The term “wall packs” describes the outdoor lighting that is commonly mounted on the outside-facing walls of buildings. Wall pack fixtures are generally used to provide a wide swath of illumination to high-traffic ground areas. But they also function well as an added layer of security for property owners.

It is common to see wall packs mounted on the exterior walls of commercial and industrial buildings, providing general and security lighting to exterior grounds. In fact, this type of lighting is the most common commercial outdoor lighting solution.

If you own or manage any type of commercial facility with wall pack lighting, chances are that they use some type of high-intensity bulb, like a metal halide light or high-pressure sodium bulb. The reason for this is that high-intensity bulbs are bright, which makes them perfect for both security and safety purposes. The problem with this is that these bulbs burn out quickly and consume a lot of energy.

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9 Considerations for Choosing the Right Outdoor Wall Pack

1. Look at the Lumens

If you’ve shopped for any type of lighting in the past, chances are the stat that you paid the most attention to is watts. But, when you’re switching to LEDs, watts are not the best comparison point. This is because watts are a measurement of energy consumed, and LEDs were designed to be energy efficient. LEDs can produce a shine equivalent to your existing HID fixtures while consuming much less energy.

With this information in mind, the best way to find an LED light that has a similar light output to your existing fixtures is to pay attention to the lumens. Lumens is the actual measurement of light output and therefore is the best way to determine brightness.

Lumens Per Watt Graphic

Why LED Lumens are More Important than LED Watts?

Lumens tell you the amount of visible light a bulb or fixture produces. An LED bulb, or any bulb for that matter, that emits more lumens appears brighter than one that generates fewer lumens.

And, unlike watts, you can compare lumens across different products. With LED, it is well known you need fewer lumens than other light sources because:

  • LED light is directional.
  • LED light is of higher quality.
  • LED light degrades a lot slower than traditional light sources.

2. Use Motion Sensors to Turn Lights on and off when There’s Motion Detected.

Motion sensors are often overlooked in commercial lighting because facility managers can just turn lights on and off when they leave.

But they shouldn’t have to. Switching to LED lighting is a great way to cut back on energy costs, and motion sensors are an easy way to achieve even bigger savings. However, not all types of lighting work well with motion sensors. Luckily, LEDs do.

  • LED is instant on and instant off. There is no “warm-up” time required to reach full brightness, unlike other types of lights. It works perfectly in unison with motion sensors.
  • LEDs are dimmable. So, you can choose to dim or turn the light completely off.
  • Do you need lights turned on at 100% at 3 am?

3. Use Photocell Sensors with Wall Packs

Photocells are automatic on-and-off switches. They turn lights on at dusk and off at dawn. They accomplish this by using daylight-sensing photocells to determine whether or not there is a need for supplementary light.

There is no need for timers. There’s no need to have a person in the room. Photocells adjust to daylight and nighttime all on their own. Having the lights on only when they are needed and off when they aren’t, will lower your utility bill and reduce your maintenance costs. Coupled with a motion sensor and LED lighting, photocells can help take your energy savings to the next level.

4. Make Sure Wall Packs are Wet Rated

Wall packs are not to be installed indoors. If you’re looking for large-scale indoor lighting for a commercial facility, we would suggest high bays or shop lights. But if you’re looking for outdoor lighting, they are a great choice.

As with any type of outdoor lighting, they’ll need to withstand the elements. This includes exposure to rain, snow, sleet, and hail. The lighting components inside the fixture can be rendered inoperable if exposed to moisture and so they need to be wet-rated.

A wet rating can be found by looking for the IP-rating on the product specification sheet. Make sure it’s IP65 to IP68 rated. IP65 is more than enough for normal weather conditions, but IP68 lights can be fully submerged in water.

5. Efficacy (lumens Per Watt)

Luminous efficacy is a measure of a bulb’s efficiency. It specifies the number of lumens generated for each watt of electricity consumed. LEDs are much more efficient than conventional bulbs and have a greater luminous efficacy. Although, in general, high-quality LEDs have great efficacy ratings. Higher efficacy ratings are also one of the reasons why, when comparing LED lights to other types of bulbs, watts are not the best way to evaluate them.

Although LEDs with higher efficacy are more expensive at the onset, they are also more efficient than other LEDs (and considerably more so than other types of lighting). And, because of this higher efficiency, you’ll see even more savings on your energy costs. So, although the initial investment is slightly steeper, you’ll earn your money back even faster.

6. Choose the right voltage

Does your facility have high voltage, 277V to 480V? Fortunately, high-voltage drivers are available for these installations. Constant current drivers handle everything from 100 Volts up to 480 Volts.

  • 100V-277V – Most common – standard voltage
  • 277V-480V – High Voltage (optional upgrade)
  • 347V-480V – Canadian compliant (optional upgrade)

7. Color Temperature Options

We briefly discussed color temperature above, but now we’ll go into a little more detail. Color temperature measures the tone of a light source using Kelvins. The Kelvin scale (pictured on the right) is a measurement of color temperature.

Bulbs with a low color temperature produce warm light (in the red, orange, and yellow spectrum). And those with a high color temperature produce cool light (in the blue and white spectrum).

90% of the outdoor lighting we sell is 5000K and the other 10% is 4000K. Both are good options for outdoor wall packs.

Color Temperature Bulbs

8. Quality of Light (CRI) and How it Relates to Outdoor Lighting

We have also mentioned that LEDs have a higher CRI than other bulbs. And what is CRI? Well the color rendering index is a measurement of how well a light source will reveal the colors of items compared to sunlight (the ideal light source).

When it comes to HID lamps, people most often complain about one thing: poor light color. And although we believe that poor lifespan and rapidly deteriorating lumen output is their biggest challenge, the poor color quality is the most noticeable.

Light color is important in all applications, but especially outdoor applications. It has a major impact on contrast and clarity, which is important for both safety and security purposes. Most of the Wall Pack fixtures that we offer have between CRI 70 and 85, but we can put in a special order for almost any CRI you might need.

light bulbs cri

9. Light Pollution

In simple terms, this means inappropriate and excessive artificial light. Light pollution negatively impacts the natural environment and can damage the surrounding ecosystem. LEDs are easily made Dark Sky Compliant, which helps combat the four measures of light pollution. Light pollution is composed of four components that may overlap or mix.

  • Light Trespass: Light falling where it is not needed or intended. It exceeds the borders of a specific area.
  • Glare: Excessive bright light which causes visual discomfort. Too much glare can affect visibility.
  • Sky Glow: Artificial light is generated upwards, lighting up the night sky.
  • Light Clutter: Excessive groupings of light sources that are bright and confusing. This is often found in over-illuminated urban areas. Light clutter can contribute to sky glow, glare, or light trespass.

Many areas have certain requirements regarding light pollution. Especially in urban areas where dark-sky compliance is important. Consider full cutoff or semi cutoff fixtures for these applications.

light pollution

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About the Author

Cory Peterson is Director of Sales & Marketing at LED Lighting Supply where he focuses on improving customer experience and revenue operations. Cory writes about commercial & industrial lighting, along with topics important to contractors and facility managers. In his free time, Cory enjoys traveling, snorkeling, exercise and cooking.

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