Efficiency and durability, rather than aesthetics, are the top considerations of commercial outdoor lighting. Among all the kinds of lamps available in the market, fluorescent, metal halide and high or low pressure sodium lamps are the most suitable for outdoor purposes.
Currently replacing the incandescent bulb in most households, the fluorescent is also suitable for commercial outdoor purposes such as lighting walkways, parking structures, outdoor signage and billboards. Its high energy efficiency significantly reduces the energy bills of commercial establishments.
Metal halides belong to the High Intensity Discharge (HID) group of lights that produce an intense cone of light using a lot less energy than an incandescent. If colour rendering is an important consideration for your outdoor lighting, as in the case of cargo inspections prior to entering a warehouse, then you should use a metal halide lamp which produces a white light that is closer to natural sunlight than any other lamp. Metal halides are also suitable for lighting large open spaces because they provide better visibility than fluorescents.
Sodium lamps also fall under the HID lighting group. Unlike the metal halide, the sodium lamp uses sodium gases under high or low pressure to produce a distinctive orange gold light. While the sodium lamp may have a lower colour rendering ability than a metal halide, its longer life span makes it the preferred choice for lighting outdoor areas that do not require exceptional clarity at night.
Make your outdoor lamps vandal proof by housing them in die cast aluminum or heavy gauge steel. Save more energy by installing outdoor lights with a photocell unit that automatically switches off the lamps when daylight comes or a motion sensor that dims the lamps when there is no one in the area, such as a parking lot or walkway. You can also add a timer that you can pre-program to switch on and off at scheduled times.
While illumination is essential for safety purposes, a higher lumens or light output does not necessarily mean better security as studies show that outdoor lighting is not always a deterrent and in some instances, may even aid the commission of a crime, as in the case of vandalism.
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