Outdoor Lighting Upgrades: Focus on Success

Outdoor lighting says a lot about your facility. If you consider the benefits of high-quality outdoor lighting, then upgrading makes sense. With the right resources, a lighting upgrade can be done properly and with minimal risk.

Spotlight on LEDs

LED lighting is quickly taking up more space in outdoor lighting because of its many advantages, including long life, lower maintenance and brighter output. LEDs can bring the following benefits to your outdoor lighting projects:

  • Improved safety. Better light distribution and light quality increases safety in parking and open areas. Security cameras are better able to identify colors and features.
  • Minimum light pollution. Good outdoor lighting design minimizes sky glow, light trespass and glare.
  • Enhanced appearance. First-class outdoor lighting makes a facility stand out. Building architecture and landscaping are highlighted to their best advantage.
  • Outdoor productivity. High-quality outdoor lighting enables landscaping and other groundskeeping tasks to be done outdoors after hours.
  • Code compliance. Upgrades meet the latest code requirements. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of North America sets minimum foot-candle requirements for outdoor lighting. ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard requires outdoor lighting controls to limit overuse.
  • Energy savings. More efficient fixtures and energy-saving lighting controls (timers, photosensors and motion sensors) reduce utility bills.
  • Higher reliability. High-quality LED lighting has less downtime, lowering labor and maintenance costs. Business liability for accidents and crime is reduced.

Finding the right light level

Insufficient light can compromise safety. As a result, designs often focus on light output. Although light levels are important, poor distribution can create too much lighting in some areas and dark patches in others.

“The conventional wisdom is that more light is better, but from a security standpoint, too much of the wrong kind of light, aimed in the wrong direction, can cause glare,” says Eric Richman, senior research engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy. “Moreover, security camera functionality depends on various lighting factors, including uniformity, contrast, light color and intensity. No one type of lighting will be best in all situations.”

Designing for safety and security

Good lighting design integrates the most effective light sources with appropriate height and location for the best coverage. The Illuminating Engineering Society outlines the most important considerations for effective safety and security lighting:

  • Horizontal illuminance is the standard for assessing effective lighting because many tasks are horizontal in nature.
  • Vertical illuminance is critical for security issues because identifying objects and their movement is best done by viewing their vertical surfaces.
  • Uniformity is important for avoiding dark areas and enhancing the effectiveness of security cameras.
  • Glare is caused by light aimed in the wrong direction, reducing visibility.

To optimize savings and security, it’s important to incorporate these design elements into an energy-efficient lighting strategy.

Integrate controls for more savings

Motion sensors and timers can save energy without compromising safety or security. Motion sensors activate all or some of the lights in an area when pedestrians or vehicles approach. For facilities with defined hours of operation, timers can switch lights on and off, or dim them according to a set schedule. LEDs, with their instant-start and dimming capabilities, are an excellent fit for integration with lighting controls.

The right lighting design, combined with efficient technologies and controls, can save energy while ensuring safety.