When was the last time you paid attention to your exterior lighting? If it’s
been a number of years since the
last upgrade, your fixtures might
be devouring energy while failing
to deliver on aesthetics and safety.
With energy demands that run from dusk to dawn, ditching high-pressure sodium or metal halide luminaires for LEDs will significantly reduce operational costs and improve the exterior appearance of your property.
Seeing is Believing
It doesn’t take much to spot bad exterior lighting, with its sickly
amber color, unnerving shadows or eye-squinting glare. It makes
people scurry through an area while glancing over their shoulder
or searching the ground for tripping hazards.
Outdoor lighting has to fulfill more checkboxes than its cousins
inside a facility. Good exterior illumination should:
■ Minimize glare and shadows to create a safe environment
■ Improve navigation and situational awareness
■ Enable facial recognition, signage readability and color rendering
■ Create nighttime visibility for marketing purposes
■ Illuminate areas to improve surveillance footage
■ Avoid light trespass and pollution
■ Preserve circadian rhythms for animals or nearby residential
Now add energy efficiency, low maintenance costs and sustain-
ability and you can see that balancing these objectives can be tricky.
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Luckily, it’s easy to see with your own eye if exterior lighting
isn’t meeting the mark. Test how easy it is to recognize a face at
a distance, recommends Wendy Norman, National Account Sales
for Eaton. Drop your keys and see if you can find them or try to
read information in your hand; any difficulty is a sign that your
lighting needs improvement. To verify perceived shortcomings,
use a light level meter to measure footcandle levels.
Proper lighting, however, can go beyond numbers. “Outdoor
illumination is insufficient if it’s falling short of the intended
function. Maybe customers don’t feel safe or the architectural
design is being overlooked,” explains Jeff McClow, Area and
Site Product Manager for Hubbell Lighting. “Conduct a lighting
audit to ensure light levels are based off on IES recommendations for illuminance values.”
Extend Savings with Controls
As you upgrade your fixtures, take a hard look at your control
options. With the right capabilities, you can attain step dimming,
tunable color temperature, reporting capabilities, maintenance
alerts and outage notifications. Unlike incumbent technologies,
which don’t react well to fluctuations in voltage, controls won’t
decrease the lifespan of LEDs, says John Casadonte, Vertical
Marketing Manager for Cree.
“LED fixtures are also easily controlled with wireless technology, which eliminates the need to run any additional wiring when
changing out fixtures,” Norman states.
We’ve gathered four projects that switched to LEDs to satisfy
energy, aesthetics and safety goals. See the difference for yourself.
firstname.lastname@example.org is Senior Editor of
Overhaul your exterior fixtures with LEDs to slash energy and maximize illumination