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Solar Lighting for Dog Parks

If there were such a thing as “happiness emissions”, dog parks would be greatest single contributor!  The daily ritual of the visit to the dog park is a golden time for pets and owners. 

Councils invest in dog parks because dog parks are recognised as a core part of connected communities – they offer a safe space for dogs to play and socialise, while protecting other areas for animal-free play and exploration.

Extending Hours of Play at Dog Parks with Solar Lighting

As with most state governments, investing in “green” areas, including solar lighting, is on the agenda.  The investment in accessible outdoor spaces is consistent with a growing recognition of the importance of “green spaces” on human health

The Victorian government, for example, has in place a commitment to dog-parks through their investment in suburban parks program.  In the best dog news ever, Geelong is getting a full doggo-dream kit of a training and obstacle area for their pooches!  Check out your state and local government website for information in your area – if you want a doggie-designated area –ask your local council! 

In the years we have been working with local councils we’ve seen great responsiveness of councils to their communities – that includes asking for “better lighting to shared public areas” generally.  A few strategically placed solar lights within a dog park can be the difference between a “dog park” and a “dog park that is an inviting and accessible safe space all year round”. 

Solar Lighting Recommendations for a Dog Park

The AS/NZS recommendations suggest the amount of light needed in a public space to achieve three objectives:

  • Facilitation of safe movement
  • Reduction of the fear of crime at night
  • Contributes to the amenity of an area through increased aesthetic appeal

A dog park would be considered a “public activity space” and lighting would be selected based on achieving these objectives listed above.  Dog parks are somewhat unique in that they are often embedded within a park or reserve with already existing lighting, but no lighting specifically within the grounds of the “dog friendly” area.

In general, for a dog park, there does not need to be a lot of light, just “enough light”.  What is “enough light”?  Well, at a dog park, you want to be able to “see faces” – referred to as “facial recognition”. To get facial recognition, an overhead light is needed (rather than a bollard-style of light such as a solar bollard which is lower to the ground).  So, facial recognition is the first thing.  Then consider the spread and “brightness” of the light – for example, you’d want enough light to be able to see where the dog poo is to pick it up, but not necessarily light bright enough to examine the contents of the poo.  If there is very little lighting surrounding the dog park, and/or the area is considered a high risk of crime area, brighter lights, or more lights may be recommended by council. 

Open Area Solar Lighting for Dog Parks

HIGHLUX offers two overhead lights suited to lighting dog parks.  The first is the all-in-one solar lighting system called SOLABLADE, and the other is the split system, SOLANOVA.  These two overhead options differ in their purpose, as reflected by their design, and associated performance (input and output capacity). 

SOLANOVA is our premium solar lighting system with a 3,000 lumen output.  SOLABLADE is our comparably middle-of-the-range offering, with the highest lumen output at 1,000 lumen (10W) for northern parts of Australia, and 600 lumen (6W) for the southern parts. 

The diagram above illustrates the approximate light splay of the SOLANOVA and the SOLABLADE.  The red dot represents the pole placement and the red arrow represents the direction of the LED or light.  At 6m installed height, SOLANOVA can light a 60m length.  At 4m installed height, the SOLABLADE can reach a 12m area.  These installation heights illustrated are the most common heights the SOLANOVA and SOLABLADE are installed at, but both can go higher (8m for SOLANOVA, 5 or 6m for SOLABLADE) which increases the diameter of the light splay.  The yellow circles representing the reach of the light splay in the diagram represent the light output being brightest in the centre and lessening as the light splays to the edge of its maximum reach.  However, the yellow does not represent the brightness of the lights, or the comparative brightness between the two products.  While the light from both optics are a “natural white” light, the SOLABLADE is a low level of light output, enough though for facial recognition, and, to see where the poo is to pick it up.

SOLANOVA is considered our premium system because it was specifically designed to fill a gap in the Australian solar lighting market for a robust and powerful street and road solar lighting system – a clever yet simple system which is able to be programmed and configured as applicable to any one of the many Australian solar conditions.  Comparatively speaking, SOLABLADE is an imported product, which has been adapted for Australian solar conditions, and pre-programmed to make these systems easier to install and maintain.  Both solar lights are covered by a 5-year warranty with HIGHLUX on design and performance. 

The SOLANOVA proudly carries the Australian Made brand (under license) – the only solar street-lighting system that qualifies for this place of pride! 

Banyule City Council Enhances use of Off-Leash Dog Park with Solar Lighting

Banyule City Council is investing in their communities through making their outdoor spaces more accessible with solar lighting.  Below is a picture of the off-leash area for dogs at Malahang Reserve in Heidelberg West in Melbourne.  The off-leash area for dogs is a designated fenced area down the southern end of the reserve.  There are several large trees within the fenced area – trees, tall buildings and fences need to be considered when choosing solar. 

Looking from west to east at the Malahang Reserve off-leash area.  You can see the proximity of the off-leash area to the street.  The street already has mains powered street lights on outreaches over the road, as well as mains powered lights along the pathways within the reserve, but no lighting within the off-leash area, or specifically, “light facing on to” the off-leash area. 

The length of the park is around 160m, and at the widest point, 32m.

We mocked up two scenarios for Council to consider – with pricing for supply and install (includes poles and footings) with 4 SOLABLADE (~$7k), or 2 SOLANOVA (~$13k), with lighting “drawings” to demonstrate the expected light output with the two scenarios.  Council requested the items to be powder coated in green to match the already existing lights throughout the reserve’s pathways – the powder coating is part of the quoted price outlined above.

Lighting output with 4 SOLABLADE; at 4m installed height with P1 program and low power setting for Melbourne (6W, 600 lumen).   SOLABLADE positions are selected based on having the solar panels facing north, and to be in positions where the panel will get full sun in winter (the solar panels atop the SOLABLADE are not going to be covered by any shade during the winter months).  The SOLABLADE light splay is around 16m in diameter, with a “brightness” of around 600 lumen. 

Lighting output with 2 SOLANOVA; at 6m installed height.  The SOLANOVA sits up higher on the pole and is often up above the thickest parts of the trees.  Positions for SOLANOVA are still selected with shading in mind.  The SOLABLADE light splay is around 60m in diameter, with a “brightness” of around 3,000 lumen. 

Banyule Council selected scenario 1 with the 4 SOLABLADE.  In this case, the 4 SOLABLADE met Council’s objective better than the SOLANOVA.  Objectives included aesthetic reasons for choosing the SOLABLADE – SOLABLADE is similar in shape, size, and pole thickness to the mains lights throughout the reserve.  The lighting objective of the solar lights within the off-leash area is balanced against surrounding lighting to the area, which is already well “lit-up” with the mains lights throughout the reserve and along the pathway leading up to the off-leash area, and the street lighting along the bottom edge of the area.

Overall, the smaller pockets of a less bright light between the trees with SOLABLADE was considered preferable [on behalf of] park users compared with the brighter light.  A lower level of light will always deliver less light pollution and is “kinder” to the immediate ecosystem. Budget had a minor weighting on the decision to go for the SOLABLADE. 

Final installation was for 4x SOLABLADE, powder coated dark green to match existing assets through the park. Installed November 2020.

SOLABLADE at Malahang Reserve

Make use of these shared public spaces for your favourite pooch!

Whitlam, St Kilda West, Dog Beach, Melbourne

Solar Lights at HIGHLUX can be Powder Coated any colour!

Banyule requested a “Dark Green” powder coat for the SOLABLADE to match the colour of the already existing mains-powered lights across the reserve.  At the time of writing this article, Banyule Council has not seen their final product… its is on the way to them now! 

Black Satin and this shade of green (in photos below) are the two most requested colours for powder coating for all HIGHLUX solar lighting products.  Powder coating of our products adds about a week to the lead time, and, in this case, about $80 per light.

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