Facade Lighting Systems

Lighting the facade of a commercial building or home adds beauty and makes the structure stand out. Of course, color rendition is usually a priority. However, fixture aesthetics is typically not a concern since the fixtures are often hidden from view.

It's common to mount fixtures on the ground, on poles or sometimes on the building or a nearby structure. Head-on flood lighting will make the structure appear flat and uninteresting. It's better to place fixtures at an angle to help bring out textures and structural features. By aiming fixtures up the facade instead of down will avoid creating glare. Placing the fixtures close to the building will reduce glare for viewers inside the building. This is especially important for hotels and penthouse restaurants.

Adjustable flood-type fixtures are best for facades. Choose a fixture with a beam spread that will light the target without spill light. Fixtures mounted on the ground may need metal guards or other protection from vandalism.

Halogen or quartz lamps are a good choice for smaller areas. However, maintenance and operating costs will be high. A better choice of lamp that still provides good color rendition is metal halide. High pressure sodium looks good as well, especially on historic buildings. Mercury vapor is appropriate for lighting copper roofs to bring out the green patina. The HID lamps offer much longer life and lower operating costs than the halogen and quartz lamps.

Time clock control may be more desirable than photocell control, since it can be set to turn off the facade lighting during the later portion of the night when there are few passers-by.