Obstructed lights are lights that have all or some of the light that they put out blocked before it can get to where it is useful. If a light fixture is located where and object makes a shadow in the area you are trying to illuminate you are not getting full value for the energy used.
Blocking of light fixtures usually occurs over time because no one would intentionally put up a light in a location where the light can’t shine where needed.
However, mistakes do happen. Lights can be put up in the wrong place and floor plan layouts can get changed even in new construction.
Examples of Obstructed Lights
An at home example would be an outdoor light that now has a tree or tall shrub blocking it. All the light used to shine on the front walk. But, now that the tree has grown taller, the homeowner is not getting the full benefit of the light.
An industrial example would be a light that was hung from a factory ceiling years ago. Since then new equipment has been installed. Now ventilation ductwork passes right under the fixture, blocking the light.
A commercial example could be in a store where the floor plan has been changed. A ceiling mounted light that used to illuminate a display area is now located above a tall storage unit.
In these cases, the light gave full value when it was installed. But, now the blocked light still uses electrical power and the owner gets no or very little benefit from the light it produces.
Trim the tree or move the light fixture
The quick fix for the problem is to turn the light off. The next step is to determine if the light is truly needed in that area. If light is a need then action needs to be taken to fix the waste of energy.
You have three choices:
1. Eliminate the light fixture
2. Un-block the light
3. Move the light fixture to a better location
If you are going to spend, the time and money to move it consider upgrading it to a newer more efficient lighting product.
Fixing one or two blocked lights won’t cut your energy budget very much. But, the bigger the facility is the more blocked lights you are likely to have.
In some situations, you can remove the blocked light and get the job done by upgrading a neighboring light to cover the area.
Correcting blocked lights usually means taking several out of service. The more lights you take out the lower your energy and maintenance bills will be. In the long run, the reduction in your maintenance labor and materials cost will be greater than the energy savings, but it all helps the bottom line.
by Birney Summers – 2009 All Rights Reserved