The Control of light Part 2

Images like the one below are quite common in parks across Victoria. Whilst it may look warm, inviting and safe, we must ask, is it really required?

All too often, we see similar installations that are simply, way over lit. No consideration has been given to the harmful impacts of the light that we have discussed in our previous editorial.

There are several ways we can control the amount of the light to ensure the harmful impacts are minimised. With the advent of LED technology, we now have the capability to dim the lights. Many older exterior lighting installations used metal halide or high pressure sodium as their lamp source. These lamp sources cannot be dimmed and many parks and landscapes were [and still are] over lit.

Australian Standards for exterior lighting have many different classifications now. For example, a simple pedestrian pathway in a park may require an average light level of 10 lux with a minimum light level of 2 lux. Therefore, consideration should be given to dimming control gear for two reasons.

  1. Dimming will provide precisely the correct level that is required.
  2. Dimming will provide the flexibility of ramping the lighting levels down to ‘’park mode” when the park is not being used. This saves energy and will not impact on fauna

How many times have you been in an exterior space and it is lit up like the picture above, and there is no one in that space? There is no point illuminating a space that is not being used. On the other hand, for safety and security reasons, it is never ideal to have an exterior space in complete darkness. LED lights may also be equipped with a variety of sensors that assist with this. Motion sensors can pick up any type of movement which can trigger lighting to ramp up from a pre-set low light mode to the regulated lighting level.

Another type of control sensor to be considered is a timer. This can be pre-set to come on at a certain time of day. For example, a bike path may be used for commuting to and from work. There is no point having the path illuminated all night when it will barely be used, but a timer would switch the lighting to operate from 5am for early commuters, thus ensuring the path is illuminated only when needed to be.

The recent advancements in technology have given us the tools to create the perfect lighting for our exterior spaces. As we discussed in the last editorial, we can create custom made beam spreads that distribute the light exactly where it is needed. Combining this with dimmable LED lights that use sensors or timers, we can ensure that our lighting designs have the correct amount of light where it is needed and when it is needed.

For further information or if you need any assistance on your next exterior lighting project, please contact us.