We have covered a lot about lighting over the years. I am a big proponent of a light is not just a light. There are many variables when it comes to determining the type of light that is required, the output of the light fixture, mounting heights, etc. The best way to provide this type of information is by utilizing a lighting layout completed by a lighting engineer.
Lighting engineers specialize in how light fixtures function and the type of light each produces. They usually have a set of fixtures they are well versed with that they use for most projects. However, they can work with others to provide a custom setup. Since the lighting plan considers how the light fixture works and where the light shines, they can move things around to meet the light level requirements of the project.
Let's look at some other reasons why a lighting layout is important when working on a solar lighting project:
By carefully planning the layout of a solar lighting project, you can ensure that you are using the most efficient setup. The lighting layout allows the most efficient fixtures to be used and provides lighting where it is required without wasted illumination overlapping where it shouldn't and leaving other areas in the dark. This provides adequate lighting levels and uniformity while minimizing glare and maximizing visual comfort.
It can also provide cost savings by lowering the number of light fixtures, or reducing the wattage / lumen output, required on a project. For example, a client may think they need more or brighter fixtures than are necessary for their area. Having a lighting engineer complete a layout ensures that only the required fixtures are used by adjusting the mounting height, distribution pattern, fixture arms, and other aspects.
A lighting layout can also incorporate lighting controls, such as motion sensors or timers, to ensure that the lighting system operates only when needed. This can reduce energy consumption, lower the solar power requirement, and lower operating costs by providing illumination only when required. Motion sensors and timers should only be used in applications that fit those controls.
Ensuring proper illumination is met at a site will increase safety and security by increasing visibility and ensuring there are no dark areas. The lighting should also be uniform throughout the space, with no dark spots or over-illuminated areas. This can improve safety and security by minimizing tripping hazards, improving visibility, and reducing the likelihood of criminal activity.
A lighting layout should minimize glare, which can cause discomfort and reduce visibility. By selecting appropriate lighting fixtures and avoiding direct glare from light sources, a lighting layout can improve safety and security by ensuring that users can see clearly without being blinded by the light.
A lighting layout can play a significant role in a project's aesthetics by enhancing the space's visual appeal and creating a particular ambiance. In addition, a well-designed lighting layout can highlight architectural features, create focal points, and add depth and dimension to the space.
The choice of lighting fixtures, their placement, and the direction of illumination can also impact the aesthetics of the space. For example, modern and sleek fixtures can create a contemporary look, while traditional or ornate fixtures can add a classic or historical touch. By balancing different lighting techniques and fixtures, a lighting layout can create a cohesive and harmonious visual experience, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the project without sacrificing on visibility.
Lighting layouts also allow you to do a visual survey of the site. Sometimes this is by using Google Earth for existing sites and AutoCAD files for new projects. The survey lets the lighting engineer know where to place lights, such as medians and entrances, but also of obstacles such as power lines, trees, and the like.
The survey allows the lighting engineer to place the lights in the correct installation locations, providing the right distribution pattern to illuminate the area. Without the site survey, there is no way for the lighting engineer to establish the correct distribution, which could leave an area in the dark.
As you can see, there are many reasons a lighting layout is key to a solar lighting project. Not only does it show the end user where the lights need to be placed, but it takes into account other factors such as aesthetics, even illumination for visibility, and obstacles that need to be considered. Having a lighting engineer take a look at a project and work their magic will ensure your solar lighting systems will meet your need and provide the required illumination for your project.