How the Best Parking Lot Lights Save You Money Every Year
If you're trying to find parking lot lights for the first time — or the first time in a while — it's natural to have some questions. Parking lot light technology has made significant strides in the past few years, and staying up to date with modern solutions may require research.
Over the past few decades, LED lights have overtaken incandescents and fluorescents as the go-to lighting source for every application — including parking lots. LEDs are more efficient and longer-lasting than traditional light sources and, when properly outfitted, emit very little harmful blue light.
More recently, solar has come to the fore as a cheap, reliable, and sustainable alternative to creating and maintaining an on-grid system. Good solar lights will continue to shine for over a week without the need for sunlight, which can reduce your monthly energy costs for parking lot lighting to zero.
Solar parking lot lights are also more reliable than traditional systems, as they do not depend on the power grid to stay on. If there's an outage of any kind — blackout, brownout, downed line, or grid failure — your solar-powered parking lot system will continue to shine indefinitely, ensuring safety and savings under any circumstances.
To help you navigate the ever-expanding world of parking lot lighting, we've created this list of three ways you can save big on parking lot lights in 2022, along with some frequently asked questions about parking lot lights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parking Lot Lighting
Here are a few frequently asked questions about parking lot lighting.
What Lighting Is Best for Parking Lots?
In recent years, many developers and builders have made the switch to solar LED parking lot lights. These lights offer many benefits that others don’t — such as low energy costs, lower maintenance costs, and higher light quality.
Efficient LED Lighting
LED parking lot lights offer substantially greater efficiency than traditional lighting, giving you more brightness (as measured in lumens) for less power (as measured in watts). LED parking lot lights from brands like Cree last for up to 50,000 hours of use, or 11 years (assuming 12 hours of use per day).
Going solar multiplies the inherent sustainability strengths of LEDs. Using solar LED parking lot lighting, you'll enjoy not just reduced energy costs, but zero energy costs. Well-equipped solar LED lights can operate for as long as a week without any sunlight, effectively lighting your parking lot for free in all but the most extreme circumstances.
Low Blue Light Emissions
Shielded LED lights also emit very little blue light. The U.S. Department of Energy has linked nighttime exposure to blue light to disrupted sleep patterns. Additionally, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) names blue light as a leading cause of light pollution, light trespass, and skyglow.
Light trespass is when light produced on one property spills over to another. It's not just inconvenient; in some places, it's also illegal. Skyglow is the aura of light surrounding a city center as its light sources reflect off of the atmosphere. Skyglow reduces the visibility of the night sky. The best lighting for parking lots will emit very little blue light, causing minimal light pollution, light trespass, and skyglow.
Monocrystalline Silicon Panels
However, not all solar LED parking lot lights are created equal. The best-researched and most environmentally friendly type of solar panel is the monocrystalline silicon solar panel. Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are more efficient than other solar panel technologies and have the least environmental impact of any available solar technology.
Some solar panels are made of cadmium, a highly toxic metal. Truly green companies always use monocrystalline silicon in their solar panels, protecting the environment from manufacturing to deployment.
Greenshine's commercial solar parking lot lights are a great solution for businesses looking to reduce their energy costs. Outdoor LED parking lot lights can give off a lot of lumens using significantly less wattage than other bulbs, making them the perfect companion to solar power.
How Bright Should Parking Lot Lights Be?
Brightness is measured in lumens. Unshielded parking lot lights often provide as much as 22,000 lumens of illumination. However, this measurement does not take into account directionality. If these lights are unshielded — hence contributing to light pollution, light trespass, and skyglow — then most of those lumens aren't going where they're most needed.
Overbright, undirected light is actually more of a hindrance than it is helpful. Shielded, focused lights can get the job done at a fraction of the lumens of unshielded lights, without contributing to light pollution, light trespass, and skyglow.
What Wattage Are Parking Lot Lights?
Because wattage measures power consumption, not brightness, parking lot light wattage varies significantly depending on the efficiency of the light. Parking lot lights with solid efficiency (130 lumens per watt or more) typically operate at between 30 and 80 watts and can cost a few hundred dollars per year per light. Of course, solar lights from Greenshine are free to operate.
How Long Do Parking Lot Lights Last?
Parking lot lights are rated in use-hours. Most LED parking lot lights offer a few thousand hours of use or more, although this varies depending on the type of light and the manufacturer.
The best parking lot lights last for up to 50,000 hours of use, or 11 to 15 years (assuming 8 to 12 hours of use per day). That's just the light itself, though. The other components matter too, and lower-quality alternatives won't last half as long.
Picking the right battery is an important part of having long-lasting solar parking lot lights. AGM batteries only last from three to five years. Gel deep cycle batteries, on the other hand, have 12 years of floating design life and can handle frequent cyclic discharge under extreme temperatures.
The battery life of your light fixture can be further protected with an IP68 solar charge controller, which works to keep your battery from overcharging — a leading cause of premature battery failure.
What Should Parking Lot Lights Be Made Of?
Poles and lighting fixtures themselves should also resist extreme weather and other sources of damage to ensure maximum longevity. Look for poles made of high-quality galvanized steel coated in corrosion-resistant powder.
Poles without corrosion-resistant powder will corrode eventually, which both looks bad and poses serious risks to the structural integrity of the light fixture. The rate of corrosion for untreated poles varies based on environmental factors.
You should also look for parking lot LED lights with LEDs housed in a durable aluminum frame. Aluminum is sturdy but also flexible, so even in extreme instances — like a direct impact — the aluminum will bend, not break, and the light will continue to shine.
In addition to the aluminum housing, the light should feature a multilayer EVA encapsulation to reduce blue light emissions and misdirected light, as well as impact-resistant tempered glass.
What Is the Best Correlated Color Temperature for Parking Lot Lights?
Correlated color temperature (CCT) is an index used to describe a light's color temperature. CCT is measured in Kelvin, a scientific measurement usually reserved for temperature. A light fixture's color temperature is a helpful guide in determining the amount of blue light the fixture emits.
The U.S. Department of Energy defines blue light as all light with a wavelength between ~424 and ~500 nanometers. Blue light is sometimes called short-wavelength light.
A higher CCT usually means more blue light. Most lights beyond about 3,000 K CCT put off a significant quantity of blue light and should be avoided. Mercury and fluorescent lighting fixtures emit more blue light than most other types of lighting fixtures. LEDs also emit blue light, but, when shielded, the blue light emitted by an LED is sharply reduced.
Blue light isn't usually visible, so don't expect to be able to determine a light fixture's blue light content just by looking at it. Most lights that emit potentially dangerous levels of blue light look white to the naked eye. It's a cold shade of white, the kind usually associated with fluorescent lighting.
Warmer, sunnier hues are usually safer. Look for a warm white tone, somewhere between true yellow and a cold sterile white. Lights with this hue illuminate parking lots clearly while being more gentle for your eyes' sensitive photoreceptors.
Three Ways To Save Big on Parking Lot Lights
Here are the three best ways to save on parking lot lights.
1. Save Electricity With LED Parking Lot Lights
Modern research, design, and innovation have propelled LED light bulbs to the forefront of green living. Low-watt LED lights can have twice the lifespan of their incandescent counterparts, yielding substantial savings on replacement costs.
As if that weren't enough, LED parking lot lights also boast several times the efficiency of traditional lights. A 10-watt bulb can produce the same level of brightness as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Even though their initial cost is higher, with LED light bulbs, you can save as much as 80% every month on energy costs, with an additional savings of 90% or more on replacement costs.
The total lifetime value of a single LED light readily outstrips traditional incandescent lights, despite their higher initial costs.
2. Eliminate Your Electric Bill With Solar Parking Lot Lights
Although LED parking lot lights draw only a fraction of the power of their incandescent counterparts, they do still draw power. What if you could install low blue light, Dark Sky friendly, ultra-high brightness lights while eliminating your energy bill?
That's exactly what solar offers. Solar parking lot lights let you drop your energy costs to zero while enjoying the same high-quality light provided by high-efficiency LEDs. Good solar lights can run for as long as a week without sunlight, have protection against overcharging, and cost much less to power, repair, and maintain than traditional lighting systems.
If you work in an industry that must report its emissions and energy usage to the Environmental Protection Agency, installing solar LED parking lot lights may be an important step in remaining compliant with environmental regulations.
3. Cuts Installation Costs With Solar Parking Lot Lights
Installation costs are the largest investment you'll make in a parking lot lighting system. Traditional, on-grid lighting systems must be connected to the local power grid. That doesn't just entail a monthly bill and higher emissions; it also means you'll have to pay to have a trench dug into the ground and wire run through the trench. Trenching is hard, expensive, and time-consuming work, and quickly balloons the labor budget of any parking lot light installation project.
Some property owners save several thousands of dollars on day one of installation by going with a solar lighting system. Total installation costs for a solar lighting system are often as much as 20% lower than installation costs for traditional lighting systems, and avoiding trenching is a big part of that day-one savings.
How To Save on Parking Lot Lights Now
Greenshine is a leading name in safe, effective, and sustainable commercial solar lighting solutions. Greenshine offers fully solar LED parking lot lights with customizable height options and light fixture styles to suit the needs of your particular project.
Greenshine uses only monocrystalline silicon solar panels, helping protect the environment from production to deployment. Greenshine's fixtures are rated to last for twenty years, and provide bright, even, and warm illumination in any setting.
With Greenshine, you'll never have to pay trenching costs or a monthly light bill ever again. All of Greenshine's systems are fully solar, come with top-of-the-line gel deep cycle batteries with IP68 solar charge controllers for overcharge protection, and long-lasting Cree LEDs.
The International Dark-Sky Association has certified all of Greenshine's systems as Dark Sky Friendly, guaranteeing low blue light emissions and minimal contribution to light trespass, light pollution, and skyglow. Dark Sky Friendly lights are even required in some areas, and getting certified Dark Sky Friendly light fixtures may be the only way to make sure you're compliant with local light regulations regarding light trespass and light pollution.
If you're excited by the possibility of saving big on your parking lot lighting project, reach out to Greenshine today.
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