Architectural outdoor lighting is a form of site lighting with a touch of elegance, class, aesthetics, or complimentary design that uses fixtures and strategic angles of incidence to compliment building architecture and landscaping.
n spite of its aesthetic nature, however, its foremost priority remains the same as that of general site lighting: to exceed client expectations with efficiency foremost in mind. Your clients already know this, and bringing it up in the initial consultation will only serve to build rapport and common ground from the beginning.
Architectural outdoor lights must feature the highest level of specification grade manufacture, conserve power as much as current technology allows, and deliver a quality of illumination that rivals that of purely function luminaries. Because the entire nation is beginning to witness tighter regulatory codes on factors such as LPW minimums, dark sky laws limiting light pollution, and toxic substances such as mercury that have already been banned in some states, it serves both you and your client to always keep practicality and delivery power foremost in mind when selecting outdoor architectural lighting fixtures, even when proposing systems in the most exclusive, high-end, or decorative environments.
This equates to using limitation as a springboard to greater opportunity, and is what many refer to as Spartanizing. In a time of recession, proposing an outdoor architectural lighting system that has been developed with maximum economy, lamp life, and light quality levels foremost in mind eliminates dollars that are often wasted on fixtures that offer attractive designs but limited performance. Keep in mind too that beauty itself often resides in simplicity and less is more subtlety, so while your competitors are proposing architectural outdoor lights that dominate landscapes and offices with excessive ornamentation and colors that are almost as bright as the light itself, you can slip in under the radar with a more impeccable plan of action that focuses on results first and complimentary appearance second.
This is not to say that you should ever neglect the demands of appearance intrinsic to the purpose of outdoor architectural lighting. Rather, it works better to place fixture aesthetics in the proper role it plays in overall lighting and design. Fixtures should never overpower the light itself or overwhelm the natural scenery or sense of building geometry. Pointing this out to your clients will show them that you are already one step ahead of your competitors because you have taken the time to think below the surface of design to tap into its core essence without losing site of its intent.
In spite of the fear and complaining that characterizes modern society over economic instability and global unrest, this is actually the best time in history to be proposing a new lighting system to anyone. New strides in engineering have made HID lighting fixtures more compact, more energy efficient, and more reliably long-lasting than ever before. What was previously a bulky eyesore that your client needed for a floodlight can now be fitted into a smaller, more sheik package that makes an unobtrusive, yet powerful statement, when the motion detector senses a possible intruder. LEDs and Induction fixtures have now entered the arena as well, teaming up with improved fluorescents powered by electronic ballasts to save power and deliver luminance at levels previously unimagined.
Having this entire arsenal of knowledge and technology readily at your disposal is the equivalent of walking softly and carrying a big stick. The big stick speaks silently on your behalf, and requires nothing more than its calm and steady presence to convince the multitudes that you are the only true majority present in the room. Consider taking this approach to architectural outdoor lighting design the next time you are bidding for a school district, a township, or a church who is already collecting bids from friends and networking partners, and who your own lack of confidence may be tempted to think you may not stand a chance against.
There is a secret weapon you can use in such a setting, much like an ancient Spartan phalanx, and it follows the same principles of partnership and supportive teamwork that once enabled 300 to stand against a million. This secret weapon is specialized architectural outdoor lighting design software that only a few companies have the budget to actually afford, but which you now have access to if you find the right Design Services and Lighting Equipment Dealer that is willing to help you build your proposal point by point and handle all the math, photometric requirements, legal compliance, and client wish list in one fell swoop.