Photometric Study

In architectural and lighting design, ensuring that a proposed lighting solution is effective before implementation is crucial. This is where a photometric study comes into play. Also known as photometrics, photometric analyses, or simulated lighting designs, these essential tools help lighting designers and architects determine whether a proposed plan meets the project’s specifications, ensuring adequate light levels and compliance with various standards. This article explains the importance, applications, and benefits of photometric studies and addresses common questions.

Key Takeaways

    • Accurate Planning: Photometric studies offer precise simulations of lighting solutions, ensuring the proposed plan meets all project requirements.
    • Cost Efficiency: By identifying and resolving potential issues through simulation, photometric studies help avoid costly changes during construction.
    • Wide Applications: Photometric analyses are essential across various sectors, including sports facilities, commercial areas, and compliance projects, ensuring safety and regulatory compliance.

Photometric Analyses: Ensuring Lighting Specifications

A photometric study offers a comprehensive view of a proposed lighting solution’s performance before purchasing luminaires. Using advanced photometric software, lighting specialists can input property layouts, including poles, luminaires, buildings, trees, and other elements that may impact illumination. The software calculates light levels, providing a detailed layout with footcandle measurements at specific points and average measurements for the entire property.

This process allows lighting designers to make informed recommendations on the type and number of luminaires required, eliminating guesswork. If one layout doesn’t meet the desired outcomes, it can be easily modified and re-evaluated. This ensures that the lighting solution is solidified before purchasing the luminaires, preventing the frustration and cost of making changes during installation. Customers can visualize the exact lighting they will receive, ensuring satisfaction with the final result.

Common Examples of Photometric Study Applications

Sports Lighting

Commercial and Public Areas

Compliance and Regulatory Projects

  • Dark Sky Compliance
  • Light Trespass Analysis
  • Projects Required to Meet Specific Light Outputs

Efficiency and Comparison Projects

  • Projects to Reduce Energy Use
  • Budgeted Projects
  • Light Technology Comparisons

Photometrics and Sports Facilities

Sports facilities are among the most common applications of a photometric study. This technology effectively analyzes light levels for various settings, from single courts to full-sized stadiums and everything in between. Photometric layouts provide insights into light levels across the entire area and determine whether the layout meets the lighting specifications for a given sport or level of competition.

For instance, a tennis facility with eight courts may require club-level lighting while limiting light trespass. A photometric study ensures the lighting layout meets these requirements, simplifying the buying and installation processes. This approach guarantees that the facility will have optimal lighting conditions, enhancing the playing experience.

pickleball tennis court lighting
Pickelball Court Lighting

Photometric Renderings 

Photometrics for Commercial Areas and Parking Lots

A photometric study is essential for commercial areas like parking lots and walkways, where adherence to minimum, maximum, and mean light levels is often mandated by code. Proper lighting alleviates safety concerns and avoids potential liabilities, making the extra planning effort well worth it.

In some projects, it is impossible to guess which lighting technology will provide the best light. Whether a parking lot is lit by large flood lights mounted on poles, wall packs mounted to buildings, bollard lights in the ground, or a combination of these, a photometric study helps avoid reliance on assumptions. This ensures the lighting solution chosen is the most effective for the specific application.

Photometric Studies and Light Trespass

Modern photometric analyses are used to ensure that little or no light trespasses onto neighboring residential or commercial properties. Many local codes now prohibit light trespass of even one footcandle. Consequently, many commercial, hospitality, and industrial photometric analyses require examining light emission down to zero footcandles.

If light trespass is a concern, performing a photometric study before construction is essential. This preemptive measure ensures compliance with local regulations and minimizes potential issues with neighboring properties.

Actual Results May Differ Slightly from Photometric Results

The following applies to all photometric reports provided by Access Fixtures. Photometric reports generated by Access Fixtures use methods recommended by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). Calculations used to prepare your report will be based on data provided by a third party.

The accuracy of your photometric report depends on the accuracy of the data provided and adherence to this data during installation. Factors such as voltage variation and dirt accumulation can cause actual photometric performance to differ from photometric calculations. The report will be provided without warranty for accuracy, completeness, reliability, or otherwise. In no event will Access Fixtures be responsible for any loss resulting from any use of this report.

Speak to an Access Fixtures Lighting Specialist about Choosing the Right Fixture

At Access Fixtures, lighting layouts and photometric analyses are designed and analyzed by our lighting specialists. When you need help with a lighting project and a lighting plan, contact an Access Fixtures lighting specialist. Discuss your objectives and our team will work with you to develop a solution and confirm that the solution works by running a photometric analysis. To speak with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist, call (800) 468-9925 or visit our customer service page.


Photometric studies are invaluable tools in lighting design and architecture, providing accurate simulations and detailed insights into proposed lighting solutions. They help ensure that light levels meet project specifications, save time and money by preventing costly changes during construction, and are applicable across a wide range of sectors. By using photometric analyses, lighting designers and architects can make informed decisions, optimize lighting solutions, and enhance the overall effectiveness of their projects.

Photometric Study Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions about photometric studies. We have answers. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, contact an Access Fixtures lighting specialist at (800) 468-9925 or click here to visit our customer service page.

What is a photometric study?

A photometric study is a simulated lighting design that helps determine if a proposed lighting plan will meet the project’s specifications and provide adequate light levels.

Why are photometric studies important?

They allow for accurate simulation and planning, ensuring that the proposed lighting solution meets requirements and preventing costly changes during construction.

How does a photometric analysis work?

Lighting specialists use photometric software to input property layouts and elements that impact illumination. The software calculates light levels and provides a detailed layout with footcandle measurements.

What are common applications of photometric studies?

Applications include sports lighting, commercial areas, compliance projects, energy efficiency, and technology comparisons.

How do photometric studies save time and money?

By identifying potential issues and making adjustments through simulation, they prevent costly changes during the construction phase.

Can photometric studies help with regulatory compliance?

Yes, they ensure that lighting solutions meet regulatory requirements such as dark sky compliance and light trespass limitations.

What are footcandles in photometric analyses?

Footcandles are a measurement of light intensity. Photometric analyses provide footcandle measurements at specific points across the property.

Do photometric studies guarantee accuracy?

While they provide a detailed simulation, actual results may vary slightly due to factors like voltage variations and dirt accumulation.

Can photometric studies compare different lighting technologies?

Yes, they can evaluate different lighting technologies to determine the best option for a specific project.

How do photometric studies enhance safety in commercial areas?

By ensuring adherence to minimum, maximum, and mean light levels, they alleviate safety concerns and avoid potential liabilities.