Below Grade System

Below Grade System Box

Below Grade System Box w/UWL604 2Way 

Installing cost effective low volt lighting in concrete just got a lot easier with our new Below Grade System…. We have a new type of junction box made for our stainless steel marker lights. This system really makes it easy. No more installing pvc tubes or separate conduits for each lighting fixture. Now you can daisy chain all the BGS boxes together with a single conduit and wire and provide for easy installation and change out if necessary. The water proof connectors eliminate the need for O-ring’s and sealed connections… just connect the light to the 12v supply cable and stuff it all back down into the junction box below. We have a variety of lighting configurations that create different effects that will be sure to please your customer. This system also works in RETAINING walls! Wire the box to the form work rebar, install the conduit and wire so that when the forms are stripped… you’re ready to install lights quickly and easily.  #concretelights, #concretelandscapelights, #retainingwalllights, #ingradelighting

UWL604 3way

UWL604 3way

New Technology applied to strip lighting

I have written about COB led’s being cooler (the led’s are mounted directly on the heat sink instead of a circuit board) as well as brighter and longer lived…  We now have COB technology applied to our strip light fixtures.  This replaces the old 1/2 watt x 3 surface mounted led’s.  The same manufacturer that makes our amazing 5w MR16s has engineered this product especially for Silhouette.  Now you can get COB technology in our rail light, deck lights and path lights.  The 1.5w 2800K dimmable strip is equal to a 20w halogen lamp.  We have just improved our lighting line-up a giant step up in quality and reliability.

New Lighting is Here!

Stainless steel marker lights are getting more popular as a means to subtle lighting for driveways and sidewalks… Now, how about if the lights are all matching in style? Check out our new 2-way and 3-way marker lights that match in style our larger 3- way driveway light.

Deck lights – Our new DL308SQ is now available. This LED light features three light panels in a trapazoid configuration with an open bottom. The light gives off a nice ambiant glow with a nice pool of light underneath it

Amateur or Professional…?

My thanks for Bruce Allen’s excellent commentary on amateurs vs. professionals… Obviously, you the contractor, want to be the professional. Hopefully by contrasting the differences you can, like me, see a few deficits that may need a little improvement…

AMATEURS Have tons of ideas, are excited about all of them and see none to fruition.

PROFESSIONALS Have tons of ideas, pick one and do their best to make it happen.

AMATEURS Think they can do everything.

PROFESSIONALS Know it’s almost impossible to achieve one thing.

AMATEURS Think they know everything.

PROFESSIONALS Are always learning.

AMATEURS Start with no preparation.

PROFESSIONALS Do research, they want to know where the bodies are buried, what the landscape holds. Better to take all these factors into account before you start, because trying to adjust on the fly is so much more difficult, it wastes time and energy and it’s hard to put a fourth wheel on a car you designed with three.

AMATEURS Don’t finish.

PROFESSIONALS Are all about execution. Sure, they occasionally abandon a project when they see further effort is fruitless, but the mark of a pro is someone who begins and ends. If you notice someone can’t complete a task, run from them!

AMATEURS Are worried about image.

PROFESSIONALS Let their work do the talking.

AMATEURS Demonstrate insecurity.

PROFESSIONALS Are extremely confident.

AMATEURS Can only see what’s in front of them.

PROFESSIONALS Are all about the big picture.

AMATEURS Hold those above them in contempt.

PROFESSIONALS Hold no one in contempt, but they haven’t got much time for losers. If you’re an amateur trying to graduate to professional status and you have the good fortune to encounter a pro, DON’T WASTE THEIR TIME! Give just one or two compliments and ask your question. But most amateurs are so busy being sycophants the professional tunes out, or goes on at such length that the professional excuses himself.

AMATEURS Have no idea what dues are.

PROFESSIONALS Have paid their dues, and are still paying them.

AMATEURS Believe in instant success.

PROFESSIONALS Know anything worth accomplishing takes a long time, and what might look like overnight success is rarely such.

AMATEURS Boast.

PROFESSIONALS Never slap their own backs, and are oftentimes uncomfortable with others slapping their backs.

AMATEURS Get nervous.

PROFESSIONALS May be anxious, but they’ve performed the task so many times they let instinct take over, they go on their experience, nervousness never comes into the equation.

AMATEURS Are looking for their one big break.

PROFESSIONALS Know that life is about a series of breaks.

AMATEURS Are afraid to fail.

PROFESSIONALS Don’t like to fail, but when they do they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back in the game.

AMATEURS Interrupt.

PROFESSIONALS Listen.

AMATEURS Demonstrate their bile, they get frustrated or angry and it’s easy to see.

PROFESSIONALS Are cool, calm and collected. You may read about the crazy owner/operator/entrepreneur, but if they’re truly nuts, they don’t last, their board replaces them, and the truth is most are not that nuts, it just makes a better story in the press to portray them as such.

AMATEURS Bristle.

PROFESSIONALS Show empathy.

AMATEURS Are always telling you how busy they are and how hard they’re working.

PROFESSIONALS Show up and stay as long as it’s interesting and profitable, bitching gains them nothing, so they don’t.

AMATEURS Believe what people say.

PROFESSIONALS Believe what people do.

Are you a Leader or a Follower?

My thanks to Bruce Allen for this excellent piece of work… well done. It seems to me that a lot of business owners who buy our lights fall in the leader category. There are strengths and weaknesses to being a follower as well as a leader, advantages and disadvantages. But I’ll let you sort that out… This is a bit edgy and obviously geared toward leaders but I believe, like Bruce Allen, that our culture needs more leaders.

Followers finish college… Leaders drop out.

Followers obey the rules… Leaders question authority.

Followers believe it’s about accolades… Leaders believe it’s about relationship.

Followers need external validation… Leaders have self confidence.

Followers have a backup plan… Leaders have no safety net.

Followers will not take no for an answer as they believe the rules and courts will save them… Leaders hit a road block and change direction. They only fight battles they know they can win.

Followers work for corporations… Leaders start the corporations.

Followers go to grad school to gain a profession… Leaders hire professionals.

Followers look around and conform… Leaders do it their way but are very aware of how others are doing it.

Followers believe in vacations… Leaders never take a day off.

Followers are a student of what’s in front of them… Leaders are students of the game.

Followers stop learning after school… Leaders never stop learning. Followers are afraid to lose… Leaders are willing to lose because they believe they are destined to win.

Followers say no, pessimism reigns… Leaders say yes, but are not afraid to say no.

Followers plan… Leaders change as needed.

Followers take direction… Leaders make direction.

Followers ask what’s next… Leaders have a vision for the future.

Followers work in established industries… Leaders establish industries knowing the times will catch up to them.

Followers think about themselves… Leaders think about others.

Followers adjust their personality to get along… Leaders are themselves.

Followers play the politics… Leaders are above politics.

Followers work in the world… Leaders rule the world.

Stainless Steel Lights – all the same?

We choose stainless steel lighting for a couple reasons… It looks great with concrete or other complementary applications and it resists corrosion. Two important considerations, especially for the West Coast and it’s marine climate.

Did you know that there is different kinds of St Steel? Stainless steel is an iron and chromium mix that in sufficient levels does not allow oxygen at the surface thereby causing rust. (oxidation) Add nickel and it becomes non-magnetic…stainless steel without nickel is commonly called tin. If you want to make sure it’s stainless steel, check it with a magnet. If the magnet sticks, it’s not true stainless steel. Different ratios of chromium, nickel molybdenum and carbon make stainless more brittle (like razor blades) or more machineable with greater structural strength.

So, back to landscape lighting… Stainless steel used in landscape lighting is low carbon so that it can be formed and worked more easily. The finish on it is often brushed (sclera is the word) so that any marring on the surface will be disguised as well as oily finger prints. The mixtures added to the iron will often vary to some degree so that some ‘stainless’ fixtures will still rust. These are usually lower cost fixtures….

So…How do you know what is good? To a certain degree you don’t. Unless the mfr is differentiating between 304 and 316 stainless, most true stainless is 316, marine grade. 304 contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, while 316 contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum is added to help resist corrosion to chlorides like salt (salty like the ocean and the air near it)

So buy with confidence knowing that you now know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to really count. The application of stainless steel into landscape lighting is great in the proper setting. Used with concrete it can really stand out and complement the gray coloring…. Used with wood or other painted surfaces it can look cold and stark. Hope that helps, if you have any landscape lighting questions…I’m only a phone call away.

Bill Converse, Silhouette Landscape Lights

Wire Connectors…Good, Bad, & Ugly

All landscape lights have to be powered by electricity… from batteries in cheap solar lights to a cable system connected to a transformer. For this discussion lets leave the price driven diy market and look at lighting that is powered by a transformer. The lighting needs to be connected to the 12v supply by some attachment to the secondary (technical term for the 12v supply wire) Why: have good connections? Especially LED need water proof connections… if the connection is exposed to moisture the nearest LED fixture will draw more amperage (milliamps) from the transformer and basically ‘eat’ themselves to death or burn out. This can happen within a few weeks. There is no repair…the lamp or fixture will need replacement. NOT GOOD! What: Connecting to the Secondary 12v supply. Ugly – Do it yourselfers and inexperienced contractors will use standard marretts and maybe fill them with silicone or even tape them with electrical tape. After all, isn’t electr. tape plastic? That may be but the adhesive is a water based adhesive and will dissolve over time with exposure to water allowing moisture to enter…ergo…burnout. Bad – Pinch on connectors… These are the connectors with the sharp point inside that pierce the cable insulation to contact the copper wire within. The metal piercings are not water proof in any way. Back in the day of halogen it didn’t matter, it worked for a long time and that was fine. However, the metal rusts, the point of piercing allows water into the secondary causing corrosion of the copper and of course the LED…burns out. Good – A good splice will fully seal the point of connection with a dielectric grease (not silicone)… There are many good products on the market but Silhouette has chosen the Dry Conn connector made by King products. This prefilled marrett type connector is CSA approved for direct burial and will, if done right, seal out moisture. How to make a great wire connection – Cut the wire cable at the point of connection, split the wire and strip all for leads back 2″, fan the multi-strand wires along with the lead from the light, tightly twist all three fans together, trim back to 7/8″, twist on Dry Conn connector as tight as you can by hand. If you want to make it mechanically secure, tape the secondary leads below the connector…yes, with electrical tape. (it’s not for sealing but for fastening)

Canadian Made?

Sometime people wonder if we aren’t all just buying Chinese made stuff. On the other hand, why does Canadian made have to be so ‘expensive’? Silhouette Landscape Lights as a Canadian manufacturer that tries to source as much as possible from local and North American suppliers. Now to sure, the actual LEDs and the associated circuit boards are all made in China. There is nothing made LED that does not come from there. At the end of the day it’s all about balance. We try to balance the cost and availability of parts and materials sourced locally against the quality and cost plus shipping of the same parts in China. Chinese labor and overhead are pennies compared to Canadian labor and overhead. Often, though, Canadian quality is higher due to higher quality parts made from better materials. If price is the only deciding factor, then Canadian made can’t compete. BUT, if you want something that is going to last due to higher quality materials and parts the choice is Canadian made. My grandfather said that if you want good quality oats you have to pay a little more, if you want oats that have been through the horse…well, they are a little less…

Lighting Your Way Safely

Slider-3Protecting your home or business against intruders and falls is easily done with the variety of outdoor lighting available today.

Whether there are obstacles, steps, dark spots or uneven ground, when the sun goes down it is difficult to see outside with no lighting. And, as all homeowners and landlords know, no matter who is on your property (invited or not) you are responsible for their safety and security.

Adding Value to Your Home

By adding outdoor lighting for safety, you are also adding value to your home or property. From the street, and when pulling into a driveway of a well-lite home, this is curb appeal. Lighting can increase the value of your home.

Having said this, it is important to have a professional design and install your lights. Poorly installed or placed lighting will neither increase a home’s aesthetics nor value.

33There’s More Than Flood & Spot Lighting

By lighting up areas of your yard for safety, a landscape lighting designer can use intense and subdued lighting to accent features of a yard. Some features include:

  • Highlighting shrubs and trees with light illuminated from below.
  • Uplighting to highlight architectural and landscaping features.
  • Focussing on the entry way for a warm welcome.
  • Varying the type of lights by using area, step, bollards and post lights.
  • Using warming lights and even coloured lights.
  • Altering when and what lights go on and off, depending on the time of day.

Benefits to Mimicking the Moonlight

The “moonlight effect” is designed to look natural and create shadows with intense highlights. In addition to being beautiful, and adding added safety, outdoor lighting also:

  • accentuates the landscaping
  • decreases break-ins
  • makes your yard more useable

For more information call us today on 604 575 0141 or visit Bill at our Showroom in Cloverdale

 

 

Why Chose LED Lighting?

LED lighting is not only more economical, but, more importantly, it is a greener choice for the environment. Requiring less energy and fewer bulb replacements, LED lighting is the most efficient form of illumination in history.

LED Lighting Advantages

Landscape lighting contractors have realized the many advantages of LED outdoor lighting for cost and convenience, let alone reducing our carbon footprint.

Hydro meterWith continuous increases in hydro rates, LED bulbs are more affordable than ever, given LED lights are:

  • Available in warm white. No more icky ‘blue’ colour.
  • Consume 80% less power.
  • Require less wire.
  • Use a smaller transformer which saves installation cost.
  • Have a greater operating range (8-18 volts) so no worries about voltage drop.
  • Will not burn out two weeks after the job is done due to defective bulbs.

Average Bulb Lifespan

Halogen Bulb = 2,000 hours (8.2 Months at 8 hours per night)
LED Bulb = 50,000 hours (17 Years at 8 hours per night)

Electricity Consumption (8 hours a night x 365 Days)

35 watt Halogen Bulb = $9.20
5 watt LED Bulb = $1.31

LED Vs Halogen Lights 1 Year

Power Savings with Outdoor LED Lighting
Number of Lights 1 10 20 50
Halogen kwh 102.2 1022 2044 5110
LED: kwh 14.6 146 292 730
Power Saving (kwh) 87.6 876 1752 4380
Dollars Saved $7.89 $78.90 $157.80 $394.50

LED lighting will pay for itself in a very short time

Reduce carbon footprintLike Changing Light Bulbs?

LED bulbs last 50,000 hours, compared to 2,000 hours for halogen. That is 5.7 years continuous use for LED versus 2.7 months for halogen.

LED is the only real choice in our global quest to reduce power consumption.