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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Lighting plan considerations

Written by: Shabibah Nakirigya

Mugabe says one needs a lighting plan that doesn’t only help in identifying where lights will be placed but helps even those meant to do the wiring.
Even if you have a fixed budget, Namwanje advises you make sure you don’t buy cheap equipment.
There is a lot to be said about when it is to be used indoors.
Yet, outdoor lighting offers more than meets the eye. It is not simply about creating the mood – for outdoor spaces, lights make the space accessible but above it all, they supplement your security measures.
It is because of this that outdoor lighting is always an emphasis even a home owner on a tight budget. There is always an effort to ensure that the compound and backyard are well lit for visitors as well as avoiding creation of dark corners that may be exploited by intruders.
Though beyond them being a security measure, Jonah Mugabe an electrician says well-designed outdoor lighting increases the beauty of your landscaping and highlights key architectural features of your home.  
But what does one need to know before embarking on an outdoor lighting exercise?
1) Lighting plan 
Mugabe says one needs a lighting plan that doesn’t only help in identifying where lights will be placed but helps even those meant to do the wiring.
“The lighting plan will help you know the major spots for the lighting and the beauty is, the plan can be executed in phases especially if you do not have all the needed money,” he says.
He adds that you should take a walk especially at night around your property and make note of specific areas you wish to illuminate. Draw a sketch map of your house including the essential landscape elements and see what is needed and missing.
“Plot out direct paths for wiring and fixture placement. Take your plan a step further by detailing specific components such as electrical cable, low voltage and a transformer to satisfy your current and future outdoor lighting needs,” he says.
2) Improvise for safety
Mugabe says it’s not good to rely on a single source of light outdoor because it may blow and you may have to spend a night in darkness. 
“Outdoor lighting creates a sense of warmth and drama that can increase the apparent value of your home. Potential buyers often express interest in a property after driving or walking by during the evening. The absence of outdoor lighting can make your home seem less appealing and unsafe,” he says. 
3) Management of lighting 
Sheilah Namwanje, an outdoor and interior designer, says that restriction on lighting is key when it comes to outdoor lighting. While lighting your home, make sure you also increase security around your home. You should also consider your neighbours and be mindful if your lighting affects them or not.
“Excessive outdoor lighting also adds to your electricity bills, it’s good to have back up lighting but it’s not good to use them at once for the purpose of making your home to look charming, make sure you manage your lighting very well,” she says.
Namwanje adds that you should think twice before going overboard with spotlights. If you do need lighting for security reasons opt for motion sensor fixtures. These motion sensors will manage themselves which is not the case with ordinary lights which need to be switched on and off. You can look for builders to spot the right position for a motion light.
4) Avoid cheap equipment
Even if you have a fixed budget, Namwanje advises you make sure you don’t buy cheap equipment. 
“Always make sure you invest in fixtures made by trusted companies offering limited or a lifetime warranty. Make sure the warranty includes electrical wiring, sockets, bulb components and the exterior finish. This will help you to save money in the long run because you will take long without buying new appliances,” she says. 
Namwanje adds that it’s better to ask the contractor to buy for you the appliances because they will be answerable for any damages caused by those cheap appliances like in case of blowing or causing some damage.
5) Automated lighting controls
Namwanje says, without automated controls, you will have to access the transformer to manually operate your outdoor lighting yet automated lighting saves time and money.
“Integrated systems make your life easier and can reduce your monthly electricity bill. Built-in timers let you program lights to automatically turn on at sunset and off at sunrise, allowing you to better manage energy consumption,” he says. 
Namwanje adds that these advanced systems also control separate lighting zones. For instance, you can program the lighting to turn off during day and on all night for security purposes. For ease of use, install the controller in an area that is easily accessible for seasonal adjustments.

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