…continuedYour Home Lighting Guide
If replacing your existing fixture (or your neighbor’s) is not an option, it may be possible to buy or make a shield for it. One common light, sold by many retailers, is a dusk-to-dawn fixture in a quasi-cylindrical enclosure with a mercury-vapor bulb of 100 to 175 watts. These are legendary for the amount of glare and waste they produce — one manufacturer even calls its model the “Yard Blaster.” If you have one of these, or must endure one installed by your neighbor, help is now available.
Since 1994 Hubbell Lighting has produced a hemispherical shield known as the SkyCap (NPU-BI). This all-metal attachment turns this style of security light into a full-cutoff fixture. Unfortunately, Hubbell sells its products almost exclusively through commercial distributors. But a version of the SkyCap is available (NH1204; $35 plus $10 shipping) from Green Earth lighting. David Oesper, GEL’s former owner, has added a centering ring to ease installation, provide proper alignment, and make it more durable in adverse weather. Hubbell also incorporates the SkyCap in its series of complete Nite-to-Lite fixtures ($201 from Green Earth Lighting).
Decorative & Pathway Lighting
Decorative exterior lighting. After despairing that no decorative full-cutoff lights were available in major retail stores, we found one that comes close. The Heath Zenith Security Wall Light (SL-5630; $50 at Home Depot) uses a combination of shielding, internal reflectors, and Fresnel lensing to control the output from its 100-watt halogen bulb.
Path and landscape lighting. One commonly available offering is the Malibu Solar-Powered Accent Light (LZ1D; $10 at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Sears Hardware). Its energy-efficient LED emits only a few lumens, throwing a soft glow onto its immediate surroundings. The installation is easy (just plug in the batteries and stick it in the ground), though you may have concerns about the durability of these plastic fixtures.
Another product is the Twilight Low Voltage Tuscan Path Light (TTG-104; $17 at Lowe’s). The Tuscan is a full-cutoff, low-voltage fixture that connects to your house for electricity (as do most path-lighting systems). Such low-voltage applications are safer than household current; also, they are not regulated by local building codes and do not require a special underground conduit. But you do have to purchase a transformer ($33 and up) separately.
Nightscaping sells and installs products through professionals that use minimal lighting to achieve your desired effect. We were impressed by the Deckliter, a little unit that hides under your eaves and illuminates a deck or patio as would the full Moon, and the versatile Turtle, which can sit on the ground as a path light or be a full-cutoff sconce on the side of your house. However, these quality fixtures come at a price: basic multiple-unit installations run from $1,500 to $5,000.