Patti Lorenzi Cowger.jpg

Patti Cowger

Whether you’re building new, remodeling, or just in need of a new light bulb, you’ve no doubt come across the term “LED”. If you’re like most people, you once knew that it stood for “light-emitting diode” but then quickly forgot. You only remember that it has something to do with energy efficiency.

In California, new construction and remodeling must follow measures as written under the Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. These standards are updated about every three years. If you’re doing a sizable project, your electrician will be able to guide you in choosing the correct fixtures to pass the latest building codes.

I’ve been wanting to write about energy-efficient lighting for the longest time but could never think of a way to do so without making your eyes gloss over. Although I’ve written about accent, task and ambient lighting, it was in terms of design and creating layers of flexibility and interest. I bypassed subjects such as lumens, foot candles, transformers, MR-16s, CFLs, CRIs, kelvins, and alternating currents. Don’t worry, I’m not going to write about them now. Instead, I’m going to introduce you to a special trendsetting, Miami-based, interior designer—Deborah DiMare.

I ran across a blog she had written about LED lighting. Deborah made its technology and purpose easy to understand. So, I contacted her and she graciously allowed me to reference her blog in today’s column. Deborah explains that LED bulbs are 80 to 90 percent more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. In other words, an incandescent bulb is only about 20 percent efficient. When you look at it that way, conversely, this fact seems more meaningful.

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Deborah explains that an incandescent bulb has to heat up to produce light. So, she writes, “While the light is on, only 20 percent of the energy is used to light up the bulb while 80 percent goes to wasted heat production. LED lights do not heat up nearly as much, resulting in more energy going to the actual production of light. Because their heat levels are so low, it makes them safer to use, especially if there are young children around. Combine this with the composition of an LED bulb being made from recyclable materials, and you have the best lighting option for an eco-friendly home.”

Deborah adds that an LED lifespan is about 50,000 hours whereas an incandescent bulb lasts roughly 1,000 hours. She estimates that if United States households switch to LEDs, by the year 2027, we could save energy equal to what 44 large power plants would yield. Immediately speaking, this switch will decrease your energy bill as well as the number of trips to the hardware store. LED bulbs are also durable, which make them ideal for exterior use.

I mentioned that Deborah was special and trendsetting. Her company, DiMare Design, is focused on beauty, compassion and peace by way of humane design, wellness and sensory environments, and sustainable sourcing. Her work includes creating spaces to support and enhance the lives of children with autism. She has appeared on the Today show, TLC’s “The Fix” and in the pages of The Huffington Post. An uber animal lover, Deborah has also authored the book, “Vegan Interiors”. To learn more about this fascinating designer, visit her website dimaredesign.com.

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Patti L. Cowger is an award-winning, Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com call (707) 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net.