Tips for Evaluating Your Parking Lot Lighting

Evaluate Parking Lot Lighting

Parking lot lighting may be one of the least glamorous applications of commercial artificial illumination, but a well-lit parking lot can set the stage for better customer interactions between those customers and your business. A customer or client who parks in a poorly-lit lot may well be in a less receptive mood to conduct business than one who starts his or her transaction in a brightly-lit, welcoming environment. You can assess the quality of your parking lot lighting by assessing a few of the lighting characteristics exhibited in your lot. This article provides tips for evaluating parking lot lighting.

How to Evaluate Parking Lot Lighting

How intense or bright is your parking lot lighting?

You may be tempted to over-light your parking lot with very bright lighting, but the glare and light pollution from that lighting can be as off-putting as parking lot lighting that is too dim. Local building ordinances are increasingly critical of bright outdoor lighting that spills over into neighborhoods and interferes with surrounding businesses. Parking lot lighting is typically measured in units of “foot-candles” (“fc”), with most lots varying between 0.5 and 5 fc. Determine what is allowed in your geographic vicinity and aim for a consistent level of brightness across your lot.

Is your parking lot lighting uniform?

Trees, fences, and other stationary objects interfere with the uniformity of parking lot lighting, creating shadows and dark spots that have a potential to create anxiety among customers who park in your lot. If large portions of your lot are in shadows, you should consider reconfiguring your parking lot lighting to achieve better lighting uniformity.

Do your parking lot lights render color uniformly?

An artificial light source’s color rendering index (CRI) is its ability to render colors accurately and to give observers the best opportunity to see subtle color contrasts on objects and surfaces. Many traditional parking lot lighting systems, including mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium lights, provide poor color rendition and cause problems for parkers who are trying to distinguish color differences in your parking lot. Newer LED technologies for parking lot lighting provide better color rendering and enable your customers and clients to see everything more clearly in your parking lot.

Are your electricity utility bills too high?

Operating costs for outdoor lighting are high. Traditional parking lot lighting consumes substantial amounts of electrical energy, much of which is wasted as excess heat from high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting fixtures. LED parking lot lighting is significantly more efficient, and is capable of producing as much or more illumination as traditional parking lot lighting fixtures with less than 50% of the electrical energy input. You may be able to cut thousands of dollars per year off of your electricity bill by retrofitting to LED parking lot lighting.      

Do you spend too much on maintenance and repair?

You can get more than 20,000 hours of service from a standard HID fixture, but if that fixture is scratched or subject to other mechanical stresses, its lifespan will drop and you will spend more time and money on maintenance and repairs. LED parking lot lighting is more durable, and with proper care can provide between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of service. If your maintenance costs are too high, LED parking lot lighting may be the answer.