ANSI/IES RP-6-20: Sports and Recreational Area Lighting

Verdant football field at night with stadium lights set properly with ANSI/IES RP-5-21 illumination.

To master any sport, athletes hone their talents and abilities through diligent practice. Through experience, training, and muscle memory, players can gather the skills needed to attain victory. Of course, there are plenty of factors separate from the participants themselves that assure they play their best. High on this list is lighting, guidelines for which are outlined in ANSI/IES RP-6-20: Recommended Practice: Lighting Sports And Recreational Areas.

Lighting in Stadiums and Sports Areas

Lighting holds a powerful connection to nearly all sporting events. The players are front and center, and adequate illumination them and provides visibility, but the value of luminaires goes beyond just that. Think about your favorite sports movies. Odds are lighting plays an iconic, possibly inseparable role from the film itself—it might even have the word “light” in its title.

Players need sufficient lighting for visibility, safety, and performance reasons, and spectators need lighting to watch. In fact, at its most fundamental level, lighting needs are determined by two distinct criteria: the needs of the players/participants, and those of the spectators at the farthest distance from the field of play.

One of the main goals of lighting for sports is to provide a luminous environment through which the playing target is visible. In most cases, the playing target is the ball. The competitors and the surrounding environment also need to be visible, and, to accomplish these main objectives, both the quality and quantity of illumination need to be considered. This encompasses various factors are addressed in ANSI/IES RP-6-20. For instance, the lighting cannot detract from a player’s performance, and, if luminaires are improperly selected or poles are inappropriately sized, glare could occur.

About ANSI/IES RP-6-20

ANSI/IES RP-6-20 provides recommendations to aid in the design of sports lighting systems. Obviously, the application of sports lighting systems can be quite broad, so ANSI/IES RP-6-20 covers most popular sports, including baseball, tennis, basketball, and football, as well as recreational social activities, such as horseshoe pitching and croquet.

This standard was first released back in 2015, and its publication came about in response to the growing demand for indoor and outdoor sports facilities, which in turn necessitated the installation of lights for indoor sporting activities and outdoor activities at night. ANSI/IES RP-6-20 revises the 2015 edition of the same American National Standard.

The sections of ANSI/IES RP-6-20 oversee the different aspects essential for providing visibility for participants and spectators in a sporting event, including lighting fundamentals and principles, design factors and considerations, power, wiring, and controls, indoor lighting applications, and outdoor lighting applications.

ANSI/IES RP-6-20: Recommended Practice: Lighting Sports And Recreational Areas is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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