Flood lighting is a type of artificial lighting that uses high-intensity, broad-beamed light sources to illuminate large areas such as outdoor playing fields, stadiums, buildings, monuments, landscapes, and other architectural features. Flood lighting can create dramatic effects, enhance visibility, improve safety and security, and provide aesthetic appeal.
In this article, we will explain what flood lighting is, how it works, what are its main characteristics and types, and what are its applications and benefits. We will also provide some tips and guidelines on how to design and install floodlighting systems.
What is Flood Lighting?
A flood light is defined as a luminaire that covers a wide surface area with a broad angle of projection. It can produce a wide beam of light, usually up to 120 degrees, that can “flood” an area with light. Flood lights are typically mounted on poles, walls, roofs, or other structures that allow them to aim at the desired direction and angle.
Floodlights work by using powerful light sources such as LEDs, halogen lamps, metal halide lamps, or high-pressure sodium lamps that are concentrated into narrow light beams using specific reflectors or lenses. The reflectors or lenses can shape the light beam and control its spread and intensity. Some flood lights also have adjustable features that allow them to change the beam angle and direction.
Flood lights are different from other types of luminaires, such as spotlights, which produce a narrow beam of light with a high intensity and a small angle of projection. Spotlights are used to highlight specific objects or areas, while floodlights are used to illuminate general areas or surfaces.
What are the Characteristics of Flood Lights?
Floodlights have various characteristics that determine their performance and suitability for different applications. Some of the main characteristics are:
- Peak intensity: This is the maximum intensity of the flood light in the direction of the intensity axis. It is generally specified in candela per 1000 lumens of the lamp (cd/klm).
- Beam spread: This is the angle over which the luminous intensity drops to a stated percentage (usually 50% or 10%) of its peak value. It is also known as beam width or beam spread angle.
- Beam efficiency: This is the ratio of the beam flux to the lamp flux. It is also known as the light output ratio. It indicates how well the luminaire converts the lamp flux into useful beam flux.
- Luminous intensity: This is the amount of light emitted by the flood light in a given direction. It is measured in candela (cd).
- Half plane divergence: This is the angular extension in all directions of a beam at both sides of the intensity axis. It indicates how wide the beam is.
- Inner beam: This is the solid angle consisting of an intensity greater than or equal to 50% of the maximum intensity.
- Outer beam: This is the solid angle containing all directions of luminous intensity greater than or equal to 10% of the maximum intensity.
What are the Types of Flood Lights?
Flood lights can be classified into different types based on their luminous intensity distribution, their beam spread angle, and their mounting options. Some of the common types are:
- Rotational symmetry: This type of flood light has a luminous intensity distribution that remains unchanged through the same beam spread angle considered at both sides of the intensity axis. For example, if the beam spread angle is 40 degrees, then 20 degrees will be at both sides of the intensity axis. Through 20 degrees on both sides of the intensity axis, the intensity is constant.
- Symmetry above two planes: This type of flood light has a luminous intensity distribution that is symmetrical about two planes perpendicular to each other and passing through the intensity axis. For example, if one plane is horizontal and another plane is vertical, then the intensity distribution will be symmetrical about both planes.
- Symmetry about the single plane: This type of flood light has a luminous intensity distribution that is symmetrical about one plane passing through the intensity axis. For example, if the plane is horizontal, then the intensity distribution will be symmetrical about it.
- Asymmetry: This type of flood light has a luminous intensity distribution that is not symmetrical about any plane passing through the intensity axis. For example, if one side of the beam has a higher intensity than another side.
Floodlights can also be classified based on their beam spread angle according to NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) standards:
- Type 1: Beam spread angle ranges from 10 degrees to 18 degrees
- Type 2: Beam spread angle ranges from 18 degrees to 29 degrees
- Type 3: Beam spread angle ranges from 29 degrees to 45 degrees
- Type 4: Beam spread angle ranges from 45 degrees to 70 degrees
- Type 5: Beam spread angle ranges from 70 degrees to 100 degrees
- Type 6: Beam spread angle ranges from 100 degrees to 130 degrees
- Type 7: Beam spread angle ranges beyond 130 degrees
Floodlights can also be classified based on their mounting options:
- Pole mounted: These flood lights are mounted on poles that can vary in height and position depending on the application and design requirements.
- Wall mounted: These flood lights are mounted on walls or other vertical surfaces that can provide support and stability for them.
- Roof mounted: These flood lights are mounted on roofs or other horizontal surfaces that can provide elevation and coverage for them.
- Ground mounted: These flood lights are mounted on the ground or other low-level surfaces that can provide access and flexibility for them.
What are the Applications and Benefits of Flood Lighting?
Flood lighting has various applications and benefits in different fields and sectors. Some of them are:
- Sports lighting: Flood lighting is widely used to illuminate outdoor sports venues such as stadiums, arenas, courts, fields, tracks, pools, etc. Flood lighting can provide adequate illumination for players, spectators, officials, media personnel, etc., during low-light conditions or night time events. Flood lighting can also enhance the visual appeal and atmosphere of sports events by creating dynamic effects and colors.
- Architectural lighting: Flood lighting is also used to illuminate architectural features such as buildings, monuments, bridges, fountains, sculptures, etc. Flood lighting can highlight the shape, texture, color, and details of these features and create aesthetic effects and impressions. Flood lighting can also create contrast and drama by playing with shadows and silhouettes.
- Landscape lighting: Flood lighting is also used to illuminate landscape elements such as gardens, parks, lawns, trees, plants, flowers, shrubs, rocks, etc. Flood lighting can create a warm and inviting ambiance for outdoor living spaces and enhance the natural beauty and colors of the landscape elements.
- Security lighting: Flood lighting is also used to provide security and deter intruders, vandals, or trespassers from entering or damaging property. Flood lighting can illuminate dark or hidden areas and increase the visibility of surveillance cameras or motion sensors. Flood lighting can also be activated by timers, switches, or sensors to create a sense of occupancy and alertness.
- Commercial lighting: Flood lighting is also used to illuminate commercial spaces such as parking lots, garages, warehouses, factories, malls, offices, etc. Flood lighting can provide adequate and uniform illumination for customers, employees, vehicles, equipment, etc., and improve safety and productivity. Flood lighting can also create a professional and attractive appearance for the business and attract potential customers.
Some of the benefits of flood lighting are:
- Energy efficiency: Flood lighting can save energy and reduce electricity costs by using LED lamps that consume less power and last longer than conventional lamps. LED lamps also produce less heat and have a higher color rendering index (CRI) than other lamps, which means they can produce more accurate and natural colors.
- Durability: Flood lighting can withstand harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, wind, dust, etc., and resist corrosion, rust, and impact. Flood lighting can also operate in a wide range of temperatures and have a long lifespan of up to 50,000 hours or more.
- Flexibility: Floodlighting can be adjusted and customized to suit different applications and preferences. Flood lighting can have different colors, brightness levels, beam angles, mounting options, etc., that can be changed or controlled by remote devices or smart systems.
- Aesthetics: Flood lighting can create stunning visual effects and enhance the appearance and value of a property. Flood lighting can also create different moods and atmospheres for different occasions and purposes.
How to Design and Install Flood Lighting Systems?
Floodlighting systems require careful planning and installation to achieve optimal results and avoid potential problems. Some of the steps and tips to design and install floodlighting systems are:
- Assess the site: Before choosing and installing floodlights, it is important to assess the site and determine the purpose, location, size, shape, features, obstacles, power sources, etc., of the area to be illuminated. It is also important to consider the surrounding environment and the impact of the flood lights on the neighbors, wildlife, traffic, etc.
- Choose the floodlights: Based on the site assessment, choose the floodlights that match the application and design requirements. Consider the characteristics, types, power options, installation options, etc., of the flood lights and compare different models and brands. Also, consider the budget and maintenance costs of the flood lights.
- Calculate the number and position of the floodlights: Based on the chosen floodlights, calculate how many floodlights are needed and where they should be positioned to provide adequate and uniform illumination for the area. Consider the beam spread angle, peak intensity, luminous flux, light loss factor, etc., of the floodlights and use formulas or tools to calculate the optimal number and position of the flood lights. For example, one formula to calculate the required number of floodlights based on recommended foot candles, mounting height, and light depreciation is:
N = (FC x A x LLF) / (n x I x cosθ)
Where N is the number of floodlights, FC is the foot candle level, A is the area to be illuminated, LLF is the light loss factor, n is the number of lamps per flood light, I is the lamp intensity, and θ is the tilt angle.
- Install the floodlights: Based on the calculated number and position of the floodlights, install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines. Use appropriate hardware and wiring to secure and connect the floodlights to the power source and control devices. Adjust the tilt angle and direction of the floodlights to achieve the desired illumination effect and avoid glare or light pollution.
- Test and maintain the floodlighting system: After installing the flood lighting system, test it to ensure that it works properly and meets the design requirements. Check for any defects, malfunctions, or errors and fix them as soon as possible. Maintain the floodlighting system regularly by cleaning, replacing, or repairing any damaged or worn-out components.
Flood lighting is a versatile and effective way to illuminate large areas and create stunning visual effects. Flood lighting can be used for various purposes, such as sports lighting, architectural lighting, landscape lighting, security lighting, and commercial lighting. Flood lighting can also provide benefits such as energy efficiency, durability, flexibility, and aesthetics.
However, flood lighting also requires careful planning and installation to achieve optimal results and avoid potential problems. Flood lighting systems should be designed and installed based on the site assessment, flood light selection, calculation of the number and position of floodlights, installation of floodlights, and testing and maintenance of the floodlighting system.
By following these steps and tips, you can create a floodlighting system that suits your needs and preferences. You can also use online tools such as Visual Floodlight Tool or Floodlighting Calculator to help you with your flood lighting design.
We hope this article has helped you understand what flood lighting is, how it works, what are its characteristics and types, and what are its applications and benefits. We also hope this article has provided you with some useful guidelines on how to design and install floodlighting systems.
If you have any questions or comments about this article or flood lighting in general, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you and help you with your flood lighting project.