“ECO!” Made Simple


Soon, you’ll be seeing a new logo around the area: the Bethesda Systems mark—but with a leaf.

Over the past couple of years, co-founder Jonathan Stovall had a growing interest in the green technology market.

Throughout the past year, Bethesda Systems had several green accomplishments under its belt.

At the end of summer 2012, a popular Bethesda sports bar realized huge reductions in energy usage, and maintenance, with an LED retrofit performed by Bethesda Systems.

Before the retrofit, the bar went through 10–15 bulbs per week, and their lights were on for at least 14 hours per day. Also, half of their old lights would not dim due to overheating issues on the circuit.

Management of the sports bar now deals with less maintenance, a greener business, and lower energy costs due to PEPCO utility rebates Bethesda Systems helped the bar become eligible for.

On October 31, and December 28 respectively, Bethesda Systems received news of its official acceptance in becoming a PEPCO Trade Ally and a Delmarva Power Trade Ally.

As trade allies, Bethesda Systems is able to assist PEPCO and Delmarva Power customers with increasing awareness of, and meeting their energy efficiency goals. In addition, as a trade ally, Bethesda systems acts as an advisor to these utilities’ customers, instructing and applying ways customers can take advantage of the energy saving incentives the utilities offer.

Now, with another, eco-friendly logo, Bethesda Systems will be able to promote its commitment to a greener environment.

By the start of the New Year, Bethesda Systems has already built new relationships with restaurants and other commercial business throughout Montgomery County.

Bethesda Systems plans on spreading the word on energy-efficiency in residences, offices, retail establishments, strip-malls, condominiums, parking garages and more.

With its commitment to always provide the highest quality and most cutting-edge consumer electronics available, Bethesda Systems wants to ensure that their customers will also be able to integrate the latest green tech products, without having to compromise their lifestyles while doing so.

Bethesda Systems becomes Delmarva Power Trade Ally

BETHESDA, Md.–On December 28, Bethesda Systems received news of its official acceptance in becoming a Delmarva Power Maryland Service Territory Trade Ally.

A Delmarva Power trade ally is a technical partner to Maryland’s Eastern Shore Delmarva Power service territory. As a trade ally, Bethesda Systems will be able to assist Delmarva customers with increasing awareness of, and meeting their energy efficiency goals. In addition, as a trade ally, Bethesda systems acts as an advisor to Maryland Delmarva Power customers and instructs and applies ways customers can take advantage of the energy saving incentives Delmarva Power offers.

Catering to both residential and commercial projects, Bethesda Systems offers a multitude of different products and services to help customers throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia cut down on energy loads and save on energy bills.

The integrators are well-versed in energy-saving practices that involve energy automation systems, installing LED lighting, and offering energy storage products.

All LEDs Are Not Created Equal

By Soriana Stern 

Meet the Juno WarmDim, the LED that dims like an incandescent. Pretty cool—or should I say, warm—huh?

LEDs and Dimming
LEDs typically give off blue or white light, even while dimmed. The WarmDim technology, though, warms as it dims. Many LEDs maintain the same color temperature even as it dims. The appearance of the room stays the same; the light stays the same bluish color. But, with the WarmDim lighting technology, the light turns yellow as it is dimmed.

Below, you’ll find a chart comparing several different lights, and the benefits of choosing WarmDim for your retrofits.

Juno Generation 3 WarmDim LED Downlight
GE Incandescent R30 Flood Light
Juno Generation 3 LED Downlight


LEDs Over CFLs
Although CFL light bulbs are a popular replacement for the outlawed incandescent light bulbs, CFLs aren’t really meant to work with dimmers. Here’s why:

CFLs generate light through gas. Dimmers work by lowering the voltage in the bulb, giving off less heat, thus lessening brightness. When you cut the voltage to a CFL, the CFLs tend to go out instead of dimming since there isn’t enough voltage to keep the gas ignited.

Just picture a gas stove. Imagine how sensitive it is to the knob to ignite it. When you turn the stove lower, it is difficult to keep the gas ignited—that’s how CFLs work.

Also, CFLs tend to take at least 10-15 seconds to reach full brightness. Some CFLs can take up to three minutes to reach full brightness. It is counterintuitive, and a waste, to use CFLs for dimming, when they don’t even turn on right away in the first place.

Why Dimmers?
Dimmers allow you to control how much light illuminates your room, thus saving energy, and money. Dimmers are most desirable for any room. Reducing the light by 25% yields at least 20% in energy savings. Even though 25% sounds like a lot, it really isn’t. The human eye usually cannot notice a 15-20% reduction in light, so even though less energy is being expended, the change in light output is unnoticeable, as if nothing is changed.

From a design perspective, interior designers actually recommend dimmers because they allow you to “set the mood,” if you will, of your space, creating ambience lighting.

Oh, the Places iPad Will Go

Steve Jobs and the iPadOr stay (?).

In January, Steve Jobs showed us all how his new 9.7 inch touch panel gizmo would change the way we view multimedia and web content. 80 days and 3 million units later we found out people really couldn’t live without it.

Another thing Mr. Jobs showed us was that the iPad was designed to be held in your lap. And it’s proven itself to be a truly revolutionary mobile device. And now we’d like you to consider…letting go. Literally.

Macintosh iPad Mods

Left) iPad encased in an old Macintosh Classic looks very cool. Right) Creative Director at the New York Frog Design office, Jonas Damon. Has created a retro styled iPad dock that resembles an old CRT TV.

People are certainly coming up with creative ways to house and display their iPads. And the folks in the custom electronic design and installation industry were immediately looking for innovative ways to embrace this ‘hand-held’ product and make it blend with our home and business lifestyles — and even mount it permanently inside a wall where it is always being charged.

Image above: Left) iPort’s In-Wall mount for iPad. Right) In-Wall iPad mount from Savant with system App.

And that’s where we come in.

We have already seen the iPad used in home automation. And Apple-based system Savant is using an iPad app to control it all — the TV, a whole entertainment system, remote control of house lights or HVAC, or even monitor cameras remotely with a video feed. Another in-wall dock and charger catching on is iPort.

A wall-mounted iPad in your kitchen gives you easy access to apps like these below and many more. Turning the busiest, and sometimes most social, room in the house, into your home’s command center.

iPad App Collage 2

Clockwise from upper left) Whiteboard, calendar, weather, and a photo screen saver showing all of the latest family photos.


Even more places it will go…

iPad App Collage 1

Clockwise from upper left) Aquarium clock, Scrabble, a darts game that uses both your iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch, and your stock portfolio.

iPad CrackedDon’t let this happen to you! With your in-wall mounted iPad it’s always safe, it’s always charged, and it’s always right where you left it.

Bethesda Systems

There Goes the Neighborhood: Myer-Emco Closes Its Doors

By Jonathan Stovall

I was deeply saddened when I first heard the announcement that Myer-Emco was closing. For over 50 years, the Myer family provided the DC metro area with the finest audio/video products and services available in a retail setting.  The chain expanded over the years and became widely known as the premier storefront to seek high quality consumer electronics, expert sales advice and top-notch custom installation and service. For decades, my partners at Bethesda Systems, my family and my friends, have all been loyal customers.

Enter, the Internet (and those blue shirts)
As you probably can imagine, my partners and I were left scratching our heads at this news. How was it that such a successful, long-standing, family-owned business, run by experts in their field, could suddenly shut its doors? I certainly can’t put them in the same league as Circuit City and Tweeter (remember them?) because Myer-Emco was so much more. Was it the advent of Best Buy, Costco and Amazon that put the last nails into the Myer-Emco coffin? With absolutely no customized service, no follow up service, no expertise of integrated systems, these discount outlets continued to grow.
Perhaps the answer isn’t quite that clear but these venues certainly helped dilute the relativity and value of each of the smaller retailers (RIP all but one Graffiti store too). The sad thing is that Myer-Emco wasn’t higher priced, as the perception might have been. They were simply out-marketed by the big-box stores and web giants, so the majority of local consumers lost sight of the value the specialty store offered. Perhaps the younger consumers were drawn to the convenience of one-stop-shopping where they could also purchase video games, software, PC’s and mobile devices. All the while relying on online reviews and knowledge from sales associates that quite possibly could have been flipping burgers the week before. It’s sad but true—it’s what we are all currently left with on the ‘custom’ retail front.

A New Era of Service
There now exists a huge hole in our marketplace for not only quality A/V goods, but more importantly, expert sales and custom installation services. In the last 5 weeks alone, Bethesda Systems has consulted with close to one hundred ex-Myer Emco clients, from Maryland, DC and Virginia, who are “thankful to have found [us]!”.  As an authorized dealer of many of the products sold by Myer-Emco (and many more), we are able to continue to provide the personalized service that is still expected by many of you.  Bethesda Systems provides ongoing support to our clients, not just one shot installations.  We have weathered the storm of a troubled economy keeping the highest standards of quality customer service intact.  In addition to A/V we also run a full service Electrical Division…so please keep us in mind for all of your lighting and power needs as well!  Our design center in downtown Bethesda, managed by its owners and staff of seasoned experts, is open to all every day, by appointment, so please call so we can discuss working solutions for all of your A/V, Electrical and Integrated Control System needs!