Expert Advice

Light Salons Efficiently

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 7:11 PM

Q. Is it really possible to be energy-efficient and eco-friendly, and still get great-quality lighting?

A.  “Finally, yes,” says Carmine Minardi, co-owner of Minardi Salon in NYC with wife Beth Minardi. “Over the years there have been many attempts to light salons in an energy-efficient way. Fluorescent lighting was the original choice for most salons for several reasons. It is cheap, long lasting, does not produce a lot of heat and gave a lot of light. The problem over the last few decades, however, is that as salons’ color businesses grew, the quality of the lighting became more of an issue.

“Salons began using a mixture of incandescent lighting (recessed or floods on tracks) to get a livelier quality of brilliance. The problem was they needed to be replaced often, gave off a lot of heat and burned a lot of energy—not to mention the shadows that where produced under the eyes.

“What we have developed over the past 20 years is the perfect lighting solution for salons that do a lot of color. It’s a combination of ambient light (a clear neutral toned light that fills the room from bouncing off the ceiling), task light (a slightly warmer flood-type light that focuses above the client’s head), and facial light (the warmest light that really does not give a lot of light, but rather a warm glow onto the face and to get rid of dark circles under the eyes).

“One of the most important aspects of lighting is to study where the light is coming from. If all the lighting comes from the ceiling down, there will be too many shadows. If it’s all straight on, then the face gets too washed out. That’s why when doing a photo shoot or filming there are many angles of light sources, not just one fixture. The perfect lighting is a combination of cool and warm light directed from different angles, creating a ‘bouncing’ of light everywhere.

“In the past we lit the room great but at a great expense. Now the Minardi Color perfect color lighting has been created with special bulbs, lenses and reflectors that can actually reduce energy-use tremendously, while giving the best quality of light to a color salon. While in the testing stages, the electric costs for Minardi Salon actually declined by more than 30 percent. And remember, less heat equals lower air conditioning costs as well!

Every salon has different lighting needs, depending on ceiling heights, natural light, ceiling color and furniture colors. Some salons need more ambient light, others need more task light and others may need facial light, and then there are those that need it all.

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