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wall_pack_graphWall pack lighting has been the standard for use in security lighting for many years. These light fixtures have great light output making it one of the best choices for security and safety issues. Although they can be used indoors and outdoors and on commercial or residential properties, they are mostly utilized on exterior walls of commercial buildings.

New technologies have made possible for new and more efficient light fixtures to create attractive options for reducing costs without compromising security lighting.

As a general rule, fixtures that produce a lower level of heat usually require less maintenance and have a longer life. That is due to the thermal stress caused by the heat generated. Another association we can make with the amount of heat produced is that the lower the level generated the higher the efficiency of the fixture.  In other words, the less power converted to heat by the fixture the more efficient is the conversion of power to light.

The most common types of wall pack light fixtures in the market are:

  • Metal Halide: gives out a high amount of illumination in a white light. This combination makes it great for security purposes. The white light helps video surveillance cameras to differentiate between colors and its high output increases the sense of security. Today they are available energy efficient models. Metal Halide fixtures produce a moderate amount of heat.
  • CFL – Compact Fluorescent Lighting: produces bright white light making it also a great option for areas with CCTV security cameras. It generates a minimal level of heat making it a great option for low maintenance, long lasting fixtures. It is great on energy efficiency and excellent color rendition.
  • HPS – High Pressure Sodium: usually used as a flood light for large areas as parking lots, fields  and walkways due to its powerful light. They provide a golden white color and come in many configurations.
  • LED – Light Emitting Diode:  They are extremely durable and long lasting. As with any LED array, these have an instant-on capability and offers great saving in energy costs. The high illumination of these lamps makes it possible to use as security and building lighting. Led flood lights are relatively new.
  • Induction: This type of lighting technology is rapidly becoming a popular option for wall pack lights. Among its long list of advantages are the great lifespan, the stable output, high efficiency, low maintenance, and savings in electricity costs. Because induction lights have a great tolerance to environmental conditions they are excellent to use where harsh weather condition is a concern. Like the CFL it also produces a low amount of heat.

forsaleSince the housing crash of 2008 the market has fluctuated in a downward pattern that left many wondering how long it would take to turn things around. Every year predictions and trends that seem to be gaining traction are contradicted by mixed signals. In a survey conducted by home buyer website Trulia shows that this instability has not taken away the Americans faith in the real estate market. Among the 2,000 respondents of the study 61% believe that the price of real estate will rise next year, 58% believe that in ten years we should be back to pre-crash peak price levels, and over 75% of renters plan to buy a home.

Apartment occupancy rates remain high throughout many of the country’s markets. Historically when this happens rental rates are pressured upwards which makes home ownership very attractive and new home buyers start entering the market. Although real estate economists and insiders know their predictions depend on the mainstream forecasts of economic growth next year being correct, they speculate that certain trends will be visible in 2013:

  1. Rising home prices due to the slow pace in new home construction;
  2. Rising rent rates as more people enter the market and increases occupancy to an even higher level;
  3. Fewer bargains in the market following the trend already seen in 2012 ;
  4. More first time buyers;
  5. Higher home construction costs;

So, in 2013 we should expect a greater number of first time buyers, but what are they looking for? This new wave of first time buyers expect more from their home then ever before. Buyers that are coming out apartments are leaving mainly type A & B units where they are accustomed with large spaces, luxury finishes, technology integration and amenities. College students are coming out of dorms that have been upgraded and made great improvements in comfort and style. Granite counter tops, wood floors and built-ins are becoming more prevalent in the these facilities. Builders and home sellers will have to prepare to offer products, price and promotion that capture this new set of demand in an environment that is still being characterized as a buyers market. .

ceramic_tile_full2When time comes to choose what type of flooring to use in your project, the unbelievable large selection of colors, patterns, texture and material can be overwhelming. Flooring is one of the most important considerations and it can make a huge difference.

Whether the area in question is high traffic, prone to moisture, below grade, or to be installed over radiant heat, “ceramic tile” is always a great option to consider. Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are the most common tiles and are the ones that confuse consumers the most. Although Glass Tile has made a comeback in recent years, it is apparently less confusing because of the common knowledge most people have of the product.

For the similarities between Ceramic and Porcelain tiles we can point out that both are:

  • Stain resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Fire resistant
  • Won’t fade from sun light
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Resist odor absorption
  • Does not support allergens or bacteria

Both Ceramic and Porcelain tiles can be glazed or non-glazed. Glazed tile is very durable, and when properly installed and cared for, it will last longer than any non-tile material used for the same purpose. When coated with a Grade III or higher glaze, ceramic tile is highly resistant to scratching and moisture. The tile rating from the PEI classification (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ranges from 0 (lightest traffic) to 5 (highest traffic) and classifies both Ceramic and Porcelain tiles in terms of its best area of use:

Class 0: No foot traffic – Wall tile only and should not be used on floors.

Class 1: Very light traffic – Very low foot traffic, bare foot only (master ensuite, spa, bathroom).

Class 2: Light traffic – Slipper or soft-soled shoes (second level main bathroom areas, bedrooms).

Class 3: Light to moderate traffic – Any residential area, with the possible exception of some entries and kitchens if extremely heavy or abrasive traffic is anticipated.

Class 4: Moderate to heavy traffic – High foot traffic areas where abrasive or outside dirt could be tracked (residential entry, kitchen, balcony, and counter top).

Class 5: Heavy traffic – Ceramic tile suggested for residential, commercial and institutional floor subjected to heavy traffic.

A common misconception about Porcelain tiles is that it has the same color through-out. Actually, only “unglazed” porcelain tiles have the characteristic. In this case if the tile is chipped, the color showing beneath the top layer will be the same throughout the thickness of the tile. Once the tile is glazed, whether ceramic or porcelain, the body under the glaze will never be exactly the same color or texture as the top layer.

 

For the differences between Ceramic and Porcelain tile we can point out that due to the difference in the material and the manufacturing process the Porcelain tile is denser and less porous, making it more water resistant and an excellent choice for areas like bathrooms or kitchens. Because of its higher density it tolerates higher loads making it a good option for higher traffic areas. Unglazed polished porcelains are virtually impossible to scratch. Its higher density also makes it extremely vitreous and a little more challenging to install. Because of its exceptional properties, porcelain has become the flooring of recent years. It is the most durable of the hard body tiles, 30% harder than granite.

When trying to decide which product would serve better, there is little difference between ceramic and porcelain tile. Expensive and inexpensive styles are available in both types, and with the correctly rated material for the area and use, there would be little, if any, difference in wear between the two.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter which type of tile you select, as long as you choose the properly rated tile for the intended used. Ceramic and porcelain are both great choices for finished surface for floor and wall. The real challenge begins when deciding which size, color and texture will look the best.