Strategic outdoor lighting enhances security, optimizes energy usage and effectively deters criminals. To achieve these goals, install lighting that provides the right amount of illumination where and when light is needed.
Extensive dusk-to-dawn security lighting increases the illusion of security but does little to limit crime. Continuous illumination fails to draw attention to trespassers the way motion sensor lights do. It can even help criminals see what they are doing. It also escalates energy use and exacerbates light pollution1.
Prevent tampering by positioning security lights out of reach and selecting lighting fixtures with protective screens or acrylic sheeting.
Proper outdoor lighting lights specific areas instead of the entire property to keeps guests, tenants and personnel safe. It deters criminals by drawing attention to their unwanted activity.
Add aesthetics to your strategically lit outdoor areas with landscape lighting, stair lights and spotlights. Decorative luminaries look great and further reduce shadowed areas.
Test your plan frequently to ensure you maintain the best possible outdoor lighting strategy.
Maximize the return on your lighting investments, and make minimizing energy usage part of your commercial lighting plan. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the latest standard for efficiency2, but low pressure sodium (LPS) and high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps are still widely regarded as effective. They also have low upfront cost. Assess your fixtures, lamps and replacement cycles, compare options and plan to adopt increasingly efficient security lighting.
Energy equivalent in watts
Brightness in lumens
Average cost per bulb
Bulb lifespan in hours
Energy use in watts
Estimated operating hours per year per bulb
Yearly kilowatt hours
Average price of electricity³
Electricity cost per year per bulb
Years of operation at 4,100 hours per year per bulb
Bulbs needed for 50,000 hours (1 LED bulb)
Electricity cost for 50,000 hours
Total cost* for 50,000 hours of lighting
*Labor not included
*Lumens measure total visible light emitted and do not typically account for direction.
1 International Dark Sky Association, “Light Pollution.” 2013.
2 U.S. Department of Energy, “Top 8 Things You Didn’t Know About LEDs.” 2013.
3 U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Electric Power Monthly.” 2019.