View Full Version : Want to increase business? - A Discourse

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-24-2008, 08:38 PM
I was driving around my beloved Muskoka today and I had a thought. A really interesting, good thought if I may say so.

What could we do, individually and collectively, to increase the importance and necessity for quality, professionally designed and installed outdoor lighting systems in all markets of North America. (I like to think BIG!)

Well here is one way:

A: Start by calling on your home insurance company. Or better yet develop a "one pager" fact sheet and send it to them. Inform the insurance industry that residential properties that have professional outdoor lighting systems are safer, and more secure. Those homes that have outdoor lighting systems should be given a break on the insurance policy premiums. They are less likely to have trip / slip & fall accidents, and they are less likely to be broken into. (We have all been preaching this information to our clients for years, why not to the insurance industry?)

B: Organize! Lets get our industry "on message"! Get the AOLP to form a committee. Start plastering this information to the entire insurance industry. Then start pressing local and state/provincial governments to back our cause for safer, more secure communities. Make this our industry's mantra for the next decade.

I am certain there is a case for this type of PR and Lobbying campaign. By having the insurance industry essentially endorse our work as necessary to ensure a safe and secure property we will see demand for our services skyrocket.

Look at what drivers education programs tied to auto insurance rates has done for that sector. Here in Canada, the Province of Quebec has made it a law that ALL automobiles registered in that province MUST use Snow/Winter tires from Nov 15th to April 15th. Guess what? I cannot find a set of Michelin X-Ice tires for my wife's new van ANYWHERE! They all went to Quebec!

By educating the insurance industry of the benefits of our systems we could stand to make outdoor lighting a necessity rather then a luxury.

So, who wants to join me in this? I think we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. What do you think?

10-24-2008, 11:35 PM
I worked for a landscape maintenance company for a short time and one of their condominium complex clients received an anonymous letter that claimed it was from one of the residents and included photos of trip hazards and slip hazards from an antiquated and leaky sprinkler system.

The letter, adressed to the HOA board, demanded action be taken or they would report these to the liability insurance carrier...

I'm not sure if the letter came from a resident/owner or someone in the landscape company, but it seemed like it could be an interesting strategy to drum up work...

10-24-2008, 11:39 PM
I like this idea. It could definately benifit us! I just may go visit a couple insurance compnaies monday. I have friends in a couple!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-25-2008, 12:38 AM
Any Movement starts with one step forward. Way to go Ryan.

I am going to start working on a Fact Sheet this weekend.

10-25-2008, 12:59 AM
Any Movement starts with one step forward. Way to go Ryan.

I am going to start working on a Fact Sheet this weekend.

Thanks, im going to work on one as well.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-25-2008, 10:19 AM
Here is what the Executive Director of Landscape Ontario wrote to me in an email regarding this idea:

Hi James
Amazing idea! We have great connections with the insurance industry so we know where to start. Let's spend some time planning at the next meeting.

10-25-2008, 12:25 PM
I have done numerous searches on this very subject. I have found that it varies from state to state. Sheriff in Texas endorses outdoor lighting as a theft deterrent. There was a municipality that was requiring all communities have some form of outdoor lighting for the same reason. I can't remember where exactly where it was though. I also read an article that referred the reader to check w/there insurance company for discounts for owning outdoor lighting, much like a security system. Seems like a natural fit to me, I will start with my local agent and see what he has to say.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-25-2008, 04:01 PM
Thanks Steve... I seem to recall seeing a video from about 8 to 10 years ago that showed the effectiveness of low level, multi-point lighting VS soffit mounted flood lights. In the video an "intruder" was walking around the perimiter of the home. In the example with the outdoor lighting system, the intruder's motion was clearly visible, in the example with the glare bombs, the visibility of the intruder was hampered by deep shadows and glare.

Anyone know where the source of this video might be?

Have a great day.

10-25-2008, 05:22 PM
James I have searched "crime prevention with landscape lighting" and found several police dept. recommendations. There is also an organization that goes by CPTED crime prevention through environmental design that talks about lighting. I haven't found anything that really goes into great detail about the lighting yet.

10-26-2008, 04:29 PM
not to put a fly in the ointment but what is the typical number of hours landscape lighting turn on? And further what is time do most break in occur.

Sounds like we may have another upsale. multiple motion detectors installed along with photocells.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-26-2008, 10:18 PM
No flies, no ointment. Surely outdoor lighting is a net contributor to resident, visitor and pedestrian safety, that is a no-brainer. As for security... I am sure that statistics are available that track the time of break-ins.

Prevention requires programming the outdoor lighting systems installed for the purpose of increasing security to turn off at the end of the bell curve for break in times. For my clients that specifically want the lighting system to help to secure their property I recommend an off time of 2:00am - 3:00am.

10-27-2008, 11:34 PM
You know once we get all of our video and data pooled together we need to put together an excellent power point presentation. We would then distribute this to industry pros from around the continent who want to help with this. Once we all have the standardized info, we can start booking speaking engagements at some of the insurance company get togethers. Once we get in front of enough of the right people, I think it is a no brainer for them to get onboard. They are all about minimizing claims, here is a great avenue to help them and us. I could totally handle Idaho. Anybody else game in their neck of the woods? Anybody good with putting together an extremely professional powerpoint? Lets start amassing data and information together in one place and do this thing!

10-28-2008, 09:01 AM
I am game and will certainly do what I can to help!!!!!

10-28-2008, 12:03 PM
This kind of goes along with my thread about what would you do to help spread the word about this industry. I think James has a good idea here and I've been working on ideas for a project that could work well with something like this. As I've stated before, I think the more the public gets educated about our industry the more it will grow.

I think that we as lvl professionals can work together to really get the word out about what we do. Insurance industries can be a great tool and there are other industries that I think we can hit that will also increase the awareness of what we do.

Without going into a ton of details on it, I'm working on sorting out the figures of putting together a informational website that is directed strictly for the consumer (Think of it as an online billboard for our industry if you will). The main premis of this site will be that select (100% screened) lvl pros would help contribute to the content of the site...ie..articles, photos, informational videos, the do's on dont's of the industry, what to watch out for etc... I would like to have a restricted area where only the contributing pros can get together and collectively discuss other ways to enhance our industry and use all of our minds to keep the site up to date with all the industry changes. Also it can be used as an advertising tool for all the contributing pros as there will be an area where homeowners can select where they live and the recommended contractor closest to them will be listed along with their website. Of course part of the screening process will make sure that no competitive contractors will be listed.

That's it in a nutshell. I have a call in to my website guy to discuss the best format. Like I said I think this is just another way to get the word out about our industry, and I think it could work well as an informational tool along with what James is proposing. You can pm me if this is something that you think would be a good idea and would possibly like to be involved in...ie writing articles etc. If we all work together and take it into our own hands I'm confident we can really put this industry on the map.

10-28-2008, 01:38 PM
let me know if I can help here guys. You are definitley on to somethign that is very worthwhile and could pay off!

10-28-2008, 02:24 PM
I like your idea regarding a website. It seems like the AOLP would be a great place to have a website "that is directed strictly for the consumer (Think of it as an online billboard for our industry if you will)." Something that is backed by a professional organization dedicated to outdoor lighting. It might help get more exposure to the AOLP too

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:19 AM
I have been communicating via group email on this topic with a number of non-lawnsite people for a number of days... Their ideas and thoughts are very strong. As email is too exclusive for this topic, I am going to post the best of their comments here and have invited all the people from my group email discourse to come to Lawnsite and participate in this forum for all to see.

Have a great day.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:20 AM
{Sunday, October 26}

Hi James (and all),

As always I appreciate your positive enthusiasm and passion for our industry and its advancement, thus I've waited for a day to respond so as to give a reasoned response, or so I hope... ;)

The insurance industry operates much like the gaming industry; on statistics. The 'house' must win. Before giving a discount to property owners for exterior lighting they'd want a study to show that lighting, in fact, reduces insurable loss. Wouldn't a time consuming/costly PR campaign on our part be interpreted as unsupported and self serving?
If the study or studies were done and the insurance companies were convinced to offer incentives how might those incentives compare to say, fire suppression systems or surveillance/alarm systems? Would the monetary incentives be enough to be a factor in buying decisions of homeowners? And, would it actually promote our type of lighting as opposed to the obnoxious motion activated floods that are less costly to install in most cases. Certainly any positive PR for our industry would be useful, but at what return on investment?

You've given, as supporting example, the Province of Quebec passing a law requiring snow tires. In our vicinity, the primary focus of community ordinances has been to limit the scope/type of lighting that may be installed. These ordinances are motivated mostly by community aesthetics though there could be a case made for energy reduction as well as Dark Skies initiatives. Is there political motivation to counter these intentions?
The other example given, drivers education/reduced insurance rates, was driven by statistical analysis. I'm unfamiliar with any studies done on outdoor lighting and its affect on home safety.

Like you James, I'd love to see outdoor lighting become a "necessity" but we're a long way from that perspective. Most of these purchases are done out of discretionary spending and right now I'm working on the question of how well this part of our business will fare in the near term(2-3 years) given the current economic environment. The upper class segment of our clientele will likely continue some purchasing though the migration of competition from other segments will be a force to be reckoned with. Judging from anecdotal evidence and reports from others around the continent I'd suspect that many(most?) in our industry are preparing to deal more with the near term challenges to their businesses and might be less likely to engage energy and resources to longer term ROI projects. I hope to be proven wrong by other responses to your proposal; I may need a place to relocate my talents... ;)

Thank you James for including me in your discussion. You continue to be a positive inspiration and that is vitally needed right now.

Your friend,

Michael Islander
Stewart Jackson Sprinklers and Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:22 AM
{Monday Oct 27}

I agree with Michael here. Are there any studies with the numbers to prove that properly designed/installed landscape lighting deters crime? If not, it would cost a small fortune to have this study done. What are the odds that the insurance industry has or will conduct such a study?

Paul R. Gosselin, CLVLT

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:23 AM
{Monday Oct 27th}

Hi James,

This is a great idea. I believe that it will take a proper marketing campaign to make this work to your vision. The center piece of this campaign will have to be a well documented prototype of a properly configured lighting system for an average property, focusing on the security aspect.
This will mean lighting (in one form or another) that aids in safety and security from dusk until dawn. This would be something that would increase the scope of our work and hence increase our sales on a site by site basis.
Entertainment and aesthetics can be promoted as side benefits.

I am excited by the prospect of what I see as a win /win scenario.

Bob Tubby
Moonstruck Landscape Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:25 AM
{Monday October 27th}

Kevin Islander wrote:

There may not be landscape lighting studies but there certainly should be studies regarding general lighting deterring crime and improving safety standards. After all city ordinances tend to be very specific about the candle power for public areas. These types of studies may be enough to get the ball rolling. Police department crime prevention programs may have some more general statistics on the area of light and crime prevention.

kevin islander
stewart-jackson sprinklers and lighting

{Monday October 27}

All, there are studies that have been done in the lighting industry about exterior lighting and crime. Finding all of them could take some effort, we would need to look at the archives of the IESNA, the LRC including at least two of the masters thesis, one by Carol Lindstrom and another by Barbara Hamilton. Then, there were studies done in the mid part of the last century by various manufacturers that would have to be found. So, it is not impossible, but, I think we need to be quite cautious. One issue that needs to be weighed in this is energy awareness and dark sky consideration, there are plenty of parties that do not believe that lighting should be on from dusk to dawn. Jan

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:26 AM
{Mon October 27}

Hi James,

Your thesis brings to mind a company I heard of that has been trying to get the insurance industry to embrace the concept of landscape plantings' value increasing over time. I don't know much about the specifics of what he has done, but this company is Horticultural Asset Management, Inc. (HMI). Website is www.moneygrowsontrees.com . My understanding is that they developed actuarial tables for landscape plant and tree growth per zip code on a nationwide level. They then approached AIG and other major insurers as well as Bartlett Tree Service and other big players in the landscape and tree business and have been able to make some headway. It has been a 5-year process and required significant investment, from what I understand. Bear in mind all my info is second hand, so may not be accurate. Their goal is to provide insurance for landscape plantings; somewhat different from recruiting support from insurance companies, I suppose in the form of reduced rates for adequately illuminated properties. What I took away from my discussion about HMI was that there is an extreme amount of inertia to be overcome, and that actuarial statistics have to be quite substantial to bear the scrutiny of insurance industry professionals, to be taken seriously.

That said, perhaps someone in that organization might be able to shed some light on how to most effectively go about achieving results.

John Garner
Southern Lights of Raleigh, Inc.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:27 AM
{Monday October 27th}

Jan and all,
While I was pondering the concern about dusk to dawn usage and how motion detectors might be an answer I came across this article from the Utah IDA(International Dark Skies Assoc.) and some others.


Part l/Part ll (lengthy but interesting)

Article that supports by "many studies" but doesn't cite references(Possible source point)

Another somewhat unsupportive IDA article

While the article doesn't tend to support the cause of lighting as a deterrent(studies cited that are inconclusive or even suggest that lighting aids in crime) the organization does take the stand that motion detectors, can alert either the neighbors or the homeowner.
A few thoughts that I draw from these articles;

1) While looking for studies that support lighting as a deterrent, other studies that show otherwise will be found as I have experienced. How might these negative studies impact the cause and how might they be countered?

2) If lighting alone cannot be proven to be a deterrent might it be thought so as a component of an integrated security system. i.e. provides light for video surveillance or maybe is connected via the motion detection to audio alerts or maybe the irrigation system. (I once designed a system that used a motion detector to activate sprinklers along a wall that was susceptible to graffiti.) Imagine an infrared motion detector or perhaps a mat switch sensing an intruder and simultaneously turning on the appropriate sprinkler zone, lighting and camera(s). (could be a candidate for Americas' Funniest Home Videos. ;) ) Another option might be a 'flashing mode' for after hours. In such a mode the lighting would not aid in the intruders need to see while threatening to draw attention to the property/intruder. But then, studies that prove this more specialized combination/application might be difficult/impossible to find.

3) It seems that IDA may be more an opponent than proponent of this cause unless the systems are IDA compliant and using motion detectors. (In such cases there may not be any/sufficient studies on the specific system configurations that are proven to reduce crime.)

Michael Islander
Stewart Jackson Sprinklers and Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:28 AM
{Monday October 27}

Hi All,
Some observations I see in this will touch on some points made previously. I have thought about this very thing over the past
couple of years while explaining the security benefits of lighting to potential clients. I had briefly tried to locate some studies
that would show a direct corrolation between increased light levels around a property and a direct reduction in burglery and
related crimes, but I was unsuccessful. I can see the merits of and benefits on both sides for giving credits to homeowners who
participate in having their properties iluminated to one degree or another. Like Jan said though, some areas do not take kindly
to having lights on all night, but this could be addressed with the use of motion sensors. The other question would pertain to how
much light would be required to meet insurance minimums? Would they have to have a minimum level of light (in footcandles
or foot lamberts), at all the ingress points of structures on the property? As someone mentioned, they could do this fairly inexpensively
with standard glare bombs on motion activated sensors. Most of what the insurance industry will look for would be utilitarian in nature
with little concern of the overall asthetics of the property at night. From the side of the insurer there would have to be some kind of
minimum standards set out for each type of ingress/egress point on the property to qualify for the rate reduction. On our side, we are
simply more concerned with making the property safe in an aesthetically pleasing way which usually is always going to cost more than
simple flood lights on the eaves. Sorry for the rambling here, I guess what I would expect to make this a possibility would be to
establish a set of minimums that all would have to comply with to be insurable. However, the insurer could issue a 'voucher' to the
home or business owner with a monitary amount that could offset a more pleasing and complete lighting design that would not only
comply with the insurance minimums, but would essentially let them opt to customize their package to their personal preferences. So,
here is something else to consider. Someone is going to have to inspect these properties to ensure complete compliance as well. This
would open a door to another service for those of us already in this industry. It may be a matter of taking a meter and measuring the
amount of light at each ingress point and ensuring it is in compliance with the minimums set forth by the insurer or making sure that
there isn't any light trespass to contiguous properties. I guess it would be up to someone smarter than myself to come up with the
standards, but I am just thinking out loud here. This is a great topic.
Tim Ryan
Firefly Lighting
Kuna, ID

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:29 AM
{Tuesday October 28}

Greetings to all the interested folks in this group! This level of communication has been great! We're all stimulated by James' ideas, that's great. And, we can see several issues that are cropping up. If this is pursued as a serious proposition, it needs to be handled by a committee, perhaps of the AOLP or another organization. We really want to be careful in how this goes forward so that we don't end up with something like the New York State ATM law that requires so many footcandles at so many feet above grade so many feet away from the door. This law has single-handedly created more glare than the used car dealerships in North America. Jan

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:30 AM
{Wednesday October 28}

Kevin Islander wrote:
> Although I did not read through all the links provided my Mike, I
> did read quite a bit of them. Fascintating in many ways. At one
> point in one of the documents it was surmised that while lighting
> had not been proven to reduce crime it did tend to move the crime
> away from the lit area. So, that would tend to me to indicate that
> if my house is lit, this does not re-habilitate the criminal who is
> exposed to my lit property but the criminal will most likey move
> down the street to an unlit property. On the other hand the article
> also submits as possible, that my lit property may be cased at night
> because of the lighting and then perhaps burgalized in the daytime.
> The conclusion of the article seemed to be that crimes are not
> necessarily reduced by outdoor lighting but they may be re-located
> or delayed. This does tend to lend the possibility that lighting
> may win out in a very specialized study as a deterrant, in as much
> as the criminal will go down the street to a dark property if
> possible. I must admit after reading the articles that I would tend
> to believe that a much stronger case to make for insurance companies
> would be the proposition that outdoor lighting on a property would
> reduce trip, slip/fall types of occurances. Either way, creating
> measurable and sustatinable standards by which to create insurance
> discounts will be daunting task. After all, which type, level, and
> quality of exterior lighting should result in a discount in rate?
> What cp minimum must be present on a staircase to make it safe and
> will that level be the same next year, with or without maintenance
> of the lighting system? This comes back to a concern I stated in my
> original response to this post. If I am the installing contractor,
> and the lights under-perform or don't peform on a certain night, and
> an injury occurs on that night. I imagine an insurance investigator
> may come to the project with a light meter and determine that the
> level of light or control system was insuffiicient and sue the
> contractor for the damages. What if a motion sensor doesn't work
> consistently? What if a timer is not reset or malfunctions? There
> is an awful lot of issues involved in this subject. The example I
> just gave might, and probably would play out differently on a state
> by state, country by country basis, depending on the different legal
> systems and jurisdictions. James doesn't think small, and I support
> continuing with the dialogue. I agree with Jan that this belongs in
> a committee. Thoughts and progress need to be kept in order by a
> central body.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:31 AM
{Thursday October 30}

A few times over the years I've actually heard the comment from prospective clients that they were concerned that should they end up with the most attractively lit home in the area that it might attract criminal attention. It seems ironic that they may have a valid point!.....

On a separate note, and not to be a party pooper, thus far, given this list of approximately sixty outdoor lighting industry contacts there seems to be only about a 10% response. If this is an indicator of the resonance of this proposal will it be enough to carry the project through to a profitable conclusion? Regardless of the answer, for me, the research thus far has yielded some unexpected, yet interesting information. One such observation is that given the apparently broad position/support that IDA has taken against the usefulness of outdoor lighting as a deterrent to crime it seems that the evolved fundamental ideology is that no light, including IDA compliant, is the preferred objective. As such I suspect the organization may not be counted on to provide support to the cause and may in fact be a hindrance.
I agree with Kevin on the concern for measurable and sustainable standards,(for the purpose of Insurance premium reductions) which obviously don't currently exist. Creating them and proving them to the satisfaction of the insurance industry will be a long term and costly investment.
While I agree that the dialogue should go on at this point I question the need for a committee at this point unless of course the proponents for such wish to volunteer. ;)

Michael Islander
Stewart Jackson Sprinklers and Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:32 AM
{Thursday October 30}

All this great discussion started me thinking again about how to reach the masses. From the comments so far, it seems the insurance industry may well be a double-edged sword. Granted it could represent a huge market; tremendous exposure, but at what cost or potential liability? So, what about applying the same ideas to educate property management companies, homeowners associations and the like. No actuarials to develop. Targeting those type organizations would leverage effort (admittedly on a smaller scale) since ea org. represents multiple properties/homeowners. This is definitely "smaller thinking" than James' discourse (whose passion for our industry I greatly admire and respect), but might have a place in the overall plan, and would require less documentation. There are any number of target markets that could be addressed multi-nationally: landscape architects; interior designers, landscape contractors, security companies, pool contractors, remodelers, home builders, etc etc. - all the groups we know and love for repeat business. We're all probably marketing individually to these groups now. None as all-encompassing as the insurance industry, but together they make positive impact on demand for our beloved craft.

John Garner
Southern Lights of Raleigh, Inc.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:33 AM
{Friday October 31}

John, now that sounds interesting. After all all of the mentioned are hit with the negative effects of slip/fall injuries, burglaries, etc. And of course as this happens their insurance rate gets modified accordingly. Definitely sounds like it could also be a way of approaching the issue through the back door. Eventually the associations etc. very well could become involved as more than willing accomplices in the approach to the insurance companies for relief of steep premiums. Forgive me for re-stating your points, just thinking my way through it out loud.

Good stuff man!

kevin islander

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:34 AM
Friday October 31}

Interesting thoughts John, thanks for your input.

Perhaps we should start ‘smaller’. Instead of going after the Insurance Industry for a blanket endorsement, what about the idea of having “our” Association, the AOLP, form a marketing and promotions committee. They would be charged with the role of promotions and public relations. Essentially building a library of materials like fact sheets, pro-forma advertisements, letters of introduction and such that the members could then access and use to promote Outdoor Lighting systems.

I am pretty sure no such centralized effort exists right now, leaving designers and contractors on their own to develop these materials or relying upon the stuff that can be gleaned from manufacturers.

Doing so would remove a heavy burden from the process and relieve us from jumping through a ton of red tape. Essentially morph the effort from one of science and statistics to a pure Marketing and PR effort.

NOW IF I MAY MAKE ONE REQUEST? Can we please move this discourse away from group email and continue it on the Lighting Forum at www.lawnsite.com Using email for this is too exclusive and a pain for many.

I will post the latest emails onto the thread I have started at Lawnsite.

Thanks and have a great day.

Team-Green L&L
10-31-2008, 09:34 AM
I am wondering if the supplier side of lighting industry may be a better candidate to invest in the initial proposal, seeing as they could stand to make greater profits and influence?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-31-2008, 09:50 AM
I don't know about that Andrew... I would think that relying on the suppliers/manufactures could get pretty contentious. There are agenda's to consider and biases will influence directions.

I strongly believe that any efforts in industry wide market analysis, development and promotions should come from an association like the AOLP. There you have a blending of interests from the Designers, Contractors, Distributors and Manufacturers.

10-31-2008, 11:02 AM
I tend to agree that educating home owners, contractors, etc may just be the best route. I know in my area lighting is still, for the most part, non-existent. I have laid awake many nights thinking of how to "professionally" approach architects, property management company's and high end custom home builders. The home builders are ailing right now but they will eventually make it through. Once exposure begins to take over, hopefully it will begin to be referred to as a standard. It worked for the alarm companies, they had to educate the public on the benefits of there service/product and now it is almost standard on all homes. Granted lighting is not for all homes, but to make it a standard for our market group would be great.

Some HOA's require minimum sq. ft. homes, particular home designs, and particular landscape designs, why not custom lighting designs? It is all done on the basis of increasing the home values and to protect those that choose to live within. I do believe that educating HOA's , P/M and arch./developers of the benefit and usefulness of our services to further distinguish them as leaders in there field could be enormous.

Just posting out loud.

10-31-2008, 12:50 PM
It seems to me there are a couple of challenges here. The first challenge is to find or do a study that proves outdoor lighting is a deterrent to crime. The second challenge is defining what proper outdoor lighting is. Artistic outdoor lighting is very subjective and each situation is unique all to itself. We as outdoor lighting professionals need to create guidelines that define what it takes to create outdoor lighting that will deter crime. Once the guidelines are in place a study can be done to prove the effectiveness. If there has been a study done, I would guess the type of outdoor lighting that was used in the study wasn't up to the level that most of us outdoor lighting professionals would approve.

10-31-2008, 03:53 PM
I am not sure a few lawnsite guys talking to some of their insurance buddies is going to make a big difference. I think if you're going to get something this ambitious implemented, this is the simplest and most likely scenario for making that happen;

1) I agree with Ned that there needs to be some good solid formal study to back up the idea and well lit homes have a decrease in crime & accidents. If such a study doesn't exist, then the AOLP needs to raise funds and give a grant to some university to do such a study. Without something solid, insurance companies are not going to start offering discounts just because some Sheriff in some town said well-lit homes are safer.

2) The AOLP needs to come up with a certification program that trains lighting professionals on the criteria needed to create a safe lighting environment. Once you complete the training, a lighting professional is certified as a "Certified Safe Lighting Professional" or whatever term they come up with.

3) With the study in hand (and hopefully a lot more), the President of the AOLP needs to invite himself as a guest speaker at the national insurance industry conference (or whatever it's called) where the CEOs and Executives from all of the big insurance companies go every year and make a 30 minute presentation about how it would benefit the insurance companies to offer a discount for proper lighting. For instance, if we could demonstrate that lighting offers at 20% decrease in risk, then the insurance companies could decrease rates by 10% and be making a 10% profit! They hear dollars. This kind of language would catch their attention. The AOLP Pres. needs to explain that we (the AOLP) already have a program by where lighting professionals are trained and certified to learn exactly what the criteria are for a safe lighting job and then all the insurance companies need to do is offer a discount on insurance if the homeowner gets their lighting done by a AOLP "Certified Safe Lighting Professional".

4) The AOLP Pres. would want to follow up with individual meetings or conference calls from the decision makers at the big insurance companies. Perhaps a professional sales person hired by the AOLP hired to call on these executives and get them interested.

5) The AOLP benefits greatly because now every lighting professional in the country can't wait to join the AOLP and get certified. So membership goes through the roof and because the AOLP is now offering classes in every state, their organization grows like crazy. Everyone at the AOLP now makes a little better salary as they're finally able to get some decent revenues.

6) AOLP starts a nationwide ad campaign in conjunction with the insurance companies. Maybe the AOLP even creates TV ads and flyers for lighting pros to hand out saying something like, "If you switch your homeowners insurance to State Farm or AIG or Farmers, you can receive a 10% discount on your homeowner's insurance with a "certified safe" outdoor lighting installation. So now insurance companies who participate are getting free advertisement too.

7) Everyone's happy. Contractors sales are way up. Contractors now have an extra incentive to give homeowners. Insurers are making more profit and taking on less risk. And the AOLP is now a huge organization and force to be reconed with.

That's how I'd do it. But that's just me.

11-04-2008, 10:13 AM
Hi all,

First post on Lawnsite, although James forwarded a couple of my ramblings in this thread.

Here is an abstract of a study which supports "street lighting reduces crime".

The financial benefits of improved street lighting, based on crime reduction
Kate A Painter, PhD
Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, UK

David P Farrington, PhD

Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, UK, dpf1@cam.ac.uk

Two research projects were carried out to investigate the effects of improved street lighting on crime in Dudley and Stoke-on-Trent. In Dudley, crimes decreased by 41% in the experimental area, compared with a 15% decrease in a control area. In Stoke, crimes decreased by 43% in the experimental area and by 45% in two adjacent areas, compared with a decrease of only 2% in two control areas. In the two projects, the financial savings (from reduced crimes) exceeded the financial costs by between 2.4 and 10 times after one year. It is concluded that improved street lighting can be extremely cost-effective.


11-04-2008, 05:52 PM
Does anyone here want to do "street lighting?"

Perhaps we should just give up and hang glare bombs on the eaves of our client's houses.


INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-04-2008, 08:24 PM
Thank you for your post and participation in this discourse John.

I think our colleague Tom was a bit short there, but what he is getting at is that we will need to seek out data and studies that have more relavance to the outdoor lighitng industry as it pertains to residential properties and applications.

This thread is not going to go away, so as the information is discovered lets post it, just as John has done.

Many hands make light work. (no pun intended)

Mike M
11-05-2008, 06:32 AM
Does anyone here want to do "street lighting?"

Perhaps we should just give up and hang glare bombs on the eaves of our client's houses.


Tom, I already suggested this a few months ago, as a way to tap into the low-income shanty-in-the-boondocks market. lol.

Anyways, about this whole topic, I'm worried the insurance guys will suggest that mercury vapor lights are easy and effective and the agents will say just hang one of those up and you'll get a discount, just like the fire extinguisher and the dead bolts. I have many ARB's in my area that say "safety lighting only" and they won't approve "accent lighting."

I agree with James and everyone on the issue of educating, but something tells me it all comes down to figuring out to whom we need to offer our presentations.

In the end, as the consumer becomes more aware of the beauty, safety, and security of a professionally installed system, they will be the ones challenging their ARB's and influencing friends and neighbors.

I learned that the key people the ARB's and government regulators routinely invite into their meetings are landscape architects and building architects. Maybe those are the professions where our energy and focus of education should be? i.e., the high profile thinkers and designers of the building and development markets.

Well, I'm just a small landscaper, and even if I can persuade insurance folks to offer discounts, and for ARB's to loosen up, the shadow of the hawk is looming, and is snuffing out disposable income. The collective power of every lighting company in business is not enough to fix our economy. If my biz is to survive, it will be by hunkering down for a while, and finding alternatives to generate income.

We need to start two posts, one called "surviving," and the other "thriving." I'll be in the surviving, with a possible spin-off called "where are they now."

11-05-2008, 09:42 AM
Architects, Custom home builders and the upper end consumer will be the best approach in our education efforts. The vast majorities in those groups will not care about an insurance discount but rather the unique and creative designs we can offer. This will help in expanding our business to those that have the ability and appreciation for what we provide. Now after that being said,......how do we do this?

I just imagine had the economy not tanked like it has then we would not be brain storming in this way. It would still be "to each his own". This is a prime opportunity for us to come together as a professional group and develop strategies to soften this kind of landing in the future.