Exterior Building Lighting Guide
Exterior lighting has always been vital for commercial and industrial buildings. This type of lighting serves an obvious safety and security function as well as an aesthetic purpose, often integrating with landscape lighting to complete a property’s overall exterior design. Large scale operations often have hundreds of exterior lights for buildings, especially on corporate campuses, universities and shopping centers.
Over the past decade, LED technology has come to dominate the lighting industry as a whole, with exterior lighting applications seeing particularly large surge in popularity. This is due to the many benefits of LED lights for business use when compared to traditional lighting options, namely the improved energy efficiency, increased lumen output, lower operating costs and improved visibility. Each one of these benefits alone are enough to justify the switch from traditional lighting, and all combined make the choice to upgrade to LEDs an easy one.
Why LED Lights?
As mentioned earlier, there are several key benefits to choosing LED lighting over traditional forms of light fixtures. The most immediately obvious benefit noticed by building managers and owners is the dramatically reduced energy consumption of LED fixtures. LED lighting on average is approximately 60-70% more efficient than traditional lighting sources, which adds up to a considerable amount of savings annually. Especially on large scale exterior lighting applications such as outdoor malls and large facilities with significant foot and vehicle traffic, this energy savings is normally enough to recover the costs of upgrading to LEDs within the first year.
An additional benefit is the lower maintenance of LED lighting fixtures when compared to traditional HID or sodium lamps. Exterior LED lighting fixtures usually have a minimum service life rating of 50,000 hours, with many regularly exceeding this. Throughout this time period, these lights require zero regular maintenance, which saves a considerable amount in both labor hours as well as parts costs such as replacement bulbs, ballasts, etc. This also means less down time, ensuring uninterrupted safety and security for employees and customers in the area.
A benefit not often considered is the improved quality of light produced by LEDs. This is quantified using the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which is a scale that measures the accuracy of a light in replicating natural color. The higher the CRI of a light, the higher its accuracy in illumination, with a CRI of 100 being equivalent to natural sunlight. Light fixtures with higher CRI ratings help to improve safety due to the increased visibility they provide, reducing accidents and eye strain. This is especially important for exterior lighting, which involves entryways, walkways and even vehicle parking areas.
Most Popular Exterior Building Lights
There are a wide variety of exterior LED lighting fixtures to suit an equally wide variety of exterior lighting requirements. The type of fixture selected usually depends on where the light is mounted, as well as its height and the type of area it is intended to illuminate. Certain types of fixtures are designed for a wide coverage area, while others are designed to be mounted high up and feature a narrowly focused beam with an exceptionally high lumen output.
Below are a list of some of the most LED fixtures used for exterior building lighting:
Flood Lights - One of the most popular options for exterior lighting across all types of buildings, flood lights are some of the most powerful and versatile fixtures available. These lights are designed to provide powerful lumen output over a large area through their wide beam angle. They come in a variety of wattage ranges in order to suit various application needs.
Canopy Lights - Designed to be mounted on the underside of overhangs and entryways, canopy lights are popular in large scale building exterior lighting systems such as those seen in shopping malls, college campuses, and more. They produce a wide beam of light that illuminates a broad area, which makes them a practical choice for applications that do not require intense illumination.
Wall Packs - Designed to be mounted on the sides of buildings, walls and other vertical surfaces, wall pack lights are ideal for illuminating walkways, parking areas adjacent to buildings and even tunnels. These fixtures come in a variety of wattage ranges to suit application requirements, with some providing lumen levels rivaling top end flood lights.