Top 10 Green Building Products 2009
"Your Old Light Fixture"
Portland’s Eleek—in business only since 2000—is the only company to make Sustainable Industries’ Top 10 Green Building Products list all four years. This time however, the award comes with a twist.
Eleek’s lighting restoration services may not be a product, but it’s important service that speaks to the important concept of the re-use of existing goods, according to our judges. That is precisely why Eleek’s co-owner and director of marketing and sustainability, Sattie Clark, submitted it.
“One of the big problems we face as a society is rampant consumerism and the idea that you can be more sustainable by simply buying more sustainable things,” she says.
It’s also becoming a larger part of the company’s business model. In 2008, the service accounted for 10 percent of Eleek’s sales volume and it’s still growing.
When Eleek restores a light fixture, every piece of a fixture is taken apart, repaired and restored to its original splendor. Its wiring is updated to comply with modern codes and standards and a new lamp base is installed so it works with energy-efficient lamps such as compact fluorescents (CFLs) and, increasingly, LEDs.
Retrofitting luminaires for use with CFLs and LEDs requires a mix of old-world skills and modern thinking, says Clark. All the units they work on are done by hand but Eleek has created its own bases and housings to meet the unique requirements of the different technologies.
“We’re lamping experts,” Clark says. “We know more about lamping and how to make it work with luminares than most people.”