LED Cobra Head Fixtures
Our Commercial LED Cobra Head Lights are designed to replace existing Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium cobra head lights. DLC Qualified for utility rebate eligibility, our commercial LED cobra head light fixtures are available with Type 1 - Type 5 distribution patterns - perfect for ideal illumination on diverse street roadways, highways, walkways, and parking lot areas.
The Different Applications of Street Lighting
Street lights have three main purposes. Different applications require a specific type of street light.
These street lights help drivers to see vehicles, pedestrians, and side roads as they approach them. They are also able to brake at the right time in case they need to go off the main road.
These street lights are typically used at road intersections where drivers must make quick decisions and see any potential hazards. Roadway street lights should be placed at close intervals for light consistency and to eliminate drivers’ eye strain normally caused by being in and out of light pools.
Cycle Paths and Footpaths
These paths must be well lit for the safety and security of cyclists and pedestrians in residential areas. They ensure users have good visibility on the street and prevent potential dangers that could be caused by hazards strewn across the paths like bricks or branches.
The Problem with Conventional Cobra Head Street Lighting
Street lighting is as important today as it was several years ago. Although traditional street lighting systems have been useful over time, in many instances, they have caused the following problems for cities, municipalities, and residents:
High Energy Consumption
First of all, the energy consumption of traditional street lights is high. Street lighting accounts for up to 40% of the total energy usage in many cities. During cold weather, traditional lamps require more energy to produce sufficient light, and sometimes, they can burst. The adoption of the newer and more efficient LED street lighting greatly reduces energy consumption.
Over Lighting and Light Trespass
Over lighting is another problem. Traditional sodium lamps, which are commonly used for street lighting, cannot be dimmed easily and thus provide unnecessary bright light. Very bright street lighting not only causes light pollution, it also affects human sleep and health when people are overexposed to it.
Light pollution interferes with astrology and affects the migration of some bird species. In some cities, even when there is low pedestrian and vehicular activity, street lights still operate at high intensity, leading to wasted energy and environmental issues. LED street lights can be controlled and dimmed to provide lighting when required.
Light trespass occurs when street lights produce unwanted light that shines directly onto adjacent residential properties, causing discomfort to residents. Unlike LED street lighting, traditional lighting systems are not capable of producing directional light which is sent only where it is required.
Another problem with street lighting is the maintenance of traditional lighting systems. Due to their short lifespan and poor light quality, they require re-lamping and servicing quite often. A lot of time is wasted on the maintenance process. Money is also spent in purchasing new lamps, fixtures, and on labor.
The inconvenience faced by residents during light maintenance or repairs cannot be ignored. For necessary repairs and maintenance to take place successfully, authorities may have to block portions of some streets for safety purposes. Residents would then have to use alternative routes which could take them longer to get to their destinations.
Also, most cities require that any street lighting problems like broken lights or idle lights be reported using a report form on their websites. It may take a long time for faulty lights to be repaired after residents have reported the problems.
This means that if one street has a couple of faulty lights, it may be dark for a couple of days before any repairs are done. Residents will not feel safe walking or cycling on these streets. The high quality and long lifespan of LED street lights perfectly solves this problem, because they do not require frequent replacements.
Traditional street lights contain hazardous chemicals which affect the environment. Fluorescent lamps, HPS, and metal halide lamps contain mercury, a highly toxic substance that gravely affects human health. Special care must be taken while operating, maintaining, and disposing of these lamps. They could break accidentally and cause a potential hazard.
The unsafe disposal of these lamps means that mercury flows into lakes and rivers, making the fish and water toxic for human or animal consumption. Sodium, found in low pressure sodium and high pressure sodium lamps, is a volatile substance that can trigger combustion when exposed to air – for instance, if the bulbs accidentally break. LED street lights are solving this environmental problem since they do not contain any dangerous chemicals and are recyclable.
Poor Quality Lighting
Traditional lights like high pressure sodium and low pressure sodium produce a harsh yellow light and have poor color rendering ability. Residents and law enforcement personnel are not able to see objects, vehicles, and people as they normally appear.
Old fashioned street lighting on some streets is unevenly distributed. Lamp posts are placed far apart from each other, creating wide dark patches. In other locations, some critical areas along the street do not have lamp posts. And as cities have developed over the years, the lamp locations have not been re-assessed, so the light remains inadequate.
A serious problem with street lighting is possible stray voltage. Unnoticeable small stray voltages can cause lamp posts to accidentally get electrified. Damaged insulation within the pole can be very dangerous. It could cause electrical shock and kill anyone that comes into contact with the pole.
Types of LED Street Lights
Cobra Head Lights
These get their name from their shape, they look like a cobra waiting to pounce. They are available in different light output options.
These also get their name from their shape – the shoebox. They are ideal for streets where safety and security are paramount.
Street Light Retrofit Kits
Convert your existing street light over to LED with a street light retrofit kit. Models designed to replace 100W-1000W HID.
Crucial Factors When Buying LED Street Lights
It’s no secret that LED street lighting is superior to traditional lighting systems. However, LED street lights possess unique qualities that need to be taken into account when making the decision to acquire them. When buying LED street lights, careful consideration should be given to:
The Light Intensity
Most street lights are typically made for highways, and as a result, their light intensity is unsuitable for residential areas. Using very bright lights on streets or sidewalks will result in over-lighting. It’s therefore important to consider the light output of LED street lights and use the correct lights for efficient illumination.
Correlated color temperature (CCT) is an important factor to consider when buying LED street lights. It basically shows you the color, in Kelvin (K) that each street light produces. Compared to traditional lights, LEDs offer a wider range of color temperatures.
LEDs emit the same light color throughout their lifespan because of their L70 rating. Warm or ultra-warm light has a temperature between 2000K and 3500K, natural-looking light (daylight) has a temperature between 3500K-5100K, while cool white (bluish white) light has a temperature between 5100K-20,000K.
Cool white lights are not suitable for use on streets because they cause light pollution. That is not to say that such LED lights should not be used at all. They are just not suitable for street lighting. Using them on streets at night may affect the human eyes because of the blue light.
LED street lights with a CCT of 3000K (or a little less) are the best for street lighting in residential areas. The amount of blue light they emit is so small and doesn’t affect the human eye.
Color Rendering Index
Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the quantitative measure of a light source’s ability to reveal the colors of objects to the human eye compared to a perfect light source. CRI is measured on a scale of 0-100. 100 would indicate that the colors appear exactly as they do under natural light.
A CRI of 80 and above is generally acceptable for most lights. Lights with a CRI of 90 and above are considered to have an almost perfect CRI. Most LED street lights have a high CRI and render colors excellently while using less energy than traditional lights.
It is important to consider CRI because it gives the light users an accurate representation of the objects and of people they encounter on the streets. This is very useful for security and identification purposes.
Before buying LED street lights, you must consider the luminance or illumination level. Lux (lx) is the measurement for luminance levels. A lux meter measures the amount of light distributed by a light source over a specific area at a particular distance. The appropriate illumination level for night time street lighting on streets and sidewalks in residential areas is 10 lux.
Luminous intensity is the quantity of light emitted by a light source in a specific direction per unit of solid angle. The base unit for luminous intensity is candela which is one lumen per steradian. A narrow beam angle will indicate a higher luminous intensity even with the same light output. When using LED street lights with a narrow beam, the angle and mounting have an effect on the luminous intensity.
When buying LED street lights, daylight sensors are worth considering. Most LED lamps are dimmable and can be dimmed up to 100%. Daylight sensors can automatically adjust the light output of LED street lights, depending on the amount of daylight. They detect natural light and turn the lights on when the natural light is insufficient and off when there’s sufficient light. Daylight sensors reduce the usage of energy and light pollution by producing light only when it is required.
In Glamorgan, UK, over 10,000 traditional street lamps were replaced with efficient LED street lights to reduce the council’s electric bills and maintenance costs. They are normally dimmed between midnight and 6am to reduce energy usage and increase lamp life.
Common Misconceptions about LED Street Lighting
Several discussions have been going on about the possible negative effects of LED street lighting on human health and the environment. In the process, many misconceptions about LEDs have come up mostly because of the lack of information and facts about LED street lighting. Let’s discuss these myths and make important clarifications.
LED Street Lights Are the Most Dangerous Street Lights to Humans and Animals
The focus here should not be on the type of light but more on the amount of blue light emitted by the light source. LED lights have a wide range of color temperatures. The color temperature used for street lighting is 3000K and below because the amount of blue light is so limited that it doesn’t affect humans and animals. LED street lights can also be controlled to limit the amount of blue light they emit.
All Blue Light Is Dangerous To Humans and Animals
Blue light plays an important role in human health. It’s part of sunlight and enhances physiological human processes. The issue with blue light comes with over exposure at nighttime, which affects human sleeping patterns.
LED Street Lights Emit More Blue Light than Other Street Lights
During the initial stages of LED technology, the products emitted a significant amount of blue light. However, numerous improvements have been made to ensure LEDs produce limited blue light without affecting their efficiency and quality. Compared to conventional lighting, LEDs have the ability to generate directional light, meaning that they provide equal illumination with less light, decreasing blue light emission further.
Street Lighting Should Not Emit Blue Light
Street lighting benefits from having some blue light. Blue light is part of what makes up the light spectrum that enhances street safety and aesthetics. Light sources that contain some blue light make objects appear more natural, help with proper identification of objects and people, and enhance visibility at low illumination levels.
The Streets Are Better With Traditional Street Lights than LED Street Lights
For many years, major cities in the U.S. and around the world used conventional lighting technologies like fluorescents, HPS and MH lamps. But these lights became unpopular because their lighting is harsh, they are expensive to maintain, consume high amounts of electricity, and have a short lifespan.
Also, while traditional lights have no control over how much light they give off, LED lights emit focused light that can be adjusted to the preferred level and intensity. This reduces glare, light trespass, and light pollution. Without a doubt, the streets are better with LED street lighting.
The Unique Benefits of LED Street Lighting
Over the years, municipalities have realized that conventional lighting systems are not efficient and do not serve their climate change initiatives. Some of them have started city-wide projects replacing HID lamps with LED street lights because of the following benefits that LEDs offer.
Low Energy Costs
Although the initial cost of LED lights is higher than for other light types, their energy consumption is much lower and the savings quickly make up for the cost; they are more affordable in the long run. LEDs are made in such a way that they provide the maximum amount of lumens using the least amount of energy. Also, the fact that they emit directional light prevents wasted energy, reducing lighting costs.
The Climate Group embarked on a two-year study to examine the use of LED street lights in 12 major cities across the world including London, Sydney, New York, and Kolkata. The company discovered that the use of LED street lighting led to an 85% reduction in energy costs.
The University of California, Davis, and the city of Cambridge, MA, have installed LED street lighting and both locations have realized up to 80% energy savings. The LED street lights installed have sensors that detect activity on the streets. When there’s a vehicle or human traffic, these lights increase their brightness to almost 90%. When there’s no activity on the streets, the light output goes down to 10% minimizing energy wastage.
Many cities around the world have now adopted LED street lights because traditional lighting systems like HPS and MH lamps are inefficient and are big contributors to huge energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
LED street lights are a worthwhile investment because they have a longer lifespan than all lights. Their lifespan is 50,000-100,000 hours and they do not experience sharp lumen depreciation. While other light sources burn out, LED lamps provide bright light over a long period.
Human beings notice a decrease in brightness when the light output goes down by 30%. This is why the L70 rating is used. It indicates when light output will degrade to 70%. Unlike other inefficient light systems that last briefly, LED street lights last longer and this reduces the need for constant bulb replacements, saving time and money. During the lifespan of a LED street light, a traditional light may need to be replaced 4 times.
LED street lights are designed to work well during extreme weather conditions. Temperatures as high as 125°C do not affect their efficiency. They also work well in temperatures as low as -22°C.
Low Maintenance Costs
Cities and municipalities are constantly looking for ways to improve their services while reducing costs. They are now achieving this by adopting LED street lighting. The exceptionally long life of LEDs is the major factor behind reduced maintenance costs. The inefficiency of traditional lights calls for frequent bulb replacements and repairs.
A lot of time is spent reporting the lighting issues, replacing burnt out lamps, and repairing old fashioned fixtures, leave alone the labor costs involved. LED street lights require very little maintenance due to their durability and solid construction. They do not use filaments, ballasts, or fuel and can therefore withstand extreme conditions.
High Quality Lighting
LED street lighting provides high-quality illumination through a high color rendering index (CRI). A high CRI makes objects appear as they would under natural light. For a long time, there was a fallacy that excellent color rendering could only be achieved with high consumption of electricity. LED technology has proven that lights can have a high CRI with low energy usage.
For nighttime lighting, CRI is important for drivers and pedestrians to be able to accurately see objects and people for purposes of identification. With other lighting systems, people would not be able to accurately identify objects in their natural appearance.
Generally, well-lit streets provide increased safety and security. They also deter criminals, since most crime happens in the dark. Drivers are able to drive safely and avoid collisions or hitting objects on the road. Pedestrians are able to see their surroundings and walk safely in case there are obstacles along sidewalks. Quality lighting is also helpful for facial recognition – in case of crime – and identification on CCTV cameras.
Reduced Light Pollution
Traditional street lights may illuminate streets and sidewalks at night, however, they are notorious for light pollution. Light pollution is misdirected and excessive outdoor lighting. As countries and cities become more developed, the constant demand for street lighting increases the threat of light pollution.
The International Dark-Sky Association states that each year, about 12 million tons of carbon dioxide are released by invasive night time lighting. The association also estimates that 30% of all street light is wasted.
Light pollution occurs in different ways including light trespass (light spill), sky glow, glare, and light clutter. It affects the environment as carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.
Light pollution also affects the lifestyle of mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects by causing disorientation and affecting their migration, sleeping, mating, and feeding cycles. LED technology has addressed the light pollution problem by developing light fixtures that focus light only where it is required.
The Adoption of Smart (Intelligent) LED Street Lighting
Traditional street lighting provides constant illumination, increasing energy consumption and accounting for up to 60% of a municipality’s total lighting electricity expenditure. As electricity prices continue to increase, the energy required by traditional street lighting will remain the same.
Inadequate dimming technology and security concerns in many cities have forced decision makers to enforce new street lighting policies. Some recent policies require all lights to be fully functional throughout the night. Inadequate dimming also causes light pollution and decreases the lamps’ lifespan.
With increasing urbanization, smart LED street lighting is becoming the go-to solution. Smart street lighting works by detecting the movement of pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. When there’s no movement, the lights go dim; when there’s movement, they brighten.
This type of lighting reduces energy wastage, minimizes maintenance costs, and enhances safety. Improved technology enables LED street lights to communicate with each other in such a way that when a camera or sensor detects a passer-by, the neighboring lights are alerted and switched on. The pedestrian or cyclist is then surrounded by a circle of light.
LED Cobra Head Street Lighting Is the Future
In many cities, LED street lighting has replaced traditional street lighting. Decision makers in these cities have realized how high their energy bills have been due to the inefficient lighting used. Some municipalities can no longer afford these high costs.
The detrimental effects of conventional lights on the environment, humans, and animals are a major driving factor in the implementation of safe and efficient lighting. LEDs perform better than the best functioning traditional lights.
Cities and municipalities should adopt LED street lights to not only reduce energy and maintenance costs, but to also enhance the safety and beautification of their streets. The seemingly high initial costs of LEDs may be off-putting, but their short payback period makes them the best lighting option – hands down.
A Little About Our Street Light Fixtures
The type of fixture most commonly found for a street lighting application is known as a cobra head. These LED street light heads are what you probably see when looking at a street light, and they are perfectly designed for roadways.
Our cobra LED street light fixtures offer great thermal management to maintain cool operating temperatures, prolonging the fixtures' lifespan. We've specially crafted our cobra head LEDs to work perfectly in any application on the roadway.
Our outdoor street LED lights are an incredible achievement and cities, towns, and municipalities are gaining the benefits that our LED street light fixtures are offering. From small residential streets to highways, our all-in-one LED street lighting products are being utilized in a way that is improving light output, quality, all while reducing costs.
Since LED brings benefits to any application it is applied to, it is only multiplied when installed at a large scale like the size of a roadway or even for outdoor LED highway lights. By converting to LEDs on the roads or highways, local governments will gain the benefits listed on this page.
Not sure which fixture you need? One of our lighting professionals will help you choose the best LED street light fittings for your project.