By Frank Stewart
In past articles I have briefly mentioned some environmentally friendly practices that should be considered by eco-conscious homeowners who are planning additions to the landscape. Today I would like to focus on two of the more interesting innovations to come along in recent years.
LED landscape lighting:
Whenever I have been asked by a customer “How do you feel about landscape lighting?” my response has been:
I think that dollar for dollar it is one of the best investments that you can make in your landscape. The initial cost is sometimes higher than the customer expects, but you are literally doubling the amount of time that the landscape can be viewed and enjoyed. In my opinion, a properly installed system is well worth the investment.
These days I feel even stronger about the positive aspects of the use of outdoor lighting with the broad availability of the LED fixtures. Some of the benefits include:
• They are up to 4 times more efficient than regular incandescent fixtures. LED uses between 50% and 80% less energy than traditional lighting. Even though all landscape lighting is typically low-voltage, this is a considerable savings in operation. Some studies indicate that if all households in the U.S. switched to LED lighting we could CLOSE 90 power plants nationwide.
• The lights last 10 times longer than incandescent and basically never “burn-out”. They just become 30% dimmer at the end of their rated life. 30% is the amount of change that becomes noticeable to the human eye.
• Voltage drop is not an issue with LED lighting, because the output is the same at 8 or 13 volts. This makes the system much easier to design and allows more flexibility in use. The great advantage to the home owner is that we can run more fixtures off of the same transformer. The transformer is traditionally the single most expensive component of a lighting system, and in some cases an additional transformer may be eliminated through the use of LED fixtures.
This is the most exciting thing to happen to landscape lighting in many years.
For the eco-friendly homeowner who hesitates to build a new patio or walkway because they feel like they are adding to the run-off issues by introducing more impervious surface, permeable pavers are the perfect solution.
Tests show that permeable pavers actually reduce run-off and increase ground water absorption compared to typical turf on clay/loam soils in Ohio.
The permeable pavers are built on a base of 1” washed limestone with a bedding layer of angular limestone chips. The stones themselves have a “tab” on the side that creates an automatic joint width of ¼” or more. The limestone chips are then swept into the joints. The final product is attractive, functional and environmentally sound.
Please contact the landscaping department at 513.932.3319 if you have any questions about these products.