Lighting Design Basics

ELECTRICAL: Lighting Design Basics

Ambient light (or fill light) is the soft, general illumination that fills a room and softens the shadows. As a rule, the fixtures (often called luminaires in the lighting industry) used to provide ambient light should not draw attention to themselves. Ambient light is best provided by opaque wall sconces, cove lighting, torchiere floor lamps (which point upwards), or dish-shaped hanging fixtures (called indirect pendants).

  • Wall Sconces 
Wall sconces should be opaque, not transparent, so that the light will be softer and will not draw the eye to the fixtures. Sconces almost always come in pairs, and they typically are used to flank a door, fireplace, or console table. Two sconces are adequate to provide ambient light in an average size room, but four will be much more effective at providing even, balanced lighting.

  • Cove Lighting 
Cove lighting is installed near the ceiling, behind a cornice or ledge. Suitable fixtures include strip lights with miniature incandescent or xenon lamps, compact fluorescents, or standard-length fluorescent tubes.

For cove lighting, plan on using either xenon or fluorescent lamps, between 20 to 30 watts per foot for either type. Place the lamps behind the cove as shown in Figure 5-56.

If a room has a 9-ft. ceiling, cove lighting can be installed between 12 and 24 in. down from the ceiling. In a room with an 8-ft. ceiling, cove lighting is typically installed 12 in. down. (Note: This may leave the center of some rooms rather dark; the solution here is to include an indirect pendant fixture in the center of the ceiling.)

solar industry continued its impressive growth rate

U.S. Solar Industry Grows 66% Q1/10 - Q1/11

In what continues to be an era of slow growth for the U.S. economy, the domestic solar industry continued its impressive growth rate into the first quarter of 2011, according to a report released last month by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

Compared to the first quarter of 2010, the industry grew 66%, while domestic manufacturing of PV equipment grew at 31%. 2010 itself was an outstanding year; with 887 megawatts installed, it more than doubled the total for the year before, and the Q1 2011 figure represents over 28% of that 2010 annual figure.

This is not data to take to an international conference, however. Solar growth overseas has been accelerating even faster than at home, with the result that U.S. global market share has decreased since 2009 from 6% to 5.1%.

There is better news on the utility-scale front, however, where the U.S. may become the world leader in the next couple of years. Some 1100 megawatts of concentrating solar and concentrating PV power is currently under construction, with eight times that much in the planning stage.

The report also shows that 88% of this year's solar installations were in just seven states: California, New Jersey, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York and Massachusetts, a 12% increase on 2010's figure. It appears that those states already leading the pack are finding reasons to increase their solar investment.

The full U.S. Solar Market Insight (TM) report can be found here.


Re: Commission on waste promotes nuclear power but rejects reprocessing

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Commission on waste promotes nuclear power but rejects reprocessing -for now

Yucca Mountain


The Obama administration's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, in its draft report released today, predictably advocates continued support for nuclear power.  But, in a surprise move, the commission rejected reprocessing as a near-term radioactive waste "solution" while still approving continued research funding. Beyond Nuclear strongly opposes the commission's endorsement of "consolidated interim storage" which we view as a high security and safety threat and an unwelcome health and environmental risk to host communities. However, given the strong component of nuclear industry boosters on the commission panel, led by Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, the commission's rejection of reprocessing was unexpected. Beyond Nuclear, along with 170 other groups, supports hardening of waste at reactor sites, as the "least worst" option for now. For more details and action items, see our website.

Thank you for working with us for a nuclear-free world.

The Beyond Nuclear Team



Solar SunShot Initiative News Briefs:

  • Rooftop Challenge solicitation deadline and projects approved on public lands

USA DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program 

U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative U.S. Department of Energy, SunShot Initiative
Photo of rows of blue photovoltaic panels angled up towards a blue sky. PSEG's Jacksonville Solar plant sits in the background.

SUNGRIN is studying the Jacksonville solar plant, a centralized resource connected to the distribution system, as one of its case studies based on real-world scenarios.      
Credit: Rick Meeker, Florida State University, Center for Advanced Power Systems 


Fast Fact

Since 2007, $50 million of competitive funding for SunShot's PV Incubator companies has been matched by well over $1 billion in private investment, delivering a 24-to1 private-to-public investment ratio for the American taxpayer. Read more about one of these success stories.        

 Deadline for Rooftop Solar Challenge Solicitation Approaching

Applicants interested in applying for the Rooftop Solar Challenge financial opportunity need to submit a letter of intent by July 29, 2011. To learn more about how to apply for this opportunity, a four-part webinar series provides details. Learn more about the Challenge financial opportunity.

Salazar and Chu Advance Renewable Energy Projects

This month Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu approved four new projects on public lands, launched environmental reviews on three others, and outlined the next steps in the Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). Read the announcement.

Something to Smile About in Florida

In partnership with DOE, the Sunshine State Solar Grid Initiative (SUNGRIN) hopes to boost Florida's PV industry by developing a better understanding of solar resource variability and high penetration scenarios. Learn more about this collaborative effort.


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This service is provided to you at no charge by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). Visit the Web site at http://www.eere.energy.gov.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy · 1000 Independence Ave., SW · Washington DC 20585 · 877-337-3463



Unlike the Corporate Democrats in Washington...

We're gonna give John Boehner something to really cry about.

Yes, I'll Support the Other 98% on the debt ceiling!

Hey St Louis Renewable Energy Readers,

Are you feeling as pissed-off, confused and betrayed about the Crisis in Washington as we are?

The New Deal and the American Dream are being held hostage by a Tea Party Congress - yet hardly a Democrat seems to see this as an opportunity to fight for the Other 98% of us. Can you imagine if we had a leader willing to stand up right now, and call for an immediate end to tax breaks for the giant corporations and Ultra-Rich fatcats that imploded our economy in the first place.

If the Leaders won't lead, then We The People must.

If you want to see us respond Big to the Crisis in Washington, then please donate $50 to The Other 98% today.

You know how creative, savvy and no-nonsense we are here at The Other 98%. That's why you forward our emails, debate the issues on our Facebook wall, and take action with us.

This is an "All Hands On Deck" moment for progressives, and we simply can't afford to stand on the sidelines.

We're gonna keep leaning in hard on this debt ceiling debate, in defense of the New Deal and the American Dream. But we can't do any of it without you - we need your help to bring all our creative resources to bear.

Can you donate $50 to The Other 98% TODAY so we can spend the next seven days in Kick-Ass Mode?

Help us turn this into a teaching moment for America and reframe the debate about our national priorities - let's balance this budget on the backs of the billionaires and Wall St. tycoons who got us into this mess in the first place.

They started this class war - but we've got to finish it - support The Other 98% today.

Jumping into the fray,

The Other 98% Team: John, Andrew, Josh, Ericka, Andy and Samantha

The Other 98% is making democracy work for the rest of us. Our website is http://other98.com/.


Truth about Climate Change

RE: discover the truth about climate change and take meaningful steps toward solutions
The Climate Reality Project

Dear Readers,

This year, we have seen historic droughts, heat waves and floods. We're experiencing record-high temperatures across much of the United States. This extreme weather is being called the "new normal." But there's nothing normal about it.

We recently introduced you to The Climate Reality Project. Our new focus is to help citizens around the world discover the truth about climate change and take meaningful steps toward solutions. We're launching with a groundbreaking, global event called 24 Hours of Reality.

Join us for 24 Hours of Reality. RSVP on Facebook to show the world what can change in a day.

RSVP on Facebook

Beginning in Mexico City and proceeding around the globe, 24 Hours of Reality will offer a round-the-clock snapshot of the climate crisis, sharing unique perspectives from Tonga to Cape Verde, from Jakarta to London. On September 14-15, we will bring the world together to reveal the full truth, scope and impact of the climate crisis.

We'll hear from the people and places witnessing firsthand the devastation of extreme weather events. I'm joining 23 Climate Presenters from around the globe to deliver a new multimedia presentation that will broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. The entire 24 hours will be streamed live online from start to finish.

Click here to learn more about 24 Hours of Reality and find the event in your time zone:


The climate crisis is a global problem we all share. And real solutions can only come when we address it together. Join me on September 14, and find out what can change in a day.


Al Gore
Founder and Chairman
The Climate Reality Project

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©2011 The Climate Reality Project. All Rights Reserved.


Re: Tell Congress: Making polluters pay should be a no-brainer

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Earth Budget

Dear Readers,

Make polluters pay!

Sign our petition in support of a carbon tax.

Help us inject this progressive budget and climate solution into the conversation in Congress!

With the debt ceiling crisis looming, Republican leaders like John Boehner (Ohio) and Eric Cantor (Va.) keep insisting on draconian cuts that would decimate our government's ability to protect people and the environment, while defending tax breaks for polluters and the wealthiest individuals. Many Democrats are voicing support for the same extreme cuts.

That's outrageous. But unless we start asserting our alternative vision now, ongoing budget battles will continue to be lopsided in favor of corporate special interests.

A carbon tax is one innovative, long-term solution to our budget and climate challenges that we must start injecting into the discussion. As political blogger Matthew Yglesias wrote this week, "it's absolutely insane" that a carbon tax is not being talked about.1

Sign our petition to Congress to let your representatives, and our progressive allies in Congress, know that you back this win-win solution. A carbon tax does not yet have the support it needs -- so we must start building it today.

Simply put, a carbon tax is a fee levied on climate-heating emissions produced by burning coal, gasoline, natural gas and other polluting forms of energy. It could easily raise hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue -- enough to offset harmful cuts to Medicare, Social Security, health, education, labor and pensions programs proposed by the bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators in their plan to reduce budget deficits.2

The environmental benefits would be tremendous. Pollution imposes unacceptable costs on society -- from the medical bills of millions of children sick with asthma to the billions in economic damages caused by extreme droughts, floods, tornadoes and other weather tragedies made more frequent and severe by climate change.

By forcing polluters to take responsibility for the full costs of their pollution, a carbon tax would provide an economic incentive for companies and consumers to switch to cleaner technologies and reduce the pollution overheating our planet, helping to head off the worst impacts of climate change.

Add your name to our petition in support of a carbon tax -- and help us inject this progressive solution into the conversation in Congress.

Even though it is a realistic and sensible solution, only a few members of Congress, like Representatives Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and John Larson (D-Conn.), have been brave enough to propose a carbon tax. Our first task will be to get more progressives in Congress on board.

A carbon tax is a bold, long-term solution, not a political quick fix -- but it's exactly the sort of solution our environmental and budget challenges call for, and it's our job to move it out of the shadows and into the mainstream debate.

In fact, promoting a carbon tax is one of the main pillars of Friends of the Earth's newly launched Earth Budget Campaign, designed to inject solutions into the budget debate that prioritize people over polluters.

Are you with us? Tell Congress to make polluters pay instead of cutting vital social programs. Sign our petition in support of a carbon tax today!

Let's fight for bold solutions,
Ben Schreiber
Climate and energy tax analyst, Friends of the Earth

1. Matthew Yglesias. "Cut, cap, and trade." Think Progress. July 26, 2011.
2. Ben Schreiber. "Could a carbon tax help solve our budget woes?" Grist. July 28, 2011.

Friends of the Earth
1100 15th Street, NW
11th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 783-7400

Friends of the Earth
311 California Street
Suite 510
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 544-0790

Friends of the Earth is fighting to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world.  

Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change,
keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use,
and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

To support this work, you can become a Friend of the Earth.

empowered by Salsa



Out of Control Spending by the US Government.

Government Gone Wild You Tube Video about the Out of Control Spending by the US Government.

?Sink the economy to protect big oil tax breaks?

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Friends of the Earth

Dear Readers,

Tell "Captain" Cantor that sinking our economy to protect corporate polluters and millionaires is unacceptable.

Sign the petition today.

Imagine this for a moment. You're on a boat in the middle of the ocean, and you notice a hole in the hull where water is pouring in. The boat is starting to sink. You have two choices: you could either throw your provisions overboard or you could fix the hole. What do you do?

You'd better hope that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) isn't your captain. Fixing the hole, he would argue, is difficult. You might have to sacrifice your seat cushion or your tailored shirt to fill the gap. You might lose that cushy luxury or be forced to wear a mismatched tie.

It would be much better, according to Captain Cantor, to throw everything else overboard. The oars, your life jackets, the cooler full of food, and heck, even some expendable children and elderly sailors. But you could keep sitting on your cushions. Without all the extra weight, the boat will stay afloat -- at least for a couple more minutes.

In negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, Captain Cantor is threatening to sink the American economy and undermine environmental protections so that his wealthy friends, including big oil corporations, can keep sitting on their cushions. Sign our petition to tell Cantor to get his priorities straight.

As a lead House Republican negotiator in striking a deal to raise the nation's debt limit -- allowing our government to pay its bills -- Cantor is steering the nation toward an economic crisis. Failure to raise the debt limit could result in higher unemployment, force the government to delay Social Security checks, and drastically reduce the funding available to enforce bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.1

Why is Captain Cantor willing to watch the boat sink? It comes back to seat cushions.2 He absolutely refuses to ask polluting corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share. Late last week, his negotiating team rejected proposals to eliminate subsidies for big oil, corn ethanol and private jets.3

Enough is enough. It's time to provoke a mutiny in the ranks. In particular, House Republicans who are in vulnerable electoral seats need to see that Cantor's way is unacceptable to voters.

Add your name to our petition to send Cantor and all House Republicans the message that sinking our economy and threatening our environment in order to protect corporate polluters and millionaires is unacceptable.

This whole debate is part of a broader fight over priorities. Does government exist to advance the well being of everyone in the boat or just a wealthy few corporations and individuals that can afford high-priced lobbyists? Is a healthy environment worth more than maintaining the profit lines of big oil and coal companies?

Because this broader fight is one we must win, Friends of the Earth is launching a new initiative next week -- the Earth Budget campaign -- to push for comprehensive budget solutions that prioritize people and the planet over polluters. Our country isn't broke, and we can protect the environment and advance the public good while reducing deficits.

As we gear up to make an impact in the broader fight over priorities, we need to hold Cantor and House Republicans accountable now. Sign our petition to tell Cantor to prioritize people over polluters!

Thanks for standing up for the environment,
Michelle Chan
Economic policy director, Friends of the Earth

1. "The risks of debt default on the economy and jobs." Center for American Progress Action Fund, July 7, 2011.
2. "GOP lawmaker refuses to believe the fact that Rep. Eric Cantor is shorting U.S. treasury bonds." Think Progress, July 8, 2011.
3. "Plan B emerges on debt." Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2011.

Friends of the Earth
1100 15th Street, NW
11th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 783-7400

Friends of the Earth
311 California Street
Suite 510
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 544-0790

Friends of the Earth is fighting to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world.  

Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change,
keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use,
and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

To support this work, you can become a Friend of the Earth.

empowered by Salsa

Update on Missouri Court Solar Litigation

  • Solar is Here to Stay in Missouri
  • The Post Dispatch was wrong when referring to the "expected crash of the solar industry"
  • arguments the lower court recently used for declaring the solar rebate "illegal and unconstitutional" are nonsensical

2009 Renew MO Logo

Renewable Energy Activists,

Thank you for your emails to the Attorney General's office!  

Your email response thanking him for intervening in the solar rebate case and requesting a stay was great!  

We expect to hear soon if the stay will be granted. 

The recent legal action to make solar rebates unconstitutional has been making headlines in Missouri and across the country.  We have been responding and trying to get the real story told.   Read Director PJ's Wilson's response below and watch for The Columbia Missourian story out today.  


We could use your help to get the real story in local papers.


Please call or email our story below to your local paper. 

 Tell them you think this is an important story for them to follow.  If you can forward any news reports on this issue to Carla@RenewMo.org that would be very helpful. 


solar panels


Solar is Here to Stay in Missouri

A recent article in The Post Dispatch painted a gloom-and-doom slant on the recent court decision against solar rebates in Missouri, referring to the "expected crash of the solar industry", which is far from true.


The truth is that the solar industry has been around in Missouri for over 15 years, and the solar rebate helped catapult the technology towards mainstream adoption in the last two years. However, dramatically falling prices for solar panels, a hefty 30% federal tax incentive, and increased competition also mean that, even without the existence of a solar rebate, the price of solar systems would be way less today than it was three years ago.


Make no mistake about it - in an arena where every form of energy is subsidized - and none more than the fossil fuel industry - solar would certainly suffer in Missouri if its state subsidy was taken away. But it won't be - because the arguments the lower court recently used for declaring the solar rebate "illegal and unconstitutional" are nonsensical. The Public Service Commission and Attorney General, as well as the solar industry itself, are committed to upholding the law as written, and challenging this lower court's flawed logic. The court's misconceptions are actually reflective of commonly held beliefs about solar, and this provides an opportunity for Missouri to learn about the real benefits solar has to offer.


  1. First, the court asserts that utilities receive "no benefit" for the solar rebates they pay out. In reality, the PSC requires solar systems that receive rebates to stay in place for at least 10 years, ensuring that this generation is online. And the times that these systems are online are typically the times when it's the most expensive for utilities to generate power themselves. The more solar that's online, the less utilities have to pay for their most expensive power plants to fire up during the hot, sunny afternoon hours.
  2. Additionally, as opposed to independently financing and paying for new electricity generation, when utility companies pay solar rebates, they're paying only a fraction (perhaps 33%) of the cost of the solar system. The rest is covered by the federal government and the customer's checkbook. This means that, from the utility's standpoint, they're bringing reliable generation online for less money per kilowatt-hour produced than they could ever hope for by building new coal or nuclear. If this isn't a "benefit to the utility", as well as to the rest of the ratepayers and the public, I don't know what is.
  3. The judge also states that it doesn't change the utility's electricity portfolio even "by one kilowatt". He's right - using Ameren's own numbers, the 442 kW of solar installed as a result of their rebate program wouldn't generate "one kilowatt" - it will actually generate 552 Mega-watt hours (552,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity per year in Missouri.




The truth is that solar is here to stay in Missouri. Panel prices have fallen by over 300% in the last 5 years, and the total combined renewable energy installed in the US just surpassed the amount of nuclear energy installed. The solar rebates have done a good job helping Missouri catch up with the rest of the nation, and I believe that the lower court's decision will be thrown out, and solar rebates will be up and running again in Missouri soon.


PJ Wilson
Columbia, MO
Director of Renew Missouri







Want to help volunteer with Renew Missouri?


The latest attack on renewable energy by the courts only highlights the importance of why another ballot initiative written to address every issue is likely our most viable route.  Please indicate your ability to help with another ballot initiative and other actions by visiting our Volunteers Welcome page. 


Thank you for supporting clean energy in Missouri!


Carla Klein

Renew Missouri 

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Missouri Coalition for the Environment | 6267 Delmar Blvd., Ste. 2E | St. Louis | MO | 63130

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