When looking to light any type of public business, there are many factors you need to consider. If you are looking at zoo lighting, the factors just become a little bit more complicated due to the fact that there are live animals under your care. Here are a few tips on mastering zoo lighting for your location to ensure a safe environment for the animal and an enjoyable experience for your visitors.
1. Choose low heat emitting options
When dealing with any living creatures, the element of heat created by the light solution needs to be a top consideration. There are certain light fixtures which give off high levels of heat which can be particularly uncomfortable or even harmful to the animal. While some animals will be able to adjust to the heat based on their natural conditioning, such as turtles, snakes, or other animals used to heat, you want the temperature to come from heating lamps and not your lighting solutions. The reason for this is because any light solution giving off high levels of heat tends to be less effective in terms of energy and light production. You want to stay away from incandescent, metal halide, or any other solution that offers more heat than light production. A few better choices for both the sake of your animals and the utility costs would be compact fluorescent and LED solutions.
2. Light similar to the natural environment of the inhabitant
The factor of creating an environment similar to the one the animal is used to is critical for a few reasons. If the animal is accustomed to certain environmental factors and doesn’t receive them anymore, it can negatively impact their health. A happy and healthy animal is not only your responsibility as the business owner of a zoo because of animal rights, it is also about giving customers healthy animals to look at! If you have animals which are usually in low light areas or high light areas, you need to take that into consideration. For instance, certain types of reptiles require a high level of natural sunlight every day for their health. If you are using artificial light for this, you need to make sure it mimics the same levels of sunlight the animal is used to getting in the wild to ensure a healthy, well-adjusted animal.
3. Pay attention to glares on the glass
When customers come to the zoo, they want to be able to see the animals clearly. While there are a great many animals, such as tigers, lions, bears, and other potentially dangerous creatures, kept behind glass for the protection of the animal and the patron, the glass shouldn’t obstruct the overall view. One way the glass can get in the way of this experience is because of glares caused by lighting fixtures. It is important to position fixtures so that light is always cascading above at ceiling level or below at the floor level but never dead center on the glass itself.
4. Use natural light as much as possible
The best way to light any area is usually with natural light. If you can incorporate as much natural light as possible into the animal viewing areas, this will be healthier for the animals and more enjoyable for your patrons. If you can’t create all of your illumination from natural lighting, you should still factor it into the lighting plan, so you need less artificial lighting as a whole.