Sunset Green Home's ceilings are complicated. They're packed with:
- 3" ducts connecting to the home's ComfoAir mechanical ventilation system by Zehnder, which supplies fresh air to the bedrooms and living areas while removing stale air from the bathrooms and kitchen
- Short duct runs that connect to the five air handlers that comprise the home's Mitsubishi Hyper Heating INVERTER multi-zone heating and cooling system
- Circulation loops and sprinkler heads for Sunset Green Home's AquaSAFE fire sprinkler system by Uponor.
And, as of this week, the ceilings now include Sunset Green Home's ELEMENT LED down lights by Tech Lighting.
If you have ever shopped for recessed light fixtures, your know that your options are extensive. There are fixtures for new construction and remodeling; housings for insulated ceilings and non-insulated ceilings; trim options in multiple sizes and shapes; wet-rated fixtures and those intended for dry locations; down lights and wall washers; a wide range of apertures; and numerous lamping options, including LED, incandescent, fluorescent and halogen.
So what are we using in Sunset Green Home, and how did we choose?
With Sunset Green Home's aggressive energy efficiency goals, our top priority was to select LED fixtures for all of the home's lighting. While we could have used LED bulbs in non-LED fixtures, we wanted fixtures that had been designed with native LED technology. Each of Sunset Green Home's ELEMENT LED downlights uses approximately one-fifth the energy of an incandescent bulb with comparable light output.
We specified 4" aperture fixtures throughout the project for design consistency. The bathrooms will feature round trim, as there will be round sprinkler heads and round exhaust ducts for the Zehnder ComfoAir ERV system also in the bathroom ceilings. Elsewhere, we specified square trim for a more contemporary aesthetic.
Our lighting design includes multiple layers of light, which come from recessed down lights and wall washers, surface mounted lights, sconces and lamps. The ELEMENT LED downlights provide general lighting, while wall washer styles illuminate larger walls and direct light out toward the perimeter of the rooms.
Recessed fixture housings for insulated ceilings (IC housings) are generally more expensive than non-IC housings, but must be specified where fixtures will come into contact with insulation. Sunset Green Home's second floor ceilings are not insulated (insulation in Sunset Green Home's building envelope is at the roof rafters instead of in the attic floor). To control cost, we chose non-IC housings for the first floor as well, electing to restrict the use of sound-dampening insulation to the ceiling bays that do not contain recessed fixtures, and substituting SilentFX drywall by CertainTeed in those ceilings where we need additional noise attenuation.
The award-winning ELEMENT LED downlights by Tech Lighting have all of the characteristics that Sunset Green Home's team sought for the project's recessed fixtures. ELEMENT has been designed for maximum flexibility:
- Adjustable lamp positioning to manage the tradeoff between maximizing light output vs. minimizing glare
- Flexibility to swap out light engines from below the ceiling as the technology evolves or if changes are ever required
- Multiple trim options (Sunset Green Home is using ELEMENT's die-cast seamless aluminum Flanged Bevel trim)
- Compatibility with several models of Lutron dimmers; Sunset Green Home will use Lutron's dimmers and switches throughout the project
Now that the light fixtures are in, we'll be finishing the fire sprinkler system, installing insulation where appropriate and getting ready to close up the ceilings. Stay tuned for more progress updates over the coming weeks!