When Brighter Isn’t Better
To see at night, you want the brightest, whitest lights you can find: That’s what you’d think, anyway, standing in front of Home Depot’s outdoor lighting selection. But in the real world, that’s not how it works – not in your yard, not with headlights, and not with streetlights.
Plus, the color of the light matters. Whiter light – which is to say, light with more blue in its color mix – actually makes it harder to see than soft-white or amber-tinted light. That’s because blue light is a shorter wavelength, and scatters more, both in the landscape and in your eye. In darkness, that’s a problem.
If you’re buying an outdoor light for your house or business, make sure that the fixture hides the bulb; you want the light to shine on the things you want illuminated, not straight into your eyes. Make sure the wattage is no higher than necessary. And to find a warm-colored light, look for a low Kelvin number – 2700 or below.
Not only will you be able to see better, but you’ll save energy. And your property will look more attractive, too.