The Problem with Motion Sensor Lights on Commercial Buildings

Motion sensor lighting is strongly - and rightly - associated with security. While that’s certainly true on a residential level, the theory doesn’t necessarily work in practice when you’re talking about warehouses and retail buildings. Fortunately, a little explanation quickly makes that clear. Here’s the problem with motion sensor lights on commercial buildings.
Shining a Light

The premise of motion sensor lighting is simple – when movement is detected, the lights come on. Any ne’er-do-wells lurking in shadowy corners will find themselves in a literal spotlight and likely flee. In a residential setting, there is further reason for a potential intruder to make him or herself scarce. When exterior flood lights suddenly come on, it’s probably going to alert someone inside and an investigation may be forthcoming. Many residential break-ins are crimes of opportunity, something that drops dramatically when bright lights suddenly come on inside and out.

Unfortunately, the same scenario isn’t necessary true in a commercial building setting. Here at Have Lights in Nevada, we routinely field requests from commercial building owners requesting the installation of motion sensor lighting to deter vandals and members of the homeless community. The expectation is always the same – exterior lights will come on, and intruders will panic and find every reason to move along. In reality, the sudden light may create a momentary reaction – maybe they scurry away to watch and wait – but the lack of follow-through from a clearly empty building in the middle of the night means there is no true deterrent. The truth is, even bright lights that flash temporarily may not be enough to discourage people from breaking into your building, especially once they become familiar with the length of time they’re on and from which areas they’re triggered.

A Better Option

Seasoned commercial building owners understand this reality all too well – after requesting motion sensor lights, they’re often back to ask for exterior lights that simply remain on throughout the night. Strategic exterior lighting that eliminates shadowy pockets are the true deterrent, after all. Any opportunistic would-be intruder – or someone simply looking for a shadowed place to sleep – will always avoid brightly-lit buildings in favor of the darkened ones.

When it comes to commercial buildings, motion sensor lighting defeats the purpose. Instead, opt for a “light ’em up and make ’em bright” strategy for commercial and industrial applications. Today’s LED lighting offers minimal energy consumption, so leaving the lights on all night long truly is a feasible solution.

For more information on LED security lighting, or for any lighting questions, give us a call. We’re happy to help.