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lighting’s strength was its warm color rendering, but LEDs like SPEQ have evolved to render color even better than the outdated halogen lights, especially with whites, blues and other which appeared yellowish under halogen lights.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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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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Top Streetlights: An ESCO’s Checklist

top streetlights

Energy service companies (ESCOs) continue to save companies large sums of money by offering a broad range of energy solutions that have tapped into the rapid proliferation of LED lighting during the past five years.

According to an Advanced Energy Economy’s study, “U.S. building efficiency products and services grew by 8 percent, or $5 billion in 2016, led by energy-efficient lighting and commercial building retrofits, both up 7 percent, reaching $26.4 billion and $8.4 billion respectively.”

As noted in a 2015 Electrical Contractor article by author Timothy Johnson, a recent study by energy efficiency and financing firm Noesis confirmed that lighting is the most popular energy-efficient upgrade undertaken in the U.S., proposed four times as much as HVAC upgrades, which ranked second.

Among lighting activity, LED upgrades in particular are expected to have the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the U.S. The widespread use of LEDs during the next decade could save nearly 350 TWh of electricity—the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants or the annual energy consumed by the entire state of Texas—and deliver total energy cost savings of more than $30 billion at current electricity prices, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Among the LED lighting upgrades being conducted, streetlighting upgrades within the estimated 25-44 million streetlights resident in cities, towns, and municipalities nationwide are one of the fastest-growing segments of the LED market for many reasons.

A Checklist for LED Streetlighting Upgrades

Industry studies confirm that the market for LED streetlighting upgrades is robust with an estimated 600+ cities from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between currently reporting that they’ve either upgraded or are in the process of upgrading their streetlights to LEDs thanks to the many benefits LED technology delivers to streetlighting applications.

Here are several factors that ESCOs consider when retrofitting pedestrian lighting for cities:

  • Significant Energy Savings: The majority of today’s streetlights feature outdated technology, which include high-pressure sodium, metal halide, mercury vapor and fluorescent sources. In contrast, LED technology can slash energy consumption and costs by 40 percent or more, reducing a city’s operating costs and the subsequent burden on local taxpayers.
  • Eligibility for Rebates: According to experts from New Jersey-based rebate specialist firm BriteSwitch, nearly 80 percent of the U.S. is covered by an active commercial lighting rebate program as of 2017 and the majority of these programs feature incentives on LEDs (often vetted by the DesignLightsConsortium (DLC), an organization which establishes product quality specifications in an effort to promote high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products). These attractive rebates can offset lighting projects costs by as much as 25 percent, reducing project payback periods, while increasing their ROIs.  LEDs are also popularly supported through utility performance contracts, which studies confirm are the operational model through which more than half of the ESCO community’s current projects are conducted.
  • Quick Installations: Most Avista retrofit installations take less than 15 minutes per fixture.
  • Reduced Maintenance: Thanks to their longer lifespan relative to older technologies, 50,000-100,000-hour LEDs can deliver years of maintenance-free operation, allowing cities to realize significant reductions in maintenance costs. According to the U.S. DOE, maintenance savings from the installation of LED lighting equates to roughly $50 annually per fixture and can deliver users up to twice the financial advantages available through energy savings during the fixtures’ lifetime. 
  • Durability and Reliability: While conventional light sources may not always be able to withstand certain types of harsh environments and extreme weather conditions, the unique properties of LEDs render them extremely durable and weather-resistant, especially in cold and/or wet conditions. Additionally, thanks to their durable components, LED streetlights are less vulnerable to vandalism than other light sources. 

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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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Bright Lights, Beautiful City

Amerlux’s Game-Changing Avista Light Engine Helps City of Portland

Decrease Energy Consumption 60%, While Preserving Vintage Streetlamps

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

As the largest city in Oregon with more than three million residents in its metro area, Portland is home to breathtaking natural beauty, a wealth of microbreweries and coffeehouses, and a historic downtown marked by must-see landmarks. The city is also renowned for its thriving eco-friendly scene and focus on sustainability, so it came as no surprise when The Portland Bureau of Transportation began upgrading the city’s 52,000 streetlamps to energy-efficient LED technology in 2014. The City of Portland wanted to move forward with new energy-efficient lighting technology, but not at the expense of its vintage streetlamps, which had proved to be an obstacle in the past.

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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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Pedestrian Lighting: City Managers Consider 7 Factors

pedestrian lights

Thanks to the benefits of light-emitting diode (LED) technology, more than 600 cities from New York to Los Angeles are in the process of upgrading less-efficient lighting sources.

LEDs provide a longer useful life, minimal maintenance, appealing color rendering and increasingly attractive price points. In short, LEDs can deliver decades of reliable and attractive illumination to the nation’s estimated 26-44 million streetlamps—the average of which is reportedly older than 25 years old and in need of modernization, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Municipal Solid-State Streetlighting Consortium.

However, pedestrian streetlighting upgrade projects in cities and municipalities are complex endeavors that require thoughtful consideration and careful collaboration between city managers and lighting providers to ensure the most successful outcome.

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—recommend several key factors city managers should consider when upgrading the pedestrian streetlighting in municipalities.

  1. Evaluate Performance. When evaluating between different lighting options, “a fixture’s performance is critical – color temperature, brightness, etc.,” Elbert said. “In Portland, we were constantly running numbers, looking at how the lighting performed using AGI, a simulation tool used for designing lighting projects, and assessing the visual effect of that light on our streets and sidewalks, compared to our previous high pressure sodium technology.” Elbert and her team ultimately settled on LEDs with a 3000K color temperature, “which is a very comfortable and palatable color that’s gained increasing acceptance in streetlighting nationwide,” she said.
  1. Ensure Uniformity. As part of a comprehensive assessment of various fixtures, Strano confirms that the lighting needs to be uniform throughout the space and free of any hot-spotting, shadows or gaps that both detract from its aesthetics, as well as enable criminal behavior. If the skills aren’t resident in-house, “it’s important to take advantage of the services of a lighting specialist with expertise in preparing photometric layouts so that you can see exactly how your space will be lit by the fixtures, including light and dark areas,” Strano said. “You also want to ensure that you’re providing equal lighting without over-lighting the space.”
  1. Go LED. With their exceptional performance, high efficiency, long life, and affordability, Strano confirms that there’s no reason not to pursue LEDs for city streetlight upgrades. “You want to emulate a nice, natural moonlit effect when lighting city streets and LEDs are able to do that,” he said. “City managers are lucky to have so many LED options today. Though high-pressure sodium and metal halide have been around for a long time, price points for LEDs are now nearly equivalent to those older technologies, and the tremendous energy and maintenance savings that LEDs deliver over their extended lifespan makes them a no-brainer.”
  1. Pursue Rebates. Whether you’re in a part of the country with a high or low kWh utility rate, “the availability of utility rebates and incentives on specific LED fixtures can make a streetlighting upgrade project more palatable,” said Strano of the subsidies that can help to offset up-front project costs, as well as enhance its economics overall—all of which are critical factors for city managers, especially when projects 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.) To get access to such utility rebates, Strano recommends opting for an LED fixture that’s listed by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), a renowned organization that establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides information, education, tools, and technical expertise in an effort to promote high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products in collaboration with utilities and energy efficiency program members and government entities. Elbert agreed, noting that a rebate which the City of Portland successfully secured on the purchase of its Avista LEDs from the local Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy positively impacted its project’s ROI and reduced the payback period.
  1. Preserve the Dark Sky. Strano recommends choosing a fixture that’s dark sky-compliant, which means it supports the global movement to help reduce the amount of light pollution emitted into the sky by outdoor lighting fixtures. As opposed to older technologies like high-pressure sodium that often distributed light upwards, disturbing the night sky along with local residents and wildlife, “LEDs allow us to put light and energy exactly where it needs to be,” he said. “They enable us to better control the distribution and color temperature of light so that we’re not just throwing light out there and creating all of that light pollution.”
  1. Consider the Impact of Trees. “We love trees and they’re a major part of our streetscape here, but they can also block light,” said Elbert of the leafy, tree-lined streets of Portland. “If obstacles like trees are in the way, you won’t get the performance you need out of your lighting. We’re constantly battling this issue and there’s no easy answer, but we came to the realization that trees can often wreak havoc on lighting systems.” As a result, Elbert recommends that a plan for managing trees should be part of a city’s overall streetlighting strategy. “Developers who reconstruct property frontages need to space trees properly, and we also look carefully at different tree species and do our best to prune our trees so that they rise above the lighting, as a tree canopy over the top of the lighting can add ambiance,” she said.
  1. Go with a Trusted Manufacturer. Strano recommends that city managers avoid making lighting decisions based solely on first cost. “There are a lot of less-expensive fixtures out there made by less-experienced manufacturers, but for cities, towns, and institutions that plan to be there for the long haul, it’s important to make a good investment that will last and go with a manufacturer who’s vested in the industry and will stand by their product,” he said.


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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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A Tradition of Innovation: Amerlux’s Ability to Listen Generates Decades of Customized Solutions

Avista by Amerlux

Ever since Amerlux launched its first line of products in the 1980s—signature ED-17 metal halide lamps housed in custom track heads for use in the perimeter aisles of supermarkets—the company has demonstrated a passion for walking in its customers’ shoes and developing solutions to address their specific needs.  In the case of the specialized supermarket track light Amerlux designed to replace the PAR 30 and PAR 38 halogen lamps, which dominated the grocery segment at the time, “our fixture was longer-lasting, affordable, offered 3000K halogen-like color, and didn’t project heat, so it didn’t dry out ice or produce, which was critical to managers in produce aisles or other refrigerated areas of the store,” said Bill Plageman, Amerlux’s vice president of marketing. “Supermarkets nationwide took notice of our ‘ruggedly handsome’ solution and we penetrated that market because we were the only one offering this solution.”

Amerlux further expanded beyond the grocery segment through the 1990s, bringing its solution-oriented approach to the high-end retail arena.  Determined to solve the color and heat issues retailers and lighting designers were experiencing with then-dominant halogen MR-16 technology, “we worked with the industry’s top lamp manufacturers to help us deliver the best products using high-quality ceramic metal halide, which offered great color, improved beam projection, and no heat,” Plageman said.  Presenting its solution to architects and lighting designers, the company quickly secured business from a broad range of large, well-known retailers nationwide, “which we did by listening to the market rather than developing the product first,” he said.

Since launching its first fixtures to the market more than 30 years ago, Amerlux continues to leverage customer feedback as a critical source of new product innovation. The company remains dedicated to developing customized solutions that optimally address its customers’ pain points.  According to Plageman, “our inspiration truly comes from listening and we take a thoughtful approach to lighting.  Innovation is about taking disruptive technology that’s emerging and understanding exactly how it will be used by the human race, so we listen to our customers, as well as scientists, designers, doctors, retailers, and other experts in the industry and consider their input very carefully before we launch new products and solutions.

Following are a number of other products that demonstrate Amerlux’s customer-focused orientation and legacy of innovation through the years:

  • Chaperone – Developed in 2016, “Chaperone brings a quality LED approach to garage lighting,” said Plageman, who confirmed that garage developers/owners desire reliable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient fixtures that avoid glare and shadowing in their facilities. Based on the typically low ceilings that often create glare issues in parking garages, “we designed these fixtures with LEDs in the bottom. LEDs are positioned in the lower section of the luminaire to essentially deliver lighting in a comfortable indirect fashion. This unique approach provides soft, glare-free, effective lighting with no shadows and promotes greater visual acuity, comfort, and peace of mind for occupants and owners alike,” he said.  According to Plageman, Chaperone provides more than surveillance and communication features, accepting various plug-in chips, such as photo cell, motion, daylight and data-collecting sensors.
  • Avista – An advanced LED light engine for use in retrofitting traditional and post-top luminaires or for new construction, Avista offers a high-performing LED alternative to outdated high-pressure sodium, metal halide or mercury vapor pedestrian streetlighting technology. Along with outstanding light output and a fully-sealed LED optical chamber to protect against the elements, Avista’s adjustable height levels enable light to be flexibly positioned for maximum performance.  “We designed Avista in a disc shape with the LEDs positioned on the underside of the heatsink to maximize efficiency, resulting in a DLC-listed light engine that optimally addresses everything from energy-savings to Dark Sky compliance,” said Plageman about Avista, which takes exterior LED lighting to the next level and has been a top pick by a broad range of major cities and towns nationwide.
  • Passo – When a lighting designer complained that the customer he represented—a renowned resort in the Bahamas—was experiencing an unprecedented number of step light outages at the hands of the area’s salt water and air, “our engineers created our Passo step lights, which feature a completely sealed optical chamber and a highly-durable housing to ensure years of exceptional performance with virtually no maintenance,” Plageman said. “The sealed chamber prevents the penetration of water, bugs, or dirt and the fixtures’ high-quality construction using cast aluminum, composite and stainless-steel materials will ensure reliable operation.  We essentially built the last and final step anyone will have to take when designing with step and wall lights,” he said.
  • Lunetta – Creating a glare-free, gradated look in pedestrian lighting that reinvents the nightscape, Lunetta’s hidden LEDs allow both head and post to become illuminated as one in an appealing silhouette. “We developed Lunetta after a designer came to us in search of a pedestrian lighting fixture that would not only project soft light out from the pole, but cascade light to light under the pole, as well as see the pole itself,” Plageman explained.  “Designed as a two-piece pole and head system, Lunetta utilizes a top-down approach that serves both functional and decorative purposes.”
  • Evoke – This innovation was developed after one of Amerlux’s lighting designer customers expressed a desire for the smallest-aperture downlight possible that delivers a comfortable, glare-free, specification-grade lighting performance. Sporting just a 2.9-inch aperture, optics recessed deep enough so as to prevent glare, and flexible aiming capabilities, Evoke brought true performance and control in an LED round or square-fixed downlight, adjustable wall washer and pinhole. “Evoke proved ideal for high-end commercial hallways, entrances, foyers, and other high-ceiling areas that require a lot of lumens,” Plageman said.
  • Essenza – Amerlux developed this fixture to meet the unique design needs of hotel and residential high-rise apartment developers. “A building designer we worked with shared that he would be able to add additional floors in the building if manufacturers could just ‘squash’ their materials and design more compact products to fit between floors,” Plageman said.  “Based on the need for a recessed downlight shallow enough to fit in urban apartments, we developed Essenza in 2016.”
  • Quintetta – “The emergence of LEDs a decade ago allowed us to take a breath and consider what the technology should and could be,” Plageman said. “A typical lens resides at the bottom of a fixture, which limits light output, so we thought, ‘what about a fixture that has five lit sides?’  We ultimately designed Quintetta, which features five lit sides, out of this process,” he said of the innovation introduced in 2008.  As linear 4- or 8-foot fixtures that deliver a soft glow and are free of power cords, “Quintetta offers a more streamlined design for use in such applications as hotel/corporate lobbies, reception areas, conference rooms, coffee nooks, or any area you want to highlight with clean and aesthetically-balanced illumination.”

“During this time of disruptive technology in the lighting industry, we don’t just run with the pack at Amerlux,” Plageman said. “We listen hard and think very carefully before launching a product. We’re capable of developing any product. Our philosophy—‘It’s not the big that eat the small but the fast that eat the slow’—that results in delivering solutions when our customers really need them.”


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