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Important Things You Need to Know About LED Parking Area Lighting

If you happen to own or manage a parking lot, you should seriously consider getting LED fixture retrofits to replace the traditional lights. Converting to LED is one of the best decisions you'll ever make as it will have a big impact on your bottom line and the overall look of the space. If you're looking to cut down costs, improve the quality of light in your parking lot, and enhance the aesthetics of the space, LEDs are your go-to lights. They emit higher-quality light than traditional lights and have lower maintenance.

MyLEDLightingGuide is a LED light supplier whose main aim is to help companies, organizations, and institutions switch to energy-efficient lighting. We have more than 10 years of experience in the LED lighting industry and have helped many facility owners to change the lighting in their parking lots to LED.

Our Observations After Installing LED Parking Lights

Most building owners and facility managers who come to us do so for two reasons.
  1. They want to improve the quality of light in their parking lots
  2. They want to reduce their energy consumption, and as a result lower their utility bills

Since most of these facilities have on-site maintenance staff, the primary goal is to generally decrease the amount of time it takes to replace and maintain lighting fixtures.
The parking lots usually have metal halide lights that consume a lot of watts, do not produce very bright light, and tend to flicker as they age.
We can't blame them for wanting to change these lights. Metal halide does not have a long lifespan, lose their lumens very fast, and are not efficient.

After replacing metal halide lamps with LEDs, these are some of the changes we observed
  • Energy consumption went down by as much as 75%. When features like motion sensors and daylight sensors were added, consumption went down by over 80%
  • Businesses and facility managers saved up to $7000 in yearly maintenance costs
  • Greenhouse gas emissions went down by 83000 lbs.
  • The rebates given by utility companies and local municipalities amounted to $5000. We formulated proposals for those who didn’t get rebates to ensure their return on investment (ROI) was 24 months
  • All businesses and facility managers recouped their investments in approximately 24 months

The greatest thing about switching to LED technology is that the change is instantly noticeable. If you used metal halide in your parking lot before, only the cars under the lights may have been visible (those directly beneath each lighting pole) and very few areas may have been well-lit. Also, the dark spots in your parking lot may have been many.

However, once you install LED Parking Lot Fixtures, all the cars in the parking lot will be visible, and painted lines will be clearly visible to drivers (they will be able to park their cars well). In addition, there will be no dark patches (or there will be very few). If you operate a 24-hour business and your clients were afraid of coming to the premises at night for fear of getting mugged or injured, this will no longer be the case. People will come at all hours of the night as they will feel safe. LED lights will create a safe environment your customers, employees, prospects, and tenants will love.

If You Own A Parking Lot, You Should Seriously Consider Converting to LED

The truth of the matter is, LED technology is not for a select few. Every organization, business, learning institution, building, or facility with a parking lot can greatly benefit from LED lights. There's no better feeling than knowing that students, faculty staff, employees, customers, and tenants are safe as they drive and walk through a parking lot at night. LEDs, unlike high intensity discharge lights, do not create bright spots and dark spots. The light they provide is uniform and people can clearly see cars and other objects whether they are near the lights or far from them. The money you will save by converting to LED can go a long way towards enhancing the success of your business or organization.

The 3 Biggest Impacts of LED Parking Lighting

1. A Reduction in Energy Consumption

Time and again, it has been said that LEDs reduce energy consumption by a big margin. This is nothing but the truth. LED lighting can lower energy consumption by as much as 90%. This is mainly because parking lots occupy a big portion of a property and usually have many lights. In addition, some poles need up to 4 fixtures in order to provide bright light. If you use 4 metal halide bulbs in a single lighting pole, your electric bill may go through the roof. However, if you replace these bulbs with new LED bulbs that consume very few watts, you can save up to $300 per fixture annually and reinvest that money elsewhere. Why do LEDs have such a low energy consumption? There are two reasons why. First, LEDs need very few watts to produce many lumens. Secondly, LEDs convert most of the energy they consume into light and do not waste it as heat like HID lights.

2. Lower Maintenance Costs

Both new LED light fixtures and retrofits can last for more than 10 years, which means you won't have to buy replacement lights for years. LEDs, unlike HID lights, do not use a fuel source to produce light. They produce light through semiconductors that do not get depleted like fuel sources. And because they use highly efficient technology, the fixtures do not need frequent maintenance. You can also extend the lifespan of LEDs by inspecting them regularly and dusting them. This will directly translate into savings on both materials and labor. Metal halides lose their lumens very fast and take a long time to warm up (5-10 minutes) when they are switched on or in case a power source is interrupted. These bulbs are usually changed en-masse before they reach the end of their lives, because changing single bulbs in a parking lot can be costlier. This significantly increases costs as many replacement bulbs have to be bought at the same time and the people who change out the bulbs have to be paid.

3. Higher Quality Light

Whether a parking lot is outside a shopping center, a commercial building, a public building, or a learning institution, it can greatly benefit from LED technology. Customers, employees, visitors and the area's residents will know you have their best interests at heart if your parking lot is always well-lit at night. Get our LED fixture retrofits and turn your parking lot into a safe, welcoming area for everyone. Nothing makes us more happy than helping businesses, institutions, and organizations realize the benefits of LED technology. Contact us today to find out how we can help transform your parking lot.

Buying LED Lights for Parking Areas: Things to Look At

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

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 area fixtures 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 Areas

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 poles. 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 fixtures.
  • 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 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 fixtures 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 LED fixtures for your parking parking area may be one of the better decisions 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.