I want to thank Ron Friedman from Rochester, NY for taking the time to share his expertise in LED lighting and how efficiently you can internally light your yurt.
Ron’s enthusiasm and knowledge has been a great help to me in learning how different bulbs affect lighting.
Feel free to contact him directly if you have any questions from his post as he is lighting the way for us! -Dana
Our incandescent lights are measured by watts. We know a 30 watt bulb gives off a little light and a 60 watt gives off more. Watts are really a measure of energy used. Those neanderthal bulbs are energy hogs compared to alternatives. When you compare lights, a 60 watt bulb provides 800 lumens. Lumens is the key term necessary to compare the different bulbs for equal lighting capacity. You may also have to look at lighted area as well since incandescents spread light and heat in many directions wasting a great amount where LEDs can be very directed. Most stores have comparison charts so you can see how many lumens a light represents, where it is best used, how it compares to the different lighting choices, and what is the cost of ownership over the lifetime of a bulb.
60 watt incandescent is equal to 800 lumens
If you are connected to the grid, you can install traditional AC lighting systems. But you are a yurt person. You want something sustainable that uses low power or solar produced power for lighting. The evolution of LED lighting has arrived just in time for your lifestyle choice. You can go with LED flood lights outside, trail markers, indoor lighting and more. Now you can have remote solar powered LED lighting with battery backup or DC low voltage led lighting with warranties up to 7 years and lights that continue to work and work and work like the Little Engine that Could. The adoption of these technologies is taking place throughout the US. Leading the way are companies like ELFI Building Systems out of Chicago. They build super insulated building envelopes but seek to provide total energy saving systems for their clients. www.elfiwallsystem.com
Renewable Rochester from Webster NY, has been satisfying remote customer lighting needs with solar powered led lighting boxes. Each box is configured with the particular led lighting requirement specified by the client as well as the amount of built in battery backup. As long as you have sunlight your battery will charge. You will have lighting when you need depending upon the quality of the solar panel used. Renewable Rochester provides this for signage so clients do not have to dig trenches and run expensive cable. It saves time, labor, and of course the energy produced is free. They have installs at campgrounds, ski facilities, farms, and more. In this sample picture, this educational model has the LED mounted right on top of the box. For units installed for clients, the LED comes with a length of cable so it can be installed up high on a post or on a building. You can use this to mark trails into your yurt site or for lighting the immediate area around the structure. The signage photo shows a fairly benign use of this system for light during the night time.
Let’s say you want quite a bit more variety and design issues solved. Here, Indianapolis based, Lumencache has a solution. Owner, Derek Cowburn, has created a DC powered low voltage led lighting system with its own battery backup with residential design flare. You do not need grid hookup as it can be powered from a solar system or other power source. It is also designed with its own inverter so the system converts to DC if required. It is wired with low cost category 5 or 6 computer wire. The voltage is so low there is no need for a licensed electrician. The wires have computer ends that just plug into the fixtures and command modules just like your computer. You can connect as many as 20 LED arrays until the maximum voltage drop is reached. You can have overhead lights and table lamps throughout. The design of your light fixtures is unlimited as lumencache can provide an adapter to make any Edison styled light a lumencache compatible fixture. Dimmable lights are standard. High power and even color changing led lights are possible with this system. If you are really living fancy in your dream yurt, motorized shades and fans can also be connected to this system.
If you are a tech geek, this system has tremendous control. You can dim the lights with 4000 steps. Going slowly, each step is not perceivable. The game is to see if you can dim the lights without your partner realizing what is happening. If you are a super geek, make believe you are Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment trying to avoid the motion sensors. If it is the holidays and colored lights grab you, go with red green blue lumencache luminaries. Your yurt neighbors will not have a chance in out dazzling your combinations.
Terminology You May Come Across:
5 year cost comparison traditional lighting vs lumencache: http://lumencache.com/portfolio/winnelson-showroom/ (click on ‘Savings’ tab)