Residential exterior lighting is a whopping billion dollar per year business in the United States. It is so sought-after that there is currently a heavy-hitting business that franchises individual businesses marketing solely in outside landscape illumination designing, supplying, and installation. Line voltage systems, for a long while, were the only choice for exterior lighting; however, relatively recently, reduced voltage lighting systems and solar-powered lights have made exterior ornamental lighting readily available to nearly every consumer, and you don’t need a large bank account to ride the exterior lighting train.
According to the US Census Bureau, 67% of adult Americans own homes. Renovation, remodeling, and residential improvements are incredibly popular activities that mirror the priorities that consumers have in making their residential properties both comfortable and pleasing. Horticulture or gardening has routinely been a hobby that homeowners have enjoyed, not just for its own sake, but also to enhance the aesthetic charm. Oddly enough, in yesterday’s times, beautifying or enhancing the nightscape was not a predominant concern.
Large resorts, hotels, and commercial properties often utilized lighting to create pleasing atmospheres. But, given the exorbitant cost of exterior lighting systems, residential lighting applications were almost entirely restricted to only meet security demands. Landscapes were gazed upon during daylight hours, but, when the sun goes down, the outside of residences remained dark.
Low Voltage Exterior Lighting Systems
Low voltage lighting systems and solar-powered lights are transforming the previous trend. A low voltage lighting system connects to a transformer and takes down residential electrical current to 12 volts. This reduction in current results in far better power efficiency and eliminates the building code mandate for burying wires 18 inches below the surface. The lights can be used for any kind of exterior lighting application, but lights still require being tethered to one another. Trenching and also some cord burial are usually required. Additionally, the ability of the transformer has to be sufficient enough to cover the combined power draw of every light in the system.
The Solar Choices
Solar-powered lights are not wired to anything and don’t need transformers. Installing them is very easy: stick them in the ground or place them anywhere you see fit. The negative is that the solar charging panels (typically installed on the top of the light fixture) that catch the sunlight’s power need full sunlight during the day to completely charge the batteries that provide the power to illuminate the light in the evening. In places where the periods of darkness are much longer in cold weather, there is a good chance that the lights will not get sufficient sun during the day to enable them to shine on for the entire duration of darkness. Even so, solar energy landscaping lights are showing to be extremely preferred these days. Up until 2 or 3 years ago, solar lights were not as brilliant as lots of consumers desired, did not illuminate for long periods of time, and frequently did not operate longer than a year or two before malfunctioning. Today, nonetheless, solar lights are brilliant enough for practically any kind of outdoor application, will light up for the entire night, and often will last 20 years without upkeep or defect.
Solar Batteries & LED Light Bulbs
These significant increases in solar outside lighting technology are because of recent advances in 2 areas of innovation: (1) solar batteries and (2) Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulb. The solar battery is the modern technology that absorbs the sun’s energy. In the 1980s, these cells might capture only about 5% of the sunlight to which they were subjected. Today, this number is moving past 15%, and, as more growth of the compounds made use of in these cells continues (they are now silicon-based, yet other materials are being studied), they will undoubtedly become much more reliable.
Even more exciting is the introduction of the solid-state LED light bulb. This technology involves adjusting electrons and moving them in a certain direction to ensure that photons are created. This production of photons is the visible light. Unlike the typical incandescent light bulb, there is no fired gas and no burning filament. Nearly all of the energy produced is made use of as light. These light bulbs can last for 10,000 hours, require little to no maintenance, and draw on average just 3 to 5 watts.
Among the most significant critiques of solar lights in the past has been the strength of illumination they can produce. This was reasonable criticism, yet today’s solar lights are much brighter. Lots of people confuse the term ‘watt’ as a scale of brightness, which, obviously, it is not. A watt is a measurement of the power required to run something. The second tidbit of light bulb understanding is the relationship factor. For example, a 40w incandescent bulb will not be as brilliant as a 60w bulb. But when juxtaposing various technologies, this contrast is unfair. One LED bulb utilizing between 3 and 5 watts will certainly create the very same brightness as a 40w light bulb.
A growing number of customers are beginning to realize that outdoor accent lighting does have a significant role to play in creating a lovely nightscape setting. Some favor a low voltage lighting system because they will brighten for the entire darkness period and are power efficient. Various other customers prefer solar exterior lighting because these lights are reliable, are far easier to mount, and can also be moved on a whim, when dialing in a desired aesthetic.