Tips to Reduce Glare

Friday, March 1, 2013

Controlling Glare

One of the great balancing acts lighting designers have to work on is perfectly getting light on a structure, surface or object without letting a viewer know where the light is actually coming from. The difficulty of this is compounded by the many different angles and heights a viewer may be looking from.  Luckily there are a number of ways to combat this issue.

Long Shrouds or Shields

Many manufacturers offer different lengths of shrouds and shields. These allow more angle of a fixture in an upward position while shrouding the light at the same time. Utilize these types of shrouds when walkways are close to up lights at ground level or when the object being lit is very tall.

Hex Louvers

A hex louver is a filter like element that looks a lot like a honeycomb. When placed in front of the light source it blocks light from any angle even when looking directly at the lens. The light is almost completely unobstructed in the forward angle. Some argue to use a hex louver on every single spot light.

Utilizing Black

While white reflects light, black absorbs it. Use black in situations where glare may be an issue by using a fixture with inserts or even choosing a color that is darker. Using a white fixture will show more glare on the surfaces of the fixture that the light touches. A black fixture will soak up that same light.

Use More of Less Light

The common solution to lighting something that needs more light is to increase the intensity of light out of a single or small amount of fixtures. Instead of increasing the power, increase the amount of fixtures. In doing so you will effectively light more areas with more lumens while decreasing glare-prone high power fixtures.

Glare is one of the evils that must constantly be fought on a lighting plan. Anytime a fixture is aimed or moved, it has to be checked. When looking for glare, remember to think about every possible place a person may stand or sit while on a property. Lastly, be mindful of the inside if a structure, as well as neighboring properties.

FX Luminaire