May 22nd, 2013
I have received a number of questions regarding the HEICO lighting™ LED lighting installation in our house. Let me go through these ...
How did you fix the modules into place?
The HEICO lighting™ LED modules have a peel and stick backer on the mounting brackets. The brackets are also reversible making installation a snap. For the places where the LED modules were pointing down I supplemented the peel and stick strips with some premium silicon adhesive.
How many modules did you use per stairway?
What space do you plan between each module to get a uniform illumination? In all areas of the HEICO lighting™ LED Lighting I put the modules side by side (touching with no space between. This provided the most uniform lighting. We wanted the LEDs to be bright. Our reasoning was that by using the dimmers which are programmable and able to be controlled remotely we could always turn them down at will to create the perfect lighting mood in each area.
Do you do mock up of each zone before and test the illumination with each material?
We did a little testing but did not mock up things in a big way. As the HEICO lighting™ LEDs were turned on we played with various diffuser materials to see how the different translucent materials would affect the lighting and how it would change the light.
What is the importance of testing the module in the environment before starting the construction?
In a normal building, testing would have been prudent and relatively easy. Mocking up various valences would be a snap. Because we were doing things so differently and we did not have a place to test in a realistic manner and so it was largely a bit of a guessing game. We compensated by using as much light as possible, knowing we could easily dim things down afterwards. In our situation this worked out well. We also relied on the engineers and designers at HEICO lighting™ for their recommendations which proved to be accurate.
Do you use a lighting software?
We did not use a lighting software. Although we have not used a lot of LEDs in our projects of this scale I knew exactly the effects I was looking for. Previous lighting experience on many of our theme park projects allowed me to know what dramatic light would accomplish. I knew we would get the effects we were looking for with Heico LEDs.
How much can a material impact the reflectance? Illumination?
Various colors of paint, the angle of reflection and the distance of those surfaces are from the lights all affect the lighting in a dramatic fashion. Physical limitations on the space we had to implement and locate the modules made our choices of placement somewhat limited but it has worked out very well. The hollow tree stairway was painted dark colors but we wanted the lighting there to be subdued. In the long hallway and in the living/dining room we wanted the lighting to be brighter. We knew these areas would be painted lighter colors and so would reflect the light better. The results were somewhat predictable from my perspective although the Heico lighting turned out even more spectacular than I hoped.
Will the steps be in wood as well?
We had a tough time choosing the final material for the stairs. In the end we opted for tiling the stairs.
Is our home built to be LEED?
Our house is built to very green standards by any measure. The project will be not LEED certified although it could easily qualify. Leed certification was somewhat pricey in my view and unless we intended to enter it in design contests there was no benefit to us. We intend to live in it for the rest of our lives and therefore were not concerned with any extra value LEED certification may have added. The house is built with Insulated Concrete Form system up to the roofline. This means it has more than six times the insulation compared to a standard house. The ceiling is insulated with modern spray foam. This makes the house much more air tight and better insulated than most. A high end air exchange system with a heat exchanger will make the house efficient and cheap to operate. The windows are high end tilt and turn, triple glazed on the north side of the house. They have a triple sealing system which means they do not leak air. The windows carry a 35 year transferrable guarantee. Large overhangs combined with big windows means lots of daylight will enter from the south but still offer shade in the summer heat. We used LED lighting exclusively to minimize ongoing operating costs. For heating we rely on a high efficiency natural gas hot water heating system that pumps water through the concrete floor. This house will be comfortable above all. The roof of the house uses heavy shingles made from recycled tires. It is classed as a 100 year roof. It carries a fifty year transferrable warrantee. The rubber shingles easily bent to the curves of the eyebrows over the windows. The look fabulous and will give us peace of mind for as long as we live.
With the HEICO lightingTM LED’s burning bright in the hallway it was time to turn my attention to the tree stairway. We had built it with a recesses channel under the handrail. Our intent was to create a subdues lighting effect that would primarily light the stair treads.
My favorite things about Heico lightingTM LED’s is the simple process of installation. Its a simple matter of threading the wire through the module, snapping on the reversible bracket Peeling off the protective strip to reveal the glue and then sticking the module in place.
Once the modules were in place we flipped on the power and it was again instant magic
through the stairway.
Once we get the final finishes on the stairs I have no doubt it will look even better! In the next installment the living and dining rooms get the
HEICO lighting™ treatment as well. Stay tuned...
With most of the crown moldings and HEICO lightingTM LED’s in place it was time to call the electrician back to hook everything up. The LED transformers were in two locations in the house to minimize the length of the wires necessary for powering them up. We needed 30 transformers plus the dimmers and dimmer extenders. There were a lot of wires to sort out and connect. The easiest and neatest way to handle the myriad of wires was to mount the transformers to a large aluminum box and use raceways for the wires.
One of the LED control centers was in the upstairs mechanical room. The second center is located above the electrical room in the attic.
Once the electrical connections were all done we could finally turn on the lights in the long hallway. The effect was instantly magical.
With the hallway lights burning bright it is time to focus our attention on the tree stairway. That will be covered in the next installment.
With the crown molding now up in the hall way it is time to begin installing the HEICO lightingTM LED lighting modules. There are six LED's per module and they are installed end to end in a continuous fashion.
Plenty bright the LED's are dimmable to create the perfect ambiance we desire.
The electrican will make the final hookups cleaning up the temporary hanging wires in the pictures. He will also install the permanent power transformers upstairs in the electrical room. To test each circuit I threaded the contactless HEICO lightingTM LED modules onto the wires, peeled off the sticky strips and fastened them into place. Then I used some spare transformers to do a test fire of the lighting. I was able to install fifty modules (twenty five feet on both sides of the hallway) in less than an hour.
This last shot shows how much brighter the hallway suddenly became. At full strength it is bright! Dimmed down it will be pure magic!
In the next few days we will finish the install of the LED lighting modules the full length of the fifty-four foot hallway. Once I am done the electrician will arrive to do the final hookups.
We keep very busy both on the house and building the new house. Since my last email we have pretty much painted the house and are now working on the moldings that will house the HEICO lightingTM LED modules. As every piece is custom made it is going to take a while.
In today's entry I chronicle the design and start of the routing process. Hopefully this entry will give more ideas as to how to conceal the HEICO lightingTM modules effectively.
Work continues on the house. With everything being custom made, nothing is super fast. The HEICO lightingTM LED’s will go in quickly once everything is ready, and the preparation will take far longer than the actual installation which is really simple. A large crown molding will circle the living and dining room at the eight foot level and then arch over the round windows. The backing and wiring was put in place during the construction. The painting of the drywall is complete and the wainscot trim is in the final stages.
The LED lighting will be embedded into the back of the top of the moldings. A plastic diffuser will be placed over the Heico Lighting modules to soften the light.
I first traced the kitchen molding and then enlarged that profile to make the larger molding design we needed. I designed the molding in two pieces as the Precision Board HDU (high density urethane) we were using was only three inches thick. The molding for the long hallway was smaller and will be routed in one piece.
The molding and backer boards will be routed in sections and then assembled on the wall. It will take at least another week to route all of the pieces before our finish carpenter can put them up. Then everything will be painted and as a last step the HEICO lightingTM LED lighting will be installed and hooked up.
"The Abacus piece was a success!" - Klint Schor
Klint Schor is our Architect of the week and an "Oklahoma artist and konstructionist". His sculpture The Abacus is an interactive work of art fully illuminated with HEICO lightingTM Virgo+TM LS1 white LED modules.
During a unique event, guests were invited to make Klint's piece evolve by moving various sections. The simplicity and the aesthetic of the work impressed more than one.
The images above and below show how he succeeded to easily integrate the discrete modules to his state-of-the-art design.
Congradulations to Klint Schor for his beautiful project!
Getting ready for the HEICO lightingTM LED modules ...
We’ve been super busy since the last post to the blog as we get ready to install the HEICO lightingTM LED lighting. There was a lot to do! Once the wiring was installed and tucked away safely we had to insulate the walls and then start in on the coverings. On the curved ceilings we first had to apply the wood strapping and then staple up the expanded steel lath.
Then we hand plastered the curved ceilings the old fashioned way. We were looking for an old fashioned slightly aged look. Once we had applied the plaster we let it set up a little and then used damp sponges to even out the texture. The HEICO lightingTM LED modules will be aimed up at these ceilings to showcase all that work when it is done. It was hard work and long days but the ceiling turned out pretty cool!
In the stairway we applied the plaster and then carved it to look like a hollowed out tree. This and much more work needed to be done before we were ready to start installing the HEICO lightingTM LED lighting.
Once the plaster had cured it was time to begin painting while the dry-wallers applied the board, taped and mudded their work.
We painted the ceilings and started in on the tree. Our finish carpenters also began their work, installing the fancy, textured wainscot panelling we had created for them. We started at the bottom of the walls and worked out way up. That work is now almost done and I am busy in the shop beginning the design work on the crown moldings that will house the LED lights yet to come.With most of the other elements in place I can better get a handle on the proper scale for the crown moldings. It is going to look pretty spectacular when it is done. I can hardly wait! Stay tuned...
The four boxes of HEICO lightingTM LED lights, transformers, dimmers and other equipment arrived in perfect condition via priority courier. It was like Christmas morning! I unpacked the pieces and checked everything carefully. Every piece was there as it should be.
With the LED’s and transformers and controllers in our hands we could measure everything and decide exactly where each piece would go. With the long runs necessitated by the design of our house the transformers will be located in various spots to minimize the length of the low voltage power runs.
This morning I went over things with Brad, our electrician. Today would be a day of planning and pre-wire for the HEICO lightingTM system. First we reviewed the HEICO lightingTM specs and drawings they had sent us.
While Brad reviewed the plans and specs Matt got busy putting up the last of the wall backing plywood that would hold the heavy crown molding that would in turn hold the HEICO lightingTM LED modules.
We worked with our electrician to ensure that the power conduits were separated from all data lines and the low voltage wires for our lighting. This will minimize any chance of interference or con?icts in the low voltage and data systems. I cut slots in both sides of the arch formers to allow and separate the different kinds of wiring.
The second main area of HEICO lightingTM LED specialty lighting would be in the living/dining room areas. Here we would incorporate the LED lighting modules into a large crown molding that would be at the eight foot height of the walls and then curve up over the large round windows at each end of the rooms. A bridge divides the dining room from the living room area.
As Brad pulled in each power cable he carefully labeled them for future reference.
Now that the preliminary wiring is in place we can finish our insulation (for sound) of the inside walls and ceilings. We can then finish the plastering of the curved ceilings. As the drywall goes in on the walls we will be busy in the studio/shop designing and custom routing the crown moldings which will hold the HEICO lightingTM. I’ll document that design and fabrication work as it happens.
The outside of the house features two connected themes.... arches and trees. These same elements would transfer to the inside and the HEICO lightingTM would be used to enhance and showcase them.
Our first task was to convey our ideas to the people at HEICO lightingTM to let them know what we were doing and where we wanted to use their LED lights. I sent them rough sketches with measurements as well as photos of the actual rooms and spaces as they were at the time. We needed to know where and how we would run our wiring and where we would place our transformers. Things were very much in construction mode and it was early in the project at the time. The first area was the long arched hallway that goes through much of the lower area of the house. We plan to create a custom crown molding, to be fastened just down from the ceiling and tuck the HEICO LED modules into the top so the lights can wash over the ceiling.
The second main area of HEICO LED specialty lighting would be in the living/dining room areas. Here we would incorporate the LED lighting modules into a large crown molding that would be at the eight foot height of the walls and then curve up over the large round windows at each end of the rooms. A bridge divides the dining room from the living room area.
The third main area is the stairway to the upstairs. The Stairway will be ‘hidden inside a giant tree, a continuation from the tree playhouse I built just outside for our grand daughter Phoebe.
We will use HEICO lightingTM LED modules to light the stairs from just under the handrail. They will be built into the wall and incorporated into the tree sculpture which was yet to be done.
It wasn’t long until the folks at HEICO replied with concise drawings, material lists and specifications we needed. The lights would be supplied with dimmers and proper controls, They also provided me with all necessary PDF’s of instructions and specifications for our electrician to work with.
With the system now designed it was time to place our order.
We’ve been dreaming of building our new house for decades but we had to wait until the time was right. While we waited we gathered information and experience to make the house the very best it could possibly be. Finally this year it was indeed time at last.
The house is unlike any other ever built. It combines the latest in green technology with an artistic vision that suits our particular style. Since we build imaginative theme signs and environments for our customers across Canada and the United States it is only fitting that our new house reflect our passion for these same things. The house will be themed both on the outside and inside. It will act as a giant sign or calling card for our business and also provide a wonderful home for our family. Now, still in construction the house is already getting plenty of attention from around the world. The house is featured on our own blog www.imaginationcorporation.com/house-project
As we planned the new house we considered the very latest in green technologies to make it as efficient as possible. The house is constructed using ICF (insulated concrete forms) and the latest sprayed foam insulation. Radiant, in-floor heat and a high efficiency HVAC system will ensure we have a comfortable living environment. one hundred and thirty five LED pot lights are scattered through the house to provide the main lighting.
When we considered our ambient or theme lighting we knew exactly who we would turn to. We’ve used HEICO lightingTM on a variety of our projects and theme environments in the past. I love the flexibility and ease of use. The contactless wiring system make the HEICO lighting™ LED’s extremely adjustable and allows me to plan and design as we build, spacing and adjusting the lights as necessary. I can use an number of lighting modules and place them in tight corners of our pieces with minimum fuss. We can light individual pieces or entire rooms as necessary. Transformers can be remotely located which means we don’t need a lot of room for our lighting systems. We can also daisy chain the elements with only a few lights to minimize the number of transformers we need to use.
As we designed our house and considered the places we wanted to use HEICO lightingTM LED’s to create special effects we first thought about how we would place them and where. They would be used in key areas including highlighting the tall curved ceilings, in the themed staircase, under the kitchen counters and elsewhere. I sent my ideas to the HEICO lightingTM engineers and they designed the system that was perfect for our specific needs. Through a series of entries in this blog we will document the lighting of our house using HEICO lightingTM LED lighting system.