Apr 14 2019
There are 4 types of traditional lamps used in exterior wall mounted lights: high pressure sodium, metal halide, mercury vapor, and fluorescent lamps. And while these lights are very capable of generating bright light – even in harsh environments with snow, rain, and sleet – they are not as efficient as LED lamps.
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High pressure sodium bulbs have a low color temperature and the color of the light they produce is normally very yellow (2200K-2400K). Metal halide may have a higher color temperature (4000K-4500K) but they take a long time to warm up and cool down (as is the case with all HID lights). Fluorescent lamps have the best color temperature of all conventional lights (2700K-6500K) but they draw a lot of electricity and do not have long lifespans. Exterior Wall Mounted Lights outperform traditional lights in every aspect: Energy consumption, light output, light uniformity, life expectancy, maintenance, and heat emission.
There are 4 types of wall mounted lights: flood style, semi cutoff, full cutoff, and up-down. Semi cutoff and full cutoff fixtures dispense light downwards, up-down fixtures distribute light upwards and downwards, while flood style units distribute most of their light outwards.
If you have decided LED is the way to go and you're in the process of choosing wall mounted fixtures, here are five considerations to steer you in the right direction.
The Basics on Selecting Exterior LED Wall Mounted Fixtures
Look At the Lumens
In days gone by, people used to look at the watts to determine the brightness of a light bulb. While watts may have been an important factor in determining the brightness of traditional light bulbs, they no longer are. Watts simply indicate the electricity a LED bulb draws.
Lumens are what you should be looking at if you want to know the brightness of a LED bulb.
Lumens tell you the total amount of visible light a light source produces. Visible light is the light seen by the human eye. A LED bulb that emits more lumens appears brighter than one that emits fewer lumens.
Lumens are important as they tell you how a LED bulb compares to a conventional bulb. For instance, if you already have metal halide fixture installed on the outer walls of your building and you're looking to replace them with LED, lumens can tell you if the LEDs you're thinking of getting will be as bright as the metal halide – or brighter.
Save Energy with Motion Sensors
While it is very easy to remember to switch on the lights when you are in a dark area, remembering to switch them off is not always easy.
LEDs with a motion sensor feature can significantly reduce the energy consumption of your building. While LEDs alone can lower energy consumption by up to 75%, when they are paired with motion sensors, energy usage can go down by up to 90%.
Motion sensors turn on lights if they detect any motion close by and switch off the lights if some minutes go by with no activity. Building owners and managers usually install LEDs with motion sensors in outdoor areas that don't have to be lit all the time.
Some LED manufacturers install motion sensors during the manufacturing process, which means you won't have to go through the hassle of installing the sensors after buying LED lights.
The Lights Should Have Photocells
Photocells function as light sensors. Unlike infrared sensors that are good at detecting the presence of objects, photocells are good at detecting light. Photocells are also called photo-resistors because they act like light-sensitive resistors. They have low resistance when in a place with light and high resistance when in a dark place.
The photocells in LEDs signal to the circuit to provide more or less current. The resistance of photocells is usually based on the amount of ambient light hitting their photo-sensitive plates. This usually dictates the brightness of the light. Photocells are also installed by LED manufacturers so there's no need for additional integration.
Photocells are used in dusk to dawn fixtures and street lamps and switch the light on at night (when the surrounding environment becomes dark) and switch it off in the morning (when the environment becomes bright again). By turning light on only when it is needed, they extend the lifetimes of the LEDs, save a lot of electricity, and reduce maintenance costs.
They Should Be Wet Rated
The efficiency and longevity of a light fixture mostly depends on where you install it. Some operational conditions, like humidity and water, can be very harsh on light bulbs. This is why you should get bulbs that are specially designed for wet locations.
A wet location is a place where water or other forms of moisture (rain, snow, hail, sleet, fog, or ocean spray) may splash, drip, or flow on the fixtures and damage their electrical components. Typical wet locations in facilities include exterior walls of buildings, walkways, driveways, stairwells, uncovered garages, and uncovered porches.
Lighting fixtures installed in wet locations should have UL Wet Rating so that the electrical components can be protected from water and moisture. If these fixtures are not wet rated and are continuously exposed to water, their life expectancy is decreased and they can also become potential fire hazards.
DLC Listed for Utility Rebates
You may have come across the labels "DLC listed" or "DLC approved" and had no idea what they meant. DLC is DesignLights Consortium, a certification organization for commercial grade lighting products . Lighting products with DLC certification have a high level of energy efficiency as the organization promotes energy-efficient lighting solutions and collaborates with the government, municipalities, utility companies, and other partners.
If you buy LED exterior fixture that are DLC listed, you may be given rebates by your local utility, which can significantly lower the upfront costs.
LED Dusk to Dawn Wall Lights - Photocells and Motion Sensors
These fixtures are perfect for the sides of commercial buildings, driveways, streets, alleys, entryways, and doorways. They are commonly used as security lights for building perimeters, warehouses, business establishments, commercial areas, and around docks.
They have built-in photocells that automatically turn the light on at night (dusk) and turn it off in the morning (at dawn). By turning the light on only at specific times, they save a lot of energy, prolong the lifespan of the LEDs, and minimize maintenance costs.
These lights are perfect for lighting general areas as they can produce up to 10,000 lumens in spaces that require very bright light. Many dusk to dawn wall fixtures are vandal resistant as they feature high impact poly-carbonate lenses.
Add a Motion Sensor to detect motion and turn the light to 100% light. Perfect for safety and security. Don't forget to add a 0-10V dimmable driver. This allows you to adjust the light down when no one is near, also saving you additional money with reduced energy consumption.
What are three major benefits of using LED lighting technology?It’s no secret that LED lighting technology has surpassed the capabilities of conventional lighting. In addition to the considerations discussed above, there are three general benefits of LED lighting that apply to all lighting applications.
Decreased maintenance: LED lights have a lifespan that is many times longer than many conventional HID bulbs. This means fewer bulb replacements. LED lighting technology also generates light differently than typical filament lighting, by using a diode instead, a solid state device. Maintenance is an important consideration when it comes to lighting when you are a facility manager. Wall lighting may be mounted higher, which means that changing a bulb often requires a ladder at a minimum and in some cases mechanical lifts. All of this adds up to expenses attributed to maintenance, labor, and equipment costs. The lifespan of LED means that fixtures need to be changed much less often, which improves your bottom line.
Improved lighting quality - higher CRI. LED lighting for exterior walls will score better in a head-to-head comparison against most other HID bulbs when it comes to Color Rendering Index (CRI), Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), and Foot Candles. CRI is a measurement of a light’s ability to reveal the actual color of objects as compared to an ideal light source (natural light). In non-technical terms, CCT describes the glow produced by a bulb. Is it warm (yellow) or cold (blue)? Foot candles is the amount of light coming from a source and the amount of light hitting the desired surface. Foot candles may be collective, 1 or more lights may contribute to the light at a particular location.
- Increased energy efficiency. Not only do LED lights generate light differently, they also distribute light differently than conventional lighting solutions. Their light is directional, which makes it extremely efficient delivering the lumens it produces. How does that work? First, conventional lights waste a lot of energy by emitting it as heat. Second, most conventional lights are 360 degrees or omni-directional. This mean light is being produced where it is not needed. LED lighting produces far less heat and its light is directional. So therefore, it produces light very efficiently.