Glare robs outdoor lighting of its benefits

Glare from old street light

Glare is the most common design mistake in outdoor lighting applications and it is found in security, area and landscape lighting in both businesses and homes. Here is an example of how a backdoor exterior wall light can defeat one of it’s intended purposes – to enhance visibility for personal safety.

Illustration of glare

Because the fixture flares intense light in all directions and because of the dramatic contrast between the light and the darkness around it, a person looking in the direction of the fence gate cannot distinguish detail, only dark shadows. A hand shields the light and the detail is revealed.

The best option for porch or exterior door lighting (business property or home) is to use fixtures with hoods that control and direct the light. Not only will glare problems disappear, but so will light pollution and light trespass into neighbor properties.

For more information on light trespass issues see the International Dark Sky Association.

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Dave Burtner

Dave has been active in the lighting industry since 1994. Formerly a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and certified by the National Council On Qualifications for Lighting Professionals, Dave now writes blog posts, lighting tips and provides lighting product assistance for the Topbulb website.