage product,” Elbert said.
  1. Responsiveness – “Customers can always call and get Amerlux team members on the phone,” Strano said. “They’re extremely responsive, accommodating and happy to help.”
  1. Aesthetically-Pleasing – “The appearance of our Avista LEDs is amazing, and I was absolutely stunned the first time I saw the new lighting on our streets,” Elbert said. “I’d gotten used to seeing hot spots and lamps burning inside the globe with our old technology, but Amerlux’s fixture uses a top-down LED system that makes the entire globe appear to glow without seeing the lights. I love the experience and it’s soft on the eyes.”
  1. Dark Sky-Friendly – While Elbert conceded that her team in Portland had worked for years to minimize the uplight component of their streetlights with various designs, other lights always looked like they had a hood over them. “By contrast, Amerlux’s dark sky-friendly fixtures allow us to see the entire silhouette of the acorn globes, while minimizing light pollution,” she said.
  1. DLC-Listed – Amerlux’s Avista LEDs are listed by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), a renowned organization that establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides technical expertise in an effort to promote high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products in collaboration with utilities, energy efficiency program members and government entities. As a result of their efficiency, dark sky-friendly properties, and subsequent DLC listing, Avista fixtures are eligible for rebate by a host of utility companies nationwide, introducing the potential for an attractive financial incentive that can boost a project’s ROI and reduce its payback period.
  1. Ease of Installation – In addition to designing a customized compression screw plate for the fixtures in Portland to further simplify their installation, “Amerlux was willing to provide us with a tool-less installation,” Elbert said. “The mechanism they devised—thumb screws that simply lock onto the casting—was huge for us in terms of the time and money it saved our installers/maintenance crew.”
  1. Vested in Customers’ Success – “The Amerlux reps and team members we worked with were extremely responsive and great on follow-up, getting us samples, drawings, and any other information and support we requested,” Elbert said. “They were passionate about looking out for our interests and sincerely wanted to see our project be successful. Amerlux truly met all of our needs and we couldn’t possibly ask for more.”


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Top Pitfalls to Avoid with Pedestrian Lighting

pedestrian lights
The City of Portland, Oregon upgraded their lighting to Avista LEDs, resulting in a 60% decrease in energy costs.

City managers face several challenges when selecting pedestrian lighting.

These complex projects require a level of collaboration between the city manager and lighting providers to ensure various benefits, such as reduced energy consumption and expense, less maintenance and enhanced color rendering, are realized.

In fact, there are seven important items that should be considered, according to industry experts Lisa Elbert, P.E., who is a signals and lighting engineer with the City of Portland, and Jason Strano, C.E.M., who is an energy sales manager at leading lighting agency Reflex Lighting in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

  • Don’t Neglect the Specs. Because fixture performance is key, “spec out every detail and everything you want,” advised Elbert, who thoroughly reviewed and verified Illuminating Engineering Society-specified “LM-79” and “LM-80” electrical and photometric measurements of life and performance on the LED products it evaluated, how the lighting performed using AGI, a simulation tool used for designing lighting projects, and how the lighting actually looked to the eye on Portland’s streets and sidewalks, compared to the city’s previous high-pressure sodium technology. According to Elbert, failure to do this can result in regrets or unwelcome surprises later. (Elbert oversaw the upgrade of Portland’s 6,100 century-old single and twin ornamental decorative fixtures to Amerlux’s Avista LED light engine.)
  • Don’t Pass on Due Diligence. Strano agreed that there’s no substitute for a comprehensive due diligence process up-front. “Dismantle a fixture, get the right application or base plate and install it to see how everything works,” he said. “A few hours spent in the beginning taking the proper measurements will make the rest of the job so much easier.  Also, allow others to see the new lighting and encourage their feedback before moving forward.”
  • Don’t Go Too Big Too Soon. Based on her own hard experience in Portland, Elbert recommends that city managers test streetlighting products on a small scale before proceeding to change every streetlight targeted for upgrade. “On an early LED project we did years ago, we installed 400 lights and within a year suffered a 50 percent failure rate,” she said.  “The project had involved a custom fixture incorporating controls that we had made for us and it was untested. When they started failing, there were so many variables involved that we didn’t know whether it was the lighting or controls causing the malfunction.  Because ‘too much too soon’ on an untested fixture can be a scary thing, we stick with known, tested products and test them on a smaller scale first, being sure to elicit some feedback before we proceed to a larger installation area.”
  • Don’t Fail to Communicate. In addition to anticipating as much as you can on a project, Strano confirmed that good communication is key. “Be as clear about your expectations as possible,” he advised.  “If you’re doing a retrofit and you want all of the fixture glass wiped down, for example, be sure to tell the lighting rep, distributor, and/or contractor so that you get exactly what you want.”
  • Don’t Forget About the Trees. While Portland and many cities and towns treasure the trees that line their streets, Elbert learned first-hand that those very trees can become obstacles that block light and impair the performance that’s required and expected from streetlighting fixtures. For that reason, Elbert suggests a close review of trees and their distance from streetlights.  “We recommend 25 feet of space between lights and trees—less than that triggers a closer review of the tree species,” she said.  “Lighting can be as close as 12 feet from a tree if it’s a narrow/columnar tree variety, but a 20+-foot distance between trees and streetlights is advised to ensure that the lighting can operate most effectively and meet its potential.”
  • Don’t Ignore the Maintenance Aspect. As part of a comprehensive evaluation process up-front, don’t forget to consider the voice of the contractor or maintenance crew. “Before you select a streetlighting fixture, be sure to review it with the people who will be maintaining it once it’s installed,” Elbert recommended.  “The maintenance team sees an entirely different product than we do. While we’re focused on a fixture’s performance, they see what’s involved in terms of the tools and trucks they’ll need to install or repair it.  You have to think about what will make a good/easy installation process for the team when selecting a fixture,” she said.  “That’s an important cost in the process that can often be forgotten.”
  • Don’t Fall for a Fly-by-Night. Strano can’t stress enough the importance of working with a trusted lighting manufacturer who’s vested in the industry. “You want to seek out a product made by a company with history and roots in the lighting industry,” he said.  “If you’re going for least cost and you don’t know where the product is manufactured or the company has only been in business for a short time and doesn’t have a known track record, you’re setting yourself up for potential problems.  You want to work with a solid manufacturer and/or lighting rep agency with experienced people and all of the resources in place to stand by the product and help you work through any questions or concerns you may have.”  Strano added that it’s especially important to make a wise investment up-front given the fact that many streetlighting upgrades are public projects that are funded by taxpayer dollars. (According to the U.S. Department of Energy, streetlighting nationwide accounts for $2-3 billion in annual energy costs alone.)

 For more information on Amerlux’s Avista LED light engine, visit

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How Dim Parking Garage Lights Increase Liability

Shadowy parking garages are uncomfortable and dangerous places that invite crime and car accidents. Amerlux’s Chaperone LED lighting offers a cost-effective solution to these problems.

Parking garage developers need to fully understand the challenges that their clients—ranging from municipal managers to university facility managers—face when they become responsible for operating a dark, glare-filled venue.

While the nation’s estimated 40,000 parking garage facilities are intended to provide visitors with a safe, secure, and convenient place to park their cars, many of these facilities fall short of expectations.

The number of accidents and amount of crime soar in parking garages that are not well lit. Consequently, the potential for legal liability and bad press coverage correlate strongly.

Here are several statistics that support the need for safer parking garages:

  • According to Parking Today Magazine, parking facilities nationwide represent the third most frequent place in which violent crime occurs, not to mention car theft and the theft of property within cars.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ recent National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported that more than 2.4 million crimes occurred in parking lots or garages between 2004 and 2008. Overall, more than one in 10 property crimes—including motor vehicle theft and property theft—occur in parking lots or garages.
  • Statistics reveal that of all crimes perpetrated at the nation’s tens of thousands of shopping centers, 80 percent occur in the parking lot or parking garage.
  • According to the Women-Safe Network, 25 percent of rapes take place in a parking garage or public area.
  • In terms of car accidents, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association reports that one in every five auto accidents occurs in a parking lot/facility, which doesn’t include the more minor nicks, dents, and fender benders that often go unreported. According to EHS Today (The Magazine for Environment Health & Safety Leaders), more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually, resulting in more than 60,000 injuries and 500 deaths.
  • Enough people experience feelings of fear and concern in parking facilities that the sensation was deemed a phobia and given its own unique name—“tingchechekuphobia” (the fear of parking garages).

As demonstrated by the above statistics, parking garage facilities at commercial, industrial and institutional venues can be grounds for accidents and criminal behavior, which facility owners can be deemed liable if proven that they failed to take reasonable precautions to help prevent them.  However, proper garage illumination is a proactive measure facility owners can take to help enhance visibility, reduce the threat of criminal activity, create a greater sense of safety, security, and comfort for visitors and facility attendants alike, and enhance the appeal and brand image of the entity that owns the facility. At the same time, optimal parking garage lighting can also offer outstanding opportunities for owners to significantly reduce their site’s operating expenses.

The LED Revolution in Parking Garage Lighting

Previously dominated by more conventional halogen, incandescent, fluorescent, and HID light sources, such as metal halide and high pressure sodium, parking garage lighting has been revolutionized by the emergence of LED technology during the last five years.  As such, parking garages have been among the fastest-growing applications to embrace LEDs with a recent U.S. Department of Energy study forecasting the percentage of all parking garage lighting accounted for by LED technology to grow from 4 percent in 2013 to 67 percent by 2020 and 99 percent by 2030.

Specifically, LEDs deliver the following benefits to parking garage facilities:

  • Energy Efficiency LED technology draws only a fraction of the power of its more conventional lighting counterparts, reducing energy bills by anywhere from one-third to as much as 90 percent. According to Energy Manager Today, the nation’s parking garage owners spend more than $6 billion a year on energy costs to light their facilities, an expense that could be reduced significantly by LED technology.
  • Long Life – While conventional light sources require more frequent change-out and maintenance due to their more limited lifespan, the 50,000-100,000 hours of rated life available on many LED parking garage fixtures ensure years—even decades—of maintenance-free operation.
  • Consistency – While conventional light sources can suffer from significant lumen depreciation over time, LED technology maintains a significantly higher level of light output for much longer (per the industry’s L70/LM-80 measures) and is not subject to performance issues, such as color shifting and hot spotting, both of which can cause gaps and shadows in parking garage illumination that can promote criminal behavior or lead to accidents. Their availability in a variety of color temperatures offers clean, white light that delivers improved visibility and a greater sense of security to occupants.
  • Reliability – While conventional light sources may not always be able to withstand certain types of harsh environments, extreme weather conditions, or temperatures below or above specific thresholds, the properties of LEDs render them extremely durable and weather-resistant. In fact, LEDs tend to gain efficiency in colder temperatures, ensuring their reliable operation (and owners’ and users’ peace of mind) in colder climates. Whether the parking garage is fully-enclosed or open-air, LEDs can be counted on to provide consistent, reliable illumination no matter the weather.
  • Environmental Friendliness – Unlike fluorescent and HID sources, LEDs contain no mercury or other hazardous substances and run much cooler and more efficiently, losing far less energy in the form of heat relative to their predecessors.
  • Discreetness – Powerful yet flexible and low-profile, LED parking garage lights are unobtrusive and are available in a range of popular shapes and styles to match and/or complement any interior or exterior design or décor.

Chaperone Fixtures Deliver a New Sense of Security to Garages

Ideal for everything from commercial and institutional parking garages to garages at municipal, hospitality, mall, and other settings, Amerlux’s Chaperone LED fixtures use an upward-facing LED board and reflector to softly cast light towards the ground, while sending a small amount of light upwards to illuminate the ceiling, eliminating the cave effect present in many garage lighting systems and creating an inviting environment that makes commercial garages feel safer and more secure.  Delivering crisp, attractive, comfortable, and glare-free lighting in a highly efficient package and desirable Type III and Type V distributions, Chaperone LED fixtures turn desolate, uncomfortable parking environments into pedestrian-friendly venues with exceptional visibility, heightened new levels of safety, and measurable cost savings.

Among other benefits, Chaperone Garage Lights are:

  • Engineered for Reliability – Chaperone garage luminaires feature a die-cast aluminum housing for lasting durability as well as an integral driver and die-cast aluminum heat sink for maximum thermal protection. Such innovations minimize the risk of outages and the subsequent high labor costs associated with burn-out or other maintenance.
  • Designed for Flexibility – Chaperone is available in a wide selection of wattages (37 watts, 61 watts, and 79 watts), color temperatures (3000K, 4000K, and 5000K), and mounting configurations (junction box/pendant or trunnion mounting) to meet the needs of most any project. Chaperone luminaires are also available with a premium silver finish or in a palette of other custom finishes to match and/or complement any decor.
  • Instant-On – Unlike high-pressure sodium or metal halide light sources, Chaperone’s “instant-on” capability avoids the need for a lengthy restart time in the event of a momentary power loss. Chaperone fixtures work when you need them to with no disruption in service.
  • Easily Controllable – Incorporating a 0-10V LED driver to control energy costs, as well as dimming capabilities down to 0 percent, Chaperone’s sensor delivers these additional levels of sustainability and energy efficiency without compromising on safety.
  • At Your Door – Chaperone garage fixtures can ship in 10 days or less from the time they’re ordered to quickly advance any new construction or retrofit project. Customers with special requests or requirements can also contact Amerlux’s renowned concierge services.

Offering innovative and durable design, outstanding efficiency, long life, appealing aesthetics, and reliable performance to support enhanced safety within the nation’s broad range of parking garage facilities, Amerlux’s family of Chaperone LED luminaires will put your garage in the driver’s seat.

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Top Pitfalls Lighting Designers Should Avoid When Selecting Step Lights

All qualified lighting designers know that lighting products are most effective when optimally matched to the unique conditions of the specific application. This is especially true as it relates to step or directional lighting, which, by illuminating the way forward is critical for helping to prevent injuries, while also enhancing a property’s architectural appeal.

According to Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents, slips, trips, and falls related to staircase/step mishaps are among the nation’s 10 most common worker’s compensation claims. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control report that each year, one in every three individuals older than 65 will experience a fall, at a collective cost of more than $31 billion annually to Medicare alone.  Whether a commercial/industrial building, hospital, school, resort, or hospitality setting, step and directional lighting enhances visibility and brings the critical elements of safety, security, comfort, and aesthetics to a range of indoor and outdoor applications, both new construction and retrofit.

For those reasons, it’s critical for lighting designers to fully understand the lighting application at hand and the needs of their client when recommending step light products. Following, lighting industry veteran and seasoned lighting designer Quentin Thomas, president of Douglaston, New York-based Quentin Thomas Associates, Inc., suggests top pitfalls that lighting designers should avoid when selecting step lights for a client project:

  • Avoid Incompatibility with LEED – If your client is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a globally-recognized symbol of sustainability achievement administered through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides a framework for the creation of healthy, highly-efficient, and cost-saving green buildings) and specifically LEED Light Pollution Reduction compliance, “be sure to avoid fixtures that don’t conform to the LEED Light Pollution Reduction credit,” Thomas said. While he confirmed that the credit offered for compliance with this category is very positive in the sense that it aims to reduce light pollution traveling up into the night sky or onto adjacent properties, Thomas notes that at this point in its evolution, that credit is extremely restrictive and difficult to meet. “You can’t uplight a flag or tree or have step lighting or lighting in handrails that has a glow of any kind—the lighting must face downward, be shielded, and light only the surfaces you’re looking down at in order to be eligible for the credit,” he said. “Luminous tubes, globes with opal or frosted faces, or decorative lights with a glow would all be completely disallowed. Overall, if you’re working towards LEED’s Light Pollution Reduction credit, you can’t select any step light that glows and the light source can’t be visible—it must be shielded.”


  • Don’t Overlook Lighting Placement in All Positions – Thomas advises lighting designers to consider the impact that the placement of a step light will have on users in all positions—not just on those standing upright but those in a seated position as well. “Step lighting can’t be perfect for people when they’re standing but then blind them when they’re sitting on a bench or driving along a pathway you’ve lit,” he said. “There must be no direct view of the light source from seated positions. You don’t want people looking directly into the step light when they’re sitting or driving.”


  • Avoid Products That Aren’t Well-Engineered – Thomas encourages lighting designers to select step lights that are durable, well-engineered and impervious to water and other elements. “Condensation inside the fixture can cause it to short out,” he confirmed. “In addition to the fact that these lights are often recessed into expensive materials, any fixtures that are malfunctioning, flickering, or burnt out will make the whole plaza or outdoor space look awful. LEDs last for a long time but they’re still electronic devices after all, so be sure to avoid products that don’t provide the highest protection against infiltration by water, bugs, or dirt/dust, as measured by the various Ingress Protection (IP) ratings.”


  • Don’t Overlook Practical Considerations – By the same token, Thomas said that a variety of other functional/operational issues should be taken into account when selecting a step light. Among those, “avoid products that don’t have an integral driver—it’s helpful to not have to locate a separate driver in a secondary location that needs to be waterproof,” he said. “Also, you’d need to determine whether the application is in a coastal location with salt water/air, because exterior step lights can get degraded by these elements and look bad over time. At the same time, is the paint finish on the fixtures either an anodized or stainless steel material or is it something less durable? And is the building’s location prone to flooding?” he said. “Thanks to the properties of LED technology, temperature issues have largely been done away with, but because step lights are sealed, the lighting designer must also ensure that the step light product has been engineered to dissipate heat backwards.”

A Step in the Right Direction

Delivering the benefits of energy efficiency, long life/low maintenance, consistency, reliability/durability, environmental friendliness, LED technology has revolutionized the step lighting category. And Amerlux’s Passo LED Step Lights take lighting and landscape design to the next level, providing landscape architects, lighting designers, and facility managers with an aesthetic detail that not only enhances indoor and outdoor safety and security, but adds a touch of beauty as well.

Available in louver, stainless steel louver, and tempered soft glow lens versions and round, square, and rectangular shapes for new construction projects and in 8-inch and 12-inch rectangular shapes for retrofit projects, Passo LED Step Lights are designed for flexibility, while their independently-sealed LED Optical Chamber (encompassing an LED array and heatsink enclosed in an IP66-rated sealed glass tube) eliminates water infiltration, the #1 cause of product failure, and ensures that they’re engineered for reliability.

Easy to install, Passo models designed for new construction projects feature an injection-molded PVC housing with integral machined brass anchor blocks that complement the sealed properties of the LED module and driver, ensuring added protection against corrosive environments.  Further incorporating a standard 0-10V dimmable driver for greater integration with today’s most popular controls, Amerlux’s family of Passo LED Step Lights represent a step in the right direction for lighting designers.

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