Homeowners and businesses incorporate exterior and landscape lighting to highlight property features and improve aesthetics, extend their living spaces, and enhance safety. While colored lighting remains an option for these applications, many homeowners and businesses opt for white light that ensures visibility but can lack warmth.
A new outdoor fixture aims to allow homeowners and businesses to precisely tailor their outdoor lighting color integrity and tuning, color rendering index, controllability, output brightness, and saturation. The Ketra Ready Modulus Bullet, developed by Coastal Source and Lutron, brings full-spectrum tunable lighting within a weather-tight housing to outdoor environments.
Designed to use a Ketra full-spectrum S30 LED lamp, the Modulus Bullet from Coastal Source incorporates a commercial-grade, solid-brass body and design features to allow the fixture to withstand harsh outdoor conditions. In December, Coastal began accepting orders for the line-voltage fixture from those dealers already qualified to order the Ketra S30 LED lamp.
A tunable color lighting solution, Lutron’s Ketra can mimic natural sunlight or mix red, green, blue and white LEDs to create a “dynamic spectrum.” While Ketra has been used to create myriad indoor lighting scenes, the collaboration between Lutron and Coastal marks the first outdoor Ketra Ready luminaire.
Architectural SSL reached out to Franco D’Ascanio, co-founder and CEO of Coastal Source, Moorestown, N.J., to learn more about the Ketra Ready outdoor fixture and the collaboration between the two companies.
What led Coastal Source and Lutron to work together to develop Ketra Ready outdoor lighting?
D’Ascanio credits both companies’ dealer networks for the impetus to collaborate. “Both Coastal Source and Lutron share representatives and dealers, some of whom mentioned to executives at Coastal Source and Lutron how similar the two companies are. We asked some of our representatives to make an introduction between Coastal Source and Lutron, and we were instantly drawn to working with Lutron because their company is also at the forefront of innovation, dealer-centric, and has similar customer care values.”
What challenges were encountered while developing a Ketra Ready luminaire that can withstand outdoor conditions, and how were they addressed?
Solutions to meet code, specification and wiring requirements were key to the process, D’Ascanio noted.
“Lutron lamps are all high voltage, and all Coastal Source systems are low voltage. As such, we had to find solutions that would comply to a number of codes, specs, wiring, and more to ensure our product was up to code while still providing high quality light, which took six months of innovation.”
Placing a Ketra Ready bulb within a Modulus bullet light — a sealed outdoor fixture — also required thermal management, D’Ascanio added. To handle pressure changes inside the fixture, the companies incorporated a thermal vent to equalize the pressure in the fixture when the lamp heats up and cools down.
What are the key features of the new Modulus bullet light?
Coastal’s solid-brass fixture body provides durability and prevents water ingress, D’Ascanio noted. “In addition to the way we seal our fixtures to not allow for water ingress through both the fixtures and the wires, solid brass is extremely durable. This durability applies not only to the typical considerations of an outdoor environment, such as corrosion and moisture damage, but also ones we might not think of. In an outdoor setting, landscapers could be using power tools nearby, or branches could fall at any time.”
Using solid brass also avoided the need to combine dissimilar metals. Doing so can contribute to corrosion issues, or bolt freezing, a common hazard in outdoor lighting installations.
In addition, Coastal integrated its plug-and-play IP68 cabling system to ensure the fixture could withstand dust, dirt and water exposure. D’Ascanio credits the company’s experience with building outdoor-rated enclosures for thermal environments for its ability to connect the Ketra Ready Modulus Bullet Light to a homeowner’s internal network.
Coastal Source also offers a gateway outdoor enclosure to protect the Type X Lutron Clear Connect gateway, a device that enables communications between the lighting control system and the Modulus bullet light. The enclosure uses one weatherized Ethernet connector.
Design features of a long-lived outdoor fixture go beyond ensuring watertight connections, D’Ascanio said. “Many outdoor lighting methods implement Bluetooth, mesh systems, or PLC systems. However, in our experience, we have found that the best tech to weather the elements is radio frequency. It can go longer distances, does not suffer from moisture and water damage, and other objects in its path do not interfere.
“The radio frequency technology that our Modulus Bullet Light integrates has the range and sensitivity required, without requiring additional effort on the part of the integrator or homeowner,” D’Ascanio added.
How does the Ketra LED lamp emulate natural light shifts, and how does it influence the overall outdoor lighting experience?
With the introduction of the Modulus fixture and Ketra’s white tuning, vibrancy and dimming capabilities, new options exist in exterior lighting schemes, D’Ascanio said. “While the ability to offer a range of colors is critical to any dealer’s success, most of the time, homeowners simply want their plants and trees displayed via white light. At night, Ketra lights can transition to a warmer setting and color to ensure their plants still look natural. For more colorful plants, they can adjust white tuning accordingly.”