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Lighting, Sound, Automation, Electrical & Lighting Design Services                            504-394-4132



I use the blog to share helpful lighting, electrical, sound and automation information.  Articles will be on a variety of topics including new products, design and code.

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Adjusting your wall switch for Hue Smart lighting with Lutron Aurora

Posted on June 21, 2019 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (1350)

Lutron joins the Philips Hue ‘Friends of Hue’ program, helping users regain control of their smart lighting by preventing the toggle switch from being accidentally turned off.

Smart bulb users lose control of their smart lighting when a light switch is accidentally turned off. To help prevent this from happening, Lutron is introducing the Aurora smart bulb dimmer, a wireless, battery-powered dimmer that can be mounted directly over a toggle switch, keeping Signify’s Philips Hue smart bulbs and fixtures ready for use.


The completely wire-free Lutron Aurora dimmer can be installed easily over toggle switches in just two minutes. A dimmer mounting base “locks” your existing toggle switch in the on/up position to help prevent it from being accidentally turned off.

The round knob dimmer snaps directly onto the mounting base, and provides wireless, local control of your Philips Hue smart bulbs and fixtures. The Aurora dimmer is perfect for times when it’s less convenient to use the Philips Hue app to adjust your lights.

And, there’s no need to worry about Wi-Fi outages. Just like the Philips Hue system, the Lutron Aurora smart bulb dimmer operates via Zigbee technology. You can still control your Hue lights with the Aurora dimmer even if the Wi-Fi goes down.



2014 National Electric Code being adopted in 2014

Posted on December 14, 2017 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (367)

The state of Louisiana will be adopting the latest building codes (2016) and the 2014 National Electric Code in Feburary of 2018.    Please make sure that your designers and contractors are aware so taht your home or building passes inspection.

Lighting and health circadian system

Posted on December 14, 2017 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (607)

This article is from the Electrical Contractor Magazine. The lighting industry continues to explore the potential for lighting solutions to benefit and optimize human health. Studies indicate light has physiological effects that go beyond vision. In recent years, the industry has focused on the effect of light on the human circadian system and how electric lighting choices can affect circadian health.

Light and circadian rhythms

The circadian system produces and regulates bodily functions based on 24-hour cycles, or circadian rhythms. A big example is the sleep-wake cycle. Disrupting circadian rhythms can contribute to poor nighttime sleep, increased daytime napping, and greater risk of depression, obesity, diabetes and seasonal affective disorder.

The daily change from light to dark is the primary stimulus for synchronizing circadian rhythms to our location. The human eye has cells that are receptive to light and connect directly to the brain’s master clock, converting light into neural signals that regulate circadian rhythms. For millions of years, the sunrise-sunset cycle performed this job, but in the modern era, we rely on electric lighting systems.

Traditionally, these lighting systems are designed for vision, disregarding light’s nonvisual impact. Mariana G. Figueiro, Light and Health program director at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., said there are four major factors in designing a lighting solution that optimizes circadian health.

First and foremost is intensity, the quantity of light falling on the eye’s photoreceptors during the day. Of importance here is light at the plane of the cornea or eye, not light falling on the horizontal workplane. Next is spectral power distribution (SPD)—the combination of light wavelengths the light source emits. Circadian regulation is most responsive to short-wavelength light (460 nm, or “blue”;). (Note SPD and correlated color temperature, or CCT, roughly correlate but not exactly; request SPD data for a light source, not just CCT.) Meanwhile, longer-wavelength light (“red”;) also can produce an alerting effect. Finally, timing, duration and photic history also are important—when the light is received, how much light cumulatively falls on the eye throughout the day, and previous light exposure.

Ideally, a circadian lighting solution exposes occupants to high-intensity light (at least 20–40 foot-candles, or fc, at eye level) in the morning, which can be enhanced with short-­wavelength light. Daylight is ideal. Otherwise, electric direct-indirect general lighting, task lighting, luminous workstation partitions and wall lighting can increase vertical light levels. Controls can play an important role in adjusting light levels and spectrum throughout the day. (Meanwhile, as an aside, steps should be taken to minimize glare and objectionable flicker.)

Due to differences in human physiology, one’s mileage may vary. Studies tend to suggest outcomes for average populations under certain conditions. Lifestyle is a major determinant, along with evening and nighttime lighting. Overall, circadian health is a puzzle. For commercial buildings, designers may choose to ensure their piece is optimized.

“Architectural lighting isn’t just for vision anymore,” Figueiro said. “Clients are increasingly requesting and expecting lighting systems and applications that can support human health and wellbeing.”

She said, if a company wants to attract and retain top talent in today’s labor market, the office environment must be designed with employee needs and desires at the forefront. Beyond that, companies that care about the health and wellbeing of their workforce should consider healthy lighting.

“People are the most important asset of an organization,” Figueiro said. “Why not provide them with the best lighting? Providing occupants with proper circadian lighting is similar to providing them with ergonomic chairs or flat-screen computer monitors.”

For lighting professionals, this emerging trend poses several challenges. For starters, achieving circadian response with a vertical light level of 20–40 fc translates to roughly 80–120 horizontal fc, which prevailing commercial building energy codes do not support.

Tunable-white LED lighting can play an important role here. It can adjust spectral emission to emphasize short-­wavelength light, which can increase circadian response by a factor of two to three. Figueiro found, when targeting 30 fc on the horizontal workplane, circadian stimulus required an SPD emitting more short-wavelength light (6,000 K correlated color temperature, or CCT). At 40 fc, it required an SPD emitting less short-wavelength light (4,500 K CCT).

“In situations where renovations may be impossible due to budgetary or architectural constraints, low-cost and low-impact light oases can be established,” Figueiro said. “Such oases can be quite effective when occupants are provided with information on light therapy and the health value of circadian stimulus, and can be tailored for limited spaces ranging from small offices to submarines.”

Lighting professionals also are seeking further research confirming positive outcomes for circadian lighting, along with tools and metrics they can use to evaluate, compare and implement solutions. The LRC recently published the results of an office circadian lighting research project and a circadian stimulus metric and predictive tool.

“Much has been learned over the past decade about the impact of light on circadian rhythms, and interest in the topic of light and health is certainly on the rise,” Figueiro said. “New metrics are now being proposed. But rather than wait until standard-setting bodies agree on new metrics or guidelines, lighting professionals can begin to apply current research to help people live better right now.”

CS metric and calculator

As a design objective, circadian light stimulation differs from achieving sufficient functional illumination for visual acuity and safety, requiring a new metric. The LRC developed the circadian stimulus (CS) metric as a proposed basis for evaluation, comparison and application of circadian lighting solutions. CS is based on an LRC model of how the retina converts light stimulation into neural signals, focusing on the quantity of circadian-effective light falling on the eye’s cornea.

As manufacturer claims about circadian benefits have begun to proliferate, proposed metrics such as CS can be very helpful. The CS metric has been successfully used in field applications, including people with Alzheimer’s disease and U.S. Navy submariners.

Exposure to a CS of 0.3+ at the eye for at least one hour in the early part of the day is considered effective for circadian stimulation. Circadian response activates at a CS of 0.1 and caps at a saturation point of 0.7.

“Although responses to circadian-effective light vary … , a lighting system that delivers a circadian stimulus greater than 0.3 during the day—particularly in the morning—and less than 0.1 in the evening is a great starting point,” Figueiro said.

Subsequently, the LRC released the CS calculator, a free tool designed to help lighting professionals choose light sources and levels ideal for circadian stimulus. The lighting professional establishes the base condition using the CS calculator and software such as AGi32. Various lighting strategies are then considered, which can be fine-tuned to achieve the right balance between circadian stimulus, IES recommendations, energy codes and owner requirements. Download the CS tool at

“The CS calculator enables a lighting professional to quickly and easily convert the photopic illuminance provided by any light source at any light level into the effectiveness of that light for stimulating the human circadian system,” Figueiro said. “It helps one compare effectiveness of various light sources for the circadian system.”

While the CS tool is helpful for designers, additional interest is coming from manufacturers. Some may publish CS values in their cut sheet. Others develop lighting control schemes around CS.

GSA study

The LRC put its ideas to the test in a field study conducted at five office buildings managed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). It found office workers receiving a substantial dose of circadian-effective light in the morning have better sleep and lower levels of depression and stress than workers who spend their mornings in low light levels. GSA intends to use this data to support its efforts in developing new healthy lighting practices at federal buildings.

The study used the Daysimeter, a device the LRC developed to measure the amount of circadian stimulus received throughout the day. The 109 study participants wore the device for seven consecutive days in summer and winter months, from 2014 to 2016. The LRC collected data during these periods covering sleep and mood, using five standard questionnaires. The participants also logged bedtimes and wake-up times. Sleep latency, quality of sleep and naps were calculated using Daysimeter data.

The LRC determined that participants receiving a morning electric or daylight CS of at least 0.3 displayed greater circadian entrainment than participants receiving a morning CS of 0.15 or lower. They were able to fall asleep faster at bedtime, particularly in winter. They also experienced higher-quality sleep. With no seasonal variation, they reported lower stress levels. Participants receiving lower CS reported taking about 45 minutes to fall asleep at bedtime.

“The results are a first step toward promoting the adoption of new, more meaningful metrics for field research, providing new ways to measure and quantify circadian-effective light,” Figueiro said.

Final word

Clearly, circadian lighting is a new field, and more work needs to be done in regard to daylight integration, surface characteristics, controls and understanding special populations. Standards and best practices need to be formulated. It’s important to recognize blue light is not the only answer and not to overstate results and benefits. Successful implementation requires an adequate budget and a high degree of design influence over general lighting, task lighting, controls and potentially daylight, furnishings and finishes.

That being said, Figueiro believes circadian lighting is actionable now and points to fresh research, metrics and tools as ways for lighting professionals to begin exploring opportunities with their projects. As interest in circadian lighting grows—and should that interest translate to owner demand and best practices—it may spark a revolution in lighting design. Lighting that not only provides visual and aesthetic benefits but also supports circadian regulation.

“We strongly encourage lighting professionals to seek opportunities that provide a deep understanding of the many ways light can affect health and wellbeing, and to become adept at addressing and designing lighting for special applications effectively,” she said.


Posted on December 11, 2017 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (526)

We are excited to see The Casablanca Caneel Bay ceiling fan featured in one of Joanna Gaines’ room redesigns.

Chip and Joanna Gaines placed Casablanca’s industrial style ceiling fan in a room doubling as a mudroom and home office during a recent episode of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.

Casablanca Designer Claire McRoberts admired how the wood desk coupled with the Caneel Bay in the Aged Steel finish with White Washed Distressed Oak blades keeps the eye moving around the room.

Claire McRoberts, Designer

“The whole goal of any good designer is that your eye keeps moving. That’s when you know you have a great space: You can’t stop looking around, it carries you from point to point,” said McRoberts.

The Caneel Bay is currently available to buy in two finishes: Aged Steel with White Washed Distressed Oak blades (as seen on HGTV’s Fixer Upper) and Maiden Bronze with Smoked Walnut blades.

McRoberts said part of the appeal of the Caneel Bay is how the strong housing finish coupled with the distressed blades that allow it to plays well with masculine and feminine styles, like the Gaines did in this Fixer Upper episode.

“She pairs masculine elements in a more feminine space: the color pallet, your combination of cool grey walls with the warm tone wood,” said McRoberts.

The Caneel Bay features industrial inspired details including the rivets on the blade irons and the latches on the housing, making it perfect for casual spaces. With a 56-inch blade span it easily works in large or great rooms. It’s also damp rated meaning it can seamlessly fit in indoor living rooms as well as covered patios.

“People should be putting this fan everywhere,” said McRoberts.

She just might mean that literally. McRoberts shared the various style spaces the Caneel Bay fits in.


Pour a whiskey at your rugged metalwork bar then recline in a sleek, dark leather chair under your Caneel Bay ceiling fan.

McRoberts calls it “dapper loft” style.

“It’s more that super modern, loft space that’s very masculine,” she said, “Anything that’s vintage inspired: If you have a vintage inspired space even with traditional elements, this fan could fit.”

McRoberts said the Caneel Bay’s masculine features will compliment a dapper loft style space.


Exposed brick, pipes and wood beams are quintessential to industrial style. It’s all about embracing raw elements with rustic details like metal brackets and washed wood.

Keep the furniture simple in these spaces: Casablanca’s designers like clean lines and modern furniture in industrial inspired room. A couch with clean lines but worn-in leather fits seamlessly in an industrial inspired living room. In a kitchen, have washed wood or metal draftsman’s chairs at the breakfast bar.


Farmhouse, like industrial, embraces raw elements but in a classic, elegant way.

Exposed wood beams in a room with furniture like a barnwood coffee table or rustic bed with reclaimed wood unify the farmhouse look in a space. Keep the paint neutral in a farmhouse style space – think shiplap.

Finish it off with antique details like metal brackets on pantries, wainscoting on the walls, a vase of flowers on a table and a Caneel Bay ceiling fan in Aged Bronze.

“Because the finish is so clean it can fit in a cleaner space, the space itself doesn’t have to be distressed or casual,” said McRoberts.


Utilitarian is another evolution of industrial interior design, and McRoberts said it’s a trend picking up steam.

“Utilitarian is kind of like repurposed items, so it’s a little different than vintage,” said McRoberts, “A lot of times when you look up utilitarian you see a lot of World War I and World War II trinket-y things, lots of buckles and backpacks.”

Utiliarian is about function as well as style. Top off fuss free natural flooring like concrete with a plush rug or a Moroccan rug. Layer on the natural textures like a leather sectional sofa and parachute silk curtains.


The Caneel Bay is damp rated, meaning its perfect for covered patios and porches. McRoberts recommends putting this ceiling fan in a nautical space; nothing too beachy, though.

“Think ships, ropes, orrs, more boat-ish inspired as opposed to beach inspired,” said McRoberts.

A lake house or Cape Cod home would enhance the nautical essence of the Caneel Bay as opposed to a Florida condo.

PEMBA recognizes the quality of this fan's design and recommends it for your project.

The simplest Things are important in Lighting and Electrical Design

Posted on November 30, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (100)

 A customer who is remodeling a historic building in the French Quarter asked for Design services for lighting.   The switching plan for this space was very important so as to NOT destroy the look of the spaces with switches and dimmers all over the place.   After completing the layout the designer added cabinets in the bathroom which would best be lit and worked with the electrician to create 5 gang switch look in the master water closet.       This wasn't necessary.  A simple email to the designer and owner adjusted this.  While this seems simple support,  the reason you use a lighting supplier that handles layouts is because switching/dimming becomes an afterthought for many, but not for the experienced lighting and controls designer.   The learning here is to NOT make switching/dimming an afterthough.  Put as much effort into this part of the plan as the lighting and furniture layout.

At PEMBA the simpliest things are important.  Here is the email feedback from the customer.  " Patricia, As recommended I am moving the WC under cabinet switches to mirror wall near the outlet. I am also having another outlet placed to the right of the door and into the WC (more convenient for my hairdryer). Sid and I are working thru things..... thanks for all your expertise, your products and your amazing skill and patience!"

one reason LED lights fail early - EOS

Posted on December 29, 2016 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (3937)

We hear about LED lighting that fails and in addition to surges taking care when doing maintenance is important to prevent the early loss of life of LED bulbs.  To help keep those LED lights working, I am copying the paragraphs below from an email received by Kevin Smith of BrillianceLED.


"Back in the halogen and incandescent days of landscape lighting, it was a common practice by many contractors to install lamps while the system was on. This is known as a “hot plug-in”. This practice has been widely used especially if a contractor was out providing maintenance on a lighting system.


As we have evolved into the era of LED light sources, the practice of hot plugging should be avoided. The reason for this is that it is virtually impossible to be 100% sure that there will not be the slightest electrical arc when a lamp is inserted into a socket or a connection is made with live cable. A hot plug-in can cause an “electrical over stress” (EOS) on many parts of the internal circuitry of an LED lamp or integrated fixture.


EOS can simply be described as an electrical component that is operated beyond its maximum rated electrical limit accidently or deliberately according to its rating on the specification sheet. In landscape lighting EOS can occur with a hot plug-in, a lighting strike, or a poorly made connection.


Some common signs of EOS are as follows:

• One or more diodes out; in this case, the bonding wires inside the LED device have been broken.

• Another sign could be a pungent burnt smell emitted from the lamp.

• In some cases the back of the lamp may show a burn hole, especially with lightning.

EOS can also have an adverse effect on a fixture that requires a remote low voltage driver. If a driver is connected live when attached to its respective fixture, it can cause an EOS failure.


The question now is how do we change the hot plug-in install? My suggestion would be that when performing maintenance on an older system, unplug the transformer before installing the LED lamp or integrated fixture to insure the power is off to the socket. This same method can also be used on new installations with a standard landscape lighting transformer. If you happen to be working with a smart app driven transformer, insure the remote control has the system off. Most of the smart phone apps will allow for a simple on and off for the transformer.


Ultimately, to avoid EOS, make sure to have solid potted cable connections and no power to the fixtures upon installation. If a situation arises where lightning has caused the EOS, check to see if the homeowner’s insurance will cover lightning damages."


Kevin Smith

National Technical Support and Trainer

Brilliance LED LLC

[email protected]


lighting for kitchen

Posted on December 16, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (586)

Regularly a customer tells me that they do not have enough light in their kitchen.   One of the problems that I regularly find is that the bulbs that are being used are BR type bulbs which not necessairly for task lighting.   Many times these same customers have PAR type bulbs in their liviing room.  After having them put the higher lumen PAR bulbs (850+ lumens) in their kitchen they see a big improvement.   So using the right light bulb, does make a big difference in your kitchen.  We have a variety of light bulbs on display in our showroom at 104 P Street in Belle Chasse LA . Stop by so we can help you select the best lighting for your home or office.   Patricia Smith

The right light

Posted on December 9, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (492)

Designing and Recommending the right lighting has become a passion of mine.  Ever since I was asked to take that lighting control course many many years ago I have been on a quest to apply the appropriate lighting.   I am starting this blog because there is so much that is mis understood about selecting and placing lights and you don't know when you have bad lighting unless you have experienced good lighting.   So for today I am going to just mention a few fundamental statements that I'll address in future posts.

1) brightness requirements of light varies with time of day, by person, and by environment and task.

2) placement of light should be designed when discussing use of space.

3) there are multiple colors of white.

4) The ultimate goal in lighting is to NOT see the light fixture unless it adds a decorative value.

We test lighting products and display them in our show room and I work on a variety of projects.  So I'll be posting something soon!