All about energy in Brussels. A Sibelga initiative
en menu
Logo energuide

How to find the right outdoor lighting?

Dinner on the patio, tinkering in the courtyard or taking out the bins; outdoor lighting makes it all more pleasant. Which outdoor lights should you go for? How can you keep it safe and how to ensure that they consume as little as possible? 

LED: the right choice for your outdoor lighting

Due to their extremely low energy consumption, LED lights are also perfectly suitable for outdoor use. Indeed, the cold only improves their efficiency (i.e. the amount of light supplied for the same amount of electricity consumed).

You can choose between LED lights that connect to your power grid or LED lights without wiring, powered by a small photovoltaic cell.

LED lights to be connected

The positives:

  • very low power consumption, especially if combined with a motion detector, a light sensor or a timer
  • more powerful than halogen bulbs
  • lifetime up to 50,000 hours (10 times longer than halogen bulbs)

The negatives:

  • request an installation (connection to the 230 V mains supply of the house)
  • with cables
  • pay attention to the safety aspect of the installation!

LED lights without wiring

The positives:

  • powered by a small photovoltaic cell: no additional consumption
  • without wiring
  • easier to install
  • better safety (low voltage operation)

The negatives:

  • the older models’ power and running time is disappointing: choose a newer model with Li-Ion (not Ni-Cr) batteries and replace the batteries.

Safety: keep an eye on the voltage

Outdoor lighting cannot just be fitted any old way. You’ll need to bear in mind certain safety standards depending on the voltage of your installation

230 Volts or above

  • all fixtures, plugs, switches, or junction boxes need to be dual insulated
  • the entire installation needs to be connected to the earth conductor.
  • if you're fitting the cables underground, you will need to put them in at a depth of at least 60 cm

12 Volts 

Using this voltage level makes installation a lot safer and easier. You can simply fit the cable on the ground, without risk to the user, not even if the cable should break.

Which outdoor lighting to choose?

For entrances, patios and balconies

Wall lights, pendant lights or lanterns.

For stairs

Recessed spot lights. But careful if you're downlighting the steps from above: avoid shadows and people getting blinded.

For floors and hallways

Lights that can be angled downward.

For facades

Upward-facing wall lights highlight the vertical lines of the architecture without dazzling the view from the inside through the windows

To embellish your exterior

The imagination of the designers is without limits, which means that you can find the following at a very low cost:

  • lanterns
  • garlands
  • luminous rocks
  • lamp animals
  • suspended lanterns
  • in-ground lights
  • or bulbs imitating the old models

You will be able to create the atmosphere of an old-fashioned "guinguette" or mysterious or romantic lights for your terrace dinners.

Warm light or cold light?

The pleasure of a lighting system is not only derived from its power, its orientation, its layout, but mainly from its quality of light: "warm", "neutral" or "cold".

Colour temperature is a very useful concept to understand when choosing a light source suitable for its use. Moreover, it is now always indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging of the lamps.


Don't miss our new tips

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed about energyfacts.

We promise we will only use your data to send you our newsletter as stated in our privacy policy.

Did you find this article useful?
How could this article be improved?

We promise we will only use your data to send you our newsletter as stated in our privacy policy.

Tips on how to save energy!

We promise we will only use your data to send you our newsletter as stated in our privacy policy.