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Technical environment

Global standard 220V-240V/50Hz-60Hz
Standard for USA/Canada 120V/60Hz, 277V/60Hz
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Correctly illuminating facades, ,

Facade lighting: correctly illuminating facades

Public & Outdoor – illuminating public and private buildings

Impressive facade lighting makes buildings visible in the urban space and enables orientation. There are different methods of illuminating a building depending on the type, for example office building, historical building, residential building or museum. The uniform illumination of facades serves to emphasize landmarks and gives them a calm presence in the urban space. Light accents on the other hand structure large surfaces and highlight architectural details such as columns and cornices. Grazing light wallwashing is ideal with facades for highlighting the fine textures of timber and natural stone to create striking reliefs. To avoid light pollution, good glare control and precise lighting technology are important factors when selecting facade luminaires. We give you tips on how to strikingly illuminate facades in unison with the needs of both people and the environment.

Correctly illuminating facades

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The perfect lighting of facades: what you should know!

Correctly illuminating facades

From accenting to floodlighting: find the right light distribution

ERCO offers luminaires for outdoor applications with up to ten different light distributions. The selection ranges from very narrow to wide distributions. In this way a wide variety of lighting concepts can be implemented: from the precise accentuation of small details on a facade with narrow light distributions such as narrow spot (approx. 8°), spot (approx. 10° to 20°) and flood (approx. 30°) to the uniform floodlighting of large buildings with light distributions such as wide flood (approx. 50°), extra wide flood (approx. 90°) and wallwash (uniform wallwashing). Oval light distributions such as oval flood (approx. 20° x 60°) are also available and enable the highlighting of linear facade elements and logos. ERCO's high quality optics enable you to achieve maximum illuminances on the target surface via precise LED technology.

Correctly illuminating facades

Uniformly illuminating an entire facade

Wallwashing illuminates facades in a uniform way and emphasizes the dimension of the architecture as a whole. A major advantage in the design of urban spaces is that a vertical surface creates a high impression of brightness even with low illuminance. For efficient wallwashing with large spacing between luminaires, ERCO features specialized luminaires with wallwash light distribution in many of its product ranges.

Correctly illuminating facades

Modelling the facade structure with grazing light

Another way to wallwash is by using grazing light. With this method, the details on facades are emphasized and highlighted by strong shadows. Grazing light is particularly effective on historical facades with interesting surfaces and reliefs. Facade luminaires and ground-recessed luminaires are ideal for this purpose.

Correctly illuminating facades

Correct use of light colors and contrasts

Different light colors enhance the nuanced nature of the facade. Warm light colors such as 3000K are suitable for warm-toned materials such as wood, whilst cooler light colors such as 4000K are more suitable for cooler surfaces such as exposed concrete. RGBW luminaires are ideal for scenographic lighting concepts on facades. Different levels of illuminance also enhance the differentiation of the facade. To render accents visible we recommend a brightness ratio to the general lighting of 1:5 to 1:10.

Correctly illuminating facades

Pay attention to the correct handling of light

Especially in outdoor applications, sustainable lighting solutions for ecologically exemplary applications are imperative to harmonize the needs of people, animals and plants at night. ERCO lighting tools make a significant contribution to this thanks to their high-precision optics and excellent glare control. They direct the light to exactly where you need it—without spill light. To completely avoid light pollution, we recommend that you make sure to correctly align the luminaires so that no light shines into the night sky. The right brightness also helps to protect the environment. This is why our luminaires for outdoor applications are dimmable.

Correctly illuminating facades

Boden, Gebäude oder Mast – Von wo aus möchten Sie beleuchten?

The location of luminaire installation is one of the factors determining the lighting effect. ERCO offers various types of luminaire that illuminate facades from below, above, near or far. To illuminate facades from the ground, ground-recessed luminaires are a very elegant solution—the luminaires themselves remain almost invisible whilst only the effect of the lighting itself is noticed. Ground-recessed luminaires are available in six different light distributions. Facade luminaires on the other hand function as a discreet design element on the building and create a magical form of grazing light. Projectors, floodlights and wallwashers with up to seven light distributions allow mounting in almost any location: on the ground, on the facade, on bollards and on high masts. Matching accessories enable numerous mounting options.

Correctly illuminating different facades

Correctly illuminating facades

Solid facades

The material, form, texture and the light determine the appearance of facades. The impression of a facade changes over the course of the day due to the direction of light, the varying components of diffuse and direct light and the color of the light. The correct combination of light distribution, light color and light control creates striking facades in the evening. Various illuminances differentiate between areas of a facade. Grazing light highlights fine facade details. Floodlighting makes facades appear as a complete unit. Illumination outside of the facade plane should be prevented to avoid light pollution.

Correctly illuminating facades

Historic facades

Many heritage buildings communicate their narrative via reliefs, ornamentation and sculptural elements. Nuanced illuminances, light distributions and light colors give the appearance of the facade a sense of rhythm. Harsh contrasts between accentuated and unilluminated zones can be balanced with floodlight general lighting.

Correctly illuminating facades

Transparent facades

Transparent buildings with glass can be illuminated with light in different ways at night. If the view is to be directed into the building, a brightly lit interior helps and the building also seems to illuminate from the inside. This concept emphasizes the spatial depth of the building. Alternatively, the supporting structure of the facade can be highlighted with light so that the structure of the glass plane becomes visible. Illuminating transparent glass is not recommended due to its reflection and transmission properties.

Example lighting and arrangement of luminaires

Floodlighting creates a very uniform distribution of light on the facade and makes it appear flat. Floodlights are suitable for mounting points opposite the facade, whereas wallwashers are the lighting tool of choice for mounting points on or in the ground.
The wall distance (a) of lens wallwashers should be about one third of the facade height (h) for this purpose. This results in an angle of tilt (γ) of approx. 55°. Arrangement: a = 1/3 x h or γ = 55°

For good linear uniformity the luminaire distance (d) of lens wallwashers can be up to 1.2 times the distance to the wall (a).
Arrangement: d ≤ 1.2 x a


With a wide arrangement of 1:1.25 we recommend wallwashers with a 48 watt LED module to uniformly illuminate a facade with a height of 12m from a distance of 4m with approx. 50lx.

Durable luminaires for low-maintenance operation

Correctly illuminating facades Correctly illuminating facades

ERCO LED lighting after 20,000h

Decisive factors for low-maintenance operation are maintenance of luminous flux and the failure rate of the LEDs. Comparing an ERCO high-performance LED (L90/B10) with a standard LED (L70/B50) demonstrates the positive effect of high-performance LEDs on investment costs. ERCO outdoor luminaires feature a failure rate of 0.1% of LEDs at up to 50,000h. This means that after just 20,000 operating hours, an approximately 10% higher luminous flux is generated with ERCO High-Power LEDs.

Conventional LED lighting after 20,000h

For a standard LED module with a failure rate of 0.2% of LED modules per 1,000h, with 50 luminaires installed, the failure of two luminaires after only 20,000h must be expected, whereas ERCO High-Power LEDs provide an unchanged light impression.

Technical features

Correctly illuminating facades

From small to large

You'll find the right size and lumen package for every lighting task. For projectors, floodlights and wallwashers the selection ranges from 2W/210lm to 96W/13200lm: ideal for both small and monumental facades.

Correctly illuminating facades

For adverse weather

All ERCO outdoor luminaires have at least an IP65 protection rating. This means they are dustproof and protected against jets of water from all directions. Ground-recessed luminaires are also protected to IP68 against temporary immersion.

Correctly illuminating facades

Extremely long-life

ERCO luminaires for outdoor use require little maintenance and are particularly durable. The housing is made of corrosion-resistant cast aluminum, double powder coated. The no-rinse surface treatment ensures a reduced dirt deposit.

Correctly illuminating facades

Quality of light with precision

ERCO luminaires for outdoors project light using highly efficient lens technology. This generates precisely defined beams of light of approximately 8° to 90° without spill light. Noteworthy is that high illuminance is achieved even at low wattages.

Correctly illuminating facades


"ERCO individual" offers extensive options for the customizing of product ranges:

Correctly illuminating facades

Up to 10 light distributions

Always the right light distribution – from accentuating small details to floodlighting high facades. With some luminaires, you can simply change the light distributions yourself.

Correctly illuminating facades

Display in colour

The right light for any type of facade: adjust the colour temperature dynamically or illuminate in colour. Luminaires with tunable white or RGBW allow scenographic lighting concepts.

Suitable luminaires for illuminating facades

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