Making Sacred Spaces Safer Places with LED Landscape Lighting

The outdoor lighting professionals at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta create residential and commercial lighting designs that capture and accentuate the aesthetic beauty of a landscape. The team uses premium quality fixtures that are crafted to last, and technicians maintain and repair commercial and residential lighting systems, whether Southern Landscape Lighting Systems installed the system or not. At Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta, customer satisfaction is a top priority.

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Checklist to Make a Safe Space a Safer Place

Through the ages, churches and other places of worship have been regarded as havens of physical and spiritual rest, sentinels of refuge for the oppressed, and safe places for victims fleeing invading armies or advancing foes. According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 42% of Georgians attend church about once a week. That statistic helps explain the existence of nearly 1500 places of worship in the metro Atlanta area. Here is a practical checklist for the facilities manager, custodian, or diaconal committee seeking to make their sacred safe space a safer place for the flock.

  1. Identify existing and potential safety hazards. Making a sacred safe space a safer place begins with the identification of risk hazards on the premises, including the parking lot, boarding areas, loading docks, playground areas, open recreational spaces on the lawn, sidewalks, walkways, inclines, handicap ramps, steps, walking paths, stepstone paths, shadowy or dark alcoves, and facility entrances and exits.
  2. Seek input from the congregation, especially senior members of the flock, in identifying problem areas around the building and grounds. A “Watch Your Step” caution sign is a strong indicator that the location may be a prime candidate for landscape lighting. Where are falls, mishaps, and near falls occurring at the facility and grounds? The average cost of a slip, trip, and fall injury is between $30,000 and $40,000, not including the long-term effects of disability, lost time from work, private-pay living assistance, or litigation.
  3. Look for signs warning of imminent danger. Warning signs indicate that a hazard is present. However, the sign might not be very visible when shallows are long and light is minimal. Light the sign with a spotlight and ensure the precarious path or steps are well-illuminated.
  4. When creating a lighting plan, consider guests who may not be acquainted with the facility and grounds. A tricky step-up or a winding walkway may pose no challenge to people who are familiar with the landscape and can easily maneuver around the church property. In contrast, a first-time visitor may find the trek more challenging, especially if he or she is older and has eyesight challenges such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration.


Other Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

A close examination of the landscape lighting around any facility with high foot traffic will shine a light on other hazards. Stepstone pathways are a definite risk hazard. Replace the treacherous hardscape with a more user-friendly surface such as concrete. Mulch may be less expensive and may provide a cushion if someone falls, but it can be tracked into the facility when it rains, staining the carpet, or creating a slip hazard.

Conversations with the congregation may bring to light risk hazards not related to poor lighting. For example, concerns could include a raised edge on the sidewalk, the puddling of rainwater on a porch or walkway, a loose brick on the outside steps to the choir loft, a warped plank in the deck behind the fellowship hall, or a wobbly handrail on the handicapped ramp leading into the sanctuary.

Landscape Lighting: Not Only for the Evening Hours

Most people associate landscape lighting with the first few hours of darkness once the sun sets. However, the church facility is often frequented in the hours leading up to dawn. A men’s breakfast, an early morning senior trip to the mountains, or a sunrise Easter service present nuanced lighting challenges that a lighting professional can easily overcome with programmable scheduling technology and strategically placed fixtures to address morning shadows and dark spots.

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Landscape Lighting When the Sun Is Shining

A consideration when adding a new lighting system or upgrading an existing system is the need to illuminate hardscapes such as walkways and alcoves that may not receive much sunlight due to the architecture, ornamental vegetation, or a thick tree canopy. A landscape lighting solution such as downlighting, tread lighting, or spotlighting may be more easily installed and much less expensive than commercial structural lighting.

Onsite consultation with an experienced landscape lighting design and installation professional can help identify real and potential risk hazards in a residential, commercial, or sacred setting. The team at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta can be contacted by phone at (770) 691-1221 or by email at [email protected].

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