Exterior Lighting Fixtures

in Buyer's Guide

To download a PDF of the May 2011 PLSN Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.

Lighting the outside of a building can be just as important as the lighting inside and on stage. The outside of a building can be enhanced and made increasingly more dramatic and appealing by changing the façade’s colors and texture with some well-placed and appropriate lighting fixtures.

Mixing the outdoor elements with electricity can cause failures and safety hazards — possibly death.  Manufacturers have designed lighting fixtures to brave the elements that Mother Nature throws at us. Outdoor fixtures are rated on the IP Code or International Protection Rating system to determine what a particular fixture is capable of withstanding.

International standard IEC 60529 classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact and water in electrical enclosures.  This standard helps us gather more detailed information about a fixture rather than relying on less specific terms such as “waterproof” or “water-resistant.”

The IP rating system consists of two numerical digits — for example, “IP66.” The first number indicates the level of protection that the fixture’s enclosure can provide protection against hazardous parts and ingress of solid foreign objects. The second number determines the protection of a fixture inside the enclosure against harmful ingress of water. Following our example of IP66, the enclosure would be dust-tight and provide protection against powerful water jets.

If you’re looking for a fixture designed for outdoor use, this month’s Buyers Guide will get you started on your search. You’ll find a mix of lighting fixtures that use a wide variety of technologies, from LEDs, HID, tungsten and plasma lamp sources, all with enclosures that protect against the elements.