Author: Brian Huff

Countering The Rap That LED’s Aren’t So Hot

LED’s have been taking a bum rap recently and we want to set the record straight.

Unlike CFL’s or incandescents, LED, or Light Emitting Diode, create light by running a current through a small computer chip which then emits light. There’s no gas, no mercury, no moving parts – making it one of the most energy efficient and durable lights in the world.

That incredible energy efficiency, however, has LED to some problems. (excuse the pun) In Des Moines and other cold weather cities, incandescent traffic lights are being replaced with high energy efficient LED’s, which are 90% more energy efficient and can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for cash-strapped cities. The downside is the very advantage that LED’s have – they produce far less heat than their predecessors, which allows snow and ice to build up, particularly during this record breaking winter. That has created visibility issues for drivers and headaches for the city road crews who have to clear the snow and ice by hand.

Truth be told, on the coldest, snowiest, windiest days, no traffic light – incandescent, LED or burning caveman torch – can keep up with the snow and ice. Otherwise there are solutions. Plastic covers can be placed over the lights, or they can be coated with a special moisture repellent substance. Airports usually add heating elements to their energy efficient LED’s and still see dramatic savings.

But many businesses also use the cooler running characteristic of LED’s and CFL’s to their advantage.

 Adventure Lighting is currently retrofitting the cooler lights – literally the lights in the coolers, where beverages are kept cold – at all Short Stop Convenience Store locations, as well as other businesses where refrigerated products require display lighting. These new energy efficient LED’s produce 60% energy savings by themselves, plus their lower operating temperature means refrigeration units don’t have to work as hard. That energy saving one-two punch is great news for business owners looking to pinch every penny in this economy.

This type of savings also holds true for businesses where there are lots of lights in general – replacing wasteful incandescents with more energy efficient, cooler running CFL’s means lower lighting costs year-round plus lower cooling costs in the summer. There’s also a safety factor for residential customers who switch to CFL’s – they generate less heat which means they won’t burn your kids’ (or your) hands or create the high heat of incandescents that can, and do, ignite nearby cloth and other combustibles.

And while we probably wouldn’t mind a little extra heat from our lights during this coldest of winters, think about it this way – you can put your hands around an old 100 watt incandescent bulb to stay warm, or you can replace it with an energy efficient CFL and use the money you’ll be saving to pay for turning up the furnace a bit. Or to buy extra fire wood for your fireplace. Or an extra blanket. 🙂



Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to 

How They Calculate Your CFL’s Savings

If you’ve ever tried to figure out how the savings using CFL’s vs. old school incandescents are calculated and if they’re actually accurate, I understand your confusion.
The manufacturers of the energy-efficient compact fluorescents we sell here at Adventure Lighting make what we believe are the highest quality CFL’S on the market. But they don’t always do the best job of explaining how they come up with how this CFL saves this many watts at this many lumens over this many hours at this cost per hour.
I’m certainly no math wizard – but there is a method to their madness.
Take a typical Philips 18w compact fluorescent – it produces a light output of 1250 lumens of light, lasts 12,000 hours (or about 11 years) and saves $68 dollars in energy costs compared to a comparable old school incandescent – according to Philips. 

But how do we know they’re right? We know they’re right because we know the U.S. Federal Government is right. (Okay, insert your joke here lol)   

The Environmental Protection Agency rates all lights under strictly controlled test conditions, typically with lamps turned off and restarted about once every three hours.  There are 100 lamps tested, and when half of them have failed, the rated average life of a light is determined.  For this lamp, half of all the tested lamps have failed at the 12,000 hour mark.      

At $.10 per kilowatt-hour (the average cost of electricity across the US) the 18w CFL we’re referencing uses $21.60 of electricity over its 12,000 hour life. This is a $68.40 in savings compared to the $90 cost of using a 75w old school incandescent bulb.    

In simpler terms, CFL’s last from eight to 15 times longer yet use only 20 to 33% of the energy of incandescents – and those are numbers that don’t require a math degree to understand.  Another quality of CFL’s is that the more you turn them on and off the shorter their life expectancy – conversely, the longer you let them burn the longer the life.    

To calculate how much you can save replacing multiple incandescents with CFL’s, go to our website, and click “calculate your savings.”    

But if you really want to understand firsthand how CFL’s work, the easiest thing to do is use one – and we can help!    

Just subscribe to our blog via the email subscription area on the right hand side of this page and we’ll give you two free Philips CFL’s. (while supplies last) We’ll send you a confirmation email and how to pick up your two free lights after you subscribe. No purchase necessary.    

And keep an eye out for more great offers in future blogs!    


Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to     

CFL’s Light Up The Des Moines Register

Tuesday’s edition of the Des Moines Register had a great article on the advantages of using CFL’s, or compact fluorescents, over standard incandescents. We’ve talked about CFL’s big advantages in a previous blog, but we thought it was worth mentioning the Register article, which got most things right but a few things need clarified.

The Register piece said that CFL’s use a “small” amount of mercury. While that may technically be true, the article failed to mention that mercury is harmful to people and the environment in even small quantities. So among CFL manufacturers, there are better choices, which is why we sell Philips brand CFL’s at Adventure Lighting. Their compact flourescents have at least 50% less mercury than other CFL’s without any loss of quality.

To give you a better sense of it, compare a Sylvania 800 series 4-foot T-8 lamp, which has 3.5 milligrams of mercury, to the same lamp from Philips which contains only 1.7 milligrams. We think that’s a big advantage, in terms of environmental impact.

Another point from the Register story that we take slight issue with is when it talked about how fan vibration lessens the life of CFL’s. While that’s completely true for old school incandescents – which use heated filaments that tend to break when shaken – compact flourescents create light by running an electrical current through a gas and so are much more durable and can take the shaking.

Otherwise, we loved the article in the Register and thought it was right on target. In fact the Des Moines Register company is a great client of ours – drive past their downtown office or their beautiful printing facility and you’ll see our Adventure Lighting lights on full display, proudly showcasing the beauty and benefits of CFL’s. 
Now to your wonderful response to our blog.
Hundreds of you have taken us up on our invitation to visit “Here’s A Bright Idea!” Your response has been beyond our wildest expectations and so, to say Thank You, we want to give you a gift. If you subscribe (or have subscribed) to our blog, we have two free Philips CFL’s for you (while supplies last) – an 18w (75w equivalent) bulb and a 14w (60w equivalent) bulb. Each are rated to 8000 hours of use and each typifies what we think is the highest quality CFL on the market.

To get your two free CFL’s just subscribe to our Here’s A Bright Idea! blog, via email. We’ll send you a confirmation email and how to pick up your two free lights. No purchase is necessary, it’s just our way of saying thanks. In the coming weeks and months we’ll have other great offers for anyone who subscribes to our blog, so stay tuned.


Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to

Color Temperature

One of the things that bugs me the most when I’m out visiting new customers or potential clients is when lamps in the fixures are a different color.  Usually this happens because a maintenance person goes to a local big box store and picks up whichever lamp is the first he/she finds that is the same size.  I think that it looks a bit tacky.  But most times customers don’t know the difference and don’t know what to look for when buying lamps.  Here’s a quick lesson on what to ask for.

First you need to know if you have T12 or T8 lamps in your fixtures.  (I’m talking about the 4 foot bulbs that are in 95% of office fixtures)  The T12’s are fat, and the T8’s are skinny.  Next you’ll need to know the color.  On the bulb it will say something to the effect of “Warm White” or “Cool White” on a T12, or 735 – 741 – 750 on a T8 lamp.  The difference is in the look of the lamp.  A Warm White color, or a 2700 kelvin to 3500 kelvin temperature looks a lot like a standard everyday 60watt light bulb that everyone has in their homes.  The “cool white” color or 4100 kelvin temerature has a colder look to it.  All this means is that there is more blue in the color.  Then there is a 5000 kelvin lamp that is representative of a “daylight” color.  See this picture below.  It goes from Warm White to Cool White, to Daylight.

Correlated Color Temperature Explained

 As you can see the warmer color on the left is a lot different than the Daylight color on the right.  And putting them together in a fixture will cause an eyesore. 

Why would you use one color over another?

Well, many people find the warm color to be comforting in a residential enviornment.  It darkens tan colors and gives a general warm feel to the room.  The cool white color is generally found all over offices and other commercial buildings and can have an “institution”, cold-like feeling to it.  But for the most part it does a nice job of ligthing office and warehouse spaces.  I’ve had customers move to a daylight lamp because it gets past the institution feeling and gives workers a sense of being outside.  I’ve heard customers say that employees have less problems with headaches while using the 5000k lamp. 

For the most part the color used in your space is a personal preference.  But PLEASE!!! standardize and stick with one color.  We here at Adventure Lighting combat this with our customers by keeping a history of what was bought in the past.  If you bought a case of Cool White lamps 2 years ago, we’ll make sure you get the same color lamp today.

Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to

Get Your Rebates Now – But Will They Last?

Want these lights? Click here!

One of the biggest selling points of our Adventure Lighting lights, especially for business owners, is that over time, the lights pay for themselves and then some – through their light efficiency and cost savings.

Therer’s also another very compelling reason to switch your company’s lights from incandescents to CFL’s – in most cases, the retrofit is paid for,  lights and labor, with the Mid-American Energy Rebate program.

Find out more about Mid-American Energy rebates

But now comes the scary part – will the rebates last? We’ve heard about approaching deadlines for TARP funds, and news headlines talking about funding running out for other savings programs. We also hear from company owners and consumers who question whether the Mid-American rebate program will be around long-term.

Not to worry, says Mark Reinders, communications manager for Mid-American Energy.

He told us that, while he would “never say never,” the rebate program, which started in Iowa 10 years ago, has “no sunset clause” and will be around a long time. Reinders emphasized  that the Mid-American’s energy efficiency programs have had “a huge impact on lowering greehouse gases and producing costs savings for customers.” An additional benefit, says Reinders, is that “Mid-American Energy doesn’t have to keep building new plants.” So it’s  a win-win-win, for consumers, the company and the environment.

The program has become so popular that it’s been expanded by Mid-American Energy to include Illinois, South Dakota and most recently, Nebraska – but Iowa was the first and, we think, the best! In fact, Mark told us that one of the reasons the program has been so measureably successful in Iowa is because of our steady population numbers – while energy consumption has increased (all those computers and big screen TV’s and Ipods, I suppose) our state population has remained constant, therefore the overall impact of the program has been greater.

In a future post, I’ll talk more about the rebate program process, how it works and how much money it can save your business – the numbers are truly amazing!

For now anyway, we can all rest easy – those fantastic Mid-American Energy rebates aren’t going anywhere. 🙂 

Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to

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