Lamp Technology for Landscape Lighting

Progression of Landscape Lighting Technology

Incandescent Technology

Over the last 30 years, lighting technology has made a couple of major steps. Incandescent lamp technology was the predominant technology in the early 80's. Most of the lamps used in landscape lighting were also used in the automotive industry. The hold outs from that era are the 100 watt frosted light bulbs which are being banned today. The lamps are inexpensive and they also produce a light with color temperatures in the warm region with less lumens (dimmer). The operational life is very short compared to modern lamps and are very susceptible to burn out from vibration and jarring. The typical incandescent lamp will burn for an average of about 800-1000 hours, or 133 days of use at 6 hours per day.

Halogen Technology

Halogen lamps are a type of incandescent lamp, however they utilize a tungsten filament in an atmosphere of halogen gas, enclosed in a silica glass envelope. The process operates at high temperatures but renews the filament as it burns, providing extended lamp life. The typical halogen lamp will burn for an average of 2000, 5000, or 10000 hours (depending on the lamp) operating for 333, 833 or 1666 days, respectively on 6 hour cycles. Wide use of halogen lamps in landscape applications is the predominant lamp used in modern landscape lighting.

LED Technology

The latest lamp technology making its way into the landscape lighting arena is Light Emitting Diode technology. This technology has been in development for quite a while due to its long operational life and cost of operation. The early iterations did not have good color rendition and were known by their bluish tint. Most lighting applications were limited to solar powered lighting. LED's low power consumption characteristics were strong enough to ignore the color problems. Today's professional-grade LED fixtures not only operate for 40,000 to 50,000 hours, the color rendition is as good or better than halogen lamps. LED elements now come in warm white, cool white and daylight, making them comparable to other lamp technologies. Typically, LED fixtures will cast the same illumination of a halogen lamp while expending 25% of the power consumption. These characteristics make LED technology the most practical for lighting applications and are the future for landscape lighting.