Runway Lighting is for Airplanes

Solar Runway Lights for Cars?

One of the worst lighting design mistakes is the creation of runway lighting by lining each side of a driveway or walkway with lights. Some neighborhoods give the appearance that the homeowners are leaving the lights on for the return of Amelia Earhart!

The other evening I was walking Cody the Airedale and snapped these photos with my camera phone. It’s bad enough doing runway lighting with low voltage or line voltage lighting fixtures. It’s even worse when some of the current inexpensive and low-powered solar lights are used. In the photo above, the fixtures are literally two feet apart. We totally love the use of solar photovoltaic/LED lighting when it’s done properly – but these inefficient standalone solar lights are ripping off the unsuspecting homeowner.

Solar Lights Used on a Patio

One the right is a photo of a patio being under-illuminated by standalone solar lights. There’s a fairly large dropoff from the patio down to the lawn – so you can see that these lights will not provide the proper illumination for preventing falls especially if there’s a party.

The photo below illustrates the proper way to illuminate a walkway. As you can see, the path lights alternate from side to side along the walkway. The other thing you’ll notice with this design is that other lighting effects are used as well. Uplighting is used to illuminate the columns of the pergola as well as the trees. This keeps the lighting effect appearing fresh and interesting and not monotonous – the way it would look if you just did path lighting.

Proper Use of Path Lights along Walkway

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