Call it a street light, light post, streetlamp, or any other variation – selecting the right style is an art and a science.
What’s in a name? When it comes to illuminating streets, roads, sidewalks, medians, and parking lots, the name depends on where you are in the United States or globally. Some may refer to this illumination source as a street light, pole light, light post, or street lamp. No matter what you call it, the light it casts allows safe passage for pedestrians and motor vehicles in darkness. The light source also makes an excellent gathering place for moths and other night insects that enjoy the light. And, if you are of a particular generation, the automatic illumination was the agreed-upon signal that it was time to go inside for dinner – no smartphone reminder needed!
There is a science to selecting the right light pole or lamp post on which the source of illumination mounts. You may think all posts and poles are created equal, but they are not. The pole’s location dictates the type of material used to manufacture it and the height. A general recommendation for the height of light poles and lamp posts is as follows:
• Garden: 3 Feet
• Residential Decorative and Pedestrian Walkway: 6 – 9 Feet
• Street Lights: 9 – 14 Feet
• Highways and Parking Lots: Higher than 33 feet and are often called “high masts.”
Decorative lamp posts can be constructed to complement the architectural aesthetic of a neighborhood or community. Often, these are made of extruded aluminum and finished with a polyester color powder coat or black, green, or brown.
Light poles installed on heavily traveled secondary roads and highways are constructed of various materials and tend not to be decorative but functional and safe. Some light poles stand at equal intervals to illuminate critical navigational and transition points on and off highways. Because they are subject to a potential crash from a truck or car and encounter high winds, they must adhere to strict guidelines set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These guidelines call for specifications of the cement, aggregate, water, admixture, and steel used in the pole, in addition to tolerances and load-bearing procedures.
Whether you refer to it as a streetlight, pole light, or street lamp, the result is always the same — with an efficient luminaire mounted atop a light pole or post to provide illumination for the safe passage of pedestrians and motorists.
Read more at the ANSI Blog: Street Light Standards