“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The glow of a porch light does more than light up the night, providing safety and security. It’s a decorative element that adds to your home’s total look, and porch lights are evolving to reflect energy efficiency and light pollution concerns.
Here’s what local and national experts have to say about the latest in porch lights.
• Consider alternatives to clear glass. Textured glass, such as seeded, etched or rippled, along with opaque and colored glass, are becoming more popular, says Bob Wilson of Wilson Lighting. “Texture adds to the look and feel of the fixture,” he says, and helps camouflage energy-efficient CFL bulbs and reduces glare, while amber light gives a warm glow.
Older eyes become more sensitive, and instead of providing safety, glare from a porch light can be detrimental when trying to navigate steps, says Jeff Dross, senior product manager at Kichler Lighting.
• Go for energy efficiency. Easiest to do? Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps. “CFLs are generally very good until extreme cold hits with temperatures consistently at zero,” Dross says.
He finds exterior lighting a great place to use fluorescents, which offer the most light for your buck.
• Keep the skies dark. The dark sky movement started a decade ago in western states to fight light pollution. “There’s a whole shift in how we light the out of doors,” says Tom Patterson, director of product development at Hinkley Lighting.
Instead of light leaking up and horizontally, the light from porch lights shines down, illuminating where you’re walking. The International Dark Sky Association even gives its seal of approval to lights that pass muster.
“You can do with one-third of wattage used,” Patterson says. “Tie it in with fluorescent, and the fixture is even more efficient while still safe and effective.”
• Look for different metals. Porch lights were once polished brass, but that finish fails to weather well in some climates.
Aluminum has become a popular choice, and it can be painted different colors. Dross says he’s seeing more neutral-tone grays. Other popular metals are nickel and brushed nickel, stainless steel and dark bronze.”
Starry Night Lights offers a variety of shielded lighting fixtures for any style and budget. These not only help direct the light downward, but make your home a better investment for the future. Even better, if you use motion sensor lighting fixtures, one can reduce their energy consumption even more as well as help improve their home security system. Really, it’s a win-win situation. You, as the consumer, have the greatest power of all: choice. Do the research, find the facts and work out the best solution for your home. Starry Night Lights will continue to fight the good fight against light pollution and will always advocate for darker, more pristine skies!
Let there be night!