Virtual House Highlights Options

At builders can design the right lighting scheme for every room

By Meghan Stromberg, Associate Editor | October 16, 2000

A new home can be in a great neighborhood, have a knock-out design and over-the-top upgrades and details, but what good is all that if it has shadowy corners, glaring, unnatural light and work areas where it's not bright enough to get work done? The design of the lighting scheme is an important-but often overlooked-part of the look and functionality of the whole house.

But lighting can be a difficult system to lay out if a builder is not exactly sure how each light fixture and bulb work together and how different light sources combine to create anything from natural and sunny to dramatic, elegant rooms. GE Lighting invites builders and their customers to take an e-tour of a Virtual House-an on-line concept house-to try out different lighting schemes in each room. At, users can click through the rooms of an actual house in suburban Cleveland to experiment with lighting options.

The Virtual Lighting Designer allows users to choose a room-bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, family room, home office, work room, hallway or outdoor area-and then a picture, either as a still or 360-degree rotating shot, will show up unlit on the screen. By clicking on general, accent and decorative lighting options, users can see how the addition of each light or combination of lights changes the whole look and feel of the space.

To help decide between various lighting schemes, users can also get a side-by-side comparison view of the same room. They can also look at the Designer Notes with each room that explain how designer Kathy Presciano created the ideal lighting conditions for each room.

"The Virtual Lighting Designer was developed with exact configurations for each room of the Virtual House-so the comparative lighting techniques are rendered as they would appear in real life," says GE Lighting's Mike Fenger, General Manager-Global e-Business. "No other technology has given us the ability to literally bring a virtual, one-on-one lighting showroom to consumers."

The site also offers information on fixtures, bulbs and other products, explaining the function and benefits of each. By selecting from the "What I Want" menu, builders and homeowners can further concentrate one of the following areas: energy efficiency, light output, product life, light quality, environmental friendliness and safety. The site will then suggest products suited to the specifics of each application, and tell builders where and how to buy them-online and in the real world. Users can also do an Energy Audit, which helps them calculate the energy costs as-sociated with each type of fixture and bulb.

"Lighting is one of the most important resources in your home-it can change the atmosphere of space and add new dimension, yet is often the last thing people consider when they build a new house or remodel an existing one," says Joel Hunt, GE Lighting's General Manager-Marketing & Communications. "The best way to educate people is through a 'hands-on' demonstration, and the Internet has enabled us to bring that interactive experience to the world."


Related Categories