6. What distribution pattern should you consider?
Optics can be added to your parking fixture to change the distribution of the light to best suit your needs. So how do you choose which one is best for you?
Before you purchase, you can actually model your area with photometric software. This software allows you to model lighting layouts using different lights and different optics. These light designs allow you to determine which light and which optics provide the best light distribution for your area.
There are five basic light distribution patterns, Type 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Of these five, Types 3 and 5 are most common and are ideal for parking spaces with long aisles between parking spots.
An example of a photometric layout
7. What is the best color temperature? And what is CRI?
One other item you need to consider is color temperature. What is it? Simply stated, color is measured on the kelvin scale, and for purposes of this discussion, there is a predefined range you should consider. This range starts at about 3000K and extends to 6000K.
So what does this mean? Color temperatures on the left side of the scale tend to produce white light with yellow or warm tones. Colors on the right side of the scale tend to produce white light with bluish tones.
Realistically, you are probably going to select two common color temperatures used in 99% of outdoor applications, 4000K or 5000K. 5000K tends to mimic metal halide quite well.
So what is CRI? CRI (Color Rendering Index) is a measurement of quality of light. Lumens are quantity, and CRI is quality. For example, if you ever stood in a white shirt under High Pressure Sodium, your shirt looked yellow. Its quality of light is poor, and it tends to color everything. Its CRI is somewhere around 20, on a scale of 1 to 100. If you stand under a LED Light with a CRI of 80, your white shirt will look white.
So what CRI should you select? We recommend 70+. You do not need 90 CRI. Remember, this is a parking location, not a television studio where color rendering is incredibly important.
8. Rebates – can save you a lot of money when you purchase.
Rebates are handed out by utility companies and vary by every utility company.
Why would a utility give out a rebate? It’s simple. As we consume more electricity, the utility has to make a choice; get people to consume less or make more. They can only produce a finite amount. Once their customers consume all they can produce, they have to make more. And making more costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time.
So, the thought is that it’s better to make customers consume less. LED has been a big part of this. Remember, you can replace 400W Metal Halide with 100W of LED. That’s at least a 75% reduction of consumption.
How are rebates determined? First you need a standard of efficiency, and a means to test a product. In the industrial and Commercial lighting sector, there is DesignLights Consortium, or DLC. They created a standard which lights are tested against, and if the light passes, it becomes DLC Qualified. There are two standards: DLC and DLC Premium. DLC Premium is for the most efficient LED Lights. And sometimes, a utility company will give a bigger rebate for a DLC Premium Qualified light.
How can you know if your utility is going to give you a rebate? How do you get a rebate? What are the steps and processes?
That is where we can help. We have been doing this for years, and can help you determine your rebate, and what paper work needs to be filled out to get your rebate.
9. The warranty – how long is it and who will help you if there is a problem?
If you want to know how good a manufacturer thinks their light will work, here’s what you need to do.
- Check the length of the warranty. A product with a two year warranty is not designed to last long. All DLC qualified products are warrantied for five years.
- Read the warranty. Some manufacturers promise amazingly long warranties, along with some cleverly designed small print that makes it next to impossible to make a warranty claim.
- Check the Better Business Bureau. Sometimes companies find clever ways to not honor their warranties. They make claims such as ‘Installation Error’ as the reason the lights failed. Make sure you work with a reputable dealer. We often get calls from customers with failed lights with warranties that are not being honored.
- Online purchases – buyer beware. Some large online sites sell products with 30 day return policies and apparently with warranties if the product fails. Who is the company behind those warranties? The problem is you don’t have a relationship or a phone number of a person you can call if a driver fails. So, be careful of what you buy and where you buy it. You need these lights to work, and work for a long time, and someone who will be there to help if an issue arrives.
2 Must-have energy saving controls for your parking fixtures
1. Photocells for dusk to dawn operations
2. Motion Sensors and Dimming
Lighting is important, for appearance, safety and security. But why do they need to be 100% on 100% of the time? Why not turn them down at 3:00 am, or even better, when no motion is detected. Motion sensors are far more sophisticated than the used to be. Its no longer all on or all off. You can set the intensity when motion is detected and the amount of dimming when no one is around. This makes for the ideal security light.
Read Part 1 of this Post