I have to make some decisions about lighting the lobby of a six-flat
building, stairwell, hallways, back porches, as well as a security
light for the yard.
The basic decision is: do we go with old fashioned warm yellowish
lights, or the new cool "bluish "daylight" types?
Any suggestions or experience appreciated.
I find I cant stand "Daylight bulbs" they are harsh on the eyes, I
stick with Soft White, HD has a 9 year warranty on CFLs , get a 4 pack
for about 8$ the soft what are the Green pack, if you want dayligt its
their Red packaging.
For general access areas such as that, can't see how the color
temperature could make a lick of real difference...go for cheap 'n
cheery would be my recommendation--if they're prone to breakage or
theft, stick w/ the incandescent; otherwise the energy savings of the
cfl's may pay. Outdoor temperature problems with the latter have been
I've tried the cheap cool white bulbs, the warm bulbs and the daylight
I find that the daylight bulbs are just way to bright and harsh. The
warm bulbs seem dim and put an orange tinge on everything. The cool
whites look fluorescent, but give the best overall lighting.
This is in my basement.
My suggestion is to simply get one of each and try them out.
Hallways should have warm color lights. At typical apartment building
hallway lighting levels, 4100 K and higher easily appears "dreary gray".
Even 3500 K can appear a little "dreary gray". I would use 2700 K - the
usual warm color of compact fluorescents.
If the illumination level is on the bright side, then 3500 K tends to
As for stairwells - it depends on how much light you have, and whether
they are used routinely or you have an elevator. If they are more dimly
lit, go for daylight color - scotopic vision has a significant enough
effect to make the more-blue light have greater "illuminating power" - but
the stairwells will look dreary.
If the stairwells are to be used routinely, use warm color and be sure
to have enough light.
One thing to watch out for: In my building, the stairwell lights are
fully enclosed. CFLs above 14 watts or so can easily overheat in enclosed
The lobby should definitely have warm color light.
Back porches - I am leaning to cooler color there, to take advantage of
scotopic vision being likely to have some significant effect.
Yard security lighting: Go for cool daylight color. Scotopic vision
will have a significant role in the sensation of illumination.
Metal halide lamps do well for outdoor illumination at night. Use the
lowest wattage that you can find unless the yard is huge.
Mercury vapor and sodium vapor lamps will not illuminate a yard as well
even for a given amount of photometric output, because they stimulate
scotopic vision less. Despite a more-bluish color, mercury vapor light
does not stimulate scotopic vision as well as metal halide or fluorescent
Your yard fixture should be of a design that throws the light onto the
yard, and not into the sky. Many security lights send a fair amount of
light above the horizon. Look for fixtures of a floodlight style rather
than a "wall pack" style or the style of those traditional 175-watt
mercury security lights. Floodlight style fixtures will put much more
light where you want it, so you won't need to use as much electricity.
A floodlight style fixture with maybe around 50-60 watts of daylight color
compact fluorescent can outperform a traditional 175 watt mercury vapor
fixture for yard lighting.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
I prefer the bluer daylight versions myself, but for your outdoor
security lighting, consider small 35W halogen reflector floods. I
illuminate my entire back and side yards using four (two in each
fixture) motion detector flood lights equipped with these, and they are
plenty bright enough, can be aimed DOWN, away from the sky, and last
well over a year on the motion controls. You definitely want whatever
you install outdoors to be a controlled illumination pattern. No sense
wasting power to light the sky, or the neighbor's property, and
contributing to light pollution.
This is advice I agree with: I'm using a single halogen reflector
floodlight to illuminate most of my backyard, and the light stays
within the yard itself, not flooding over into the neighbors. The
first bulb in ours lasted 4 years (just changed it back in November),
and it was turned on and off frequently each evening by us and the
Depending on exactly which "color" you are talking about. "Daylight" is not
a new color for fluorescent bulbs, in fact it was the original color when
they first made the bulbs many decades ago, emitting blue light. "Cool
white" was a color that came out after WWII as a better light to work under
and many thought it was too gray. Some of the many other "warm" colors are
much better especially when mixed with or replacing incandescent bulbs. It
is all what you prefer not what I like.
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