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Building Cove Lights

Aug 4, 2008
Cove lighting in buildings is an ideal way to highlight changes in ceiling elevation or variances in the adjoining space between the upper portion of the wall and the ceiling. Depending on the amount of natural light in the building, cove lights can be used as either the primary lighting source in the room, or a luxurious and ambient source of accent lighting. Many contractors, when building a home, initially install rope lights or fluorescent fixtures. Both of these cove lights are highly energy efficient, with rope lights also offering the building contractor a lower purchase cost. However, there are some drawbacks to both light sources. Cove rope lights operate in a series, so if one bulb fails, the entire string of lights will need to be replaced. This will pose hassle to the new homeowner, who will have to find a lighting designer or electrical contractor to replace the string. Fluorescents have a much longer lamp life in comparison, and they can offer quality lighting at a fixed level. It is not possible to dim them, however, making them incompatible with lighting controls and dimmers.

In buildings and homes where users want direct control over a cove lighting source that will save power and provide a long-term, low maintenance source of general or ambient lighting, linear cove strip lights are a much better choice for builders, architects, and electrical contractors to install. One of the primary reasons they are such an excellent choice is their low-profile design. Strip lights such as the Phantom CM series are extremely thin and can fit into any soffit, cove, or valance in an office or home. These fixtures are designed to conceal their visible presence in cove lighting applications and feature a remarkable adaptability to any commercial or residential environment. They can be fitted to any radius desired and are custom cut to the exact specifications of the contractor. This ensures the most secure and seamless fit possible, and it helps create an apparently sourceless light.

With energy costs rising, it is also important to point out the power saving benefits that linear cove lighting offers to any building or residence that is conscious of electrical costs. Low voltage lighting systems, especially strip lighting are an ideal solution to high price points that people have to pay for the luxurious qualities of xenon lighting. An added benefit that low voltage strips offer is the extended lamp life they create. Xenon bulbs will last up to 8,000 hours on a CM series fixture...a savings in replacement costs that you can pass on to your client in addition to the energy efficiency of the product's basic design. Incandescent lamp life can be extended as well on a low voltage festoon lights fitted with a dimmer control. Provided that natural lighting levels are relatively low in the room, the lights can be powered up to full and provide a primary light source over a foyer or a hallway. When other lighting is in use, they can be turned down to provide ambient, supplemental lighting.

This type of controllable, low voltage cove lighting is ideal for office buildings and homes that feature faux painted ceilings or detailed block paneled ceilings. For warm ceiling colors, we recommend using incandescent lamps, and for cooler colors or very dark colors of wood, xenon low voltage lamps. Both sources will provide an excellent source of controlled lighting that the end user can adjust at will.

If you are located in California, or another locale that discourages the installation of incandescent fixtures due to pending laws, LED linear lighting strips represent an alternative to consider now. LED lamps are available for most linear strip fixtures, including CM series cove lights. These unique, patented festoons offer the commercial builder and electrical lighting designer a "green solution" to pass onto clients interested in lowering operating costs and contributing to a more sustainable future. Phantom's unique lamping technology allows white or colored LEDs to produce lighting levels equivalent to that of incandescent and nearly approximate in lumens output to xenon. It might be best to propose to your clients the advantages of investing in LED lamps now rather than later.

If you have been contracted by the owner of a home or building to replace existing linear cove lights with a better or more energy efficient solution, you can save your client a great deal of money by simply replacing the lamps in their existing fixtures. Provided these fixtures are currently using festoon style lamps, you can order LED festoons that can be retrofitted to the existing cove lighting strips in the building. This is an excellent way to win bids with companies worried about the costs of upgrades in the midst of the recession.

Boardrooms, hallways, restaurants, clubs, and meeting rooms are some of the many areas where commercial building cove lighting may be used with success.
About the Author
Phantomlighting.com. For more information on Building Cove Lights for contractors, visit the Cove Lighting section on our website.
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