A Guide to Commercial Exterior Lighting

by | May 11, 2023 | 0 comments |

Exterior lighting adds security and beauty to a commercial property. However, you want to choose the right type. Various types of lighting fixtures work best for different functions. In this guide, we’ll help you choose the best commercial exterior lighting products for your business.

What is Exterior Lighting?

Exterior lighting can highlight architecture and landscaping. It also makes parking lots and outdoor walkways safer for visitors and employees. You can choose from a variety of lighting products to meet your building’s unique needs.

Exterior Lighting Performance and Power

Your outdoor lighting options range from hard-wired and plug-in fixtures to solar-power motion lights. Each type of fixture has its best uses.

Solar-powered lights are cost and energy-efficient. The fixtures draw power from sunlight and turn on at night when motion is detected. The solar panels must be placed in a sunny location to ensure enough power to last through the night.

Plug-in exterior lights require access to an extension cord or placement close to an electrical outlet. Most commercial buildings choose to hide the cords for aesthetics and safety. You don’t want employees or visitors tripping over the cords at night.

Hard-wired lights are a the most popular option. The fixtures connect to the building’s existing electrical wiring. Some companies may have qualified in-house personnel, otherwise an electrician is needed for installation.


Types of Light Bulbs for Commercial Exterior Lighting

While we recommend LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs to our commercial customers, you have other options. LEDs are higher in price but use less energy and last longer.

Other light bulb options include halogen and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. Both types of bulbs emit heat, but CFLs also contain mercury.

HID (high-intensity discharge) bulbs are also used in larger commercial buildings. Incandescent bulbs can be used in exterior fixtures, but they are not rated weather-safe and there are significant bans on incandescent bulbs.


The bulb’s brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the lumens rating, the brighter the light. Don’t confuse lumens with wattage. A bulb’s wattage listing lets you know the amount of power it consumes.

The right lumens rating for your building typically depends on its use. For example, commercial exterior lights typically have lumens rating ranging from 700 to 1,300. If you are using bright floodlights, think about installing a motion sensor. It will help conserve energy usage since the lights are only on when movement is sensed.

What is the Best Color Temperature for Outdoor Lighting?

A light’s color temperature is measured in Kelvins (K). It refers to how cool or warm the light appears. Higher Kelvin numbers produce a cooler light, while warmer color temperatures have a lower rating.

Cool lights have a bluish or white hue, while warmer ones produce a yellowish light.

Did you know we have Lighting Product Education Center? We cover every major type of lighting, pros and cos, as well as comparisons between a specific type of lighting vs other types. You will find pages for Wall Packs, Post Top, Parking Lot and Area Lighting, and many more. 

Flood and Security Lights

Many commercial buildings use either floor or security lights outdoors. Some may even combine the two. These fixtures produce a broad-beamed, high-intensity light that can cover large areas.

Commonly used to improve security and feelings of safety at night, these lights can also be fitted with motion sensors.

3 Types of Commercial Exterior Security Lights

  1. Dusk-to-dawn lights follow the sun, turning on when it sets and off in the morning.
  2. Motion-sensor lights only turn on when movement is sensed in the area. When the movement ceases, the lights turn back off.
  3. Switch-controlled security lights require manual operation. You can turn these lights on and off as needed.

Tip: Pay attention to where you are installing security lights. If the bulbs do not properly illuminate the area, they can become a waste of time and money. Also, check the placement of any motion sensors. You do not want the sensor blocked.

Exterior Wall Lights

Outdoor wall lights can be mounted on almost any vertical surface. This type of outdoor lighting is typically used to illuminate walkways, stairways, and recessed areas. Considered a type of accent light, the fixtures use low-wattage bulbs to prevent creating glare.

Ceiling-Mount/Pendant Lights

Some commercial buildings have covered entryways, porches, or gazebos. Ceiling-mount and pendant lights illuminate the area from above without creating annoying glare.

Tip: During installation, make sure the light fixture is placed higher enough to allow for doors to open and close.

Commercial Exterior Lighting with Action Services Group

Do you need commercial exterior lighting? Are you considering an exterior LED retrofit? Contact us today to learn more about LED lighting products and solutions that will best fit your needs.

Call 610-558-9773, email [email protected], or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below!


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