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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Amerlux’s Gift Shines Light on ‘Never Built NY’

Amerlux, an award-winning design-and-manufacture lighting company, announced today that it has donated $20,000 worth of a high-end LED track lighting solution, which is creating a lasting impression at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, New York.

The unique “Never Built New York” display invites visitors to discover the alternative paths New York City might have taken based on original prints, drawings and models of architectural projects that were never realized.

To turn the exhibit into reality, however, Amerlux was asked to deliver a premium lighting solution that dramatically reduced energy consumption without sacrificing quality or performance.

“For more than 30 years, we have listened to problems throughout the marketplace and delivered solutions,” said Amerlux CEO Chuck Campagna. “From museums to high-end retail boutiques to supermarkets, Amerlux has continued to grow by creating products that address real-world needs. We are proud to deliver a striking experience at the Queens Museum.”

To create a world-class museum experience, Gensler, one of the world’s largest architecture firms that was part of several unrealized NYC projects included in the exhibit, asked Amerlux to help.

“In celebration of this inspiring exhibit, it was important for us to work with the right quality and balance of lighting,” said Bevin Savage Yamazaki, senior associate at Gensler. “We wanted visitors to experience these never-before-seen drawings and models from a new perspective.”

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).

Amerlux addressed the challenge by installing its new 48-watt SPEQ LED track heads, which feature a sleek, slim cylinder design with high beam control and use less than 10 percent of the energy consumed by the previous 500-watt quartz lamps.

Larissa Harris, who is curator for the Queens Museum, said Amerlux provided a great product that produced warm illumination and demanded less energy with ease of control. “Our new Amerlux LED track lights deliver lighting that allows visitors to pay attention in an extremely complex visual environment,” she said.

More Market-Responsive Lighting Solutions

In addition to the new SPEQ LED track lights, which were made for art galleries and museums, Amerlux offers other new products based on marketplace demand.

For example, the company’s recent exterior lighting solutions include:

  • Avista, which is the company’s pedestrian lighting product, is designed for a particular kind of fixture that mimics a traditional New England-style globe or “acorn.” The fixture is prevalent in the northeastern U.S. on campuses at universities, corporations, private communities and municipalities. Avista is available in new fixtures provided by Amerlux and as a retrofit of old light sources for many decorative fixtures in the marketplace. Its lumen output doesn’t begin to depreciate until after 50,000 hours of use and retrofit installations take less than 15 minutes per fixture. Avista’s breakthrough IP66 sealed LED Optical Chamber prevents water intrusion and extends its useful life. The upgraded product meets new 4.0 standards of the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which qualifies the product for rebates to shorten the payback period.
  • Passo, which is the company’s revolutionary step light, offers a sealed LED Optical Chamber that eliminates water infiltration, which is the No. 1 cause of light failure. Its advanced LED core uses significantly less energy than traditional fluorescent lamps and it’s available in a choice of two output levels to tailor the desired illuminance for the project. Passo’s faceplates are available in a choice of solid color composite, brushed stainless steel or painted cast aluminum. In addition, the step lights include louver, stainless steel louver, tempered soft glow lens offered in round, square and rectangular shapes for new construction projects, as well as 8-inch and 12-inch rectangular shapes for retrofits. A standard 0-10v dimmable drive provides more integration options with controls.
  • The Chaperone Garage Luminaire is designed to easily replace ceiling-mounted garage fixtures as a complete solution that can be seamlessly integrated with many different control system options so retrofits can be made with no fuss at all. The luminaire is an ideal energy saver, replacing linear fluorescent, high-pressured sodium (HPS) and metal halide fixtures decreasing your cost of operations. Chaperone LED fixture features an “instant-on” capability, which means it works when you need it to work. Unlike rival light sources, such as (HPS) or metal halide lamps, Chaperone doesn’t require an extended restart time in the event of a momentary power loss. Control options include a line voltage occupancy sensor that provides direct lighting control with the 0-10v LED driver to control energy costs. The product meets DLC standards, which means it qualifies for rebates.

For more information about Amerlux, visit www.Amerlux.com.

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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 Amerlux.com or call 201.416.2284.

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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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