What is asymmetrical lighting and why is it important?

Whether it is across a sports field, street, carpark – or even your work desk – light distribution needs to be constant and comfortable on the eyes and directed to illuminate the area it is needed.

As an example, a home reading light shouldn’t affect others in the room watching TV, while providing the right level of light on the page and without too much glare.  Similarly, neighbours of a sports field do not want to be kept awake on game nights by unwanted bright light through windows.

The term asymmetric light output is the term to describe a system where light is directed sideways (or in an asymmetric pattern). Symmetrical lighting in comparison spreads the light equally in all directions.

New standards (AS2482:2019) came into effect earlier this year, which makes it mandatory to select lighting products for public spaces such as sports fields that minimises the potentially obtrusive effects of lighting including light spill and glare.  This also covers internally and externally illuminated signs, facades or other objects.  Some local government authorities have applied restrictions on the frequency of use and hours of operation of outdoor lighting, and on the levels of light spilled beyond the boundaries of the site.

This new standard primarily applies to new lighting installations and affects any project involving outdoor lighting.

Glare occurs when the eye encounters more light than it can cope with.  Luminance is light reflected from an illuminated surface, such as a white piece of paper or stainless-steel workbench, which needs to be considered.  Similarly, too much contrast or shadow can make it difficult to see properly to complete a task.  These are all factors that can be taken into consideration in a lighting design to help plan the right product selection and placement.

For area lighting, there are three ways to direct light to where you need it with the latest LED features:

  • Select the right beam angle. Most manufacturers offer a range of beam angles from very narrow to a wider spread of light depending on the lens.  This is a pre-set option, so it is important to select the right beam angle for the application when ordering.
  • Shields and adjustable brackets can be used to physically adjust the light to minimise glare and direct light to where it is needed. This is particularly important for sports lighting to direct light downwards where players need it, minimising light spill into the night sky or glare for spectators.
  • Intelligent Controls – 1-10V Dimming, DALI, Zigbee and DMX Controls are just some of the features in new lighting models to allow luminaires to be programmed asymmetrically to direct light to where it is needed.

Earthtrack has a full range of Earthlight Sports and Area Flood lights, with both symmetric and asymmetric features. 

As well as powerful lighting, these products offer the energy-efficiency and low emissions of LED technology.  Long-life cycles also means less waste in landfill and lower maintenance costs.  Being able to control lighting to dim lighting to 50% for training sessions and full power when switched on (opposed to waiting for lamps to warm up), also reduces energy usage.

The new Antares Sports is a powerful true asymmetric luminaire that can be incorporated into lighting designs that comply with the new standards and is now available as part of the Earthlight range.

Case Study – Donnan park oval – Tammin Western Australia 

Still unsure about the right flood and area light LED options for your project?  Call us on 1300 410 485 or email [email protected] and we can help out with advice and lighting designs.

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