Parking Lot Lighting 101: What You Should Know
Choosing the best parking lot lighting for your commercial property involves more than just finding the most affordable option. To ensure the safety of your customers and employees, you should consider all aspects of the parking lot lighting system, from the type of light bulbs used to the height of the poles.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about parking lot lighting to help you make an informed decision. Plus, we'll discuss the benefits of commercial parking lot lights, the type of light bulbs, and the implications of solar parking lot lights.
What Type of Lighting Is Best for Parking Lots?
Parking lots are high-traffic areas that need to be well-lit for safety reasons. LED lighting is the most popular choice for parking lot lights because it is energy-efficient and has a long lifespan.
There are two main types of LED bulbs: retrofit kits and integrated LEDs. Retrofit kits are designed to be installed in existing light fixtures, while integrated LEDs are self-contained units that replace the entire light fixture.
When it comes to parking lot lighting, retrofit kits are usually the better option because they are less expensive and easier to install. However, integrated LEDs may be a better choice in some cases, such as when the existing light fixtures are in poor condition or incompatible with retrofit lights.
Solar lighting solutions are another option, especially since they're sustainable, have low maintenance costs, and are easy to install. However, solar lights typically don't provide as much light as LED lights, so they may not be the best choice for large parking lots unless you take extra steps to find extra-bright solar lights.
Traditional vs. Solar Parking Lot Lighting
Traditionally, parking lot lighting has been powered by electricity from the grid. However, solar parking lot lighting is becoming increasingly popular because it is environmentally friendly and has lower energy costs.
Solar lights work by collecting energy from the sun during the day and using that energy to power the lights at night. This means that solar lights need to be placed in an area that gets direct sunlight for most of the day.
One of the main benefits of solar parking lot lighting is that it doesn't require a connection to the power grid, which can be expensive and complicated. Solar lights are also easy to install and have very low maintenance costs.
However, solar lights don't provide as much light as traditional electric lights, which can be a limitation if you have a large parking lot. Additionally, solar lights only work when the sun is out, so you'll need to have a backup plan for power if you live in an area with little sunlight or experience extended periods of cloudy weather.
Benefits of Traditional Lighting
Traditional parking lot lighting is still used in many settings because it can be effective and economical. Here are some benefits of conventional commercial parking lot lights.
Benefits of Solar Powered Parking Lot Lights
Solar-powered parking lot lights are becoming increasingly popular because they offer several advantages over traditional lighting. Here are some benefits of solar parking lot lights.
What Type of Light Bulbs Are Best for Parking Lot Lights?
The most common light bulbs used in parking lots are high-pressure sodium, fluorescent, and metal halide. These bulbs are all very effective in lighting up a parking lot and providing good visibility. However, you should be aware of some differences between these bulbs.
High-pressure sodium bulbs are very effective at providing good visibility and illumination. However, they can also be costly to operate. Plus, they have a very short lifespan, requiring frequent replacement.
Meanwhile, fluorescent bulbs are a more economical option for lighting a parking lot. However, they do not last as long as high-pressure sodium bulbs.
Metal halide bulbs offer a middle ground. They are not as expensive to operate as high-pressure sodium bulbs, but they also have a longer lifespan than fluorescent bulbs.
All light bulbs have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is essential to weigh these factors when deciding which type of light bulb is best for your parking lot.
HID vs. LED Parking Lot Light
Metal halide and high-pressure sodium bulbs are a type of high-intensity discharge (HID) light. These bulbs produce a lot of light, but they are not very efficient because they use a lot of energy to create their light.
LEDs, on the other hand, are a type of light-emitting diode. LEDs are much more efficient than HID bulbs because they use less energy to produce the same amount of light.
HID bulbs are typically more expensive than LED bulbs. However, the initial investment for LEDs is often higher because they have a longer lifespan.
Visibility is an essential consideration for parking lot lighting. Both HID and LED bulbs can provide good visibility. However, HID bulbs tend to produce a glare that can be difficult for drivers to see around.
LED lighting for parking lots has become more prevalent recently because of its energy efficiency. However, HID lighting is still a good option for parking lots with excessive lighting needs.
Benefits of HID
High-intensity discharge lights are electrical gas-discharge lamps that produce light by employing an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina tube.
HID parking lot lights have many advantages, including:
Benefits of Solar
Solar parking lot lights are a sustainable and environmentally-friendly option for lighting your parking lot. Some of the benefits of solar parking lot lights include:
Parking Lot Lighting Design: How To Design Your Parking Lot Lighting
Planning your lighting is crucial to providing a well-lit and safe parking lot. You should consider many factors when designing your parking lot lighting, including the type of light fixtures, the number of fixtures, the layout of the parking lot, and the wattage of the bulbs.
When choosing light fixtures for your parking lot, you will want to consider LED options. Moreover, you must select fixtures specifically designed for outdoor use so they will withstand the elements.
The number of light fixtures you will need will depend on the size and layout of your parking lot. However, it is important to evenly distribute the fixtures so that there's even light availability across the whole area.
How Many Lumens Does a Parking Lot Light Need?
For every 15 to 20 feet of area, opt for 16,000 to 20,000 lumens of light.
For instance, if your parking lot is spread over 50 feet, you'd need three parking lot lights, each with 16,000 to 20,000 lumens.
The wattage of the bulbs is also an important consideration. Go for bulbs that have a high lumen output. For example, an LED bulb with a 100-watt equivalent may only use 18 watts but produce 2,600 lumens.
How Many Foot Candles Are Needed for Parking Lot Lighting?
A foot candle — or fc, which is defined as one lumen per square foot — is a measurement for the amount of light on the ground under a parking lot light. It is not associated with the light's output but rather with the impact that output has.
Different U.S. municipalities have different parking lot lighting standards. Some require businesses and buildings to dim the lights in the vicinity after closing hours.
Meanwhile, others require that a building’s parking lot light not disturb passing traffic or nearby properties. Your area's local lighting codes should outline your particular minimum foot candle measurement.
For instance, as per the Davis, California municipal code, the horizontal luminance should be 1 fc. Meanwhile, the minimum luminance level should be 0.25 fc on the parking lot surface from dusk until closing hours.
In Redmond, Washington, the minimum foot candle on the parking lot pavement should be between 0.2 and 4 fc. And for enhanced security, the maximum can be 7.5 fc.
How Many Light Poles Do You Need To Light a Parking Lot?
When it comes to the layout of your parking lot, you need to consider how the cars will be parked plus any obstacles that may block the light, such as trees or buildings.
A 20-foot pole is perfect for a mid-sized parking lot with two to four light fixtures. Ideally, every pole should have at least two light fixtures. You can spread out the light poles based on the area of the parking lot.
How Tall Is a Typical Parking Lot Light Pole?
Typically, parking lot light poles range from 13 to 20 feet. However, you can consult with a professional to learn more about your parking lot light and pole options.
The Cost of Parking Lot Lighting
Price is always a top consideration when buying commercial parking lot lights. Depending on the size and needs of your parking lot, you may have to pay more or less for upfront costs and subsequent parking lot light maintenance.
How Much Does a Parking Lot Light Cost?
LED parking lot lights can cost anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the size and scale of the parking lot. For example, a small parking lot with only a few lights may cost around $200, while a larger parking lot with dozens of lights could cost upwards of $500.
It's also important to consider how much it will cost to maintain your parking lot lights over time. Parking lot light bulbs typically need to be replaced every few years, and the costs of doing so can add up over time. For example, if you have a parking lot with 20 lights, you may need to spend $100 on bulbs every few years.
In addition to the cost of bulbs, you may have to pay for professional installation or repairs. For instance, if you plan to install solar parking lot lights, you'll need professional installation.
How Much Does a Parking Lot Light Pole Cost?
A parking lot light pole can cost from $2,000 to $3,000, which does not include installation. The installation cost will differ based on your geographical location but can be anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
Traditional vs. Solar Parking Lot Light Costs
Installing LED lighting for parking lots is comparatively less expensive than solar lighting. However, the initial costs of LED lighting will depend on the type of light.
For instance, LED parking lot lights retrofit kits can cost anywhere from $60 to $200 and are designed to replace your current light fixtures with LED bulbs.
Meanwhile, solar lights may have higher initial costs, but they don't require electricity. Solar lights are often cheaper to maintain and more environmentally friendly in the long run.
Final Thoughts on Parking Lot Lighting
Whether you need decorative parking lot lights or want to install solar parking lot lights for greater sustainability, hiring a reliable company is the first step in making your project a success.
Greenshine New Energy is the ideal choice for commercial property owners who want to install cost-effective and eco-friendly solar parking lot lighting on their properties. Get a quote from Greenshine New Energy today to fulfill your property's lighting requirements.
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