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How to: light with wall luminaires

March 2019

Is a wall luminaire the same as a bulkhead? The simple answer is yes (they are both wall mounted and can be used to do the same job) but in reality, one significantly outperforms the other.

This article takes you through general considerations when using a wall luminaire (sometimes called a wall pack), the subtle differences between wall luminaires and bulkheads and provides a quick checklist on when you should use each one.

Let’s take a closer look at wall mounted luminaires in general. The position of a wall luminaire means that by their nature lighting designs should be more human-centric and closely follow the principles of design for people. Key factors that need to be considered include; colour temperature (CCT), mounting height, glare, addressing the lighting task and vandalism.

Colour temperature

Due to the types of applications and lower mounting heights wall luminaires are installed in, including - perimeter walls around buildings, footpaths and pathways, railways stations and car parks, wherever possible, human centric lighting with a colour temperature of 3000K or lower is recommended.

Which mounting height?

In a typical lighting scheme, a wall product is generally mounted at 3m high, however, mounting heights can range from 3m to 6m.

Managing glare

In all schemes, luminaires should be selected carefully. Bulkheads have little to no optical control, whereas wall mounted luminaires generally have a choice of application-specific optics.

Ensure that products are installed in a location that will reduce spill light and keep glare to a minimum.  For environmentally sensitive areas or areas where neighbouring properties are a consideration, precision optics will minimise the upward spread of light near to and above the horizontal. A ULOR of 0% is recommended.

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Meeting the demands of the task

Consider light levels and spacing. Unlike street lighting there are a different set of criteria which govern the light levels required and spacings. These can be subjective and open to the scheme’s interpretation, building design and lighting task.


Wall luminaires are accessible and let’s face it, even the nicest of areas can be prone to acts of vandalism. Specifying a product with a high IK rating is therefore advisable.

So far both a bulkhead and wall luminaire can tick these boxes to varying degrees. A noticeable differentiator is if they can meet the BREEAM criteria.


The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), published by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), is the world’s first sustainability assessment method for buildings. A credit-based system is used to arrive at a level of certification ranging from pass to outstanding. This considers internal and external lighting, which is measured on efficacy and lack of light pollution – here a wall luminaire can tick more boxes than your average bulkhead.

BREEAM New Construction 2018 (UK)

2 External light fittings within the construction zone with:

2.a: Average initial luminous efficacy of not less than 70 luminaire lumens per circuit Watt

2.b: Automatic control to prevent operation during daylight hours

2.c: Presence detection in areas of intermittent pedestrian traffic


So how do you choose between a bulkhead and a wall luminaire? See how you score against the criteria below:


  • Do you need something functional?
  • Are your mounting heights < 3m?
  • Are you trying to achieve BREEAM certification?
  • High light levels are not expected
  • Are you considering ceiling mounting?

Wall luminaire / wall pack

  • Is performance and luminaire efficacy important? Are you trying to achieve good spacings?
  • Mounting heights > 3m
  • BREEAM criteria needs to be met
  • Do you need to achieve a light levels?
  • Will the luminaires be positioned in a sensitive area where spilt light is of concern?
  • Are you concerned with aesthetic styling?

Having used the check lists, do you know which your project calls for? Take a look at our latest wall luminaires below, or if you need further lighting design advice contact us on 01992 474600


Sephora Wall - NEW wall luminaire designed for LED, featuring integral CMS and emergency if required. Offering superior performance and functionality with one of the longest lifetimes on the market (>100,000hrs L80, B10).

Kirium Wall - slightly different in style (complementary to our Kirium Pro family of luminaires), otherwise as above, but with additional BESA fixing for conduit applications 

Aventis - a functional LED bulkhead available in 3 styles and suitable for ceiling or wall mounting. Typically installed at lower mounting heights of 2-3M

Kova - performance anti-vandal (IK10+) luminaire: suitable for surface, corner and recessed mounting – ideal for underpasses