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Introducing the L16

We built the L16 specifically for the purpose of lighting retail store display windows and it has also found use as a rugged architectural fixture. The story of this light is told in detail further down the page along with information about how to order it.

Picture of an L16 in a store window Picture of an L16 ready for installation

This is what an L16 looks like. It screws into the wall at the top of a store window so the light is coming from a direction similar to the viewer's eyes. This causes much more natural shadowing and improves the look of the display. The L16 uses less electricity than CFL bulbs and much less electricity than incandescent or halogen bulbs, and the manufacturer says that the LEDs will last for at least 50,000 hours.

Initial projections indicate that the L16 will save enough electricity to pay for itself in three to four years of use, and will keep saving you money after that. When their time is up, LEDs just start to dim instead of burning out so you'll have time to choose from lights which should be even better.

Picture of L16 fixture colors

This is a picture of the L16 in various colors. These lights are made specifically for you and the range of colors is nearly unlimited. Depending on the color, there may be a minimum order quantity.

The story of the L16

Our company started in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a city with a large downtown retail area. Over the years we noticed that there was room for improvement in the way that store windows are typically lit. Usually a contractor puts a few recessed lights in the ceiling or installs a piece of track lighting and it's done. This is nicer than a dark window, but it could be so much better.

The first problem is that the lights are typically in the wrong place. They shine down on your window display like an interrogation is about to begin, casting shadows everywhere and glaring in the eyes of window shoppers. The second problem is that the bulbs burn out frequently and they can be hard to replace without disturbing the window display. Finally, they use too much power and produce too much heat. If you're paying the electric bill, you understand the cost of lights which are typically on all the time.

Many store owners have tried switching to floodlights with compact fluorescent bulbs inside, but CFL bulbs don't always produce a pleasant light, they're usually installed in the same poorly placed recessed light fixtures, and they need to be treated as toxic waste when they're thrown out.

We designed something better. We looked around to see if there was a good product already out there, but we couldn't find one. Then we thought that the new generation of under-cabinet LED lights (the nice ones, not the blue ones) would do the job, but they weren't nearly bright enough. Ultimately, we decided to build our own. We talked to many of the store owners and managers in town. We found the best LEDs, designed our own fixture, and created a heat sink which was extruded just for us so that the light could be ideally positioned. Then we spent a year getting the whole thing UL listed (file number E348810). Based on feedback from store owners, we made these lights portable so you don't need an electrician and you can take them with you when you move your store to a new and better location.

We were successful in lighting up a number of those storefronts in downtown Portsmouth and we think that the L16 has made a real difference. We've now moved to Biddeford, Maine, another city with many storefronts that could benefit from better lighting.

How to order the L16 for your own store windows:

  1. Pick the color of the finish - As you can see in the above picture, the L16 is available in various colors and can be customized to your decor. If the light will be illuminated 24x7 and it will be in direct sun, don't pick the black finish because it will absorb the heat from sunlight. If the light is sheltered from the sun or you're sure it will be turned off when it's in the sun, the color doesn't matter.
  2. Pick the color of the light - This refers to the color of the light which is produced by the L16. Warm White has a color similar to a traditional incandescent bulb. Neutral White is more like a halogen bulb. Cool white is the color of daylight. If you pick a color other than white, the window display will be washed in that color and you'll probably want an additional white spotlight to shine on your merchandise. Most retailers in the US prefer Warm or Neutral White but some jewelers prefer Cool White. Blue is surprisingly popular and draws people like moths to a flame.
  3. Decide how many you need - Measure the approximate height and width of your window in feet. Multiply the two numbers and divide by fifteen. This is approximately the number of white L16 lights that you'll need to light the window at night. For example, if you have two store windows and they're each 6 x 6 feet, then 6 x 6 = 36. Thirty-six divided by fifteen is 2.4, so you'll want two or three lights for each window. Pick two lights for each of the two windows (you can always buy two more later if you want more light), for a total of four. Because the L16 is an electronic device and not an old-fashioned light bulb, you may want to consider using some kind of surge protector just like you would with a computer or other electronic device. Unopened packages can be returned for a refund within 30 days.
  4. Think about how much you'll save - These lights typically pay for themselves in electricity savings in three to four years. They cost $200 each and at a typical electric rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour, they'll save you about $58 a year and you'll break even in about three and a half years. The lights are supposed to last for 50,000 hours, or about six years, and they typically dim with age so that after 5 or six years you can decide when to replace them. If you think about the light bulbs that you won't have to buy, the time you won't have to spend replacing them, and the reduced air conditioning costs because the lights run so much cooler, the payback should be even faster.
  5. Call us and order some L16s for your own store windows. We take major credit cards and in a few weeks, you can start saving money and doing a better job of bringing customers into your store.

Approx Color*NameExplanationNotes
Color of the fixture
 Black AnodizedFlat BlackNot recommended for lights in direct sunlight
 Clear AnodizedNatural AluminumThis has a silvery high tech look
 White Powder CoatedGlossy WhiteWhite matches the ceilings and mouldings in many stores
 Yellow Powder CoatedGlossy YellowYellow is bright and bold
Color of the light produced
 Warm White~3000KSimilar to incandescent, it has a very warm feeling
 Neutral White~4000KSimilar to Halogen, it's a somewhat clinical white light
 Cool White~5000KBlue-White. Not good for colorful displays but OK for jewelry
 Royal Blue447.5 nmA very eerie blue, almost a black light, primarily used for grow lights **
 Blue470 nmAn intense blue, very penetrating and interesting
 Cyan505 nmA surprisingly nice looking blue-green
 Green530 nmAn deep and intense emerald green
 Amber590 nmA slightly orangey yellow, not very bright
 Red-Orange617 nmA sort of wimpy looking red
 Red627 nmA much nicer red, sort of a ruby color
 Deep Red660 nmA very dark red primarily used for grow lights **

* These colors are approximations. All monitors are different and none can really capture the vibrancy of the colors.
** If you want to use L16s for grow lights, you'll need to know the wavelengths of light you're looking for. Ideal wavelengths vary based on the type of plant. The LEDs used in the L16 are suitable for this use, but we aren't horticulturists so you'll have to know what you want. In any case, you will need multiple L16s.


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Copyright 2010-2015 Aptilite LLC. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice, and all guesses as to brightness and power consumption are very approximate. Trademarks of the products of other manufacturers are the property of those manufacturers.