Wednesday, May 12, 2021
May 12, 2021

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Energy Adviser: Security lights a bright idea for homes


Homeowners put a lot of energy into their property’s curb appeal; but sometimes they get so caught up in their home’s daytime aesthetics that they overlook the realm of possibilities that come after dark.

For a modest investment, lighting can make a home more secure by warding off would-be criminals while also highlighting your home’s best features and adding striking elegance to the entire property.

Decreased manufacturing costs combined with the exponential growth of the LED lighting applications have filled the market with countless lighting solutions at every price point.

With a little planning and research, you can have a lighting system that highlights your home’s best architectural and landscaping features while also protecting your valuables, all without annoying your neighbors or creating unnecessary light pollution.

Clark Public Utilities Energy Services Counselor Mike Wallace has more than a decade of experience with lighting in commercial and residential spaces. He recommends customers focus on illuminating driveways, walkways, parking areas, home perimeters, and landscaping features to balance safety with aesthetics.

Once you’ve identified the spaces you want to illuminate, the next step is identifying which lighting systems are the right fit.

“A basic security lighting system will illuminate the front of your house from dusk to dawn with timers or photocells and illuminate the sides and rear of your house with motion sensors,” he said. “Lights in driveways and walkways can serve a dual purpose of warding off nefarious characters while also making it safer for homeowners to walk their properties after sundown.”

A strong home security lighting system will include both active and passive lighting elements to create uncertainty for unwelcome visitors. They’ll also make it safer to walk around at night by illuminating pathways, hazards and sudden elevation changes.

“But whether your home already has security lights in place or you’re putting them in for the first time, it’s worth investing in LED bulbs,” Wallace said. “They offer tremendous energy savings and a longer useful life than halogen or incandescent lights.”

Many LED security lights are so efficient they don’t need to be wired into the home’s electrical system. Many lights are powered by a small solar panel and battery. Those battery-powered, wall-mounted, motion-activated LED lights are usually very affordable and easy to install.

“Being that they’re independent from your home’s power supply they’ll still illuminate your home if the power ever goes out,” Wallace said. “On the other hand, having a system that is wired into the home gives the property owner a level of control that is certainly appealing.”

But if you want greater security features, there are numerous systems that integrate video surveillance into the security lighting system. Homeowners can get real-time notifications on their phones, computers or tablets anytime something goes past the cameras. A few models can even be controlled with a voice command.

No matter the style you select, keep in mind that the best product isn’t necessarily the most expensive–it’s the one that fits your needs, enhances your home’s best features and fits your budget.

When thinking about home security lighting don’t overlook your home’s interior. Setting a few timers on your lamps, stereos or TVs is a cheap and easy way to look like you’re home while you’re away.

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98688.