It's not often that a chance encounter between two strangers from opposite sides of the world results in the development of a novel new product, but that's exactly what happened when Jon Jorgensen and Markus Bechstein met two years ago.
“I was introduced to Markus in May 2006 in Santa Barbara, Calif.,” recalls Jorgensen, a resident of the Golden State. “Markus is from Germany, and he told me about an LED-based pavestone that he wanted to bring over to the United States. I'm a general contractor by trade, and when I saw the product, I thought it was just terrific.”
The brainchild of Bechstein and Jorgensen is a low-voltage LED pavestone lighting system called Beckstone. Marketed by Carpenteria, Calif.-based JoBe Lighting, the product is manufactured in Germany from synthetic resin and is designed to blend into a variety of hardscapes, such as stone and brick, during the day. At night, it is lit from within by an LED. According to the company, custom stones, logos, and monograms in any shape and color can be accommodated.
“Our paver sizes are based on those commonly used in the United States,” says Bechstein. “We also use high-quality LEDs from Japan. The LED manufacturer reports they will last 80,000 hours under ideal conditions. But even after 80,000 hours, they will still have 50% light output.”
In development for 18 months, Beckstone was introduced this past May at LightFair International 2008. The product consists of two parts: a translucent-top glass body and a load-carrying body. The solid load-carrying body extends 5/64 inches around the entire glass body, enabling it to be laid without a bed of mortar. The company says this increases the balance of the joint impression, decreases the laying cost, and improves chip resistance. The product also features a non-slip surface and offers vehicle run-over capability. Furthermore, installation can be done prior to laying traditional pavestones.
Suitable for new or retrofit applications, each Beckstone is waterproof (according to class IP 68 protection) and runs on 12VDC LED power supplies. According to the company, the LED is sealed with the synthetic resin above and covered against impact by a polymer-concrete block below, preventing water from causing erosion to the LED module.
“Beckstone's low CO2-emission LED uses only four-tenths of a watt, which is 80% to 90% less than a lot of what you see on the market today,” adds Jorgensen. “They can also run off a 12VDC battery with a solar panel. So, you can use them as standalone systems, if you'd like.”
Targeted toward anyone involved with lighting design, available product sizes include: 2 inches × 2 inches, 3 inches × 3 inches, 4 inches × 4 inches, 5½ inches × 5½ inches, 6 inches × 3 inches, and 6 inches × 4½ inches. Beckstones are offered in natural stone- and concrete-like surfaces in red, white, blue, and amber colors.
“The use of a colored LED and the ability to engrave the product make it different from anything else currently on the market,” says Kent Lazor, president of Independence Lighting in Exton, Pa.
Independence Lighting's clients who are installing the product include a university that plans to outline its entire campus with the pavers and a baseball stadium that is offering patrons a personalized Beckstone outside the arena entrance in exchange for a donation toward stadium improvements.
“When you consider the number of pavestones laid in and around commercial and residential structures in the United States, the uses for this product are infinite,” adds Lazor.
Aside from aesthetics, JoBe Lighting believes Beckstone will offer users improved safety.
“Footpaths can be illuminated at night, as well as places that need to be found as quickly as possible, such as hospital emergency rooms,” says Bechstein. “You can also use them to route foot or light automobile traffic.”
Pricing for Beckstone ranges from $49 to $119. For more information, visit www.jobe-lighting.com.
|Impact resistance:||8 kJ/m2|
|Operating voltage:||110/230V (primary), 12V (secondary)|
|Protection class:||IP 68|