Businesspeople often grapple with the challenges of lighting a parking lot. Most of them consider the venture costly and cannot quite figure out the best way to go about it. However, without proper lighting, businesses can suffer. First, employees and customers would not feel safe walking in the parking lot. Night sales would take a hit, and soon enough, the revenue would dwindle. Secondly, poor lighting paves the way for accidents. Businesspeople can face litigation as a result which would further reduce the revenue.
Furthermore, criminals can take advantage of the shadows in the parking lot and attack customers and employees. From a revenue and ethical point of view, it is much cheaper to light a parking lot. So, how should you do it, and are LEDs indeed your best choice?
Why has LED lighting become popular?
You may have noticed that more businesses have incorporated LED lighting in their parking lots in lieu of traditional options. Even so, some business people are still on the fence, citing high LED costs as a reason for not making the change. But if you think about it, LEDs have become much cheaper over the years. Plus, when you factor in return on the investment, it becomes clear that an LED parking lot light fixture is the clear winner. Let us look at why people have moved away from HIDs and other alternatives and why this may also be a good move for you:
- Energy Efficiency: Most people have touted energy efficiency as the reason behind getting LED light. But what does it mean? Look at it like this. When you buy a LEPRO light, you spend as much as 40-60% less on powering the light- This is because an LED spends less energy heating up and does not lose energy to the environment. Averages show that businesspeople can save as much as $300 on each fixture per year. Therefore, you can also add energy savings to this point.
- Reduced Maintenance: Have you ever noticed the time and money spent repairing and even replacing traditional lights? Sure, they come cheap and are easy to replace. However, in the long run, you end up spending way more money on them than you would on LEDs. So, why do LEDs last longer? It comes down to their operating mechanism. Instead of burning out like traditional lights, LEDs dim over time as their useful life reduces. With a functional life of even 100,000 hours, you can see that an LED would outlast an HID quite easily.
- Performance: The primary concern when lighting a parking lot other than cost is the effectiveness of the light. If you use a light that spots after a given distance, you will still face a problem with the shadows, and this can prove annoying. Instead, you want a uniform light that maintains its intensity to the point of hitting the ground. Unfortunately, HID lights cannot provide such intensity. Instead, they start strong but weaken as they move away from the light source. As a result, you must use many lights in the same lot to achieve uniformity. LEDs, on the other hand, produce even light that maintains its intensity throughout. If you position the lights based on the number of foot candles you need in the space, the overlapping should be sufficient.
How should you choose LEDs for your parking lot?
To make the best possible choice for your lot, you must consider the following factors:
New installations vs. replacements
If you already have lights in your parking lot, you can go the replacement way. In this case, you will need to look at the wattage of the previous lights. If they were performing well, you would need LEDs that can deliver the same light intensity. However, if they were falling short, now is the time to upgrade your lighting. Please note that wattage is not the best measure of light intensity because it looks at the power draw.
For example, if your current metal halide has a wattage of 1500, its lumens probably lie around 60,000. An LED light with 450 watts can provide the same light intensity. Do you see how much you will have saved in power consumption? Let us take another example. Suppose your current metal halide light produces 40,000 lumens and has a wattage of 1000. An LED light with the same light output will only need 300 watts. Base your replacements on wattage and lumens and prepare for huge savings.
If you do not have lights in the lot, you can install two lights per pole. However, if the area is exceptionally dark or needs more brightness, you can work with four lights per pole. So, how far apart should the poles be? It all comes down to where you use the lights and how high they are in the pole. For example, you can place the lights about 15 to 20 feet high in a small parking lot. At this range, with lights producing 12,000 to 18,000 lumens, a spacing of 20 to 30 feet can work. You must consider light output and positioning of the lights when deciding what space is ideal.
Color temperature, measured in kelvins, is also essential as it determines the ambiance created in the parking lot. Temperatures averaging 3000 kelvins create a warm ambiance that can work for restaurants and other relaxing spaces. 4000 kelvins replicate daylight and can work for business setups. Temperatures around 5000 kelvins are ideal for parking lots and can work for almost any lot. If you move higher than this, you get a cooler light that highlights your lot. It is common for gas stations to use this kind of lighting. However, due to its potential adverse effect on the environment, using it is not ideal.
When it comes to safety in parking lots, you cannot go wrong with LED lights. They ensure that customers and employees feel safe in the lot and can easily move through the lot. In addition, with a lower chance of crime and driving accidents, you are sure to see a boost in your revenue.