Some people love them and some hate them but if you are designing outside lighting, you always need to consider bollards.
We have concentrated on bollards that look a bit different or have special optical qualities or performance. What you won’t find in this review is a black bollard with concentric louvres on top.
If you are lighting a path or maybe a small car park, economics dictate that you should space the bollards as far apart as possible. For this type of space, you should choose a bollard where the beam is emitted at quite a high angle, say 70 – 80 degrees (from straight down). Additionally, you should also always put a bollard where there is a change of direction or difference in level such as stairs or a ramp.
Bollards are often used in environmentally sensitive areas where the daytime appearance of columns would not be acceptable. This is where lighting design becomes interesting because bollards with optics that enable wide spacings are more likely to emit some upward light. There are sound engineering and optical reasons for this. Minimising upward light and still achieving large spacing means you need a properly designed optical system.
One disadvantage of using bollards, as opposed to columns, to illuminate a car park is that adjacent vehicles can easily block the light and cause dark shadows.
You also need a certain amount of uniformity. Pools of bright light with dark spaces in between may look attractive in a computer rendering or designer’s sketch but, in practice, dark shadows can hide obstacles that you can trip over. Dark patches can also be confusing for people with poor vision.
Professional guidance on Obtrusive Light or Dark Skies limits the amount of upward light that may be emitted by luminaires. If no upward light is allowed then, obviously, a 1m high bollard means that people can only be seen from the waist downwards. You could argue that some light is reflected upwards off the path and that people’s faces could be seen but if the path is black asphalt that is an academic rather than practical argument.
My personal view is that the benefit of some upward light and being able to see people clearly generally outweighs the constraint of having absolutely no upward light (zero ULR).
Another hotly discussed topic is colour temperature; how Warm or Cool the light source is. Not so long ago, Cool LEDs emitted 25 per cent more lumens per Watt than Warm ones and there was a good energy saving reason to use high colour temperature sources. E.g. with a CCT >5000K. Nowadays, there is a much smaller difference in efficacy, lm/W, between Warm and Cool LED sources. There is also a lot more evidence showing that Cool sources can adversely affect the environment, for all sorts of different reasons.
Moonlight is around 4100K (albeit with a different spectrum from LEDs) so it would be difficult to justify a higher CCT for “natural” reasons. In my experience, most lighting professionals recommend much Warmer sources such as 3000K or 2700K.
Aubrilam is a long-established manufacturer of quality wood columns and supports for outdoor lighting. They also make bollards and these are constructed of Accoya wood. This is a pine, or other wood, treated by an acetylation process to make it durable and long lasting. The Accoya wood is guaranteed for 50 years above ground and 25 years below. An added bonus is that you can also recycle the wood afterwards.
Aubrilam has a range of wood bollards and the Natty is a typical example. It is 13.5W, IP65 and with an impact resistance of IK06. The LEDs are 3000K with a CRI>80. Control is by simple on/off or by DALI.
Bega Systems Bollard
The Bega system bollard is a range of compatible components which you can “mix and match” to obtain precisely what you want. There are nine different “heads” and three support tubes of various shapes and sizes.
Optically, there is a Dark Sky option which emits no upward light. There are also clear and opal lenses, 360 and 180-degree (for lighting footpaths) options, shielded and unshielded light sources etc.
Typically, it is rated at 35W and emits over 4,500 lm at 3000 or 4000K.
What I particularly like is the range of optional extras available. This can be from a simple PIR sensor to emergency battery operation or power outlets including those suitable for vehicle charging.
If you want a vandal resistant bollard, the Zelos is the benchmark. It is IK16 which means it can resist an impact of 150 Joules. This compares with the 20 Joules required for IK10 which is normally considered to be vandal resistant.
It also performs well optically with the main beam being emitted at about 70 degrees. This means that spacings of 8m can easily be achieved. Due to the eyelid style construction, there is minimal upward light.
This IP65, 3000 – 4000K unit ranges from 6 – 14W and is available in single or double-sided configurations.
3 hr duration emergency and DALI dimming/monitoring are available amongst many other options.
DW Windsor Ren
Mobile phones used to have thick frames all around the glass screen but nowadays they are almost trimless or wraparound. The Ren has a similar modern aesthetic. It has a large, reeded, rectangular front glass that extends right to the edge.
It has obviously been designed with people in mind. As such, the Ren emits a fair amount of upward light so you can clearly see people’s faces. There is an opal diffuser behind the front glass which softens the beam and avoids any hot spots or striations. Similarly, it is rated at just 2W and 8W so the whole space has a glare-free glow (DW Windsor describe it as volumetric illumination) rather than just a brightly illuminated line of light along a footpath.
This same philosophy means it is offered in 2700K versions, as well as 3000 and 4000K, and has colour rendering of CRI >80.
iGuzzini iWay Super Comfort
This is the latest in their range of bollards. Its main feature is that the source is invisible and is designed to be totally glare free.
Many bollards produce a deep shadow directly underneath with a hot spot of illumination about 1 – 2m away. iGuzzini has cleverly designed the iWay optic so that ground is illuminated smoothly around the base without any peaks or shadows. The main intensity of the beam is emitted at 60 degrees giving a typical spacing of 7m between bollards.
This 13W unit is available as 3000 or 4000K with a CRI >80. It is rated at IP66 and also has a clear polycarbonate lens giving it an IK10 impact resistance. To further increase the vandal resistance, there are three internal stainless-steel rods that connect the optical head of the bollard to the base.
Pavilion from Kim Lighting – aHubbell lighting brand
There is a huge combination of options with the Pavilion. In essence, it is a 14W or 22W, IP66 bollard with a choice of five beam spreads from long and narrow to symmetrical, (NEMA Types 1 – 5).
It is available in 3000, 4000 and 5000K all with a CRI >70 and typically emitting 1,100 to 2,200 lumens. There is also an amber, monochromatic option, 560 nm for environmentally sensitive areas.
A neat feature is the coloured RGBW band just under the optical head so you can colour code the bollard. For example, this could enable you to easily discriminate between different areas of a car park or public space. It can be controlled by a simple Bluetooth app on your phone.
There are also various other options such as power outlets, a 75 mm speaker (shown in photo) and standby emergency lighting. Protective louvres and grilles are also available. There is even the choice between a flat or conical top.
This adds a bit of fun to bollard lighting although purists might prefer to call it illuminated street furniture. The Frame takes its shape from the letter “I” in the Ligman logo.
The upper section, the “seat” is available in 3000K and 4000K. The lower line of light can also be RGBW. It is rated at 36W or 41W so the Frame provides an attractive pool of light in communal and public real spaces.
The aluminium body is available in a variety of metallic paint finishes including Bronze. It measures 440 mm high by 360 mm square.
By way of complete contrast, I should mention that Ligman makes other bollards including a security one that resists a 2.75 tonne vehicle hitting it at 50 km/h. Take your pick.
A key feature of the Inula is that it emits no upward light and is recognised as such by the International Dark Sky Association. The peak intensity of the beam is emitted at about 40 – 45 degrees so it is best suited where you want pools of light with close spacing.
However, it is available 1.2m high version which gives the beam a bit of extra spread.
The optical system itself comprises four individual modules so you can achieve a 90, 180 or 360 degree beam distribution. The light output ranges from 900 lm at 15W to 2,100 lm, 27W. All with a CRI >80. It is available in 3000 and 4000K. The LEDs, themselves, are recessed behind a clear pmma cover. The quadrant-shaped construction of the head means that the cover is effectively protected from direct impacts.
Schreder Urbis Pharos
You often see the Pharos specified for public realm projects where economical wide spacings are required together with a high degree of vandal resistance. You can easily achieve spacings of 10 – 12 m from this IP66, 11W bollard.
The standard version emits a small amount of light upwards, ULR 1.8 percent, so there is just enough to see people’s faces. There is also a dark sky version with ULR of only 0.3 per cent.
Impact resistance is described by Schreder as IK10+ and they have a video of someone attacking it, unsuccessfully, with a baseball bat. Maybe that’s why the Pharos is popular with some Local Authorities!
It is also tough electrically having 10kV surge protection.
Although Trilux offers 20 different lenses for this bollard, there are two in particular (AB2L and AB14L) which provide really excellent optical performance. These enable you to achieve spacings of 11 – 14m with much better uniformity than most bollards. At the same time, this IP65, 10W unit gives average illumination levels of 15 – 10 lux at those spacings
This performance is achieved by the bi-symmetric lenses which are hidden from view. These shine the light downwards onto a satin aluminium cone reflector which emits a soft glow. The clear acrylic lens is rated at IK04, so it is better suited to pathways in low risk areas.
WE-EF PSY400 series
The tag line for this range of bollards is “Bright walks, Dark Skies”. And that’s exactly what it does. There is a choice of four beam distributions to accommodate wide spacings on narrow footpaths to closer spacings where the path is broad or you want area lighting. I.e. the optics are variations on the amount of forward throw and sideways throw.
None emits any upward light and is therefore glare free and dark sky compliant.
LEDs are well protected by an IK10 polycarbonate lens. A variety of wattages is available from 12W – 26W, approximately 1,400 – 3,500 lm.
It is rated at IP66 and IK10 and is available in 2700, 3000 and 4000K.
The PSY400 series is available in black, white and three shades of grey. We-ef take particular care over the corrosion protection of all the bollard surfaces, fixings and components to ensure a long life. We-ef is much better in this regard than many manufacturers.