3 Ways to Improve Parking Lot Lighting and Increase Energy Efficiency
1. Group Relamping
Discharge lamps (metal halide, high pressure sodium) degrade over time, losing up to 40 % of their light output over just a few years. The energy consumed doesn’t change, i.e. power bill cost, but the light level lowers. Think of it like a 400-watt lamp that’s only putting out the lumens that a 250-watt lamp would. Simply replacing all lamps at one time will significantly increase the appearance of light in your parking lot.
2. Upgrading from High Pressure Sodium to Metal Halide
High-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting, the “yellow” lighting used primarily on roadways, has a much lower color rendering index rating than metal halide. The color-rendering index is how the eye perceives colors. The higher the number on the color rendering index, the brighter the colors. Ever notice how newer gas station lighting seems so crisp, and the parking lot right next to it seems “dingy?” That’s metal halide versus high-pressure sodium. Changing high-pressure sodium to metal halide will drastically increase the light appearance in parking lots.
3. Replace the Light Fixtures
A higher cost alternative to changing just the lamp and ballast; here are two examples of fixture replacement:
Changing from “shoebox” type fixture to flood type:
The typical square pole light fixtures are commonly referred to as “shoebox” type. These fixtures are non-directional and in older models, inefficient. Replacing these with a flood type lighting fixture utilizing a bullhorn adaptor, will allow the light to be directed to a specific area, like a walkway. This redistribution of light will give the appearance of brighter light, but with the same energy usage.
Replacing fixtures to forward throw or cut-off type:
By examining which areas of the parking lot are a concern, it may be possible to retain the shoebox type fixture appearance by replacing the fixture with a forward throw or a cut-off type shoebox fixture.
Photometric specs available from the manufacturer should be examined to determine which type of light distribution is best for a particular application.
A well-lit parking lot attracts business and greatly enhances customer safety. These are just a few examples of how to improve your parking lot lighting. I anticipate in the coming years that LED lighting will become more affordable on initial installation, decrease maintenance costs and show greater energy savings over time.
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