Commercial Lighting, Energy Efficient Lighting for Businesses

Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting for Your Business

energy efficient lighting business guide outdoor lighting

When making the switch to energy efficient lighting for your business, exterior lighting is just as important as your interior lighting design—especially if you are responsible for your own landscaping and outdoor lighting. A well-lit facade, garden, or car park signals to shoppers and the public that you care about the safety and security of your business, employees, and customers, as well as:

  • The environment
  • Your business’s impact on the environment
  • Reducing that impact wherever possible

By integrating energy efficient LEDs into your commercial outdoor lighting design, you can also achieve a greater degree of control over the appearance and impression your business gives.

Let’s take a look at some of the considerations you’ll need to make when selecting your outdoor lighting.

Outdoor areas to illuminate

The location of your outdoor lighting will depend on your goals. Are you focused on aesthetics and ambience, or safety and security, or a balance of both?

Type of Space


OfficeIn an office setting, safety and security are usually top priority, with aesthetics being a secondary goal. If appearances are important to your company, make an effort to include some nice ambient lighting that can be easily turned off or scheduled to turn off once everyone has gone home for the day.
Restaurant or PubAs restaurants and pubs typically keep late hours and want to create a welcoming environment to attract customers, some warm-yet-dim ambient lighting on switches and security lighting with dusk-dawn sensors should suffice.
RetailShop lighting usually calls for a combination of aesthetics and safety. To increase your savings, set your ambient lighting on different switches than any security lighting and turn it off after your shop closes for the day, whilst leaving security lighting on motion sensors overnight.
WarehouseThe primary focus in warehouse settings is typically safety and security, so look for lighting equipped with motion detectors and dusk-dawn sensors to really cut down on energy waste. If you are concerned about not having any light when there’s no movement, there are motion detecting lights that simply dim the lighting when they don’t sense any motion, rather than turning it off entirely.
Car parksSafety and security are paramount in car parks. Evenly spaced, moderately bright lighting on dusk-dawn sensors and motion detectors that dim and brighten the light as needed will help people using this space.

Where you place the lighting will also be impacted by where fixtures and outlets are already located, as well as what your neighbours and local council might classify as an artificial light nuisance. It’s important to keep aesthetics and environmental impact in mind as well—you don’t need to light every square inch of the property. Often, less is more when it comes to commercial outdoor lighting. Try to limit outdoor lighting to areas that absolutely need it, such as:

  • Architectural details or other aspects of the building exterior you want to highlight
  • Doorways
  • Walkways
  • Loading docks
  • Patios or other outdoor break areas
  • Car parks

Be sure to consult with your lighting designer or electrician, as they can direct you to the best customized lighting solutions to suit the exterior of your business.

Light bulbs for commercial outdoor lighting

When selecting light bulbs for outdoor LED commercial lighting, there are several things you should consider:

  • IP ratings should be a minimum of 65 for all outdoor light fixtures. A bulb can have a lower rating as long as it is completely enclosed and protected from the elements, but if it will be exposed it should have an IP rating of at least 65.
  • Fixture-size and fitting type – Before you buy light bulbs, take a look at what size bulb the fixture will accommodate and what type of light bulb base is required.
  • Correlated colour temperature (CCT) – Which colour is best for outdoor lighting at night is up for debate, with scientists continually researching the side effects or impacts of different colour temperatures. However, experts largely agree that cool white and daylight coloured lights at night can be detrimental to wildlife because they replicate daylight conditions and disrupt natural circadian rhythms. To avoid this, look for something on the lower end of the CCT scale, such as a warm or very warm
  • Lumen level – Very bright lighting can actually create light pools and harsh shadows that make it more difficult for people to see—something you may be familiar with if you’ve ever tried to look out into the darkness from a brightly lit area, such as whilst sitting around a bonfire. To combat this effect in areas like car parks, you can use more evenly spaced fixtures with lower lumen levels to make the change in light less dramatic and easier on the eyes.
  • Light and motion sensitivity – Lights that automatically detect darkness, such as those with dusk to dawn sensors, can be hugely beneficial in outdoor settings, especially those that are motion sensitive. This way, you waste as little energy as possible by only lighting an area when it’s actually dark and when there is someone there who requires light to see.

Limiting light pollution

Light trespass and skyglow have become hot topics in recent years. Whilst properly illuminating the outside of your business is important for a number of reasons, you should always be mindful of how it impacts nocturnal wildlife, the circadian rhythms of passersby, and any neighbours your business might have. According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), lighting should:

  • Only be switched on when needed
  • Only light the area that needs it
  • Be no brighter than necessary
  • Minimize blue light emissions
  • Be fully shielded (pointing downward)

And they recommend that you:

  • Don’t light an area if it’s not needed.
  • Turn off the lights when not in use.
  • To save energy, don’t use excessive amounts of illumination.
  • Use timers, dimmers and motions sensors whenever possible.
  • Use only “full cut-off” or “fully shielded” lighting fixtures. That means no light is emitted above the 90-degree angle. Fully shielded lighting can be purchased or retrofitted.
  • Use energy-efficient lighting sources and fixtures.
  • Only use lighting sources with correlated color temperature (CCT) no higher than 3000K.

For more tips about reducing light pollution, check out the IDA website.


If your business is in a standalone building, has an outdoor entrance, or includes a car park, making the switch to exterior commercial LED lighting or encouraging your landlord to upgrade can provide you with increased foot traffic, a greater sense of safety for employees and, if you have them, customers, on top of reduced energy usage and costs.

When lighting the exterior of your business with energy efficient lighting, it’s important to strike a balance between style, safety and security, and the impact it can have on others. By only lighting areas where it’s necessary when it’s necessary, selecting the correct light bulbs for your needs, and limiting light pollution wherever possible, your business can reap the rewards of energy efficient lighting.

Read More

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about installing or upgrading to energy efficient lighting.


About Nicky Walker

Nicola is a lighting specialist at The Lightbulb Company with a keen awareness of the important role lighting plays in our everyday lives. She enjoys discovering new ways in which lighting can affect science, mental health and of course, most of all, reduce our carbon footprints.