What are some common issues with conventional decorative post top lights?
All HID lamps have some inherent characteristics that can lead to issues for those managing the exterior lighting applications.
Common (HID) lamp wattages used for decorative area light fixtures range from 100 watts to 250 watts. The higher the wattage the higher the light output. The function of the area being illuminated, combined with the quantity, spacing, and mounting height of the poles and fixtures plays a role in the existing wattages that are utilized. For a standard street or campus, multiple 100w or 250w HID fixtures (very common post top lamp wattages) can cost between $6,300 and $15,700 to operate per year in electricity costs alone.
Like most outdoor lighting applications, maintenance costs are often a big concern for HID decorative post top fixtures. In additional to the potential lamp lifetime concerns, post top lights, being commonly mounted on poles in excess of 10 feet, often require the use of a bucket truck or lift to change out a lamp or a ballast. Many municipalities, campuses, and facility management companies do not own a bucket truck or lift and as a result have to hire an outside contractor to maintain these fixtures. These are expenses that can really add up over the course of a few years. It can easily cost up to $1,120 in labor and material to maintain a single post top light fixture over the course of three years.
Depending on the type of HID lamp your facility utilizes, the performance characteristics of your decorative post top fixture can vary significantly. For example, if you are using metal halide lamps you may see light that is whiter, but these types of lamps tend to have accelerated lumen degradation, meaning the light output of the lamps decrease quickly after initial install, and as a result the overall lifetime of the lamp decreases (we have all seen those decorative street light fixtures that have “pink” lamps that are barely providing any lighting on the ground). If you are using high pressure sodium you may see longer “useful” life as these lamps see less lumen degradation than metal halide, but their fuel structure produces a very “orange” light with a very low color rendering index. So basically you trade a longer life for a poorer quality light, in regards to visual perspective.
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