How to Choose the Right Dusk to Dawn / Photocell Capable Lights for Commercial Buildings

Dusk to Dawn lights are one kind of lighting system that gets fitted with a light sensor. It senses the level of ambient light in the surrounding area. When it senses that it has gotten dark enough at dusk, it switches the Dusk to Dawn light on and off when it is bright enough at dawn. In this light, the photocell feature is similar to dusk to dawn lighting.

Dusk to Dawn/Photocell Capable Lights are intelligent lighting systems with an integrated light sensor that works like an automatic switch. It turns on the light in response to the darkness of evening, and turns it off at the first light of dawn when there is enough light. This creates an array of advantages through automatic operation, ensuring enhanced security, safety, and energy efficiency, which in turn adds to the life expectancy of the LED light fixture.

Proper lighting of commercial buildings means more than just lighting up a space. Rather, it is meant to create a safe, secure working environment for employees, customers, and your property.

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Understanding Your Needs

Before getting into dusk-to-dawn/photo cell options, consider your building’s particular requirements. There are different foot candle requirements for various spaces. Building perimeters and entrances should be very bright to prevent crime and ensure security cameras have adequate lighting. Then there are parking lots and loading docks that require safety without minimal light pollution for surrounding residents. Lastly, calculate any ambient light provided by streetlights or adjacent buildings.

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Security and Savings

Dusk to Dawn lights do more than just illuminate. They naturally deter criminal activity by lighting a view that will help deter trespassers and give a better view for security cameras. Install motion sensor-activated lights in those special areas for extra added security.

But the advantages don’t stop at security. Dusk to Dawn lights are champions of energy efficiency. Many traditional on/off systems allow lights to burn unnecessarily. Dusk to Dawn lights eliminate that waste, leading to significant cost savings on your energy bill. Lumen output—what determines light intensity—is the key. Bigger lumens will give off a brighter light but also consume more energy. Choose the appropriate lumen level for each area to make sure you have enough light for safety yet won’t waste too much energy in any particular area.

Choosing the Right Dusk to Dawn / Photocell capable Light

Now that you understand your needs, let’s explore Dusk to Dawn light options:

  • Light Source: Majorly considered for commercial applications, LEDs are the most efficient option since they have higher energy efficiency, a much longer life, and less heat generation. Fluorescent lights show lower initial costs, but since their operational life is relatively shorter, their energy consumption is relatively higher when compared with that of LEDs. Basically used in applications where high energy consumption and shorter life can be tolerated, metal halide lights are the least used in comparison to other lamp technologies. Compact Fluorescent Lamps fall somewhere in between fluorescent lights and LED lamps with respect to efficiency and life.

  • Fixture Design: In outdoor applications, weatherproof light fixtures are very important. These were designed to endure rain and snow, and extremely high and low temperatures for continuous operation throughout the year. Mounting options are also important in their application. Wall mounts would be perfect for building exteriors, and pole mounts spread the light out more suitable for parking lots or loading docks.

  • Durability and Longevity: Invest in dusk to dawn lights that are long-lasting. Fixtures are made with heavy-duty materials such as rugged die-cast aluminum to ensure durability. Make sure that the lights are constructed to be weather-resistant and can withstand all sorts of weathering since they are outdoor-oriented. LED lights live longer and can run for years without frequent replacements. Outdoor lights are normally DLC certified.

  • Beam Angle: The beam angle of the lighting fixture guides how wide or narrow the illumination is spread. A broader beam angle covers more surface area, making it suitable for large and wide spaces. On the contrary, a narrow beam angle focuses light on a small area. The right beam angle ensures adequate coverage with a lesser number of units.

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Installation and Maintenance

Although dusk-to-dawn lights are relatively uncomplicated, professional installation is strongly recommended. Licensed electricians will be able to install the lights properly for peak performance, adherence to code, and protection from electrical hazards that might result due to a do-it-yourself installation.

The good news is that an LED dusk till dawn light needs very little maintenance. Most have a long lifetime, which greatly reduces the frequency of replacements.


Considering the location, security needs, and energy efficiency will help you pick the right dusk-to-dawn lighting for your commercial building. With dusk-to-dawn lights, you will enjoy a trifecta of advantages: added security, improved safety, and money saved off your energy bill. Let your lights work smarter, not harder, and light up the pathway toward a safer and more sustainable future for your business.


What are Dusk to Dawn lights and how do they work? 

Dusk to Dawn lights are smart lighting systems equipped with a light sensor that detects ambient light levels. When it gets dark at dusk, the sensor triggers the lights to turn on. At dawn, when there is enough light, the sensor turns the lights off, providing automatic operation.

Why are Dusk to Dawn lights beneficial for commercial buildings? 

They offer energy efficiency by eliminating unnecessary lighting in the morning, resulting in cost savings on energy bills. Making sure the lights are on at night, improves safety for employees and customers.

How should I determine the appropriate Dusk to Dawn lights for different areas of my commercial building? 

Consider the specific lighting needs of each area. Building perimeters and entrances require brighter lights for security, while parking lots and loading docks may need a balance between safety and minimizing light pollution. Factor in ambient light from other sources and choose appropriate lumen levels for each area.

What are the key features to look for when choosing Dusk to Dawn lights? 

Important features include the type of light source (LEDs are preferred for their efficiency and longevity), weatherproof fixture design for outdoor use, adjustable timers, light level sensors, dimming capabilities, and advanced features like motion sensors, adjustable settings, and remote control options.

What should I consider for the installation and maintenance of Dusk to Dawn lights? 

Professional installation by a licensed electrician is recommended to ensure optimal performance and safety. While LED Dusk to Dawn lights require minimal maintenance due to their long lifespan, regular cleaning of the fixtures is essential to maintain optimal light output.

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