Underwater Lighting Techniques | Aqua Architecture





Under water lighting deals with the lighting systems placed inside water entities like swimming pools , fountains , etc , and some times even in smaller areas like Jacuzzis . This aspect of lighting mainly depends on the various physical properties of water ( refraction , reflection etc of stand still and moving water). Under water lighting also deals with the effects of lighting placed above water , on and in water.

Figure showing a water fall lit from beneath showing the ‘Glowing steps ‘ effect

Figure showing a water fall lit from beneath showing the ‘Glowing steps ‘ effect

Under water lighting also deals with the effects of lighting placed above water , on and in water.

Basic effects involving underwater lighting

  • Surface effects : effect of light on the surface of the water and the ground below forming crinkles or patches of light.

crinkles on the surface

crinkles on the surface

  • Scatter and diffusion : the scattering of various wavelengths of light and the diffusion ( strong beams of light are broken down to ‘areas’ of light.

The difference between direct light and diffused light can be seen in the two pictures

The difference between direct light and diffused light can be seen in the two pictures

  • Loss of color and loss of intensity :

In under water lighting the elements of the illuminated are appear to have undergone a loss of color as in the bright blues turn into paler shades and the contrast diminishes , lighting can be used to compensate or enhance these effects.

Why is it used ?

Underwater water lighting systems are basically used to compensate or accentuate the above stated effects in water in coordination with the other elements of design present in the environment of design.

Various types of underwater lighting equipment

Under water lighting equipment consists of :

Underwater lighting fixtures

Underwater lighting fixtures

  1. L.E.D lighting fixtures

  2. Spot lighting fixtures

  3. Area lighting fixtures

  4. Volumetric lighting fixtures etc.

L.E.D lighting

L.E.D lighting ( light emitting diode ) is the most energy efficient lighting systems available today but require a very expensive initial cost  ( example : a 2 x 2 ft halogen panel would cost around 800 rupees but the same one with led lights would cost around 7000 rupees around 9 times more )

LED lighting

LED lighting

The advantages we get by using led lights is basically a very low maintenance cost approximately 20 times lesser in terms of electricity bills and hence these type of fixtures is advisable in places where the savings outweigh the investment in a reasonable amount of time.

The other advantage being that they last very long , on an average 100,000 hours as opposed to the 10,000 to 20,000 hours for regular halogen and other lamps.

L.E.D lights also provide another advantage , that of providing almost zero temperature changes in the water. L.E.D lights basically convert all the energy into light unlike the normal lamps were we have a large amount of heat also produced.

General under water lighting fixtures

General underwater lighting refers to the non-L.E.D lighting systems like the regular tungsten filament lighting fixtures , halogen lighting fixtures etc., these systems are under the same category as more or less they use the same over heating of the filament technique to produce light .

Though not as advanced as the L.E.D systems in providing perfect lighting these lighting systems have been successfully providing excellent lighting systems with primarily cost being their strongest factor in contrast to the L.E.D systems.

These fixtures are available for a variety of applications like:

  • Swimming pools
  • Water falls
  • Spas and other non-sport recreational water elements
  • Jacuzzis
  • Showers
  • Fountains
  • Misters (misting solutions)
  • Aquariums and Aqua domes

Underwater lighting makes the waterbody an unique part of the environment. Its pleasing effect adds to the aesthetic appeal of the structure…



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  1. #1 by sekhar reddy on September 29, 2010 - 12:44 am

    your article is very nice it gives sound information about lighting in under water.

  2. #2 by Taylor on June 22, 2011 - 5:17 am

    I have been going through the LED / Non LED debate with myself and was looking for related information when I came across your post.

    You’ve provided some excellent information as well as resources to further research in the related posts.

    I’ve got to make a decision which way to go and get my project underway before summer is over

    • #3 by BenzuJK on June 25, 2011 - 9:11 am

      I am glad the article has been of help to you.
      Cheers 🙂

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