Landscape Lighting Information
Outdoor landscaping is an important part of the aesthetics of industrial, commercial and even residential buildings throughout the country. There are often certain features that a landscape designer will seek to highlight due to their beauty or importance to the property. These features must be illuminated regardless of the lighting conditions, creating the need for high endurance lighting that is both energy efficient and produces a good quality of light.
For decades, landscape lighting needs have traditionally been fulfilled by mature lighting technologies such as HIDs and sodium lamps. However in recent years LED technology has come to eclipse traditional lighting methods in every measurable performance attribute, relegating them to the dustbins of illumination history. In this article we will be exploring the many reasons to choose LEDs for landscaping illumination needs.
Why Choose LEDs?
Due to the often extensive nature of landscape lighting and sheer number of fixtures used, making a decision as to what type of lighting technology to use is important. Thankfully, the decision is quite easy in today's illumination market, with LED technology dominating in terms of performance, ease of use and longevity. LEDs also produce a better quality of light, which is particularly important for lighting that is primarily for aesthetic purposes to begin with.
The primary reason most individuals choose LEDs for outdoor and landscape lighting is the massive energy efficiency improvement over traditional lighting methods. In many cases, users see up to a 70% improvement in efficiency over their previous lighting fixtures. This efficiency improvement also has the added benefit of allowing the use of smaller, less intrusive fixtures while still producing the required lumen output.
In addition to the obvious efficiency improvements, LED landscape lights also have an exceptionally long service life and require zero regular maintenance. Combined with reduced energy consumption, the longer service life provided more than offsets the initial costs of using LEDs, and in the long run saves users a considerable amount financially, especially in large scale setups. On top of that, the lack of required maintenance saves the costs of both parts and labor that would otherwise be required for traditional lighting systems.
Finally, one of the benefits often overlooked is the improved quality of light produced by LED fixtures. This is measured using the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which measures a light's accuracy in replicating natural colors. While higher CRI lights are normally selected for their increased visibility, they are also especially useful for lighting that takes aesthetics into account, such as in landscape lighting applications and retail store lighting.
In addition to general landscape lighting duties, LED lights are an excellent choice for tree lighting. In many landscaping setups, there are prominent trees that must be highlighted as part of the overall landscape design. Some of these trees are quite large in size and height, which necessitates serious lighting in order to properly illuminate. This is especially true in display trees such as those erected in many public spaces and corporate grounds on Christmas and other annual holidays.
LED lighting is by far the most effective option for tree lighting, as it produces a far greater lumen output per watt than traditional lighting. This allows landscape designers and grounds maintenance managers to use smaller, less intrusive lighting fixtures to provide the equivalent light performance of larger traditional fixtures. In certain cases, LED lights provide an opportunity to increase illumination output in situations where light output was otherwise technologically limited due to the use of traditional lighting fixtures.
Popular Landscape Lighting Choices
Due to the varied nature of landscape design itself, there are a number of different lighting fixtures commonly used for landscape lighting purposes. One of the most common of these are flood lights, which provide powerful light output over a wide area. These lights come in a wide range of sizes, wattages and mounting types and are used for everything from sign illumination to highlighting certain landscape features such as statues, outdoor art, shrubbery and even trees.
In addition to flood lights, corn lamps have become a go-to choice for light posts and other types of enclosed walkway lighting utilizing standard E26 and E39 bulb bases. Many campuses and large scale landscapes utilize decorative post lamp lighting with frosted or diffuser lenses. Corn lamps are popular for this application due to their excellent 360° light spread, as well as their surprisingly strong lumen output from their wrap around array.