LED Tip 13: Understanding Outdoor Light Patterns

You have a parking lot. You are thinking about converting over to LED. You are told that you should go with a Type 3 distribution. What does that mean? How do you know this will work best in your parking lot?

Understanding Type 1 to Type 5 Distribution Patterns

The easiest way to think about this is: Type 5 is a perfectly round circle of light, your source of light is at the bottom of the circle. Then think of something pressing down at the top of the circle, this is Type 4. The sides push out as the height decreases. Push harder - Type 3. Push even harder. Type 2. Push as hard as you can. Type 1.

So what do you typically see in most parking lots? Type 3 and 5.

How can you ultimately tell what is the perfect light distribution?

Run a photometric study. Today's lighting software allows us to import the layout of your parking lot, along with pole locations where the shoe box lights are mounted. At these locations we can plot our LED Fixtures or Retrofits, and then calculate the foot candle measurements and distribution of light. We can swap out lights with different optics, different lumen outputs and ultimately come to the proper light pattern and light levels for you.

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