Outdoor Lighting Design Principles

In our growing and developing cities, we spend time outside at night as well as during the day. Life continues until the late hours after sunset, and we need lighting to maintain our safe and quality lifetime at night. Outdoor lighting is a part of the landscape and built environment design.

Monday, August 31, 2020 - 15:12

In our growing and developing cities, we spend time outside at night as well as during the day. Life continues until the late hours after sunset, and we need lighting to maintain our safe and quality lifetime at night.

Outdoor lighting is a part of the landscape and built environment design. There are many things to consider when designing and implementing outdoor lighting. Primary considerations should focus on the environment itself and human activity in space.

Outdoor lighting is an essential and integrated part of the night landscape.

It provides to the citizens to see, function, and enjoy the environment that it is impossible without light.

Categories of outdoor lighting

  • Private lighting: lighting for proprietary places, buildings, gardens, paths
  • Public lighting: lighting for public spaces, roads, car parks, social areas, parks, monuments

Types of outdoor lighting

  • Street and path lighting
  • Car park lighting
  • Façade lighting
  • Promotional lighting
  • Social areas lighting
  • Landscape lighting
  • Monument, sculpture and art lighting
  • Pool and pond lighting
  • Sport lighting

Outdoor lighting requirements vary according to the function of the space, the number of people, their activities, and the periods.

There are some norms that a designer should consider for each outdoor lighting  types. For example, correct lighting an essential factor for safety on roads and paths, and it requires designers and professionals with extensive experience. Roads are classified according to the standards, and the lighting conditions required for each class are determined.

The parameters that determine the quality of a road lighting installation in terms of good vision and quick recognition are as follows;

  • Luminance of the road surface
  • Uniformity of the road surface luminance
  • Lighting level of the immediate vicinity of the road
  • Glare control
  • Reflectance of illuminated surfaces
  • Color temperature

However, regardless of the outdoor lighting type, the basic principles that need attention;

  • Targeted illumination to the visualized areas, avoiding light trespass, minimising light pollution
  • No exceeding of the specified lighting levels
  • Balanced brightness distribution
  • No sharp dark-light contrasts
  • Limitation of the glare for residents and passers-by
  • Right color temperature and rendering
  • Energy saving, using lighting control systems, solar-powered lighting
  • Using light sources with minimum blue spectral components emission
  • Using shielded lighting fixtures
  • Easy maintenance of outdoor luminaires
  • Safety requirements
  • Human health, environmental health, and animal behavior protection, not to disturb the surrounding environment

Navigation, safety, security, and aesthetics are the usage areas of outdoor lighting.

In my future articles, I will examine each of these areas and outdoor lighting types separately. However, with my closing words, I should say that the duty of the architect, lighting designer, and city planner is to comply with the above-mentioned main subjects in their lighting designs in these areas of use. So, the people, plants, and animals, who are the real owners of the city, can live in healthy, safe, and comfortable environments.

Ayşe Özkiper
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After Notre Dame de Sion French High School, Ayşe Dilay Özkiper continued her education at the Istanbul Technical University and has been graduated as an Architect. She also graduated from her MBA at the Istanbul University Institute of Business Economics. She attended various workshops, formations, and schoolings on lighting design and technique. Özkiper spent the last 20 years of her 29-year professional career in the lighting sector with the expertise of architectural lighting and still continues as a lighting designer and consultant.

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