As winter comes on, the light is dimmer at the end of the day outside our businesses and other public buildings. But this is hardly a cold weather issue: rising crime and the need to keep customers and employees safe from slips and falls make it important to get your lighting right.
Let’s review some tips for creating the right outdoor lighting design for a safe and secure business.
Use a layered lighting design that illuminates the whole property
Not only will your customers and employees be better protected from slips and falls with a design that covers your entire grounds, it can be better for security than other methods. Criminals can be deterred by the realization that they will be in well-lit areas the entire time they are trespassing.
This type of layered design doesn’t have to involve a massive collection of bright lights. Tasteful use of landscape and indirect lighting will do the job while adding curb appeal.
Use motion detector lights sparingly
Motion activated lights seem like a perfect solution: You save power by keeping them off most of the time, and on when there’s movement.
However, they have some significant drawbacks:
- The deterrent value we mentioned above doesn’t exist with motion detector lights. A security arrangement that depends on them can leave large areas of darkness that are perfect for a burglar to use when making their approach.
- Because they are so easily triggered, neighbors and employees may no longer notice when they come on or may develop a false sense of security because they expect any intrusion to set off the lights.
- Many off-the-shelf motion detector light sets are built with powerful floodlights. These can be annoying for customers or neighbors who get a shot of bright light every time the detector activates. They may also leave an area beneath them dim or dark, a perfect place for an intruder to stay hidden even with the light on.
Use indirect lighting, especially if you have close neighbors
Indirect lighting is when a fixture directs most of its light onto a wall or ceiling. As a result, the reflected light from the surface illuminates the area with less glare. The more indirect light you can use, the better your design will work and (in many cases) the fewer fixtures you’ll need to cover a certain area with diffuse light.
This type of lightning looks great and prevents glare from reaching your close neighbors.
Mount building fixtures in high places
Your wallpacks and other building-mounted lights should be mounted high enough that no intruder can reach them and interfere with their operation. This is especially important with motion detector lights, since their sensor module is often mounted well below the light.
Make sure areas under video surveillance have adequate light
Too many security setups have motion detector lights or inadequate lighting installed near their video cameras. This can create a situation where a trespasser is in shadow when they should be visible to the camera, or the video feed being washed out when a nearby motion detector floodlight activates. Use indirect lighting near these cameras that illuminates the space completely without glare.
Make sure you use “ceiling” lights under entryways, overhangs, awnings, and carports
Many outdoor lighting plans leave shadowy spots under covered areas. Make sure there are ample fixtures—small indirect lights should suffice—along the underside of any overhead structures. This will keep customers and employees safer, especially in slippery conditions.
Need a local partner to help you create a more secure outdoor lighting setup? We’d like you to consider Thayer Energy Solutions. We have decades of experience with LED’s, design, controls, and installation, and are right here in your community. Get in touch today at 815-282-1112 and let’s see what we can do together!