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Installing Volleyball Court Lighting in a Hurricane-Prone Area: Ft. Lauderdale

Access Fixtures lighting specialists often get calls from electricians, property managers, and homeowners looking to light backyard volleyball courts. We were recently contacted by an electrician in Fort Lauderdale, FL, who needed to supply his end user with a volleyball court lighting package. The lights were to be used 2–3 nights a week for about 2.5 hours each night; the court was located right near the Florida coast. Access Fixtures has volleyball court lighting packages, but the location required special attention from our specialists.

Beach, Sports Bar, Club, and Backyard Volleyball Court Lighting in Florida

Volleyball court lighting is used for beachfront sand volleyball courts, sports bars, clubs, parks, and backyards. In this case, the court was a backyard volleyball court and the lighting system was a new installation, not a retrofit. The challenge was the South Florida wind load requirements—the customer wanted to make sure the poles would meet code. After a series of hurricanes caused massive damage in South Florida, codes became more strict and are now taken very seriously, for obvious reasons. Property owners, insurance companies, and municipalities don’t want light fixtures falling down or taking flight during hurricanes or tropical storms.

The Standard Volleyball Court Lighting Package Handles Standard Wind Loads

Normally, the Access Fixtures lighting specialist would be able to offer this standard package. The package includes four 378w LED fixtures, which offer a combined 212,688 lumens. This makes for a super-efficient 140 lumens per watt and L70 rating for 100,000 hours. The fixtures are instant-on, have optional dimming, and are compliant with UL and CSA standards. Shop for Volleyball Court Lighting

Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas Coastal Areas Do Not Have Standard Wind Loads

The above sounds great, but the package wouldn’t work on the coast of Florida . . . or the coasts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Texas, either. The standard package doesn’t meet the required EPA ratings for a place like South Florida, which calls for the lighting package to be able to withstand 130 MPH winds. The standard Access Fixtures volleyball court package uses two poles and a total of four LED fixtures mounted on twin horizontal tenons. Each of the fixtures weighs 56 pounds and has a total EPA of about 0.5. The 180-degree twin square vertical bracket weighs 15 pounds and has an EPA of less than .9. Two slip fitters, which secure the flood lights to the twin vertical bracket, weigh a total of 4.42 pounds and have a combined EPA of .42.

EPA Requirements for Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas Coastal Areas

At wind speeds of 100 MPH, an 11-gauge, 4” x 4” pole (a standard for volleyball courts), has a maximum EPA of 5.7 and a maximum weight load of 275. The sum total weight of the fixtures, bracket, and slip fitters is 131.42 pounds. The sum total EPA of the above is 2.32. This is well within the EPA limitations, which means the fixtures and poles will actually be able to withstand winds even greater than 100 MPH. Still, this is not enough assurance for the coastal areas in the southeast US. Current standards in most southeast coastal areas require poles and lighting to withstand 130 MPH winds.

Volleyball Court Lighting Solutions for Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas Coastal Areas

Access Fixtures knew poles in these areas must be able to handle the weight and surface area of the luminaires in 130 MPH winds. While the new poles would cost somewhat more, they would be able to exceed the requirement and be safe. Another important detail for these coastal sports projects is the specifications of the base and mounting bolts used to secure the poles in the ground. Depending on the soil density, variations in temperature, and other factors, the heavy-duty anchor bolts may need to be sunk into cement that has been reinforced with rebar. A licensed engineer may need to prepare, sign, seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval. Shop for Volleyball Court Lighting

Volleyball Court Lighting Solutions Almost as Simple as Making a Phone Call

Even in hurricane-prone areas, volleyball court lighting isn’t really all that complicated. It requires proper planning and cooperation with local code requirements, but that should be expected in any project. Access Fixtures can provide the right lighting and poles for any EPA requirements. For most projects, you’ll want to have a licensed engineer specify, prepare, sign, seal, and submit engineering plans to the building department. That way, you’ll know your project will go forward without a hitch and no matter which way the wind blows—or how hard it blows—everybody will be safe and the poles will remain standing.

If you need more information about volleyball court lighting, talk with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist at (800) 468-9925.