15 checkpoints for the best outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting can be challenging to design if you consider all the functions and requirements it needs to fulfil.

All outdoor lamps need to conform to national and local regulations, including the following:

  • EN 12464-2 Light and lighting – Lighting of outdoor work places
  • CIE 154:2003 Maintenance of Outdoor Lighting Systems
  • BS EN 60598-2-13:2006+A1:2012. Luminaire particular requirements. Ground-recessed luminaires
  • EN 13201 – Road lighting

Factors like lighting quality, uniformity and colour temperature are just a select few worth paying particular attention to. The following checkpoints form a clear guide to creating an optimal outdoor lighting solution.

  1. Type of material
    A proven approach to the selection of materials for outdoor lighting fixtures can greatly affect their quality, required maintenance activities and lifetime. A trusted partner like Glamox can help make the right material choices for a better final result.

  2. Glare control
    Visual comfort is key for both the users of exterior lighting and the surroundings. Glare may be visible from nearby or distant areas, but can be minimised through good design practices. In many cases, minor adjustments that can help include the proper placement of poles or selection of luminaire optics, as well as the use of shielding accessories. Please use recommended calculation methods for predicting discomfort glare from outdoor lighting systems.

  3. IK classification (impact energy)
    ​The IK class indicates the maximum external impact an object is capable of withstanding without sustaining irreversible damage and is specified according to the number of units of energy, Joules (J) created by the impact. This factor is important to focus on when selecting ground-recessed driveway lights.

  4. IP code, ingress protection rating
    ​The IP code (or ingress protection rating) classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against the ingress of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers) and dust into products like exterior lighting fixtures, as well as against accidental contact with electrical parts or water penetrating into mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. Select products and their IP rating according to their intended use and placement.

  5. Approved ambient temperature
    Make sure you choose a luminaire that is suitable for the ambient temperatures of its area of use – remember to consider warm summer weather and/or cold winter temperatures. The ambient temperature will also affect the lifetime of the outdoor lamps and their components.

  6. Light sources
    State-of-the-art LED technology provides you with a long-lasting solution and minimises the need for maintenance. Focus on the intensity of the exterior lighting and how much light is needed and recommended for the required type of application.

  7. Uniformity of lighting
    Especially when it comes to façade lighting, the stable consistency of the light level on various surfaces throughout the lit area is crucial to the overall exterior lighting effect.

  8. Colour quality
    Colour temperature is measurement in degrees Kelvin to indicate the hue of the light emitted by a specific type of light source. 5400 K provides cool light, while 2700 K is a warmer and more yellow light. LEDs are available in a variety of colour temperatures. Make sure that you select the colour temperature suited for your application and that it matches other parts of your outdoor lighting project.

  9. Vandal-proof solutions
    Selecting vandal-resistant products for exterior lighting in public places guarantees a quality solution and may prevent safety hazards due to insufficient outdoor lighting as a result of damage. For some applications and areas of use, vandal-proof luminaires with high IK classifications are absolutely essential.

  10. Light management systems
    Combining exterior lighting with motion detectors can further enhance safety in outdoor areas. Motion detectors will turn your outdoor lamps on and off as movement is detected or ceases within a particular area.

    The outdoor security lights must be out of reach, so intruders cannot tamper with them. These lights should also be facing downward from their location in order to achieve the best results.

    To reduce energy costs, daylight sensing and related lighting control should also be utilised to as much of an extent as possible. A system like Glamox NightDim is also recommended, with 2 different pre-set modes and no need for external accessories. This way, the outdoor lighting can be dimmed down to 50% during the night for 6 or 8 hours.

  11. Maintenance
    Outdoor lighting fixtures are usually rather difficult to access. Make sure you select an efficient solution and focus on easy maintenance – the use of quick connectors, long-life light sources and high-quality luminaire housing materials are vital.

  12. Lighting efficiency
    An energy-efficient outdoor lighting solution saves energy, cuts costs and is environmentally friendly. Calculate how many lumens of light per watt of electricity the lighting system delivers and prioritise reliable, long-lived performance.

  13. Design and environment
    ​Select matching outdoor lamps throughout entire exterior lighting projects – both in terms of the light source colour temperature, as well as the aesthetic design. Each outdoor lighting concept must be in tune with its surroundings and create as little impact on the environment as possible.

  14. Light pollution
    Light pollution can be described as artificial light allowed to illuminate areas that were never intended to be lit. Make sure the quality of the outdoor lighting plan is satisfactory and that the selection of products is tailored to the particular area.

  15. Dynamic lighting
    Artificial lights that change the intensity and colour of the light are referred to as dynamic lighting. Various areas and features can be individually controlled based on different scenarios, much like the changing circadian rhythm based on the time of day. Evaluate if a dynamic lighting solution is relevant for your outdoor lighting project and select products accordingly.