The Heatherland Blog

Hot Off The Presses In Heatherland

The Beat Goes On.

I was reading an article the other day about how the new Sonos logo went viral.   The new design has a cool optical illusion: when you scroll up or down while looking at it, it looks like it’s moving to a beat.  Apparently this was nobody’s creative genius, this was a “happy accident”.

 

See, look at the logo while you scroll:

scoll up and down

scoll up and down

Ironically when I was reading that, I was listening to our Sonos.  And now that I’m writing this, I am listening to our Sonos.  Are you sensing a theme?  Let me scream it from the rooftop:  I LOVE OUR SONOS!

 

sonos Wireless Sound System

 

In case you don’t know, Sonos is a sound system that can be controlled wirelessly.  It is made of component parts that you purchase separately so you can equip your house/office/love den/whatever with some serious beats.

Sonos-Play-1-Press-Family-2-1280x853

I love listening to music when I’m working on a project, or in the kitchen cooking, or blogging.  I stream Pandora, which Sonos supports (along with Spotify and other sources).  Ben Howard, Bon Iver, and Goyte are my stations of choice.  Those stations always start out awesome, and then the magic of Pandora starts setting in and they start to get weird.  Why do Pandora stations always get weird?  I’m vigilant with my thumbs up and thumbs down, but they always take a turn for the obscure.  I like to blame Mr. Heatherland for this phenomenon.

 

 Sonos Play:1

 

I was taking to one of my friends about our Sonos, especially the cost, and here’s what I told her:

 

Even with the most minimal purchase, you are buying the Bridge ($49) and a least one speaker of your choice.

sonos_bridge

We went with the SONOS PLAY:1, it is the most affordable option, at $199.

sonos_play_one

It’s the smallest most unobtrusive option as well.  Plus, if I have to be honest, I am not enough of a music snob to really tell the difference in sound between PLAY:1 and the PLAY:3, especially not enough to merit an additional 100 bucks.  But, that’s just me.

 

You can sample Sonos at Best Buy, but Amazon has the best prices.

 

 

Sonos Controller

 

The biggest selling feature for me was the simple fact that the Sonos Remote is my iPhone, iPad, smart device, etc.  It gets looped into your home network, so you never have to get up to do anything.  You just have to download the free Sonos Controller App.  The setup was really easy, which pleased me.  The app was originally a little unreliable, but I’ve noticed with each update it’s getting better.

 

Other Fun Facts

 

  • They are aesthetically pleasing and you barely notice them in a room.
  • The bridge can be hidden in a cabinet and works wirelessly with your phone and the speaker(s).
  • Each Sonos speaker can play something different, so all of your rooms can be separately controlled, or linked together.
  • We stole one.

 

Yes, you read that right. We did intact steal one, but we didn’t really mean to, it started more as a “borrow”…

 

You see, before our wedding last year, one of our guests was flying in from Europe.  He is one of Mr. Heatherland’s closest friends and he bought the most amazing Sonos Playbar from Amazon and had it shipped to our house with the intention of taking it back to Europe with him.  But then there was an airline strike so he never actually made it to our wedding.

 

His unopened box sat in our dining room for awhile (a day) and we then decided to open it.  Well, one thing led to another and we ended up keeping it to raise it as our own.  It has been a wonderful addition to our life and decor.

 

Our "borrowed" playbar

Our “borrowed” playbar

If he’s reading this right now, I promise we will pay you back for it.  Someday.  This is actually the same friend that sent me a year’s supply of my favorite German Nivea Cream, which I am remembering I haven’t paid him for that either…

The Benefits of LED Lighting: How Heatherland Is Saving Over $500 Per Year

Hey everyone, Mr. Heatherland here.  Let’s talk about saving money.

 

We all know Heather loves home décor, and she has a particular flair for lighting design.

 

I, on the other hand, am a nerdy energy efficiency enthusiast.

 

When we were renovating our home, we discussed lighting briefly but she very cunningly casually suggested she could work with our electrician directly so I could focus on other projects.

 

I really should have suspected something was up…

 

 

Hello, Energy Inefficiency

Once her lighting concept was brought to life, I soon realized our home might single-handedly be capable of taking down the grid in our neighborhood.  We had hardwired a total of 31 fixtures with 56 bulbs in our 1200 sq. ft ranch style home. To make matters worse most of the fixtures were energy sucking incandescent light bulbs or halogen light bulbs.  CFL bulbs were not welcome in Heatherland due to the startup delay.

 

Not including the basement, our peak lighting load of 2.5kW was equivalent to 2.1 watts per square foot which is 4X the national average.

Lighting Power Density (W/ft^2) vs x

  (Reference: US Department of Energy, AutoDesk) After a few months of paying the $130-$180 electric bills I was able to convince Heather that we should consider energy efficient lighting for her dimmable recessed lighting.  Her requirements were as follows:

      • Performance: When the light switch is flipped there will be no start-up delay, or “warming up” period.

 

 

      • Aesthetics: There will be no bulbs that look like nerdy lab creations, they need to look like light real light bulbs.

 

 

      • Mood: The temperature of the light needs to be the same  “soft feel” as her existing, beloved, energy wasting incandescents.

 

 

The BENEFITS OF LED LIGHTING

There are many different types of light bulbs to consider, but I knew her Performance and Aesthetics requirements would be easily met with LED lights. But to figure out the right Mood she was trying to capture would require some testing.  So we decided to purchase a variety of bulbs with different Kelvin color temperatures from our local Lowes store.

credit: Lightopedia

credit: Lightopedia

Even I can admit, it was shocking how different the room felt and how different we looked under the each type of bulb.

Heather says: Meerkats need good lighting, too.

Heather says: Meerkats need good lighting, too.

In the end, we settled on inexpensive LEDs from Feit Electric.  The bulbs cost about $10.00 each and had a color temperature of 2700K (which on the chart above is the “Friendly, Personal, Intimate” Mood).  Winner.  

Here Comes the Savings

This LED lights immediately reduced our lighting load from 2.5kW to 1.26 kW, which also brought our lighting power density down to 1.05 per square foot, which is only twice the national average.   Our electrical energy usage fell from an average of 850 kWh to 605 kWh.

Heatherland Electrical Energy Usage

Benefits of LED Lighting Comparison

At the time, the current National Grid rate of 18 cents per kWh this would save us $44 per month. The return on investment (ROI) for our LED purchase was just under 4 months and we are saving an estimated $528 per year!

 

 

The benefits of LED lighting are amazing when compared to other types of light bulbs.

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