Outdoor Lighting Design Calculations – Part Three


In the previous Article " 
Outdoor Lighting Design Calculations – Part One "  I indicated that The outdoor lighting can be classified according to application as follows:

  1. General lighting, 
  2. Accent lighting, 
  3. Orientation lighting, 
  4. Floodlighting, 
  5. Street & Roadway lighting, 
  6. Sports lighting. 

I explained the first three types in this previous article. And in the previous article " Outdoor Lighting Design Calculations – Part Two ",I indicated that the Floodlighting is generally used in (5) types of lighting design which are:

  1. Facade lighting (wash lighting), 
  2. Wall washing lighting, 
  3. Signage lighting, 
  4. Area lighting, 
  5. Vegetation. 

And I explained the façade lighting in this previous article.

Today, I will continue explaining other types of flood lighting as follows.



2- Wall washing Lighting



Wall washing is an important component of architectural lighting for adding emphasis to facades  Vertical illuminance defines and structures spatial situations. It makes a significant contribution to the impression of brightness in a space and to a feeling of security.

We have (3) scenarios to apply the wash lighting:

  1. Uniform wall washing,
  2. Wall washing with focal emphasis,
  3. Grazing light wall washing.


2.1 Uniform wall washing




A uniform brightness distribution from upper edge to floor emphasizes walls and façades as a whole. This type of lighting with highly uniform wall washing is ideal for the illumination of façades, open places, entrances and hedges to facilitate orientation and structure outdoor areas.



2.2 Wall washing with focal emphasis




Wall washing with focal emphasis complements the uniform wall washing by adding a highlight in the lower third of the illuminated wall. This type of lighting is ideal to emphasize the lower section of the façade.



2.3 Grazing light wall washing




Grazing light emphasizes the material and surface texture of walls and façades. Positioning the luminaire close to the wall produces a graduation of brightness on the vertical axis. Grazing light impressively brings out the texture of natural stone or wood.


Preferred luminaries for using with Wall wash lighting:
  1. Wall washers,
  2. Recessed floor luminaires,
  3. Floodlights,
  4. Wash lights.


1- Wall washer


Wall washers have a wide-beam characteristic. They are offered with an asymmetric light distribution.

Criteria for wall washers: 

  1. Choice of lamp determines light color, functional life, efficiency, light intensity,
  2. Uniformity: optimized reflector for even illumination of areas,
  3. Gradient: soft edges to the beam of light,
  4. Light output ratio is increased by optimized reflector technology.

We have (2) main types of wall washers as follows: 

  1. Wall washers, recessed,
  2. Wall washers, surface mounted 


A- Wall washers, recessed

it includes the following sub-items:

  1. Wall washers, recessed, ceiling,
  2. Wall washer, recessed, ceiling, tiltable,
  3. Wall washers, recessed, floor.

a- Wall washers, recessed, ceiling 



Recessed-mounted wall washers with asymmetric light distribution provide an even illumination of areas.


b- Wall washer, recessed, ceiling, and tiltable 

Same as above but tiltable.


c- Wall washers, recessed, floor 




Lens wall washers feature an upwards directed beam with asymmetrical light distribution. They provide an even illumination of walls.



B- Wall washers, surface mounted


it includes the following sub-items:

  1. Wall washers, surface mounted, ceiling,
  2. Wall washers, surface mounted, floor,
  3. Wall washers, surface mounted, wall.


a- Wall washers, surface mounted, ceiling 




Surface-mounted wall washers with asymmetrical light distribution provide an even illumination of areas. Surface-mounted downlights can be mounted on walls, ceilings or floors and in addition can also be tilted.



b- Wall washers, surface mounted, floor 





c- Wall washers, surface mounted, wall



Applications for Wall washing lighting
  1. Facades 
  2. Entrance areas 
  3. Passages 
  4. Atria 
  5. Cantilever roofs 
  6. Park and garden complexes 




3- Signage (object) lighting




Lighting for signage requires careful consideration of shadowing, veiling reflection, and glare issues that may affect legibility for pedestrians as well as motorists.
Objects can be accentuated with great effect to turn them into real eye-catchers. The appearance of objects can be made to look unusual by selecting a strong grazing light. The opposite of such dramatic lighting is a uniform, large area lighting solution. 



We have (2) methods for signage (object) lighting:

  1. Objects free standing 
  2. Objects on a wall 


1- Objects free standing


  • Objects in the room or area can be illuminated with spotlights or floodlights. 
  • When illuminating an object head-on with one spotlight in the direction of vision, the modeling effect is weak. 
  • Two spotlights, with sculpture accessories, shining from different directions create a balanced, three-dimensional effect. The brightness contrasts are milder compared to when using just one spotlight. 


Signage lighting with Flood lights for Object, free stand


Signage lighting with other luminaires for Object, free stand


Recommendations for lighting Objects free standing:
  • Narrow-beam spotlights place emphasis on the object alone, whereas floodlights show the object in the context of its surroundings. This reduces the modeling effect. 
  • Lighting from below can have the effect of making things look very strange. Illuminating from below produces an interesting but mysterious effect since the light is coming from an angle which is unusual for the observer. 



2- Objects on the wall


  • Objects on the wall can be illuminated with spotlights or floodlights. 
  • Spotlights highlight the object and create a decorative effect. Due to their even illumination of the complete wall surface, floodlights accentuate the object less than spotlights. 

Signage lighting with Flood lights for Object, on wall

Signage lighting with other luminaires for Object, on wall

Recommendations for lighting Objects on the wall: 

  • Narrow-beam spotlights accentuate the object while floodlights show the object in the context of its surroundings. 

Preferred luminaries for lighting Objects on the wall: 

  1. Spotlight 
  2. wall washers 
  3. uplights 
Applications for signage (object) lighting: 

  1. Facades 
  2. Entrance areas 
  3. Park and garden complexes 
  4. Sculptures 



4- Area lighting


Lighting for areas should address issues of safety and security. Providing uniform light levels with contrast ratios within the noted guidelines assists in way finding and in facial recognition.



Area lighting luminaires can be installed on any high structure like:


  1. Pole 
  2. the exterior of buildings and structures. 
  3. on or within exterior canopies of buildings and structures. 


Recommendations for Area lighting: 

  • Pole mounting offers the most versatility. Luminaires on poles can provide illumination in every direction at distances of two to two and half times the mounting height from the pole. Thus, luminaries on a single pole can serve an area of about four times the mounting height - squared. 
  • Nighttime illumination of the facades of buildings and structures, nighttime illumination of trees, shrubs, vegetation, and the like are excluded from the area lighting. 
  • All luminaires employed in outdoor area lighting installations shall be the cutoff luminaire type. 


Preferred luminaries for lighting Objects on the wall:
  1. Flood lights: Floodlights produce a uniform illumination on the area. 


Criteria for floodlights:
  • Choice of lamp determines light color, functional life, efficiency, light intensity 
  • Uniformity: optimized reflector for even illumination of areas 
  • Gradient: soft edge to the beam of light 
  • Light output ratio is increased by optimized reflector technology 

Applications for Area lighting: 

  1. Parking lots, 
  2. Car sales lots, 
  3. Yards. 


In the next Article, I will explain the other types of Flood Lighting. Please, keep following.




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