How to apply LED lighting for attractive, inviting and inclusive general areas.
General outdoor areas encompass anything from parks, pedestrian shopping precincts and town squares to footpaths, cycleways, subways and walkways. In addition to being functional, general area lighting is a canvas for expressing personality, design and interest can be incorporated to great effect. Ideally, lighting in a general area needs to strike a balance between functional light, design, energy efficiency and comfort, providing end-users with both navigational markers and feelings of safety.
Colour temperatures can be used to create areas of contrast or to match the architecture or feel of a space. E.g: an “old quarter” may use luminaires with warmer colour temperatures whereas a vibrant skateboard park may use the cooler colour temperatures. Even un-lit, the columns and luminaires can be a decorative addition to the landscape.
Unfortunately, without adequate lighting, what may be a sunny shortcut or subway by day, can turn into dark, uninviting, high crime risk, no-go area by night. Adding lighting alone will not solve a criminal or vandalism issue but it can help to inhibit unwanted activity by proverbially shining a light into a dark spot and improving the user visibility and feelings of safety. Lighting can help with facial recognition and highlight natural or structural hazards, allowing the user time to analyse the situation and react accordingly.
Careful consideration should be given to the reduction of spill light and control of obtrusive light. Waste light can impact negatively on persons situated in nearby buildings or spaces and will also effect animal wellbeing and habitats in parks or general green areas.
Energy bills can be expensive for local authorities and municipalities. Luminaires which have a long lifetime, low power consumption and high efficacy will help operators to save on energy costs and achieve their environmental targets. Optics which have been optimised for the area will maximise the effectiveness of the lighting whilst minimising the required energy.
For further recommendations and guidance for lighting outdoor areas, please refer to the European standard EN 12464-2; Lighting for outdoor workplaces and EN13201-2 road Lighting: performance requirements.
Questions to consider when choosing the right luminaire for general outdoor areas include:
- Is the luminaire robust enough to handle various climatic and environmental changes? Does it have an adequate IP and IK rating?
- Does the space allow for easy access to the luminaire for maintenance purposes?
- Could further energy saving be achieved by adding daylight sensors, dimming or creating zones?
- Are there different optical packages available in order to adapt the luminaire to the area?
- Does the luminaire have the desired aesthetic and can it add to the ambience of the space even when un-lit?