Dec. 13 2019 06:00 AM

Take a look back at some of the lighting highlights of 2019 that are worth revisiting.

It’s hard to believe that December is here, and another year has passed. I trust it has been a profitable one for you. Hopefully the ground in the East has not quite frozen over and a few more lighting jobs can be installed! Let’s take a look back at some of the lighting highlights of 2019 that are worth revisiting.

In January and February, we explored ground mounting devices such as spikes, mounting posts, mounting boxes and tree mounts. All ground mounts are designed to hold the fixture vertical and keep the metal from touching the ground, avoiding corrosion and damage to the stem. Sometimes the traditional spike is not enough to provide a proper secure mount. Soil type and weather are two factors to look at in determining the correct ground mount choice for your area. Tree mounts can come in a variety of styles such as canopies, boxes and tree rings. Mounting lights in trees is often met with controversy because the fixtures put some stress on a tree. When in doubt, consult with your customer’s arborist. It is a good practice to exercise caution when mounting fixtures into trees. Avoid trees with thorns and powerlines running through them.

In April we looked in on the effects of LED lighting on bugs. During the summer months, the flying insects can make outdoor living unbearable. Halogen, incandescent and fluorescent light sources all have the potential to attract flying insects, due to the light wavelength and the heat generated by the lamps. With the rise in West Nile virus cases, people are more carefully selecting their light sources. In studies relating to this subject, it has been determined that the lighting wavelength and proper thermal management of LED light sources can successfully reduce the attraction of insects. Insects process light differently than humans. But, like us, they seem to have a particular “taste” in the lights that attract them. We now know that the warmer the wavelength the fewer insects are attracted.

In May we discussed the importance of the lighting demo. There are two common styles of demonstration: virtual installation and single vignette. Both are great ways to sell and learn about beam angles and proper fixture placement. Local manufacturer reps will be able to help you. Many carry demo equipment with them. Bringing the factory rep with you on the demo can give your customer a sense of solidarity. Reps can also teach you some tricks of the trade. Contractors that have been doing lighting for many years rarely perform evening demonstrations. Most rely on high-resolution photographs of previous jobs to educate the prospective customer.

In June we highlighted the evolution of the smart lighting system. Several lighting companies have introduced new Bluetooth application control. Other manufacturers have focused on Wi-Fi module control with smart sockets and RGBW lamp products. Most of these newer products work through apps on smartphones or tablets. Applications are always being updated with new features and firmware. Educating yourself early and continuously will help you with this ever-changing technology.

In July we had some fun with tiki- and tropical-themed lighting design. After visiting the islands or other tropical locations, many people return home and want to create their very own tropical landscape paradise at home! Tiki culture and island style have become more popular over the last 20 years. Tropical lighting can be the icing on the cake to give the full tropical effect! Although the mechanics of the lighting system are the same, the effects are quite different. Be creative and have fun, that’s the goal!

If you need more detail on these topics, I urge you to dig out your past issues or access the digital version at If you have something for me to research and showcase in this column, please feel free to email me. I welcome your inquiries and ideas! I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a very happy and prosperous new year.

Kevin Smith is the national technical support and trainer at Brilliance LED LLC, Carefree, Arizona, and can be reached at