Can solar powered lights be used indoors?

Outdoor lighting: function, planning and implementation

Appropriate lighting is extremely useful not only indoors but also outdoors. More and more people are recognizing the high benefits and aesthetic value of well-planned outdoor lighting for the property and garden, especially the important traffic routes. The terrace and balcony should also be enriched with a light that is as functional as it is atmospheric, because this is where people often and enjoy spending time. The entrance area of ​​the house also requires suitable outdoor lighting.

Themost important function of outdoor lighting is thesecurity for everyone who moves around the property in the dark. Path lighting therefore plays a central role; With adequate outdoor lighting, expensive liability suits due to accidents are as good as impossible. Secondly, outdoor lighting increases the comfort of evening gatherings in the garden. Anyone wishing to plan garden lighting is spoiled for choice: the range of options is almost endless. In addition, the aesthetics are of decisive importance, because beautiful outdoor lights significantly enhance the overall visual impression of the outdoor facilities, not just after sunset.

When planning outdoor lighting, it is important to consider the IP protection classes that each luminaire must meet, depending on its exact location. The brightness and the light color should also be chosen consciously. In addition, the questions of power connections and practical usability must be clarified.

Which outdoor lighting? The most important decision criteria at a glance:

  • Usage: Path lighting, lighting of entrances, staging of house and property, decorative lights for garden parties, etc.
  • IP protection class: What protection against the weather is required?
  • brightness: What luminous flux (measured in lumens) should the lighting emit for outside?
  • Light color: Which color temperatures in Kelvin (e.g. neutral white) are appropriate?
  • Power supply: Plan safe cabling or opt for solar lights.
  • Practical usability: Should it be possible to control the outside lights from inside the house? Are motion detectors or twilight switches an advantage?
  • Checklist: You should definitely consider these points when planning.

The selection of different types of outdoor lights is now so large that it is advisable to first get an overview. There are different approaches to classifying outdoor lighting according to its intended use, for example in front door lights, path lights and pond lights. Outdoor lights can be distinguished as follows:

Overview of types of outdoor luminaires

  • Outdoor standing lights: Generic term for any outdoor lighting that protrudes from the floor - from the small spherical lamp with a stand to the candelabra over two meters high.
  • Exterior wall lights: Mostly donate a decorative zone and orientation light.
  • Outdoor lanterns: There are countless designs from the classic wall lantern to the modern garden lantern.
  • Outdoor spotlights: Send out targeted direct light. Wide range from discreet built-in spots to powerful facade spotlights.
  • In-ground lights: Close flush with the floor and therefore do not take up any space. Can be used both for safety and for decorative purposes.
  • Path lights: Are installed by the wayside to ensure surefootedness. Mostly they are candelabra or bollard lights.
  • Candelabra: Multi-lamp lanterns / mast lights. Mostly over two meters high and therefore able to illuminate a wide area.
  • Mast lights: Rise high and perpendicular.
  • Bollard lights: Half-height (max. Up to the hips) lights, in many cases rising vertically.
  • Pedestal lights: Usually lower than bollard lights. Particularly suitable for exalted positions such as plinths, wall turrets, landings and other protrusions.
  • Outdoor lights with motion detectors: The sensor automatically switches the light on and off as required.
  • Outdoor lights with socket: Practical because garden tools can be connected.
  • Solar lights: Generate no electricity bills as they charge with sunlight during the day.
  • Decorative outdoor lights: For example, LED light chains as tree decorations and shapely ball lights next to the garden pond.
  • House number lights: Illuminated house numbers optimize orientation.
  • Underwater lights: Are so well insulated that they also work permanently under water.

Outdoor lighting for houses and garages © Shutterstock.com/photobank.ch

If possible, the lighting in the outdoor area should be included in the planning of upcoming construction work from the start, because the installation of numerous outdoor wall lights and other outdoor lights requires work on the walls and floors. Last but not least, you should carefully consider which decorative outdoor lights you want to integrate in addition to the necessary safety lighting. Of course, all garden lights should match the style of the existing equipment.

Which IP protection is necessary for outdoor lights?

Each outdoor luminaire provides information about the weather conditions it can withstand based on the IP protection class and how well it is protected against contact, e.g. B. by curious children's hands. 'IP' is the abbreviation for 'Ingress Protection'. The IP protection class has two digits, the first of which relates to solid foreign objects and the second to water and other liquids. In most cases, IP protection class 44 is sufficient.

The most important IP protection classes at a glance:

  • IP23: Protection against solid foreign bodies> 12.5 mm and against spray water at an angle of up to 60 degrees. E.g. for exterior wall lights under projecting canopies.
  • IP44: Protection against solid foreign bodies> 1 mm and against splash water. E.g. for path lights.
  • IP65: Dust-tight and protected against water jets. E.g. for in-ground lights under canopies.
  • IP67: Dust-tight and protected against temporary submersion. E.g. for in-ground luminaires outdoors.

What brightness is appropriate for outdoor lighting?

Since the advent of new types of light sources such as energy-saving lamps and LED lamps, the physical unit of luminous flux, lumen, has been used to assess brightness. Because the various, improved light sources require significantly less watts than incandescent lamps to achieve the same brightness. How many lumens are necessary for garden lighting cannot, of course, be given in general terms. For orientation:

  • 40 watt light bulb: approx. 400 lumens
  • 60 watt light bulb: approx. 600 lumens

400 to 600 lumens are usually sufficient for a beautiful outdoor wall light. A powerful outdoor spotlight, which is supposed to showcase parts of the facade, should also emit several thousand lumens, depending on the size of the house!

Light color and insect protection

Warm white light (color temperature <3,300 Kelvin) has proven itself in the living rooms. In outdoor areas, however, neutral white (3,300 to 5,300 Kelvin) or even daylight white (> 5,300 Kelvin) light is often required. The particularly energy-saving LED outdoor lights have the greatest variety in this regard. Another advantage of the light-emitting diodes is that they do not emit any ultraviolet or infrared light that attracts annoying insects!

Power connections

If you want to illuminate parts of your property, you often have to lay cables for garden lighting. In the interest of safety and so that they disappear from view, these should be special underground cables for garden lighting, etc. Outdoor lights with a socket in the housing prove to be very practical, because this also serves as a connection for electrical garden tools. Versions with multiple sockets are also available in a wide range.

Using a solar panel for garden lighting is a new and promising way in which garden lighting can be realized without electricity. This is included with most solar lamps for outside; either it is located inside the lamp, such as B. with spherical lights, or it is external, which has the advantage of a more flexible alignment. Solar lights in the garden, which are charged with free solar energy during the day, are included in the garden lighting with batteries. In many cases it is garden lighting with a ground spike; This allows outdoor lamps to be easily anchored in the ground.

Practical usability

Atmospherically arranged outdoor lights © Shutterstock.com/karamysh

In terms of usability, there are several methods of maximizing convenience. Garden lighting with remote control can be conveniently controlled from the sofa. Outdoor lights with motion detectors offer even more freedom: the sensor detects human movements according to the parameters of detection angle and range that can be set on many models; The lighting duration can also usually be adjusted as required.save energy: Motion detectors significantly reduce energy consumption and thus lower the electricity bill, especially in combination with the already very energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs).tip: LED lamps survive most switching cycles! Garden lighting with a twilight switch continuously switches the light on and off depending on the ambient brightness.

LED wall lights for outdoors

Lamps with LED technology can be used in a variety of ways outdoors: They are particularly popular in the area of ​​the front door, the garage or near balcony and patio doors. Certain areas and above all hooks are illuminated, which primarily increases security and provides orientation. But LED outdoor lights are not only suitable for functional reasons. You can create a mood, decorate the house facade or put an area in the limelight. LED wall spotlights in particular can be used effectively for this.If you do not have a continuous power supply available outside, you can also use solar-powered LED wall lights and save energy at the same time.

Outdoor lighting checklist: thought of everything?

Below is a list of questions that are fundamental to planning garden lighting:

  • Which outdoor areas should be illuminated?
  • What is the purpose of the outdoor lighting?
  • Do the luminaires have to withstand certain loads, e.g. B. heavy showers from an oblique angle of incidence or frequent clouds of dust? Therefore: Which IP protection classes are required?
  • How bright should the garden lights be?
  • Which light color should they have?
  • Which light sources (incandescent lamps, energy-saving lamps, LED lamps) do you prefer?
  • How are the outdoor lights supplied with power?
  • How should the lights be switched on and off (e.g. remote control, twilight switch or motion detector)?
  • Have you really thought of all the outdoor lights?