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How to Make Outdoor Venue Lighting More Energy Efficient

What can you do to both reduce operating costs and improve the guest experience at the same time? We’re so glad you asked! The answer is to upgrade your outdoor venue lighting. Modern, energy-efficient lighting can be one of the most reasonable and cost-effective improvement strategies for outdoor venues.

Embrace the LEDs

Lightbulbs have come a long way. Incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the lighting type of choice for all commercial outdoor venue lighting. LEDs have incredibly long life spans, are energy efficient, and come in various color temperatures and shades. 

Get adjustable

Those “front of house” areas in outdoor venues often have quite a lot of range in lighting requirements. There are big factors, like seasonal changes and weather conditions. Then there are simple adjustments to make for the time of day (or night). And each event has its own particular mood, set in large part by the lighting. 

Make your venue’s lighting more energy efficient, and more customizable, by installing fixtures with adjustable LED bulbs. These can be set to the color temperature and brightness needed. You can choose color-changing LEDs, and pre-program them for different times, moods, and activities. For a venue manager, this is one of the easiest add-ons you can offer, and it has a huge impact on the guest experience for each event. 

Start with the big picture

Before you start throwing LEDs around, take a deep breath. Lighting isn’t about one fixture here and another fixture there, Old MacDonald style. Effective venue lighting requires a thoughtful design. Each fixture is part of a larger venue lighting system. The fixtures work together to make the venue look beautiful and create the mood needed for each event. 

We recommend starting with a little survey of the venue. Walk the premises at a few different times to notice the lighting and how it looks and feels. You may love how things look at dusk; a few hours later, the lighting might seem inadequate and those shadowy corners feel like they’re growing. 

Here are a few things to notice as you evaluate your venue:

  • Lighting in and around parking areas. Consider both security (bright lights as a deterrent to sketchy behavior) and safety (well-placed lights to help guests navigate and avoid obstacles).
  • Lighting that leads guests from parking to venue entrance. 
  • Uplighting around any venue structures and/or signage.
  • Kind, wattage, and quantity of existing lighting fixtures. 
  • Floor space to be lit, and range of lighting coverage needed. For example, if the venue has a flexible set-up and can be used for an intimate dinner party or a big dance floor, there’s a wide range of coverage, and lighting needs to be flexible and powerful. 
  • Current lighting levels and desired lighting levels. Where’s the gap? What’s in place now, and what’s missing? 
  • Outdoor features (architectural elements, landscaping, trees, water features) to enhance with exterior lighting.
  • Unused areas of the venue that could be converted and upgraded for activities with proper lighting.

Get a whole system design

Once you have a good site survey, you can start thinking about the outdoor venue lighting as a single system. A system includes the transformer, wiring and connectors, fixtures, and all the necessary mounting hardware and supports. 

One of the most important factors is the size of the transformer you’ll need. If you have a professional lighting design and know the entire load of the system, you’ll know what capacity you need in a transformer. Even if you’re not going to have the entire lighting system installed yet, you can still get the right size transformer — then, as you add more lighting elements, you won’t have issues. It’s more efficient to ensure you have the transformer you need from the beginning than to burn one out and have to replace it, or end up buying another one down the road. We’re the St. Louis outdoor lighting company you need to create a customized lighting design for your outdoor venue. Give us a call today and let’s talk about how to upgrade your venue with energy-efficient lighting.

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