Buying LED Lights for Parking-Lots: Things to Look At

After years of getting frustrated by metal halide parking lot lights, you've finally decided to make the switch to LED. However, you aren't sure where to start.

Don't worry, you’ve come to the right place. We're here to point you in the right direction.

Converting to LED technology is one of the best decisions you will ever make as it will have a huge impact on your electric bill (because of the low energy consumption of LEDs). You will also decrease maintenance costs.

LEDs also provide higher-quality light than traditional lighting systems and can enhance the safety of a parking lot. According to the National Safety Council, thousands of accidents happen every year in parking lots.

But when it comes to LED lights, there are different options on the market so choosing the best fixtures for your parking lot can be an uphill climb.

Take a moment to go through our buying guide and you'll be sure to choose the best fixtures.

4 Reasons Why LEDs Are Better for Parking Lots

Reduced Costs

LEDs reduce energy consumption by up to 90% and can significantly lower your electric bill. When you replace metal halide fixtures with LED fixtures, you can save up to $300 per fixture every year. If your parking lot is large, you'll end up saving thousands of dollars.

LEDs also have lower maintenance costs because their shortest lifespan is 50,000 hours. They last for many years and do not need to be replaced as often as HID lights. You won't have to buy replacement lights every now and then or pay someone to change out bulbs.

Better Performance

LEDs have a higher Color Rendering Index than HID lights and enable people to see objects in their true form. In addition, they distribute light evenly across surfaces and do not create bright spots and dark spots like HID lights. They also don’t buzz or flicker (even when they operate for long hours) so don't make a parking lot safe one minute and unsafe the next. The light they provide is uniform no matter how far or close people are to the fixtures.

Easy to Adjust

One of the best features of LEDs is their flexibility. In case you need to increase or decrease the brightness of the lights, you can easily do it without changing their housings. If your parking lot has metal halide lights and you need to change them to adhere to the municipal lighting code, you’ll have to replace the lamps and reflectors. With LEDs, all you change are the bulbs. If you need to brighten or dim the lights in specific areas of your parking lot, LEDs allow you to easily do this. HID lights are not as flexible.

Enhanced Safety

While parking lot lights are often an afterthought for many business owners, parking lots can be dangerous zones if they are dimly lit. Blind spots and reduced sight-lines caused by parked vehicles can make drivers to easily cause accidents. Your employees, customers, and visitors can also bump into objects or stumble and fall if they don't see things clearly. A poorly lit parking lot can also harbor criminals and become a hub for criminal activity. And even if the parking lot is safe – despite the bad lighting – you could be sued for any accident or injury that occurs there.

Since LEDs produce bright, intense light, they can improve the safety of a parking lot and make people feel safer. CCTV cameras will also be able to capture all happenings clearly, making the job easier for security personnel.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of LEDs, let’s talk about important considerations when buying the lights.

6 Things to Consider When Buying LED Lights for Parking-Lots

1. The Lumens

If you're used to looking at the watts when buying lights, you're not alone.  Many people make the same mistake and end up getting the wrong lights for their facilities. When buying LED lights for your parking lot, never look at the watts.
While watts are important, they don't determine the brightness of a light fixture - lumens do. They measure the amount of visible light discharged by a light source. You can get a foot candle reading of your parking lot to determine the exact lumens you need each fixture to produce for the place to be well-lit.

2.  The Wattage

Lm/W (lumens per watt) is used to measure luminous efficacy, the light output in lumens for 1 watt of electricity. LEDs are not equal and some produce more lumens than others while consuming the same amount of watts. Go for LEDs that produce more lumens per watt. If your parking lot is big and you need the lights to cover 20 to 30 feet, you'll need LEDs that produce 40,000 lumens.

3. The Number of Bulbs to Be Installed in Each Pole

When choosing LED fixtures for parking lot poles, the decision may not be an easy one. This is because some poles need 1 bulb, others need 2, while others need 4 (to provide extra brightness). A lighting designer can ensure that the lighting meets the set standards. My LED Lighting Guide offers a free lighting audit to help you select the right LED lights for your parking lot.

4.  Color Temperature

After installing new LED Lights for Parking-Lots, the first thing you (and other people) will notice is the color of the light. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin and defines color characteristics of a light: cool, warm, natural, etc. LEDs have a wider color temperature range than all the other lights: warm (0-2900k), bright white (3,000-4,900k), and cool white (5000k and above).

LED lighting with a 5000k color temperature is perfect for outdoor spaces and large indoor spaces (showrooms, warehouses, and assembly lines). Any light with a higher color temperature is not recommended as it may endanger humans or the environment.

5. The Spacing Between the Lights

The mounting height will determine the space between parking lot lights. Many states have a maximum allowable height for parking lot poles. Where the parking lot is located will also determine the mounting height of the lights.
If your parking lot has very tall poles, you can use big fixtures and they will provide adequate light because tall poles usually have large spaces between them, unlike short ones. But you must ensure that the poles aren't too tall because you may be violating code or they may be affected by the wind.

Here are simple guidelines to help you determine the best placement for parking lot lights.
  • High mast poles that are 25-35 feet high must have 40-50 feet spacing. To provide sufficient light, they need lights that produce 30,000-70,000 lumens
  • Light poles with a height that falls between 20-25 feet must have 30-40 feet between them. The light fixtures installed must produce 20,000 to 30,000 lumens
  • Short light poles usually found in densely populated areas (which are 15-20 feet high), should be 20-30 feet apart. Their fixtures must produce between 12,000-18,000 lumens

When installing parking lot lighting poles, make sure they aren’t too far apart to create shadows or too close to cause glare.

6. The Mount Type

If you are installing new lighting poles, they will have specifications that will determine the type of mounts required.

There are three mount types: a slip fit mount, a straight arm mount, and a trunnion mount.

A Slip Fit Mount
Also called a slip fitter mount, this is the most common mount and mounts to a pole on a stump referred to as a tenon. The tenon is mounted to the pole as a cap (a square one or a round one, depending on the pole). A tenon can also be used to attach a slip fitter mount shoebox light to a wall.

A Straight Arm Mount
This is also a common type of mount and fits an existing square pole. It is a very clean mount that looks appealing as it is incorporated into the pole itself. However, the parking lot lights being replaced must already be on straight mounts as this means the poles have been pre-drilled to accommodate fitting.

A Trunnion Mount
This is the most versatile mount as it fits at the base of a light's body. If you want to mount a light in a challenging place that needs a creative solution, this is the go-to mount.

While buying LEDs for your parking lot lighting poles is the best decision you'll ever make for your business, employees, and customers, there are many things to take into consideration. Make use of our valuable tips and make the most of LED technology.

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