There are three main uses of outdoor lighting:
- Increase safety and security
- Extend the use of outdoor areas
- Enhance the appearance of the home
As will all lighting, outdoor lighting has benefited from the application of light emitting diode (LED) alternatives to incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and various high intensity discharge (HID) forms like mercury vapor, halogen, and sodium.
LEDs are an ideal outdoor light source because they have significantly longer lifespans (up to 10 years), use substantially less energy, can have their light pattern carefully controlled to prevent light pollution on neighboring areas, have excellent color rendition, and perform well in colder temperatures.
Replacing all exterior lights with LEDs is a good idea. If this is impractical, select lights that are difficult to access, such as flood lights on upper stories and replace those. This will limit the number of times you will have to risk life and limb with ladders to replace them.
Because of their lower power consumption, LED lights can be powered by small solar panels that charge internal batteries. This allows placement of LEDs wherever they are needed or desired without the expense of running wires. A trip to the local hardware store will reveal a wide range of solar panel equipped lights that can be mounted on a structure, placed alongside a path or walk, installed on patio/deck areas, and set in landscaping to enhance the appearance of the home.
Safety and Security Lighting
Outdoor lighting provides for a safe and secure perimeter around your home. In terms of safety, using outdoor lighting to illuminate walkways and areas where a trip or fall hazard might be present is generally the primary application for safety. Lights at the entrance to the home also provide for safety illuminating steps and convenience, making it easy to see to open the door.