Home lighting has begun transformation
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LED is the name of the game in lighting today. Prices for the long-lasting, environmentally-friendly light-emitting diodes are continually decreasing, so they are gathering more and more market share, said Benson Littman, co-owner of Littman Bros. Lighting in Schaumburg.
"Fashion lighting designers particularly like them because they can now build fixtures without worrying about fitting light bulbs in. Virtually no space is taken up by the LEDs. They last forever and use very little energy but offer the same brightness as a conventional bulb," Littman said.
"The only drawback to LEDs is the price. The cost is coming down and there are even bargain LEDs out there on the market now, but the cost still discourages some people," he said.
"For instance, no one is going to buy LEDs for a dining room fixture that takes 20 candelabra bulbs, for instance. That would add $500 to the cost of the chandelier," he said. "So the price point is still a problem."
On the other hand, they are perfect for hotels, hospitals and other commercial applications because once the LED lights are installed, they virtually never have to be changed, thanks to their 30,000 hours of service. That is a huge benefit for places like that," Littman said.
In residential settings, the best current use for LED lights is in difficult-to-change places like rooftop lighting, recessed indoor lighting and under-the-cabinet applications.
"LEDs aren't actually bulbs. They are computer chips that illuminate with the aid of a low voltage transformer. In under-the-cabinet situations, the diodes are attached to electrified tape," he said.
"But the future of lighting is definitely LED. They are replacing incandescent and fluorescent and everything that came before. Soon, our entire store will be LED. Most of our fixtures can already accept LED, if the homeowner so chooses. They haven't replaced halogen bulbs, but that is coming, too, because they give off a more natural light. Halogen also burns very hot and LEDs are cool to the touch."
Littman Bros. already has a handful of fixtures that have been designed exclusively for LEDs, he added.
Littman Bros., located at 845 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, has been in business since 1979. It is owned by brothers Dan and Benson Littman.
"We were in our early 20s when we started the business, which originally sold ceiling fans exclusively," Littman said. "At that time, everyone perceived ceiling fans as something to be used only in warm weather locations."
The Littmans recognized that fans could also be efficiently used to reclaim heat from the ceiling in colder climates. If a fan were run slowly enough, it could bring heat that had collected near the ceiling back down into the room.
"We opened our first fan store in Chicago and all of the fans we sold back then were pretty utilitarian. They were not a design item then," he said.
Within seven or eight years, the ceiling fan market had taken off and the Littmans had about 20 stores around the Chicago area, as well as in Milwaukee and St. Louis.
"But then the home centers got into the ceiling fan category and took the low end of the market away from us. We eventually closed a bunch of our stores and expanded more in the direction of lighting," Littman said.
Today they have morphed into a single-location, 10,000 square-foot store in Schaumburg. They sell residential and commercial lighting fixtures and lamps and they also have a massive e-commerce site (www.littmanbros.com), selling to customers around the world through their website.
Littman Bros. is unique in the business because of the range of services it offers homeowners and contractors, alike. The website allows people to shop before they visit the store or even to order completely online.
Designers will also visit a client's home to help them choose new fixtures for only a small fee that is applied toward the purchase. Installation is also offered so that clients don't need to locate and hire a separate electrician.
Finally, they offer contractor pricing, Littman said.
For more information, call (847) 895-5155.
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