Townhome communities in some respects resemble housing developments and subdivisions. Most units are privately-owned, making them for all intents and purposes private that the homeowner can decorate, renovate, or upgrade at will. Deed restrictions apply, however, that specify what can and cannot be done to the exterior of individual units. Most townhome communities therefore have most, if not all lighting of public space coordinated and installed through the homeowner’s association. Townhome community lighting must satisfy both the regulatory demands of exterior outdoor lighting, fully accommodate the budget of the association, and satisfy the personal tastes of the residents. It makes sense; therefore, to work with a company like ILD that has both the technical and aesthetic knowledge necessary to fulfill all of these many requirements.
For example, parking lots around townhome communities require increasingly advanced lighting solutions that must meet with a variety of regulatory standards. By law, all parking lots in Texas must have a minimum of 4 foot candles per foot to be considered safe for vehicle and human traffic. A firm like ILD can determine if an existing parking area is in compliance with these parking lot lighting codes. If it is not, excessive spending can be averted by conducting a photometric assessment and design of a new lighting system well in advance of installation. This analysis will show exactly where fixtures need to be installed, what pole heights the must be mounted at, and what optics are necessary to distribute the maximum amount of light only into the parking lot itself without spilling into windows of neighboring units and local businesses. This will ensure that a townhome community’s residential lighting system is in full compliance with dark sky regulations that may subsequently be passed in an area. Proactively complying with what is already a de facto nationwide standard for minimal glare and restricted light distribution will minimize the likelihood that a very expensive element of townhome community lighting will not have to subsequently be replaced to meet with codes.
Another important aspect of townhome community lighting is landscape and outdoor feature lighting. Almost every town house complex invests a good percentage of its association fees in creating and maintaining attractive grounds. Land features may be as simple as trimmed hedges and flower beds under trees, or they may be as ornate as French gardens and special lighting fountains, ponds, or artificial streams. These landscaping keynotes require a lighting design firm that understands the many nuances of lighting vegetation, water, and larger trees in an environmentally safe manner that is also cost efficient. It is never a good idea to take the cheap route and attempt to have the maintenance crew install retail-grade lighting fixtures water or large trees. Cheaper tree lights may save money up front, but they have a shorter lamp life and will ultimately cost the community more in the long run when light fixtures have to constantly be replaced. Retail-grade fixtures also lack the necessary engineering required to for more sophisticated angles of light distribution. Certain elements of landscaping require very precise angles of lighting to truly show their innate beauty and complexity. Sculpture and fountain lighting require a blend of light and shadow that creates a more three-dimensional presentation. Tree lighting must be done with specially-made mercury vapor lights designed to specifically emulate moonlight. It is virtually impossible to find a retail equivalent of the type of fixtures we can obtain directly from world-class manufacturers. Other landscaping features such as walkways, paths, and jogging trails can be better lit by low-voltage fixtures that require only minimum power to produce exceptional safety and aesthetics. For the townhome community that is looking for lighting that can produce a long-term savings in the form of reduced replacement and energy costs, there really is no other option than commercial-grade, professionally installed fixtures.
Perhaps the most important aspect of commercial community landscape lighting is illuminating the community center and surrounding public areas. Virtually every townhome complex has a community center of some sort that acts as a common gathering ground for residents and guests. In many ways, it actually works as the heart and soul of the complex as it serves as a hub for its many activities. A typical community center will need lighting one or more sports areas, a swimming pool, picnic and/or park areas, and an office area for professionals and crew on staff. Each one of these areas in the townhome community center needs require lighting designed on a professional scale. Architectural and building lighting designs must be carefully developed through a photometric analysis and design program so as to determine an appropriate number of lighting fixtures, the proper locations to mount them. Any sports lighting indoors or out will no doubt require commercial grade fixtures in order to create the necessary levels of light for safe play and to ensure a reasonable life expectancy for the fixtures themselves. Sports lighting is one area that townhome communities do not want to cut corners on. Sports lights of any kind are going to cost some dollars, but when one considers the liability that can result from an accident, coupled with the high power bills and constant replacement of lights that were either poorly designed or incorrectly installed, it is better to invest up front in something that has been proven to last and perform at or above expectations.
Because every townhome community is in many respects a world unto itself, any lighting system installed must be highly individualized to meet the specific challenges of the community and the personal tastes of the residents. In order to create such as system one must do business with a company like ILD that has the resources to conduct a photometric lighting analysis of the property and develop an advance lighting plan for design. This will allow any townhome community that is considering new lighting to know exactly what they are getting into well in advance of the actual project. Costs and labor can be clearly outlined, and any concerns about the actual equipment used and its proposed layout can be appropriately addressed prior to executing the contract. This eliminates surprises on the final invoice, and it allows townhome communities to play directly interactive role in determining the nature of their lighting systems, landscape lighting maintenance contracts and calculating the return on the investment they are making.
Illuminations Lighting Design is a full service design build firm specializing in residential and commercial indoor lighting and outdoor lighting, electrical service and maintenance as well as home automation, home theaters, emergency generators, surge protection systems, phone systems and lighting control systems…
To make an new appointment, reschedule an appointment with a specific salesman or crew please use our handy online scheduling form or just give us a call at 713-863-1133. We are located in Houston Texas but provide lighting and design services in Austin TX, El Paso Texas, San Antonio TX, College Station Texas, Beaumont TX, Dallas Texas, Midland Tx and points beyond.