Driveway Lights – how to make an entrance

Driveway lights are useful outside any home, if only to avoid scraping the car against low-lying walls or crunching over an abandoned toy. This modest aim usually requires only a few lights, but a larger property set back in extensive grounds is a slightly different proposition. Read on to discover how to light a longer driveway, whether for a restaurant or hotel, a health club or spa, a sizeable residence, or a private hospital.

The entrance

Entrances don’t have to be grandiose, but it is useful to have one or two lights at the start of a long driveway or an opening in a wall. The traditionally styled Alex Post Lantern suits this purpose. Alternatively, a pair of pedestal lights can be positioned on top of a wall at either side of an entrance.

The approach

Driveway lights image 1

Once your visitor has negotiated the outer entrance, a safe and easy approach is desirable to the building itself. Lights should be placed on bends and make obstacles visible, including trees, walls, boulders or outdoor seats.

A post light such as the Searchlight Pagoda can be used to line a driveway. Its louvred design combats glare whilst still providing a guiding light. It is a good idea to stagger the posts on either side of the driveway rather than have them symmetrical. This is more comfortable on the eyes of the driver and avoids the airport runway look on any straight stretches.

If the driveway lies in an exposed area, solar-powered lights are an option. The Assisi Solar LED Lantern charges by day and automatically switches on at dusk. Solar lights work even in overcast conditions, though the recharging process is hastened by direct sunlight. One of the great advantages of solar lighting is ease of installation, including the ability to site them almost anywhere without needing an electrician.
Driveway lights image 2

While your guests are being safely led along the driveway, one or two other lights might be used to create an impression. The Techman Garden Spotlight is perfect for lighting a rockery or a distinctive tree or shrub. It should be thoughtfully positioned so as not to dazzle drivers. With an IP68 rating, the Techmar is especially useful for lighting water features.

Front of house

Your visitor has navigated the snaking driveway and now arrives in front of the destination, in what is an open paved area for parking. To light this parking area the Hibria LED Ground Light may suit. This hardwearing ground light can be walked over, driven over, submerged in shallow water, and provides upward lighting without glare. It’s a modern lighting solution, but discreet and practical. Driveway lights image 3

Out of the car

Having exited the car, steps lead up towards the entrance of the building. Perhaps these steps are bordered by two Coach Pedestal Lanterns. These rainproof luminaires use polycarbonate diffusers for resistance to vandalism or accidental shattering.

As the steps are climbed, Norfolk Post Lanterns stand at each landing to ensure good visibility. The lanterns happen to show off the colourful shrubbery at each side as well as allowing safe passage.

Driveway lights image 4

The front of the building is cosily lit with an attractive pair of Searchlight Trapani Black Half Lanterns to frame the doorway. A clear-glassed lantern such as the Trapani is ideal for showing off decorative filament bulbs, which do an excellent job in creating mood. Regular bulbs can be used if a stronger, more practical light is required.

Mixing styles

Outdoor lighting style usually reflects the style of the property, from the entrance and driveway to the front door and beyond.

Although it is not desirable to mix styles, modern outdoor lights are often designed for effect rather than show. Thus, you will be able to install ground lights or decking lights without detracting from the character of the building. The development of LED technology has enabled very subtle lighting designs.

Ostentatious clashes of style are best avoided, so you don’t want lantern-style post lights and pedestals mixing with conspicuously modern geometric designs.

Planning

It is useful to plan outdoor lighting by walking the ground beforehand. Identify hazards like obstructions, bends and dark areas. Sketching your proposed lighting scheme may help visualize it, regardless of artistic ability.

This article has drawn from several lighting ranges, but you may prefer sticking to one for effortless continuity. The popular Elstead Norfolk or Searchlight Alex ranges provide a choice of products in a traditional style. For contemporary settings, Elstead’s Glenbeigh range provides an answer.

If you live close to the coast, driveway lights made of copper or galvanised steel are suitable. Polycarbonate is another possibility, where practicality is the main concern. The Nordlux Blokhus range is made with non-lacquered copper, which naturally resists salt corrosion by oxidising over time and forming a verdigris patina.

For further advice on any product or lighting project, please contact the friendly Lyco sales team.

Need more outdoor lighting options? If so, why not browse our full outdoor lighting range?

Alternatively, if you’re looking for more inspiration… take a look in our Lighting Advice section.

LED conversion – how much will I save?

Lighting constitutes an incredible 20% of worldwide energy consumption so it likely also accounts for a large part of your business’s electricity costs. Investing in an LED conversion (i.e. switching your existing light bulbs to LED bulbs) may seem daunting initially, but you’ll end up making huge savings and reaping all kinds of benefits into the bargain.

LED conversion advantages

LED lighting products have been intensely developed since the turn of the century and they’ve steadily decreased in price.

  • Energy-efficiency – LED technology is extremely energy efficient, using up to 90% less energy than incandescent lighting (including halogen) and 60% less than old fluorescent lighting.
  • Lifespan – LED light bulbs last up to 50 times longer than a traditional light bulb, so you spend far less time and money in maintenance and can reduce your stock of spare light bulbs.
  • Temperature – Because LED lighting projects little or no IR heat in its beam, converting to LED reduces fire risk and, potentially, air conditioning costs. LED spotlights are useful for lighting heat-sensitive items such as artworks or food.
  • Tough – LED lighting is resistant to shock and vibration and performs reliably at cold temperatures (typically down to -20°C).

How much can I save by converting to LED?

Great question – and the answer is one you’ll like! The combination of longer lifespan and lower energy consumption guarantees a return on investment, whether you’re talking one bulb or a thousand.

The Telegraph recently agreed that switching to LED bulbs saves money in the home. In a business, where lighting is kept on for long hours and bulb changes are frequent, an LED conversion can save many thousands of pounds per year.

Useful example

To give you an idea of how much you can save, we have put together an example scenario where a business hopes to benefit from an LED conversion. Each of the bulbs featured is ‘on’ permanently for 24 hours a day.

Current Running costs

Area Bulbs used # of Bulbs Elec. cost per unit Total Kwh Annual cost
Women’s WC Bar Area

50W Halogen MR16

29

£0.150

35

£1,905.30

Men’s WC Bar Area

50W Halogen GU10

14

£0.150

17

£919.80

Conference Café

42W Eco-halogen GLS

15

£0.150

22

£827.82

Main Bar

28W Fluorescent 2D

53

£0.150

36

£1,949.98

Total

109

£5,602.90

Post conversion running costs

Area Bulbs used # of Bulbs Elec. cost per unit Total Kwh Annual cost
Women’s WC Bar Area

7W LED MR16

29

£0.150

4

£266.74

Men’s WC Bar Area

5.5W LED GU10

14

£0.150

2

£101.18

Conference Café

10W LED GLS

15

£0.150

2

£197.10

Main Bar

12W LED 2D

53

£0.150

8

£835.70

Total

16

£1,400.72

As you can see, running costs are reduced by £4202.18 per year after an 85% improvement in energy efficiency.

Having made a strong case for conversion based on running costs, the only objection left is that of outlay. LED bulbs cost more than traditional alternatives. With this in mind, let’s look at a cost comparison over a 4-year period, this being the average lifespan of an LED bulb if left on permanently.

Our calculations include an estimated servicing cost of £5 per bulb change, based on a maximum 20 minutes of work and average pay rates for electrical maintenance workers.

Current replacement costs over 4 years (including maintenance)

Area

Bulbs used

# of Bulbs

Cost per bulb

Times replaced in 4yrs

Total (incl. £5 maintenance cost per bulb change)

Women’s WC Bar Area

50W Halogen MR16

29

£0.89

8

£1392.29

Men’s WC Bar Area

50W Halogen GU10

14

£1.49

12

£1111.44

Conference Café

42W Eco-halogen GLS

15

£1.59

17

£1576.29

Main Bar

28W Fluorescent 2D

53

£5.39

2

£1387.01

Total Bulb Cost

£5467.03

LED replacement costs over 4 years (including maintenance)

Area Bulbs used # of Bulbs Cost per bulb Times replaced in 4yrs Total (incl. £5 maintenance cost per bulb change)
Women’s WC Bar Area

7W LED MR16

29

£12.99

1

£898.42

Men’s WC Bar Area

5.5W LED GU10

14

£10.99

1

£377.72

Conference Café

10W LED GLS

15

£10.99

1

£404.70

Main Bar

12W LED 2D

53

£24.99

1

£2,913.94

Total Bulb Cost

£4,594.78

Over the 4-year period a further saving of £872.25 is made by our theoretical business on reduced maintenance.

Lighting controls such as dimmers, motion sensors and timers substantially reduce energy costs and are included in many LED conversions. These controls also increase bulb lifespan, thus having a further desirable effect on maintenance costs.

LED conversion conclusion

Though the cost is not initially trivial, an LED conversion offers many tangible benefits. A substantial reduction in energy bills is the main attraction, but cuts in maintenance costs can also be significant depending on the size and nature of the building.

Reducing your carbon footprint by switching to LED is a worthwhile endeavour that will win favour with customers and keep you ahead of legislation changes. With a proposed EU ‘halogen ban’ looming in September 2016, the time is ripe to make the change.

An LED conversion can be achieved with very little disruption to your business. Lyco Direct have helped some of the UK’s biggest companies convert to LED. For larger projects, we offer flexible finance schemes that allow you to offset payment with energy savings.

If you’d like free expert advice on converting your business’s lighting to LED, please give us a call on 0843 3177820 and we’ll be happy to help.

Why not take a look at our full range of LED bulbs and LED fittings.

Looking for more information on Lighting? Try Lighting Advice.

Waiting Room Lights For Medical Or Dental

We’ve all spent anxious moments of our lives in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists. For patients and their friends or family, it’s helpful to relax as much as possible before consultation or treatment. A well-kept, well-lit waiting room plays a vital role in putting visitors at ease and instilling them with confidence in their surroundings. Waiting room lights say a lot about any medical practice and can help make patients’ experiences more bearable, if not enjoyable.

Lighting That Is Worth Waiting For…

Ceiling lights

Waiting rooms should never be murky, oppressive places. A good level of general lighting can be achieved using recessed ceiling lights. Though it’s possible to use surface-mounted fittings and pendants, recessed luminaires are unobtrusive, need little maintenance, and deliver an even spread of diffused light.

Waiting room lighting image 1

The LED Light Panel is energy efficient and long lasting. LED panels are a good money-saving replacement for old fluorescent fittings, too.

LED Downlights combine superb energy efficiency with longevity. Many downlights are fire-rated which means they can be used in fire-rated ceilings and are a hygienic lighting solution, offering nowhere for dust or dead bugs to gather. Recessed LED lighting is increasingly used in medical environments for its low running costs and cleanliness.

An adjustable downlight  is useful for spotlighting pictures or other pleasant distractions. A dimmable light can be controlled in accordance with any window light entering the room.

Wall lights

Waiting room lighting image 2

Although wall lights add to the ambient light of a room, they are especially useful for creating mood. Uplighters decorate bare stretches of wall with warm patterns of light, resulting in a cosy feel that helps calm frayed nerves. Wall lights can also be used to frame various aspects of a room; placing them either side of pictures, doorways, or windows, achieves this.

Table lamps

Waiting room lighting image 3

Table lamps are a common feature of many waiting rooms, helping to promote relaxation while also adding to ambient light. A classically styled luminaire like the Hatch Table Lamp will suit traditional or modern settings. You may wish to place magazines under a table lamp, though this is safer in a corner where the lamp is less likely to fall. Use LED bulbs in easily accessible fittings to prevent children from burning their fingers on the glass.

A table lamp with a pale fabric shade allows significant light out into a room, whereas a dark or black shade subdues outward light and emphasises the warm glow of the bulb. This is true of the black Zaragoza 3-Light Table Lamp, which still emits a strong up-and-down flow of light with a glass diffuser to cut out glare. Dark-shaded luminaires are good mood makers.

Floor lamps

Waiting room lighting image 4

A well-chosen floor lamp improves a room aesthetically, but it can also be a handy source of task lighting. In a waiting room, one or two floor lamps provide places to read, especially for older patients who may need a stronger light to discern text comfortably. A classic standard lamp is good for reading, since the light directly beneath it is stronger than the light sent through its shade.

An arced floor lamp such is ideal for reading, with a shade that sends light downwards and can be positioned over a seat. Reading usually requires a minimum light intensity of 300 lux, though this might increase to 500 lux for more mature eyes. Floor lamps provide this level of light for anyone that needs it.

To avoid visual fatigue, there should not be too much contrast between ambient light levels and reading lights (or ambient light levels and a TV screen).

Home from home

Waiting rooms are a little like living rooms with extra chairs. They don’t typically include luxurious sofas or showy decorative lights, but the aim is to inspire confidence and make patients feel as comfortable as possible. Carefully chosen waiting room lights will help achieve exactly that.

For more useful information and guidance see our Lighting Advice section.