Are you up to date on the new Federal lighting regulations? Everyone is aware of the push for energy efficiency but most were caught by surprise when the Energy & Security Act of 2007 recently went into effect in California. It applies to 100 watt bulbs at first and gradually applies to most others. The act will begin in 2012 for the rest of the country.
A lamps (standard incandescent medium base bulbs pictured above) and shaped bulbs with different sized bases are required to have lower maximum wattage and a minimum of 1,000 hour lifespan.
100 W 72 W max in 2012*
75 W 53 W max. in 2013*
60 W 43 W max. in 2014*
40 W 29 W max. in 2014*
* Rules go into effect one year earlier for California & British Columbia
The new law does not require you to use CFLs or LEDs, but allows you to choose between them and the newer halogen incandescent bulbs.
CFL's and halogen incandescents cost more initially but when taking into consideration the long term savings in electrical usage, they will actually be less expensive. As the price of electricity goes up the halogen bulbs will be more economical.
The new halogen incandescents are already on the shelves in California and are about 20-22% more energy efficient than the familiar incandescent bulbs according to GE. They sell for about $4-$7 for a 2 pack. They are the same shape as what you have been used to and they can be dimmed. They give bright natural looking light.
Don't worry about those candelabra bulbs - they will be required to be no more than 40-60 watts and decorative bulbs less than 40 watts will be exempt. You will still get the sparkle and light needed for chandeliers. The regulations do not affect specialty incandescent bulbs, such as three-way, colored, bug lights and heavy-duty bulbs.
Please call if I can be of any help!
408-369-9801 or e-mail me at
Live, Love, Laugh ... have a great day!
Lila Levinson, ASID, CKD, CID
Since Kitchens are still the heart of the home it is no wonder it is the most popular room in the house to remodel. Here are the items my clients ask for most:
1. An open floor plan is the number one must have for today's families. Family and guests love to mingle and converse with the cook so a good floorplan includes them but keeps them on the other side of a counter so they are not underfoot. An island, eating bar or a pass-thru can accomplish this.
2. Islands are also very popular but they have scaled down in size since they were first introduced. If the room is very large sometimes two smaller islands are used. The minimum size of an island is 24" x 48". A peninsula may work better if there is not enough room for an island. Aisles need to be minimum of 36" where there are no appliances or chairs and 42"- 48" is more comfortable. Where there are chairs or stools allow 48"-60" of clear space.
3. Eating areas are usually requested. If there is not enough room for a table and chairs, perhaps a banquette will work or often an eating bar is the only solution. Depending on the size and needs of the family, arrange the seating so you can talk to each other and also have pleasant views. Some people want to be able to watch TV while eating.
4. Good lighting is a major concern. Layers of light and proper placement must both be considered. Ambient lighting will evenly light the room, while more focused task lighting is needed in specific areas for function. Lastly, decorative lighting softens the room and adds some interst to all the hard lines in a kitchen. Use decorative lighting sparingly - do not have it at the bar, island and eating nook all at the same time unless the room is very large or has definate separate spaces. Select the main area for a focal fixture and use recessed lighting in the other areas. Do not overlook undercabinet lighting, which needs to be located at the front of upper cabinets to light the work surface - not the backsplash. Lighting on top of the cabinets also adds nice ambient lighting and can be used as night lighting as well.
5. Larger windows are wonderful for bringing the outdoors in and capturing natural daylight but don't forget that they eliminate some cabinet storage. Try to incorporate a pantry, if possible, to compensate for that. Even if the daylighting is wonderful be sure to allow for nightime lighting as well.
6. Pantries are a favorite of today's homeowner. Walk in pantries can store so much more than food and are easy for retrieval when needed. They are ideal places for vacuum, brooms, large pet food bag storage and little used appliances. If there is not room for a walk-in pantry there are full height pull out versions from 12" - 24" of cabinet width. The weight that will be carried on these shelves is a major issue so be sure to buy quality hardware for this application.
I hope this gets your creative juices going!
If I can be of any help, please call me at
408-369-9801 or email me: