Despite efforts to end daylight saving time, the practice of setting back our clocks in the fall is still a lasting tradition. And with darker evenings ahead, maintaining proper lighting in parking lots should be a top priority for commercial building owners, business owners, and facility managers.
Not only does it improve safety for employees and customers, but it can also have a significant impact on a business’s revenue.
Below, we’ll discuss the importance of parking lot light maintenance, offer safety tips, and highlight energy-efficient lighting options so you’re prepared for the upcoming fallback daylight saving transition.
The Importance of Lighting in a Parking Lot
Have you ever driven into a dark, poorly lit parking lot and thought twice about leaving your car? That’s because proper lighting is crucial for creating a safe environment. Adequate lighting not only enhances visibility but also deters potential criminal activities such as property vandalism, facility break-ins, and vehicle theft.
Recent statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau reveal a worrying trend: a vehicle was stolen every 36 seconds in 2022. Catalytic converter thefts have also skyrocketed, with over 64,000 thefts reported in the same year.
It’s not just theft that’s a concern; driver and pedestrian safety in parking lots is also a critical issue. Thousands of accidents occur in parking lots annually, leading to over 60,000 injuries. In fact, one in every five vehicle accidents happens in parking lots.
For commercial building owners and facility managers, this information is crucial. The safety of employees and customers, the protection of property, and the overall impact on business revenue and reputation are directly tied to how well a parking area is lit. Effective lighting can significantly reduce these risks, making it an investment worth considering.
How Daylight Saving Time Changes Affect Lighting Needs
With the onset of fall, daylight saving time comes to an end. We set our clocks back one hour and experience earlier sunsets. This time transition can have significant effects on lighting needs for businesses and commercial properties.
During brighter months, less artificial lighting is required, but as the days get shorter, you’ll need to compensate with more lighting. You can expect to have outdoor lighting on for more extended periods, well over 13 hours, depending on your location and weather conditions.
If your parking lot has outdated or inefficient lighting systems, this can lead to increased energy consumption and higher utility costs. Investing in energy-efficient lighting options, like LED lighting, can help mitigate these issues while keeping your parking lot well-lit during the darker months.
Recommended Lighting for a Parking Lot
In the context of lighting for parking lots, particularly for commercial buildings and facilities that may have a lot of square footage to cover, understanding the measurement of light intensity is key.
Understanding Lux and Lumens
First, let’s talk about ‘lux.’ This term refers to the intensity of light, known as illuminance, that lands on a surface. To put it simply, 1 lux is equivalent to the light a single candle emits over a one-square-meter area.
In commercial spaces, required illumination varies – from about 1,500 lux in typical environments to a staggering 20,000 lux in larger venues like stadiums.
Now, understanding lux is important because it guides us on how much light we need in an area, and this is where lumens come into play. Lumens measure the brightness of a light fixture, essentially telling us how much light a bulb can emit.
So when choosing LED lights for your parking lot, you match the lumens output to your required lux level.
For a smaller area covering 15 to 20 feet, aim for lights with 16,000 to 20,000 lumens. If you need to light up a larger space of 20 to 30 feet, then 40,000 lumens will be more appropriate.
Light Pole Considerations
Now, let’s consider the height of light poles in your parking lot, which is another crucial factor for optimal illumination. The height of the poles determines how well the light is distributed across your parking area.
Here are some light pole guidelines:
- For smaller parking lots, use 15-20-foot poles. These should be equipped with bulbs that emit 12,000-18,000 lumens and be spaced 20-30 feet apart.
- In medium-sized lots, 20-25-foot poles are ideal. Choose bulbs with 20,000-30,000 lumens and maintain 30-40 feet between each pole.
- For larger areas, consider 25-35 foot “high mast” poles. These require powerful bulbs of 30,000-70,000 lumens, spaced 40-50 feet apart.
- Two lights per pole is a standard approach.
Choosing the right pole height and balancing the lux requirements with the right lumen output of your LED lights will create a well-lit, safe, and inviting parking lot.
Designing Effective Parking Lot Lighting
Designing the lighting for a parking lot involves more than just picking out fixtures. It’s a complex process with a lot of considerations. Professional parking lot lighting contractors can help ensure that your parking area meets standards, looks attractive, and is energy-efficient.
When designing a lighting system, lighting contractors consider factors like:
- Lot Design and Materials: The design of your parking lot, including the materials used, impacts your lighting. For instance, the presence of trees and vegetation must be considered for both current and future growth, as they can affect light distribution.
- Light Levels and Color Quality: Different light levels and color qualities create an energy-efficient and visually comfortable environment. Parking lot lighting should have enough contrast to enable employees and customers to move around while keeping the area free of shadows.
- Controls for Efficiency: Given that parking lots are typically lit for over 13 hours a day, using controls, timers, and motion sensors to adjust lighting during less busy periods can lead to significant energy savings. Techniques like dimming perimeter lights during off-hours can guide users to park closer to the building, enhancing safety and reducing energy usage.
- Quality and Quantity of Light: The type of building your parking lot serves, and the surrounding area dictates your lighting needs. It’s not just about brighter lights but also about uniform lighting that aids security cameras and visibility in the lot. This involves considering the balance of light spread and avoiding sharp contrasts.
From design to implementation, professional parking lot lighting services can ensure your property is up to code and meets the necessary standards for safety and energy efficiency.
Understanding How Long Parking Lot Lights Last
Just a few decades ago, traditional metal halide or high-pressure sodium lights were the go-to choice for parking lot lighting. You’ll recognize these by their orange-ish hue. They’re still in use today, but with their lifespan of only about 25,000 hours and higher energy consumption, they’ve been surpassed by the many benefits of LED lighting technology.
LED lights are advertised to last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 hours, which means you can expect them to keep shining for at least 10 to 15 years. And because they’re energy-efficient, you’ll save on electricity costs in the long run.
But just like any other equipment, LED lights require regular maintenance and may fail before their expected lifespan if not properly cared for. That’s why it’s advisable to schedule regular parking lot light maintenance services to keep the lights functioning around the clock.
Parking Lot Light Maintenance
Throughout your facility, different systems need regular maintenance to stay in reliable condition. From your heating and air conditioning to your plumbing, maintenance is essential for catching issues before they cause significant operational hiccups. The same goes for your parking lot lighting.
By scheduling regular maintenance with professional lighting services, you can identify and fix any problems before they become safety hazards or lead to costly replacements.
Parking lot light maintenance should include:
- Cleaning and Inspection: Regular cleaning to keep your lights functioning brightly. During this process, technicians also check for any signs of wear and tear on the fixtures or cabling.
- Replacement of Faulty Components: A professional lighting service can identify issues such as burnt-out bulbs or damaged wiring that require immediate attention.
- Upgrades and Retrofits: Retrofitting or upgrading your existing lighting system can help you stay current with the latest energy-efficient solutions.
- Compliance with Standards: Compliance with lighting standards is important for creating a safe and inviting parking lot. Professional lighting services can ensure that your lights meet the necessary local regulations and standards. For Tennesseans, this is particularly important as the state has specific lighting regulations for parking lots.
Estimating the Replacement Cost of Parking Lot Light Fixtures
Parking lot light maintenance can be budgeted as a recurring expense, but at some point, you may have to replace the entire system. The cost of replacing these fixtures depends on several factors, including:
- Type of Light Fixtures: As mentioned earlier, LED lights last longer and consume less energy than traditional lighting options like metal halide or high-pressure sodium lights.
- Pole Height and Type: The height of your poles, as well as their number and type, affect the cost. Taller poles and more fixtures are more expensive to replace.
- Number of Parking Lot Lights: The number of lights in your parking lot affects the installation cost. If you need extra lights or complex wiring systems, these will add to the overall cost.
- Location and Accessibility: If your parking lot is in a remote area or difficult to access, this may add to the installation cost.
- Labor Costs: Labor costs vary depending on location and commercial lighting contractors. While it can be helpful to get quotes from multiple contractors to find the best deal, it’s more important to choose a reputable and experienced facilities management company for your commercial lighting needs.
Parking Lot Lighting Contractors in the Southeast
If you’re a commercial building owner, business owner, or facility manager in the Southeast, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Georgia, Lee Company is the trusted choice for commercial electrical services! We specialize in parking lot maintenance and commercial lighting installation to make sure your facility’s outdoor spaces are bright, safe, and welcoming.
Here’s what we offer:
- Expertise in Commercial Electrical Services: Our skilled technicians are adept in all aspects of commercial electrical needs.
- Customized Lighting Solutions: We tailor our services to meet the unique requirements of your parking lot or facility.
- Comprehensive Maintenance Plans: Our facilities management and maintenance plans ensure ongoing care and upkeep are effortless and affordable.
Whether it’s daylight saving time or not, we know how crucial good lighting is for keeping your employees and customers safe and making your business shine!
With our team of professionals, you can expect comprehensive and reliable services for all your parking lot lighting needs. Contact our friendly team today.
Do you need comprehensive services for your parking lot lighting?CALL US NOW AT 615.567.1000