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Street Lighting Mt. Laurel, AL

Holophane luminaires help make
Mt. Laurel a walkable community

Walking the streets of Mt Laurel, Alabama, is like stepping back to a simpler time when everyone knew everyone else and neighbors chatted on wide front porches. Mt Laurel is a new town that blends timeless architecture with a sense of community and respect for nature. Residents travel on foot or bicycle to their destinations—whether the Town Center, a school or a neighbor’s house.

The master plan for the town was designed by internationally acclaimed town-planning firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ), Miami, FL. The firm’s concept called for a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) community that would encourage resident interaction while maintaining the natural beauty of the hills, trees and watersheds.

Because of the level of foot and bicycle traffic on Mt Laurel’s scenic streets and walkways, town landscape architect Rip Weaver, Ebsco Development, Birmingham, wanted the intersections to have plenty of light to promote safety. The houses within Mt Laurel are designed with sprawling front porches and carriage houses that have mandatory exterior lighting fixtures. The fixtures are illuminated between dusk and dawn to help illuminate the walkways and streets.

While Weaver wanted to provide sufficient illumination at the intersections, he was concerned about not polluting the night sky with light.

“Mt Laurel is located far enough from Birmingham that we are beyond its light field,” Weaver said. “We did not want the illumination at the intersections to shine into the sky and block the view of the stars.”

Fixtures installed in the Town Center are Hallbrook® luminaires from Holophane. Prague“ Series luminaires are used to illuminate the residential areas. Both luminaires have a flared reflector with IES cutoff optics and are mounted on 12-foot black aluminum poles with a shepherd’s crook and decorative clamshell base. Lighting assembly spacing varies depending upon the distance between each intersection.

Weaver said he selected the Hallbrook and Prague luminaires because of their prismatic glass refractor, which will provide years of service without yellowing. The luminaires also complement the English Arts and Crafts architecture used in the community, which combines stucco, rock and brick with steep-pitched roofs, wooden shingles, overhangs and sprawling front porches.

Once the luminaires were specified, Holophane installed test units with different lamps, including a standard high-pressure sodium lamp, a color-corrected HPS lamp and a metal halide lamp.

“We felt the high-pressure sodium lamps tended to drown out the colors,” Weaver said. “The metal halide lamps provide a quality of illumination similar to that supplied by the incandescent lamps used during the 1920s and ‘30s, which is the period we are trying to emulate. The metal halide lamps offer a certain pureness of light.”

The Prague fixtures are installed 5 1/2 feet from the curb. In the Town Center, some of the Hallbrook luminaires are installed along the curb while others are located as far as 11 feet from the curb, depending upon the building locations and the landscape treatment.

“Mt Laurel is considered a legacy community,” said Weaver. “While the town is designed for today, we want the area to look and feel the same in 30 or 40 years. The houses and other elements are constructed to last so they can be passed along from generation to generation.”

The lighting fixtures, which are controlled by a photocell, are illuminated from dusk until dawn. Mt Laurel has a seven-year lease-purchase agreement with FMS Lighting Management Systems, which installed and will maintain the luminaires.

“We told FMS what we wanted as far as the lighting was concerned and the company made it happen,” said Weaver. “The Hallbrook and Prague fixtures are high quality; they fit into the community nicely.”


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