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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 do you keep things safe? And what is the impact on your consumption?

LED lights or solar-powered lights?

Outdoor lighting is an added source of consumption. The good news is that, nowadays, models exist that use very little or even zero energy: 

  • LED lights use very little power, are every bit as bright as halogen lamps and come with a longer service life. Combined with a motion/light sensor or a time switch, their impact on your energy bill is almost insignificant. which in turn enables you to set up several lighting fixtures.
  • Lights powered by solar cells are autonomous in operation and do not use cables or leads, making them safer and easier to install. They are self-charging thanks to and a solar cell and battery, and so have no affect on your energy bill. However, their strength and duration of operation can be disappointing. If you decide to opt for this solution, our advice is to go for a model with replaceable 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:

  • 220 Volts or above: all fixtures, plugs, switches, or junction boxes need to be dual insulated and 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 pick for… 

… entrances, patios and balconies

Wall lights, pendant lights or lanterns.

… … stairs

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

 … floors and hallways

Lights that can be angled downward.

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