It is no secret that traditional Metal Halide parking fixtures consume a lot of electricity. In fact, they can have a negative impact on a business’ bottom line. But we all know that parking locations must be bright, well-lit areas in order to enhance safety and security. 

Before LED lighting was introduced, most parking areas used high intensity discharge light fixtures. And while these fixtures provided bright light, the light didn’t remain bright for very long and they consumed a lot of energy, increasing electric bills significantly. 

LED parking lot lights
LED parking lot lights

But we all agree that we can’t do without the large lighting fixtures that illuminate parking area. Since LEDs do a much better job than HID’s, getting them is a no-brainer. 

Most owners of commercial properties and parking spaces switch to LEDs after realizing their unparalleled benefits. Their light output far exceeds that of their HID counterparts and they use a fraction of the energy HID lights use.  But these are not the only benefits of LEDs.

They also produce truer white light because they have a higher Color Rendering Index than HID’s and fluorescent’s. In addition, they last much longer than other lighting systems, meaning you’ll spend less money paying someone to change out the bulbs. 

But LED lights are so many, which ones are the best for my parking lot?

If this question is running through your mind, you’ll find all the answers you need in this amazing post. We know you don’t have the time to research the numerous LEDs on the market, so we’ve done the hard work for you.

Here are the most important things you must consider when installing Parking Lot Lights.

1.   Does Your Parking Lot Already Have Other Lights Or Will These Be New Lights?

If your light poles already have traditional lights, the approach you take will be different than the one you would if you were installing LEDs in new lighting poles. If you’re installing new parking area lighting, the probability is you may need a permit from your local municipality in order to carry out the project.

But if the parking fixtures are already in place, you won’t need to get any permits from your local municipality before doing some changes. However, you’ll still have to check whether the lighting codes or laws have been updated as you may violate some without knowing. Municipal laws and lighting codes keep on changing, so it is very important to stay updated.

LED parking lot lights
LED parking lot lights

What to Do If You Already Have Existing HID Parking Fixtures

If you have HID Fixtures in place, collect the following information and give it to your LED lighting designer.

  • Where is the parking lot located? Different areas have different lighting requirements. For instance, parking lots in densely populated areas do not need bright light as those that are located outside big-box stores
  • What types of fixtures are used in the lighting poles? This will help the lighting expert to determine whether the fixtures need to be replaced or just the lamps
  • What is the wattage of the current lamps? This will help the person to determine the LED equivalents needed
  • What is the line voltage? Line voltage is the standard voltage (120 volts) found in junction boxes and outlets in the United States. LEDs are low-voltage bulbs and may require a transformer to lower the line voltage to prevent them from burning out
  • What do you want from the lights? You may be looking to address a specific problem with the upgrade, to meet new lighting code changes, or to address customer complaints
  • What is the mounting style of the current fixtures? LEDs have different mounting options and may not work well with the existing mounts. We will talk more about LED mounts later on

What To Do If You’re Installing New Shoe Box Lights

The first thing you must do when installing new (LED) Shoe Box Lights is to check whether your municipality requires an environmental impact study. The study will take into account many details that apply to your specific location and give recommendations based on your local ecological plan.

If your local municipality requires an environmental impact study done, make sure you fulfill all the requirements first before installing the new fixtures. Collect all the necessary information. Municipalities usually provide detailed information, including the number of foot-candles required in a parking lot.

“What is a lux?” you may be asking.

A lux is a unit of measurement that measures luminous flux per unit area. It is equal to a single lumen per square meter. Lighting experts normally use foot-candles to measure the intensity of light – as seen by the human eye – that passes through or hits a surface.

Why are Foot-Candles so important?

While light is a good thing, too much of it can disturb human and wildlife populations. Lights that consume very few watts to achieve the required number of foot-candles are better than those that consume more watts.

For example, a 400W metal halide light can be replaced by a 150W LED light. This means that the 150W LED gives off more light than the 400W metal halide.

If your local municipality does not have a set number of foot-candles for parking lots, talk to a LED lighting expert and they will use photometry (the science of the measurement of light) to determine the number of foot-candles needed in your parking lot.

2.   The Right Wattage for Your Parking Area Lights

If you’re converting metal halide or high pressure sodium lights to LED, there are 2 ways to go about it: you can choose retrofitting or a full fixture replacement (a full redesign).

With a full fixture replacement, the fixture as well as the traditional lamps are replaced. This is a costly process because you’ll have to get new LED bulbs and fixtures. But it also has an upside: some new LED fixtures are specially designed to work with specific LED bulbs and consume very few watts. For this reason, you may end up saving a lot of money than you would if you simply replaced the bulbs.

Retrofitting simply means getting rid of the traditional bulb and ballast and replacing them with a LED bulb. This is the most affordable way of switching to LED technology because all you need to buy are the LED bulbs. However, it is only recommended if the fixtures are in good working order.

A lighting designer can recommend the best option for your parking space. They will also tell you whether the current light is too bright or not bright enough for your parking lot.

Take time to explain to the lighting expert what you need from the new lighting. Do you want to make your parking lot brighter at night to enhance safety and security? Do you want LED lights that are dimmable or those that switch themselves on and off depending on the activity in the parking lot? Do you want lights that switch themselves off once they detect natural light?

This information will help the lighting designer to know the type of LEDs you need and which lighting controls they should be paired with.

Commercial Parking Lot Lighting Fixtures
Commercial Parking Lot Lighting Fixtures

If you’re installing new LED parking Fixtures

If you’re installing fixtures for the first time, choosing the right LEDs may not be so easy. A lighting designer can help make the process easy. They will use their expertise to ensure that the lighting follows the set standards for your area and that it meets all your requirements.

MyLEDLightingGuide offers a free lighting audit and design to help you select the right LED lights for your parking lot.

3.   The Right Color Temperature (Correlated Color Temperature) of Your Parking Lot

The first thing people will notice after your new parking area lights are installed is their color and quality. LEDs have a better light color and quality because they have higher color temperatures than traditional lights.

Color temperature is a numerical value that defines the color of light a light source emits. Light sources with low color temperatures produce light with a red or orange color while those with high color temperatures produce light with a blue or white color.

Kelvin (K) is the unit of measurement for temperature. Color temperatures above 5000K are referred to as cool colors while those between 2700K-3000K are known as warm colors.

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