It’s not hard to make a Hawaiian landscape look beautiful, however, this tropical retreat is in Oklahoma City
When a family living in northwest Oklahoma City decided to add a “lakeside tropical retreat” to 20+ acres of their estate, these homeowners sought out the best professional teams in the area to tackle the sophisticated project. A landscape designer, AV integrator/installer, electrical contractor, and lighting consultant all worked in tandem to establish a design that perfectly – and personally – reflected the client’s lifestyle and entertainment needs.
The magnitude of this project was much more complex than a couple of TVs in a tiki hut, jokes Andy Burns, CLC, LC, of Triple C Lighting Specialists in Oklahoma City. Award-winning lighting designer Burns was brought onto the project by Voyager Home Systems a renowned AV integrator/installer in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Joey Rosario, president of Voyager Home Systems, explains, “We wanted to provide the clients with more than just the mercury vapor bluish moonlight lighting effect that people are used to seeing – and we wanted more than just conventional TVs.”
Rosario started designing the audio and video needs and communicating his vision to the owners for what he termed a “polapa lakeside.” It was then that he also reached out to lighting consultant Andy Burns, whom he had worked with on previous installations.
“These clients entertain a lot,” Burns notes. “Since their private residence included a lake, they built a polapa on the opposite side of the lake to serve as a retreat for family and friends. That area also included a restroom that was illuminated.”
The concept that this team of specialists from different backgrounds united to provide was an AV system and lighting design that were both comprehensive, dramatic, flexible, and energy-efficient without distracting from the natural environment.
Initial visits included mock-ups of several products to determine the correct number of fixtures and to record where potential trees and areas of focus would be. Helping to coordinate the power needs of Voyager Home Systems was the electrical contracting company Star Enterprize Electric, which handled the load schedules for the power requirements and strategically ran power to all of the fixture locations and coordinated the control locations and wiring.
Based on the quantity of fixtures required and the amount of distance covered between them, it was decided that the energy consumption of typical mercury vapor fixtures would be inefficient. Instead, Burns and Rosario agreed on LED high-performance RGB fixtures that would be mounted on concrete pillars due to water level fluctuations around the lake.
After reviewing all of the possible choices, the duo selected fixtures from Lumenpulse, a manufacturer known for its commercial-grade, color-changing LED exterior products. Approximately 75 LED fixtures were used throughout the project, ranging from 8-watt fixtures mounted in the polapa and the bathroom roof center intersections for white light general illumination to 22-watt flood and narrow flood lights for the majority of the trees and uplighting the polapa roof, and the 44-watt large fixtures that uplight the sizable trees on the property.
The energy from traditional lighting sources was calculated to have exceeded 8,500 watts on 120V circuits. The alternative – which is what Burns and Rosario selected – was an LED lighting load that consumes less than 2,000 watts. Not only does it allow for significant energy savings, but it eliminates multiple lamp changes of up to 6-10 times compared to RGB LED products.
One of the most dramatic features is the ability to change the look of the lighting easily. The new control system allows the homeowners to select from eight pre-set scenes that can include multiple colors or slow transitions over any period of time desired. “For example, it could start as green and turn to midnight blue over an hour’s time so the change isn’t felt,” Burns says. “There is a timer integrated in the controller so it comes on and off at pre-determined times. The homeowners can also use their iPhones to have complete control right there in the polapa or at their house.”
What were the biggest challenges? “Definitely figuring out the energy consumption such as the amount of power needed and how far to trench the power and the size of the wiring,” Burns comments. The maintenance required to change the lamps (using other light sources) was another factor.
“The homeowners decided to spend more upfront on the fixtures when they saw how much less energy would be consumed plus the elimination of maintenance costs,” Burns states. “Providing the ability to change color was an added feature that makes the whole project unique.”