A frequently asked question that is asked about cobra head lighting is very simple, and it’s “what exactly is a cobra head light?”
In short, a cobra light is often just the official term for a street lighting fixture. It’s important for a buyer to know what this term is when considering a purchase of lights for streets so they don’t get confused when technical lighting terms come up.
A Brief History of Cobra Heads and Street Lighting
While this won’t be an extensive history lesson on street lighting, a brief overview seems to be a good fit for this topic to get a better understanding behind cobra head technology.
In the beginning times of street lighting, is was as basic as a glass lantern with a candle in it. Of course, this was way back in the 4th century. The cobra head technology was first brought into the world of illuminating streets in 1957. Since then, a lot of progress has developed.
Some of today's most efficient cobra heads are made from LED technology. Some cobra head LEDs run upwards of 120+ lumens per watt. Back when they were first introduced, it was nowhere close to this.
This proves to the industry and clients of street lighting around the globe that is just over 50 years of cobra heads in existence, the technology has improved greatly. This put a great outlook for the upcoming years of street lighting in general to improve even further.
Common Cobra Head Technologies
There are three common technologies being used today in the world of commercial cobra heads. One we have already talked about, and that is LED. Here is the list of all three common technologies:
● Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
● Metal Halide (MH)
● High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
Out of all of them, LED is currently the leader when it comes to quality and efficiency. It offers the highest lumen per watt output, the highest quality of light, and a solution to energy waste in both the public and private industries.
The other two technologies, MH and HPS, are barely increasing in efficiency over the years while LED is improving at an explosive rate. LEDs are lasting longer and longer, producing more and more lumens per watt, slower in regards to lumen depreciation, and generally have a higher quality of light.
What to Consider When Buying Street Lighting Systems
Common things people ask about the purchasing of street lights consist of the following:
● Do I need to fully replace old and existing street lamps? The quick answer is it depends. Here’s why: you only should replace entirely if you need to. Common needs are when old fixtures are old looking, breaking apart, or you simply want new and improved looking fixtures. Replacing the bulb, also know as retrofitting, is a completely viable option if you just need to replace the light source itself. This reduces costs as you aren’t replacing the fixture entirely, just the light.
● How can I get rebates? You can typically only be eligible for rebates when your lighting technology is qualified by the DLC (DesignLights Consortium). On top of the rebates benefit of getting DLC listed products, it ensures you that you are getting quality products that have been tested and passed.
● Is it time to invest in new lights? Again this all depends on your situation. If you need to decrease cost, improve appearance, or even reduce light pollution; those are all perfect and very valid reasons to invest in new street lights. LEDs can typically do all of these things as they are more efficient on a per watt basis, they allow for directional lighting to reduce light pollution, and they can offer new looking fixtures that replace old ones.
Here we list some of the notable and key points that you should remember just in general in regards to cobra head lighting and street lighting systems:
● Always purchase based on need. Meaning, buy what you need. If you need an entire new fixture, get that, if you don’t, simply retrofit. This saves money and reduces waste.
● Consider going with LED. LED cobra heads are one of the most beneficial and best technologies you can go with. It has upsides in virtually every aspect from cost savings to quality of light. If you are going to need new lighting soon or even in the future, you should definitely keep LED on the top of your list to keep a look out for.
● Buy based on lumens per watt, not watts. Forget about buying based on watts when going with any type of light fixture. A keynote you want to always remember regarding any type of lighting: The more lumens per watt you get, the less watts you will need to produce the same amount of light compared to another fixture that outputs at less lumens / watt.