Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Energy Efficient Lawn Lighting: A must-know

There is more to landscape lighting than just illuminating the outdoors. It creates the general idea that people are in close connection to nature, most necessarily, to their home or office environs.  This gives life to the yard even after sunset which makes it a great place to go home to and relax.  This can also foster security in the premises as everything is visible and easily spotted in a well-lighted area. Installing the lighting for your outdoor spaces, however, should be designed in a way that it beautifies areas but never compromise the plants you may have given much effort and invested money on to look just perfect.

How can you choose the proper lighting?  As we may value our efforts on our “do-it-yourself” tasks, installing lawn lighting systems at home can be risky.  We may be attracted to a specific design we deem to complement the lawn, but end up paying more on energy usage.  With this, it is a must to consult a knowledgeable individual, preferably from a design team, and seek advice on the lighting system that might work with our specific areas and demands.  

The efficiency of outdoor lighting is never measured by how it minimizes our energy consumption alone. It should go along with our projected output as to how we want our yard to look, coupled with a lower energy usage, and even making use of all the materials purchased. Waste of resources is never an option here.

Setting our goals
Planning is always the first step in any action we take.  In deciding to install lighting systems, we should try to sketch the output we want for our space.  Outdoor lighting has diverse purposes. For some, it should be to emphasize the exquisite designs of our homes, to illuminate the large empty spaces around the property, to give more life to plants in the landscaped lawn, or even just to give our small garden a clear path after dark.  Our ideas should be clear enough to accomplish the output using the outdoor lighting system. This is where the advice of a design team will come handy. They will need to assess the size of the site to be illuminated, the amount of light you wanted to achieve, the color to match your house design or simply by your landscape.  There are considerations to weigh before deciding the most appropriate kind of outdoor lighting to use.

Understanding the distribution of light
The term distribution, when used in lighting, means the amount of space the lamp lights from the base.  This amount varies from one type to another.  Some lights have significantly wider distribution than others. As an example, a lamp under the category of a metal halide has a larger distribution than that under the category of halogen lamps.  When we try to accomplish our lawn lighting by ourselves, we may discount the fact that lighting a taller tree is perfectly different from lighting shrubs or shorter, leafy plants.  For our outdoor lighting visions to be fulfilled, we must consider the areas we want to light up, and the lamps needed to do so. There is a possibility that buying and installing yard illuminating systems on our own will lead to situations like not having much light to reach the area of the tree to be emphasized or having the one that is far too powerful than we want, and ends up consuming much more power.

Things to consider

With our decision to install outdoor lighting system, we need to consider some basic ideas.

1. Output  
This is the amount of light produced by a bulb. There are many different kinds of lamps, and they come with specific uses. Emphasizing a backyard’s landscape or the garden pathway requires a lamp less powerful than the one you need to ward off outsiders.  A lamp that’s not too powerful will provide a romantic mood, but will never warn an intruder. The size of the area to illuminate, the mood you want to achieve and the general purpose of having an outdoor light installed need assessment. It is always the plan by which the lamp choice will depend, not the other way around.

2. Color
 An area will look entirely different under different light colors. Each lamp is designed with a certain value called the CRL or the color rendering index.  This controls the value of the light emitted compared to those from the natural light. 1oo is the highest CRI rating which is a quality of the natural light. The quality of the light in the open yard and the parking area varies depending on its CRI rating.  Different materials used in your home or landscaped yard require different kinds of light with varying CRI levels.

3. Design
Whether it is a restaurant or a home, you should consider the image you want to project.  Achieving traditional, contemporary or transitional designs requires different materials.  The location where the lights might help you achieve the effect might as well vary.  The ambiance you desire may well be achieved by using a wall mount, ceiling mount, or hanging. In some cases, the vision may be fulfilled by a combination of outdoor lighting.

Do you want to install lighting systems for your yard? Remember, having lights flashing to your structure or landscape does not always fulfill the kind of effect  want. Do your research on the matter or better yet, ask professional guidance.


*I've learned my lesson on protecting my original work from scammers. I saved my work on my blog before sending them to possible contractors. This way, i can have the record of the time and date it was published by me (as the owner of the unpaid work) and with those who plan to use it for their cheating games. 

This is originally written as an exam article for an independent content writing contractor. As this have been a product of my personal research, I posted it here to protect it against possible scam. I've never heard a thing from the one who asked this, and I don't want to see it posted somewhere else, either. 

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