Green LED Lights for Greener Homes, Plus Cost Info

If you are considering replacing your existing incandescent light bulbs or CFLs with the newly available bright LED light bulbs such as the Phillips LED Dimmable Light Bulbd with Warm Glow Effect (800-Lumen, 2200-2700 Kelvin, 9.5-Watt, 60-Watt Equivalent), then it is a good idea to learn about pros and cons of each of these different types of lighting products.

a-room-outfitted-with-leds

To start off, I would like to say that modern LED light bulbs can provide a reasonably good new light bulb replacement option. Without a doubt, LEDs offer a number of important benefits, but you may also find that CFLs, which you can now buy for under $1.00 a piece, may be more appropriate for your current situation.

What is LED Lighting?

a-kitchen-outfitted-with-leds

A LED or a Light Emitting Diode is a form of lighting that is becoming increasingly popular as an environmentally preferred source of lighting in both residential and commercial buildings. A LED is a type of semiconductor that can produce light through an affect known as electroluminescence.

LEDs are compact lights that do not contain filaments like incandescent bulbs, and which emit mostly light while producing very little heat as a by product of their operation. LEDs are typically small, sometimes measuring less than one millimeter square. LED lighting can take a number of different forms, using various lenses to create different lighting effects by manipulating how the light radiates and disperses.

The earliest LEDs, which were produced during the 1960s, were only capable of emitting red light, and they were typically only used as indicator lights incapable of producing enough light to light up the space. LED lights of different colors such as yellow were later obtained. Early LEDs were mainly used only as indicators in calculators, and scientific instruments, and TV remotes, and as indicator lights in automobiles and in airplanes.

A significant technological breakthrough of 1995, resulted in a bright white LED light bulb capable of lighting up the space with a light that was of adequate intensity and reasonably close to white/natural light.

Modern LEDs can produce light of all different colors (wave lengths of the color spectrum), including visible, ultraviolet and infrared light. The brightness and efficiency of LEDs has been improved significantly with the advancements in technological development of LEDs. Thus, modern LEDs are now being used not only as indicators for displays, but also as a lighting source in our homes and commercial/institutional buildings.

Goals and Objectives of this guide:

In this guide, I will explain advantages and benefits of LEDs, and I will try to highlight all known to me potential negatives and disadvantages of LED lighting in order to help you the consumer, make a more informed/smarter buying decision. I will also offer some advice on choosing the right types of home LED lights, and tell how you can evaluate and compare the quality of light produced by LEDs with the light you are used to getting from your normal light bulbs.

Cost

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When bright home LED lights first became available to consumers, they used to average $100.00 per bulb, but now that the initial hype has faded, and with a growing number of prominent LED lighting manufacturers competing for consumers, prices of LEDs have gone down to an average of $5 – $15 for a dimmable LED light bulb ranging from 60 to 100 watt of light equivalent produced.

For instance, you can now buy a 60 watt equivalent, soft light dimmable led bulb by Cylvania at Lowe’s for under $10!

led-bulb-and-lamp

Despite more than triple lowering of prices of LEDs in the recent years, the higher current initial cost of LEDs are still likely to deter some consumers from purchasing home LED replacement bulbs in great numbers at this point in time. Thus, relatively high current cost of LEDs can be considered the greatest disadvantage of LEDs from the point of view of the regular consumer.

On the upside, you should remember that by investing in LEDs now, you will not have to worry about the cost of maintaining and replacing your led light bulbs in the next 10 to 25 years. If you add up all the energy savings from using LED lights to light your home, you will be able to recover your all your money in just a few years. Still, Shelling out over $100.00 in one visit to a lighting store may be too much for some people to swallow.

You can always play the waiting game, though, since the prices of LEDs are expected to keep dropping at the range of 10% to 15% percent per year. As the LED lighting technology advances, LED lighting manufacturers keep lowering the cost of their products in order to stay competitive.

This competition will ultimately benefit consumers who will get a variety of great LED light products at some very attractive prices. My best recommendation is that you wait a few years, and when the prices of LEDs fall significantly, you will be able to get yourself a real bargain for your hard earned money!

Timing is Everything!

In the mean time, you can replace your existing incandescent light bulbs with spiral shaped CFLs that you can get for around 1 buck, and you will be able reduce your lighting energy consumption by approximately 75%. And, when the time comes to replace your CFLs, you will be able to pick some high quality home LED lights for a very attractive price.

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How to Refinish Hardwood Floors: Step by Step Instructions Illustrated

Are your hardwood floors getting dull or loosing their luster? Why not give ’em a quick refresh to make your room and your home look and feel great again!? 🙂 Hardwood floors demand a fairly frequent refinishing whenever you feel that they are losing their luster. All you need to do is repair and re-sand the wood, along with some coats of refinish over the wood. Here is the step by step procedure:

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Step 1. Identify what kind of wood your floors have. Mostly oak, maple and heart pine are used in wooden floors. Some wood floor types are easier to refinish than others, while engineered wood floors cannot be refinished because it is impossible to sand them. You also have to consider whether or not your old wood floors are too thin to refinish. All floors will get thinner whenever they are being refinished. Thus, after numerous refinishes, there is hardly going to be any layer left on your old wood floors to remove before applying protective coats.

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Top 16 Shipping Container Homes in the US – How Much They Cost

Many people don’t know that shipping containers can be used for more than transporting merchandise across the ocean. You can actually build residential dwellings and custom-designed homes by assembling the old shipping containers!

A simple, multi-container home. Estimated cost $100,000 to $150,000.
via Back Country Containers

Not only can you build a fully-fledged, custom-designed home with all the bells and whistles of traditional construction, but even modern and trendy coffee shops, office spaces, apartment buildings, schools, and emergency shelters can be constructed utilizing re-purposed shipping containers.

The containers are made of steel, a durable material that is strong enough to be used for building and yet soft enough to be cut in suitable shapes. The fact that shipping containers are stack-able makes them a good option for creating homes and even office buildings that are several stories high! 😉

Did you know? Shipping container houses are expected to become more commonplace, as it’s estimated about 500,000 shipping containers are abandoned each year.

So, if a shipping container home build uses five standard shipping containers, around 17,500 kg (38581 lbs) worth of steel will be recycled. Not to mention that by building with containers you aren’t using other building materials, which helps reduce a tall on the environment.

Shipping Container Home Costs:

According to 24hplans.com, there are two standard sizes for shipping containers: 20 x 8 x 8 ft. covering a surface of 160 sq. ft. and 40 x 8 x 8 with a surface of 320 sq. ft.

A used 20-footer container costs anywhere between $1,400 and $2,800, whereas a 40-footer costs $3,500 – $4,500.

You will also have to pay for labor (about $50-$150 per hour) and for the modifications needed to make the container livable.

Expect to pay at least $10,000 for labor, more likely $15,000 per container, plus permitting, planning, structural engineering and architectural design fees.

Ferndale container house

via FreeP.com

Located in Ferndale, Michigan, this 1,808 sq. ft. house was built with from 5 ½ shipping containers. It was sold for $415,000.

This high-end, contemporary home features three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 9-foot ceilings, a second-floor, walkout balcony, and a fully-poured basement.

If you take a look inside, you will find a floating staircase tailored from wood and steel that leads to the living room, dining room and kitchen. The bedrooms and laundry are on the first floor.

via FreeP.com

Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors at one end of the second story’s open floor plan lead onto a balcony that overlooks the backyard.

Ferndale home second-story 320 sq. ft. Trex balcony.
via FreeP.com

The kitchen features tiled backsplashes and a custom-made island made of reclaimed wood.

via FreeP.com

What the developer aimed to accomplish with this design: “Our goal is to set the standard in quality in this type of construction. You have no idea it’s made out of shipping containers,” said Stephanie Coyle, co-founder of Forever Home, who partnered with Dee Tignanelli, owner of Alpha to Omega Properties LLC, to build the house – their first made from shipping containers.

Coyle said she hopes their house will “remove the stigma that can sometimes be attached” to such homes, which are found throughout the world, but are a new concept to many. “It’s just a different way to build a home,” said Coyle. “Show people this type of construction can be beautiful, and let’s show you it can actually look and blend into a community.”

LoHi container house

LoHi container house

Via Prefab Container Homes

Located in Denver, this 2,192 sq. ft. house was built with 7 containers and was sold for $679,000.

Many people argue that shipping container house designs would somehow upset neighborhood associations because they don’t usually blend in with traditional homes.

We don’t think you should be concerned in the case of this house because it looks just like a regular home, the one difference being that it’s made of metal.

The house has a two-car garage and 2.5 bathrooms, which is more than ideal for a family of four or five people.

If you take a look inside, you will find the master bedroom that’s connected to the rooftop through a spiral staircase.

There are 2 additional bedrooms, a large living room with a kitchen island, and of course an office space for whoever works from home.

Ocean container house

Ocean container house California

Via Prefab Container Homes

Built in California and designed by Leger Wanaselja Architecture, this shipping container house looks stunning at dusk, measures 1350 sq. ft.

The three re-purposed shipping containers were insulated and modified to make the structure of this beautiful home.

Note the large windows that allow inhabitants to make use of natural light as much as possible. They also direct the attention away from the metal containers.

The roof is flat which is pretty much what you would expect from a shipping container house. This design also blends in a traditional neighborhood.

The Nest home

The Nest home

Via Prefab Container Homes

The Missouri University of Science and Technology built this design with 3 shipping containers to compete in the Solar Decathlon in 2015.

For those of you who don’t know, this is a competition where countries from all over the world are trying to build the most self sufficient house.

So, you will probably not be surprised when I say the house has photovoltaic panels, an HVAC system, a grey water collection system, automated lightning and 3 hydroponic gardens.

As for design, the metal is covered with refurbished shipping pallets, while carpeting is made of reused fishing nets. Insulation consists in recycled denim batting.

Ocean shipping container house in Kansas

Ocean shipping container house Kansas

Via Prefab Container Homes

This design features entire walls made of glass. Some would argue that it makes the house less energy efficient, but this can be resolved by purchasing Energy Star windows.

There is a small porch near the entrance door where you can put some outdoor furniture and enjoy a relaxed meal with your family.

Inside, the living room is very spacious as you can see in the pictures showed by the source website.

The metal walls were painted in a light blue shade to mix with the rest of the interior design elements while creating a warm feeling of harmony that is not what you would expect when looking at the exterior of the building.

Modular steel container home

Modular steel container home

Via Echotech Design

Built in the Mojave Desert, California, this house is made of 6 shipping containers and actually has its own water tank that can hold up to 10,000 gallons of water.

The construction is protected against wind and fire by a steel shade canopy with an integrated metal framing system.

The architects made sure the house withstands a harsh climate like the one of the Mojave Desert so they made it sustainable while keeping the afferent costs in mind.

According to the guys at Ecotech Design, the construction costs were far below the ones of a comparable prefabricated or manufactured house.

Modular container home in New York

Modular container home NY

Via Prefab Container Homes

It took 6 containers to build this house: 4 for the ground floor and 2 on top of those. The latter make the dining room, living room and an open kitchen.

Both the ground and upper floors offer some outdoor space: you can see the balcony and the ground deck where the owners have actually installed a swimming pool.

The inside walls are painted white which combined with the white oak floors make the rooms look very elegant and also spacious.

The house has energy efficient windows, Energy Star appliances and white thermoplastic roof with spray foam insulation.

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