Mains Voltage Lighting
Historically all lighting was “mains” voltage – that is, powered from the utility supply voltage, usually 240 volts in the UK. Older garden lighting systems rely on the PAR38 tungsten projector lamp, a large, clumsy and inefficient light source that is probably destined to follow its GLS (General Lighting Service) cousins – the familiar light bulb - into oblivion in the next decade as the EU starts phasing out inefficient tungsten lighting. But over the last 20 years creative garden lighting has owed its development mainly to the advent of the 12 volt MR16 halogen reflector lamp for small, easily installed fittings, and it is often forgotten that these lamps are already twice as efficient as old fashioned light bulbs, so energy efficiency is nothing new to garden lighting. So these types of “high efficiency incandescent lamps” are here to stay for a long time yet. In fact, in the last few years more halogen reflector lamps have appeared - in 240v guise, gaining acceptability for the way they combine compactness of light fitting with golden white light and the convenience of mains wiring, even though they are at least a third less efficient than their 12v precursor. Of the more modern mains voltage light sources, compact fluorescent lamps are gradually taking over from tungsten in exterior wall lights, bollard lights and lanterns.
A more recent innovation has been the advent of the GU10 halogen reflector lamp to combine the advantages of the 12 volt MR16 halogen lamp with the installation convenience of 240v input; these lamps are the same diameter – 50mm - as MR16 lamps, meaning spotlights can be about the same size without the need to incorporate bulky integral transformers. While they are less efficient than 12 volt lamps and the choice of lamp beams and wattages is not so comprehensive as 12v MR16 lamps, 240v GU10 halogen garden lights are often chosen for ease of connection to 240v wiring on house walls, gate pillars and locations where hiding a remote transformer would be difficult. Elipta’s range of compact spike mount spotlights and wall spotlights and MODULA recessed uplights include a wide choice of 240v versions, including energy saving led and compact fluorescent spotlamp versions as well as halogen models. WAYMARKER recessed marker lights and SMOOTHIE recessed steplights are now also available with 240v options
More powerful 240v metal halide high-pressure discharge lighting is becoming the main tool for uplighting large trees and architectural features. Uplighting trees with metal halide uplights is energy efficient and more controlled than with floodlights, which provide a less focused beam than a spotlight: good garden lighting design is about controlled use of lighting, not indiscriminate lighting up of the night sky. Uplighting with an energy-saving metal halide spike- or surface-mount uplight such as APOLLO or the recessed adjustable PERSIUS and OLYMPUS uplights is still the preferred technique where the openness of the canopy and branch structure allow the light beam to penetrate up through the tree. Metal halide uplights can be placed close to the outer edge of the canopy of densely-foliated trees such as conifers, “grazing” the foliage to emphasise texture from a close position.
Elipta’s 240v APOLLO range has a choice of reflector beam angles to project a 36 or 60 degree beam upwards to light a the inner structure of a tree, a dense tree canopy or a building facade. The Apollo 70w and 150w are designed for uplighting the largest trees. Apollo35 is a compact option for energy efficient uplighting of smaller, darker trees and 2-storey facades. These are all are surface-mount uplights with adjustable stirrup bracket for mounting on walls or an optional ground spike. All metal halide uplights are 240v energy-saving lights, typically providing an energy saving of at least 80% compared with ordinary halogen floodlights. Elipta’s 240v OLYMPUS range has a choice of reflector beam angles to project a 36 or 60 degree beam upwards to light a the inner structure of a tree, a dense tree canopy or a building facade. They are available in 70w and 150w models designed for uplighting the largest trees. PERSIUS is a compact 35 watt option for energy efficient uplighting of smaller, darker trees and 2-storey facades. These are all recessed uplights with adjustable internal reflectors in a choice of beam angles to suit spreading canopies, fan shaped trees and columnar specimens. All metal halide uplights are 240v energy-saving lights, typically providing an energy saving of at least 80% compared with ordinary halogen floodlights. Both ranges incorporate twin-compartment, twin lens construction, so that the hot lamp and control gear is in a lower compartment and a second upper compartment acts as an insulating chamber to ensure a cool lens temperature suitable for use in most walkover areas. Both OLYMPUS and PERSIUS uplights are available with a choice of 316 stainless steel top ring, a textured brass ring for buff stone and heritage settings, green top for installation in lawns, or black ring where the most discreet recessive finish is required