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Directional Accent Lighting

Feb 19, 2008
Directional accent lighting fixtures offer businesses and individuals the ability to showcase the unique and finer points of an outdoor landscape, bringing special emphasis to unique features that otherwise would possibly go unnoticed if only general outdoor lighting is applied. This is not as problematic as one might assume, when one focuses on the elements of the landscape he or she wishes to highlight rather than starting with the fixtures themselves first. When it comes to directional accent lights, always follow the simple principle of fixture follows object, not the other way around. Determining first what needs to be recognized as a keynote in the landscape and then finding the right light source will save not only time, but also money in the long run. Once the right features have been selected, directional accent lighting offers one the ability to direct a controlled beam of any desired intensity at that feature or features and bring it to a point of special prominence or effect. Important elements of a home, office building, and property such as tree lines, architecture, gardens and atriums, and water works can all benefit from the additional touch of accented and directional lights which themselves can assume a low profile and emphasize the subject, not the equipment.

Directional accent lighting can either be high voltage or low voltage in nature. There are benefits to both, depending on the arena in which they are applied. Commercial clients almost unanimously favor high voltage lighting systems because of their ability to support HID (High Intensity Discharge) fixtures. Especially in corporate facilities consisting of multiple buildings and various landscape features, it is necessary to use light to unite natural features with architecture so as to create a unity of theme, and directional accent lights play a big role in this by showcasing fountains, atriums, walkways, and even lakes on larger commercial campuses.

High voltage directional accent lighting is also used to some degree in residential lighting, although more so on the level of large custom homes or high-end neighborhoods. Private homeowners tend to prefer a low voltage system for two reasons. One, low voltage directional lights save money simply because they require less power to operate. Secondly, a residential lot is often considerably smaller than a corporate campus, and it therefore does not require the same level of high intensity lighting companies need for both illumination and security. Considering as well that many residences decorate extensively with gardens and pathways, low voltage offers a greater level of control over color and effect--two very key aspects to this science that cannot be emphasized enough.

Choosing the right fixture material should be based on geography and local climate conditions. Aluminum is the most cost effective material for both homeowners and companies on a fixed budget. Plastic composite, copper, and brass fixtures are ideal for atmospheres, which contain high levels of salt, such as those, found along the American Gulf Coast. Selecting aluminum directional accent lights in this fashion makes it simple to develop an outdoor lighting system that keynotes all the important elements of a facility or yard. The only remaining determination to choose is that of light source itself. Each of the five source offer specific value to directional accent lighting, and can be used either by themselves or in combination with other sourcing.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent technology creates a stable, bright light that in spite of its high voltage nature makes for an excellent floodlight for either emphasizing larger areas of the landscape or for security lighting around the perimeter of a property.

Halogen Lights

Halogen lights provide excellent directional accent lighting in atriums and gardens. Halogens cast a slightly golden "aura" around the subject, making them ideal low voltage effect lights.

Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights are ideal for decorative commercial and residential accent and directional lighting and can also operate on timers and dimmer switches for varied lighting effects.

Mercury Vapor Lights and Metal Halide Lights

Both of these lamp types fall under the category of HID, or High Intensity Discharge lights. They are extremely efficient in the amount of light they output versus the actual wattage required to produce that light. They are excellent for highlighting tree lines and keynote architectural characteristics of buildings.
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