Blue Christmas? Or... Go Bolts!

Nebula lets you light your home all year long

By Eric Snider

What if you could do holiday lighting year-round? And no, I’m not talking about just leaving the Christmas strings up ’cause you don’t feel like getting on the ladder again. What if you could expand the concept of holiday lights to include Halloween, the 4th of July, Valentine’s Day, Easter, even Arbor Day? Or customize your exterior lighting with Bucs colors when they play in the Super Bowl?

All of this and more is doable — and easy.

Land O’ Lakes-based Nebula Lighting Systems — a 13-year-old company whose flagship product is state-of-the-art lighting for pool cages — has added a new line called Permanent Holiday Lighting. “It’s a one-and-done system and you’ll never have to get on a ladder and hang lights again,” says Marc Baykara, Nebula’s vice president of revenue operations & information technology. 

Here’s how it works: Using a brand called Gemstone Lights, Nebula installs track lighting into the soffits of your home — a hockey puck-shaped LED light every nine inches. A 10×10-inch controller box is also installed on the side the house. You then download a Gemstone app that connects to the box via WiFi or Bluetooth, enabling you to change the lighting in infinite ways. There are presets for different holidays and sports teams. Every single light is programmable, so you can set up your own designs — with patterns, motion, brightness control and more. 

Let’s say you want to celebrate the start of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new season — you know, the one where they defend their Stanley Cup title. You tap your smartphone a few times and, boom, up comes the blue, black, silver and white in a preset pattern or one you’ve created. Voila! Go Bolts!

The Nebula system is also ideal for architectural lighting — motionless, soft-white lights that accentuate and enhance the shape and look of the house, adding to its curb appeal.  

You’re wondering about the cost. Easy enough — $35 a linear foot. Baykara says that 100 feet should suffice for the front of an average-size home, up to 200 feet for a larger one. “That’s for the exterior front,” he adds. “Some customers want to include the sides and even back of the home. In that case you can be looking at up to 600 linear feet and more, depending on the size of the house.”

And in that case, you need more controller boxes. Each additional 200 feet requires an extra box at the cost of $600.

Let’s talk efficiency. “LED lights don’t burn out and they run on low voltage, so you can leave the system on 24/7 and you won’t see a spike in your electric bill,” Baykara says.

Nebula systems are controllable from anywhere in the world, so there’s the security aspect as well. And let’s say you’re at Mt. Everest base camp (there’s Internet, I checked) and all that ice reminds you of something: “It’s the Lightning home opener tonight!” Just punch a few buttons on your phone and your neighbors will see that you haven’t forgotten to root for the reigning champs.