Outdoor Area Lighting FAQ
What is an area light?Area lights are used to illuminate large outdoor spaces like parking lots, port & rail container areas, motor pools, outdoor industrial sites, prisons, and many others. Area lights define a larger lighting category that is made up of cobra heads, high-mast, post tops, pendants, and floods.
What is the purpose of area lighting?The purpose of area lighting ranges from general visibility for pedestrian and vehicle operation to displaying commercial products such as dealership lots. They are also used for task lighting in outdoor work areas such as ports and industrial facilities. Lighting these spaces improves visual performance and can enhance the safety of occupants. Typically, area lighting can require higher quality and level of light than other outdoor areas such as roadway.
How do you light an outdoor area?The goal of area lighting is to fill the designated area with uniform light that does not create dark areas, hot spots, or light trespass into other areas. Depending on the size of the area and the number of fixtures required, one must determine the appropriate budget, pole height and aesthetic requirements. This will determine whether the best option is a high-mast solution, architectural solution, or a more traditional shoebox/cobra head solution. The correct product is a combination of the above considerations as environment, energy savings, maintenance, etc.
How do you calculate lighting for an area?
There are a variety of lighting design software platforms that will allow you to determine the best product for the task and construct an area lighting layout. There are also guidelines from the IES that will tell you what requirements are recommended for good area lighting. Typically, calculation is best left to a lighting designer or factory sales representative to input luminaire photometry reports (IES files) into the software to determine the best product for the task.