So our journey to now has consisted of:
- a consultancy with the Environment Shop www.enviroshop.com.au, which was a great place to start. We got all kinds of great ideas - many of which we have retained.
- a spreadsheet in which I worked out that our lighting plan was going to cost us $4,500 (admittedly including quite a few LED globes)
- visits to half a dozen lighting shops and several online shops in which it became clear that nothing, NOTHING is easy when it comes to lights. Oils, as they say, ain't oils.
- routing the bottom of our bannister and placing a line of LED strip lights so that we get a lovely wash of light down the wall and onto the stairs
- embedding another line of strip lights into the bedhead in the master bedroom
- simple pendant lights fitted with LED globes in downstairs bedrooms, lounge and dining room (latter two rooms with dimmers).
What's not working? Everything else.
I can't remember if I've written about our upstairs studio/work area. It comprises two adjoining open plan rooms, with curved ceiling (arcs up to about 3m), heaps of natural light and marmoleum floor. I make felt, so we've chosen a floor product that can withstand a fair amount of water sploshing around. It's also very good environmentally. Read more at http://www.forbo-flooring.com.au/Residential/Products/Marmoleum-Global-3/
So anyway, the lighting challenge starts here.
* Halogens will be too hot in summer (our temperature graphs show this will be the hottest part of the house in summer)
* Fluoros give off awful light and are altogether too officey (we will spend a lot of time in this space)
* Tracks with compact fluoros can't be dimmed and there's no guarantee that the fittings will be able to accommodate LED globes, even if they do have GU10 bases
* Tracks with LEDs are too expensive
* Pendants might not give us enough light for our artistic endeavours.
We are using halogen downlights in the kitchen and a couple of other strategic spots downstairs. Even though I know they are not too bad an option in our scenario (the insulation between the floors serves accoustic as well as thermal functions but is unlikely to be greatly affected by 9 downlights), I still feel that somehow I am breaking one of the golden rules of sustainable housing. I daren't confess to the folks at the ATA.
I'll spare you the details on the bathroom lighting. Suffice to say that the lights I liked most started at $365 for one light (plus globe).
Of course, it doesn't help that so many light fittings are fugly. We chose a whole suite of lights on Saturday afternoon, and then I turned around and informed Rodney that I hated them all. Lovely person that he is, he simply said, okay, let's find others. I have never appreciated him more!
Sigh. It's therapeutic to vent. Yesterday I submitted the electrical and lighting plans to the builder for the rough in. We hedged our bets by providing for four spotlights (on two switches) and two wall lights in the studio, latter with dimmer. I now understand why people just put in halogens every square meter.
So that's it for lights. For now. We are yet to choose a single fitting ...