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LED Parking Lot Lights for added security and savings




 


Commercial Parking Lot Lights Buyers Guide

These days, almost every commercial property has a parking lot. Parking lots are crucial in business environments because customers, employees, and visitors use them to park their cars. During the day, these spaces are usually well illuminated by natural light. But at nighttime, good lighting is what dictates if a parking lot is safe and if there's clear visibility.

The most interesting thing about parking lot lights is that people don't notice their effectiveness – unless they produce bad light. If a parking lot is well-lit at night, you'll find people battling for parking spots or walking around without a care in the world – because they feel very safe. Well-lit parking lots create a feeling of safety and security.

Bad parking lot lighting outside a commercial building can cost a company a lot of business, because parking lot light plays a crucial role in improving safety. People usually avoid dark parking lots at night because they do not feel safe. If the parking lot outside a business premises is not well-lit, customers may drive to another location to do business, making a company to lose a lot of revenue.

The pole-mounted lights that fill parking lots all over the country are not something many business owners think of, but it is something that they should think about, because it can dictate how safe or unsafe a parking lot is at night – for customers, employees, visitors, and even passers-by.

People who want to visit your business premises at night may be afraid of doing so for fear of being mugged or getting injured. In movies, poorly lit parking lots are usually centers for criminal activity – because crime thrives in darkness. Such parking lots attract burglaries, robberies, vehicle break-ins and even vehicle theft. There is poor visibility in these parking lots, which results in vehicle accidents as well as personal injuries.

And while security cameras play a crucial role in preventing or lowering crime, they cannot do their job effectively in a dark or a dimly lit parking lot. These important security features don’t work well in a place with bad lighting.

If you own or manage a parking lot, do not skimp on parking lot lighting. You'll only have yourself to blame. Install eco-friendly and efficient LED parking lot lights. Today, we’ll be talking about why LED parking lot lights are important and why you should install them in your parking lot.

Parking Lot with LED Lighting

6 Considerations before converting to LED for your Parking Lot

1.    Structure Considerations

The first thing you have to take into account is the design of the parking lot lighting poles or the lamp posts. If you're installing parking lot lights in the area for the first time, you have to get lighting poles that are both durable and effective. Of course, the light itself will provide many strategic advantages.

LED parking lot lights are the best of all light sources as they are designed to support either single or multiple luminaires. They are the best light products for parking light usage. Outdated HID lamps, which are used in older parking lot lighting fixtures all over America, are getting phased out and are being replaced by energy-efficient LED lighting. High intensity discharge lamps are not energy-efficient and produce bright and dark spots that decrease visibility, as a result, supporting crime.

LED lights are highly efficient and long-lasting and produce light that can be precisely controlled. What this means is that visibility is improved, and outdoor spaces are illuminated more uniformly after dark.

2.    Light Use and Design

The usage of the space is another important thing to consider when choosing a parking lot lighting solution. Whether the lighting fixtures are being installed in a new parking lot or being used in a retrofit situation, they must provide even, glare-free light in the parking lot.

This does not mean that the light fixtures should be as bright as possible. All they need to do is provide adequate light to meet the recommended light levels. Misuse of artificial light can result in light pollution – a problem that is increasingly growing around the globe.

In layman's terms, light pollution refers to excessive and inappropriate artificial light. It is usually made up of four components that may mix or overlap.

Sky glow: Light fixtures generate light upwards, interfering with the natural night light

Glare: This is excessive bright light that causes visual discomfort and can affect visibility

Light trespass: In this case, the light falls where it is not needed or meant to be, going past the borders of the area it is supposed to illuminate

Light clutter: Light groupings that produce bright, confusing, and uncontrolled light. The build-up of light clutter can contribute to glare, sky glow, or light trespass

Many urban areas have specific requirements pertaining to light pollution, particularly areas where dark sky compliance is crucial. The LED parking lot lights used in these areas must ensure that light is not distributed upwards.

3.    The Lumens

This is one of the most important things you must pay attention to. The best thing about LED lights is that they provide more lumens per watt than HID lights – which means they are very efficient. A lumen is a measurement of the perceived power of light. Most people are familiar with traditional lighting systems whose efficiency is measured in watts – you know what to expect from a 100-watt, a 400-watt or a 1000-watt bulb.

However, this is not the case with LED lighting because the wattage does not play an important role in the light output. With LEDs, a watt measures the electrical energy input while the lumens measure the light intensity output.

To put it in simpler terms, a LED light bulb makes use of watts to produce lumens. However, it is important to note that there are very many different types of LED chips, each with its own lumen output. This means that you cannot assume that, for instance, all 100-watt LED lights provide the same lumen output. There are different types of LED chips on the market: High Power LED chips, Lamp LED chips, Dip LED chips, Flux LED chips, SMD, COB LED chips.

Since LED lighting is directional, unlike HID lighting which is omnidirectional, the lumen output for the same brightness is usually lower for LEDs than for traditional lighting. When it comes to HID lighting, a large percentage of the lumens is wasted because of the direction in which the light is distributed (the lights distribute light in 360 degrees – all over the place, it is not focused).

4.    Luminous Efficacy

Luminous efficacy, which is usually measured in lumens per watt (lm/W), is a ratio of the perceived power of a light source (luminous flux) to the energy consumed by the source. In short, it describes how well a light source produces visible light and how much energy it takes to do it. The light measurement takes into account any energy that may be lost as heat.

Why is luminous efficacy important?

Because it tells us how efficient a light bulb is. The higher the luminous efficacy, the more economic the bulb will be, because more light is produced for a lower amount of power. Luminous efficacy is also useful when making interior and exterior lighting decisions because it can help you to figure out how many light fixtures will be needed in specific applications.

If the LED parking lot light fixtures you choose have a high luminous efficacy, the likelihood is that you will not need a one on one fixture replacement, and you will save money and energy in the process. As science and technology continue to advance, the luminous efficacy of LED bulbs keeps on improving.

Lumens Per Watt

5.    Parking Lot Light Beam Angle - get the right optic

In simple terms, a beam angle measures the distribution of light. We’ll explain a little bit more in order to give you a better idea. Traditional lighting fixtures like metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps have a beam angle of approximately 360 degrees. This means that the light they produce covers the target area but is not very intense.

LED light fixtures are different and some have narrow beam angles while others have wide beam angles. Those with narrower beam angles produce more intense light (their beam angle is generally about 40°, not higher than 5° above the industry standard).

As we mentioned up there, LEDs are directional in nature. When they are installed in parking lot light fixtures, they direct all their light to the target area, which is usually the floor. The beam angle of LED lights usually determines the size of the area that will be illuminated by the light. The most ideal beam angle is determined by the distance between the light source and the area being illuminated. Generally, the further the light fixture is from the target area for illumination, the narrower the beam angle will be needed to efficiently light up the space.

Beam angles are usually represented in degrees which indicate the range in which light is distributed. If you want a smaller spread of light, go for light fixtures with a lower beam angle; if you want a larger spread of light, choose lights with a higher beam angle.

The beam angle is very important as it generally determines how light will be distributed. If you use LED lights with a very wide beam angle, the light uniformity will be very high, but the light that hits the ground may not be adequate. On the contrary, if you get LED lights with a very narrow beam angle, the light uniformity will be very low and dark spots may appear on the ground in spite of the brightness of the light.

The LED parking lot lights you select must have the right beam angles so as to balance light uniformity with brightness. The lighting engineers at My LED Lighting Guide can perform a photometric analysis to ensure you pick LED parking lot lights with the right beam angles.

LED Optics

6.    The Mounting Options for Parking Lot Lights

The mounts for LED parking lot lights come in different styles. There are slip fitter mounts, wall plates, knuckle mounts, yoke mounts, trunnion mounts, and pole mounts. However, the mounts that are most commonly used are slip fitters, straight arm mounts, and trunnion mounts.

While mounts are different, there are specific mounts for specific lighting poles. This means that you should choose mounts depending on the lighting poles you want to use. One thing we would like to mention is that lighting poles usually have descriptions specifying the mounts they are to be used with.

If you're installing new LED parking lot lights, be sure to check the specifications on the lighting poles to know the mounts you will need. We know that in depth advice goes a long way towards helping you to make the right decision, so we've decided to talk about each of the 3 popular mounts for LED parking lot lights.

Slip Fitter Mounts

These types of mounts are very easy to install and typically glide over 2 3/8-inch lighting poles. So, what's the best thing about them? Slip fitter mounts come with adjustable heads, giving you the freedom to direct the light inwards whenever you need to do so. You can move the heads whenever you want to illuminate specific areas of your parking lot.

To adjust the mount heads and change the direction of the light, loosen the hex nuts and adjust the clamps which hold them in place. This is a sure way of finding the best spot for your lighting setup. While slip fitter mounts are used in some parking lots, they are also popular in non-parking environments such as sports courts, driveways, and large walkways.

These mounts can be mounted vertically or horizontally and offer one thing many other mounts do not: flexibility. If you want your parking lot to have lighting fixtures that direct light upwards and downwards you can use slip fitter mounts to install LED lights horizontally (to direct the light upwards) or vertically (to direct the light downwards).

Slipfitter Mount

Straight Pole Arm Mounts

The most stylish of all mounts, these are usually incorporated into the poles themselves. They are very popular and are mainly used for retrofitting projects (they are installed on existing square poles). Your job will be very easy if the conventional parking lot lights that are being replaced are already fitted on straight arm mounts. You won't have to get new mounts to use with your new LED parking lot lights. All you will need to do is buy the new lights and have them installed.

Straight arm mounts usually have two bolts that lock them to the parking lot lighting poles; one is located at the top and the other is located at the bottom. However, we think it is wise to say that these mounts are almost the opposite of slip fitter mounts. They are the least flexible of all mounts and can only be used for new parking lot lighting installations or in parking lots where the lighting poles have already been pre-drilled.

StraightArm Mount

Trunnion Mounts

No doubt about it, one thing that has made trunnion mounts popular is their versatility. They are usually installed at the bases of LED parking lot lights. They look very similar to the mounts that are commonly used on flood lights (yoke mounts) and we can confidently say that these mounts borrowed their design from yoke mounts.

Trunnion Mount

What makes trunnion mounts so popular?

They can be used in unique applications.

For example, if lighting designers want to mount LED parking lot lights in areas that require creative mounts, these are the mounts they will use. When mounts are needed in unique lighting situations, trunnion mounts are usually the first choice.

Reasons to Use LED Parking Lot Fixtures

Energy Savings

One of the reasons businesses, institutions, and organizations convert to LED is because they want to save money. If the lights in a parking lot consume less electricity, they will lower your electric bill and save you money. First, let’s take a look at the common wattages for high intensity discharge parking lot lights.

These lights use wattages between 400 and 1000 watts. LED parking lot lights, on the other hand, have wattages between 40 and 600 watts. Just by looking at the watts each of these lighting technologies consumes, it is easy to see that by switching to LED, you will see a 40% to 60% reduction in electricity consumption - right from the start.

Now that we've told you about the reduction in electricity consumption you will see, let us talk about how much money you will save. By simply converting to LED technology, you will save up to $300 on each fixture every year in electricity costs alone. This can be a huge reduction in costs, based on the size of your parking lot.

Lower Lighting Maintenance Costs

Apart from the money you will save on electricity, LED parking lot lights will also allow you to save money on lighting maintenance. Because LEDs are solid-state lighting devices, the way they produce light is different – and they also progress through their useful life very differently from high intensity discharge lights.

LEDs generate light through semiconductors while high intensity discharge lights used fuel sources to generate light. As the fuel gets diminished, the functionality of these lights goes down significantly. This is one of the reasons why LED fixtures have a longer lifespan than HID fixtures.

These days, regular LEDs have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. Higher-quality ones have a rated life of 100,000 hours. This means that you won't have to replace them as frequently as HID lights. LED parking lot lights are more energy-efficient than conventional lighting technologies and allow you to save money you would have spent on lighting maintenance – buying new lights bulbs and paying electricians to change them out.

Lower Cost with LED

Better Lighting Performance

It does not need to be said that the performance of your parking lot lighting is of utmost importance. If people feel safe in your parking lot, they won't be quick to leave when it gets dark. You must always ensure that the light fixtures provide plenty of visibility for people to walk and drive around.

Let us examine LED lights from a lighting performance perspective. LEDs distribute their light through a multi-point design which enables them to produce uniformly-distributed light on the intended surfaces. They have numerous diodes with individual optics, which results in light that is more evenly-distributed across the target surfaces. What this means is that as a person moves away from the light fixtures, the light levels will not significantly decrease.

On the contrary, high intensity discharge lights produce "bright spots" (very bright light) directly underneath them and the light levels decrease considerably as the distance from the poles increases. LED parking lot lights are able to get rid of this problem through even light distribution. After you install them in your parking lot, there will be a more even foot candle distribution.

LED parking lot lights provide higher-quality light than HID lamps because of the way they produce light and the way they distribute it. LED Lights are available in a wide range of color temperatures and offer many options to enhance the visual perception of brightness.

One of the things LED manufacturers do to ensure their fixtures produce higher-quality light without consuming a lot of electricity is give them higher color temperatures and lower wattages - because light fixtures with a higher color temperature appear brighter.

Better Performance with LED

Very Good at Rendering Colors

Another important reason to select LED parking lot lights is their higher color rendering index (CRI). Metal halide lamps, which are commonly used in many parking lots, have many disadvantages. For starters, they have a long warm up and cool down time. When they are switched on, they can take up to 15 minutes to achieve full brightness. And in case power is interrupted, they cannot be turned on immediately.

These lights have a short lifespan (6,000 to 15,000 hours) and their color rendering index is low (65). Most LEDs have a color rendering index of 80 and above and easily show the real colors of objects. LED lights not only make sure that parking lots are well-lit, they allow pedestrians and drivers to clearly see obstructions as they walk or drive around.

When you install LED parking lot lights with a higher color temperature and a higher color rendering index, you may need fewer fixtures since the quality of the light will be much better.

Color Rendering Index

They Boost Safety

The National Safety Council reports that countless accidents happen every year in parking lots. If the lighting is bad, people can easily fall, slip, or get seriously injured. Those driving around the parking lot may not be able to see clearly and may collide with other vehicles or crash into objects. You may not know it, but if someone gets injured on your premises, you may be held legally responsible. Many businesses have been sued simply because people got injured due to insufficient lighting.

As people drive in your parking lot, they should be able to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles. The better drivers and pedestrians can see, the lower the chances of accidents. Good lighting improves visibility, helping drivers and pedestrians to avoid situations that may lead to accidents. And if your business is open at night, the lights will also make sure your customers do not get lost.

Good lighting also acts as a deterrent to crime. For example, if a criminal scopes out a commercial property with the intention of breaking in or vandalizing, the truth is that they will not carry out their plan if the building is well illuminated both indoors and outdoors. Darkness and crime go hand in hand and criminals usually carry out their criminal activities in poorly lit areas because they stay hidden.

If your clients, employees, business partners, and visitors cannot detect any movement in the parking lot because it is poorly illuminated, they may easily get mugged or assaulted. Criminals may also break into their cars and steal. And even worse, the security personnel may not be able to see the happenings in the parking lot as surveillance cameras will not be able to capture the footage clearly.

High-quality LED parking lot lights can make your parking lot safe for your clients, employees, and business associates, reducing your legal exposure. What's more, when you install quality parking lot lights, you indirectly tell everyone who visits your business premises, institution, or organization, that they are always welcome no matter the time of day.

LED Safety Picture

3 Important Elements for Maximizing Success when converting to LED in your Parking Lot

Because the layouts of parking lots are different, there isn't a single cookie-cutter approach businesses or organizations should take when illuminating their parking lots. Be sure to take into account these three vital elements to ensure your parking lot has the right lighting.

Consider the Lighting Design

The light distribution of LED parking lot lights plays an important role in determining which fixtures to use and where to use them. To help you choose the right lighting fixtures, let's look at the six different types of light distributions.

LED Light Distribution

Type I Light Distribution

This distribution type is perfect for illuminating walkways, sidewalks, narrow roads, and paths. The lighting is meant to be positioned near the centre of a pathway to provide adequate lighting for smaller pathways.

Type I light distribution is a 2-way lateral width distribution with a preferred lateral width of 15° in the cone of maximal candle power. The two main light concentrations are usually placed in opposite directions along a roadway. This type of light distribution is typically applicable to a lighting location near the center of a roadway – where the mounting height of the fixtures is almost equal to the roadway width.

Type II Light Distribution

This light distribution type is used for wide walkways, entrance roadways, ramps, and long narrow areas. It is meant for illuminating larger areas and is typically located close to the roadside. Some areas where you'll find this type of lighting are jogging paths and smaller side streets.

Type II light distribution has a preferred lateral width of 25°. It is generally applicable to light sources located at or close to the side of narrow roadways, where the roadway's width does not surpass 1.75 times the mounting height.

Type III light distribution

This light distribution type is meant for general parking areas, roadway lighting, and areas where a larger area of lighting is needed. The light fixtures must be placed on the side of the area being illuminated, allowing the light to project outwards and infuse the area, producing a filling light flow.

Type III light distribution has a preferred lateral width of 40°. The distribution is typically meant for light fixtures that are mounted at or close to the side of medium-sized roadways or areas whose width does not surpass 2.75 times the mounting height.

Type IV Light Distribution

This light distribution type generates a semicircular light that is meant for mounting on the sides of walls and buildings. It is ideal for lighting up the perimeters of parking areas and businesses. Type IV distribution usually has the same light intensity at angles between 90°and 270°.

Type IV light distribution has a preferred lateral width of 60°and is meant for side-of-road mounting. It is generally used on wide roadways or roadways whose width does not surpass 3.7 times the mounting height.

Type V Light Distribution

This light distribution type produces a circular distribution with the same light intensity at all angles. It has a circular symmetry of candlepower that is the same at all lateral angles. Type V lighting is intended for mounting at or close to the center of roadways, intersections, and the centre islands of parkways. The distribution type is intended for large commercial parking lot lighting and also areas where adequate, evenly-distributed light is very important.

Type VI Light Distribution

This distribution type produces a square distribution with the same intensity at all angles. It features a square symmetry of candlepower that is the same at all lateral angles. It is meant for luminaires mounted at or near the center of roadways, intersections, and centre islands of parkways.

Type VI light distribution is also intended for large commercial parking lot lighting and also areas where adequate, uniformly distributed light is vital. However, it is important to note that this light distribution type is normally used in areas where the light pattern requires a more defined edge.

The mounting height for parking lot lights typically ranges between 12 feet and 20 feet. However, in some cases, it can be as high as 35 feet. The mounting height is usually the determining factor for the spacing between parking lot lights. The higher the light fixtures are, the fewer the poles required to light up an area.

Another important consideration that should be taken into account when determining the mounting height and the spacing of light fixtures is their lumen output. While light fixtures with a high lumen output are preferred for car dealerships and banks, you should always be careful when choosing the lumen output for other commercial parking lots.

Back in 2007, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America instituted a luminaire classification system referred to as B.U.G (Backlight, Uplight, and Glare). B.U.G is a rating system which dictates how much light and in which direction the light should be discharged. To find out the B.U.G value, the maximum quantity of lumens discharged in different sub-zones is usually given a value. BUG values have now become a standard in evaluating how well at specific light fixture controls stray light in comparison to other lighting fixtures.

Design is not only important for the light fixtures, it is also important for the surrounding areas that require illumination. Natural features like trees as well as landscaping must be taken into account to find a suitable location for the light fixtures and to prevent any unwanted shadows. In applications where the lighting must be close to buildings, wall packs can be used to provide light near entryways and doorways. In places like covered parking garages or canopies, fewer LED parking lot light fixtures can be used – because the light is close to the parking space.

Photometric Study

The Light Quality

To be absolutely honest, light quality requirements for parking lots are different and depend on the time of day, the amount of traffic, and the use of the space. For instance, a parking lot outside a recreational park does not require as much light as a parking lot outside a bank. You must take into consideration the ideal lumen output as well as the Kelvin color temperature that is recommended for your application.

High intensity discharge bulbs like metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps (which are often used in parking lot light fixtures) have a warm color temperature and are not ideal for high-security environments like banks and car dealerships. LED parking lot lights, on the other hand, have a cooler color temperature and produce blue or white light (which is similar to the light produced by the sun). This means they are perfect for applications that require very bright light at night.

Light is usually measured in foot candles. A foot candle is a unit of illumination that accurately measures the brightness of light 1 foot away from a light source. To put it in simpler terms, it measures the intensity of light in an application. Foot candles are used by lighting experts to determine light levels in both indoor and outdoor environments. 2 foot candles are recommended for open parking lots while 5 foot candles are recommended for enclosed parking lots and building entrances.

One important thing you must know is that more light does not necessarily mean higher-quality light. Rather, the light should be uniform to ensure there is no contrast between bright and dark areas. Uniformity is usually expressed as a ratio between the lowest reading of light levels and the average reading of light levels in a specific area. If the average light level reads 4 foot candles and the lowest light level reads 1 foot candle, the ratio is expressed as 4:1. We usually recommend a ratio of 3:1 for parking lots.

The thing is, even security cameras that are rated for high and low light levels experience difficulty if the contrast ranges are too high. This may be caused by insufficient lighting or lighting fixtures that are placed too close to the cameras, causing glare.

Where light uniformity is an issue, the images captured by security cameras usually contain areas of darkness (cool spots) and areas of brightness (hot spots) where the details and not visible. A contrast in lighting makes it quite difficult for pedestrian and vehicle interaction, creating a dangerous environment. Steer clear of this problem by using LED parking lot lights that create uniform lighting in the entire space.

Luminaire Efficiency

As technological advancements continue to be made, commercial lighting fixtures have improved to offer significant energy savings. LED technology has drastically changed the world's perception of lighting. LED lights are synonymous with energy efficiency because they consume significantly less energy than traditional lighting fixtures (up to 75%).

The next important step in creating an energy-efficient parking lot is installing intelligent lighting controls. According to us, these are the most popular parking lot lighting controls.

Photocells: These sensors switch lights on when there is insufficient natural light and switch them off when there is sufficient natural light.

Astronomical clocks: These lighting controls turn the luminaires on and off depending on the seasons.

Bi-level: These reduce a specific amount of light output at a certain time.

Multilevel: These provide 2-level light outputs for different times of the night.

Motion sensors: These sensors switch lights on and off based on the motion in the area.

Fixed response: These are selective switches that turn off specific luminaires.

In order to increase the energy efficiency of lighting fixtures, programs like the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) have developed tools and guides for implementing cost-saving techniques into parking lot lighting. While there is no single way of illuminating a parking lot, with the guidance provided by these programs, there is a strong push towards an energy-efficient future.

Our quality LED parking lot lighting offers a wide selection of models and options to choose from, and working with one of our LED lighting professionals will ensure you get the proper LED light fixture or replacement for your specific needs.

LED Controls

Two Options to Convert from HID to LED

1.    New LED Parking Lot Fixtures

Entirely new parking lot light LED fixtures are a great option for new properties under construction or for facilities which are due for entirely new outdoor LED light fixtures. These types of LED parking shoebox lights and LED parking flood lights offer everything you will need to illuminate your parking lot, garage, or other open area efficiently. We also have wall mounted LED lights which will ensure every area of your lot is illuminated. Not sure if you need outdoor wall mounted, shoebox, or flood lighting? Ask us!

2.    Retrofit your Parking Lot Lights - Keep your Fixtures

Retrofitting can be a extremely cost effective option with our LED retrofit bulbs for parking fixtures. In fact, we recommend it over a full replacement if you don't need to fully replace your existing light poles. The only time you should update to entirely new parking lot LED light fixtures is if they are outdated, falling apart, or want a new look in your parking lot.

With outdoor LED pole retrofit kits, you will be able to reduce the amount of money it costs to convert to LED and start gaining the benefits of LED in your parking lot. Also, if you are unsure what retrofitting is - it's simply replacing the existing light source with a new one. LED bulbs for parking lot lights are what retrofits are, a replacement for the existing luminaire. If you have any questions regarding any retrofit product we offer for parking lot lights, contact us.

Retrofit Chart

Commercial LED Parking Lot Fixtures

Interested in our LED commercial & industrial parking lot lights? Use our contact information below or select one of the LED parking lighting products above and explore the possibilities with our indoor & outdoor LED parking lot fixtures.