OUTDOOR LIGHTING - The benefits and going green

Outdoor lighting is becoming increasingly popular in Canadian homes for two reasons: security and aesthetics. In recent years, people have been expanding their useful living space to the outdoors. Things like outdoor kitchens, fire pits and verandas are more commonly found in backyard spaces now, and adding exterior lights to these areas greatly enhances the ambiance. There's nothing like the warm glow of lights to turn a house into a home.

Keeping with the times, a well lit home can still be considered a "green" home. When we thing of earth friendly lighting, most of us immediately think of solar powered fixtures. The problem with solar lights is that are rarely bright enough to illuminate an area. In addition, a day without light means a night without light. Even though solar lights are easy to install, cheap and easy to move, they do not give the same effect as a professionally installed exterior lighting system.

The preferred chioice for a reliable well-lit exterior is low voltage lighting. LVLs have many green alternatives and are also economical, safe to handle and create great coverage. LED (Light Emitting Diode), are new and increasingly popular choice for bulbs. They will last 20-25 times longer than halogen bulbs, but carry a price tag that is slightly higher for the initial cost. However down the road  LED's will require less maintenance. A major advantage for LEDs is their long term savings, in addition to the lower electrical cost of actually running them. Because they don't burn out as often as regular bulbs, the maintenance cost is significantly lower and they waste only 5% of heat generation versus a  halogen bulb which has a waste of 90% in heat generation. A notable disadvantage for LED's is that they don't illuminate an area as much as a typical halogen.


Its advantages are:

  • Saves up to 50% (direct) energy due to to greater thermal efficiency (90%)
  • Though an LED lights costs 3 to 4 times more than a Halide lamp, it lasts 20 to 25 times longer using 90% less energy
  • Average life span of an LED bulb is 70,000 hours. Whereas flourescent bulbs last only 20,000 hours and incandescent lamps last only 7,000 hours.
  • Reduced maintenance and replacement with indirect impact on greenhouse gas emissions due to reduced fleets, labour requirements, manufacturing etc..
  • Solar panels can be used to power these LED lights, eliminating any power consumption.
  • Having no moving parts they are more resistant than other light bulbs
  • Can be used in extreme temperatures from -40°C to +50°C
  • LEDs attract less bugs and insects than traditional lights


Uplighting : to enhance architechtural or landscaping elements

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Downlighting:  to highlight a smaller area, create a sense of perspective or for security.

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Spot Lighting : for flagpoles, statues, sculptures using a focused beam of light.

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Pathway Lighting : to illuminate a driveway, path or walkway for safety or beauty.

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Deck lighting : louvered or surface mounted for ambiance and security.

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