Keeping your parking lot well lit is important for customers and employees, especially if your business is open later at night or even early in the morning. Parking lot lights help reduce low speed accidents and makes customers feel safe walking from their car to your store or office.
However, it can be hard to light your lot well enough to keep it safe and not have shadowed areas which can cause problems. Parking lot lighting can also use a lot of energy and be both expensive and bad for the environment.
Is it time to upgrade your parking lot to LED lights?
Benefits of LED Lighting
LED is often considered the future of lighting. In fact, the Department of Energy is supporting projects to create better LED lighting and spur its adoption.
There are several key benefits to LED parking lot lights.
By far the biggest benefit is significantly reduced energy consumption. LED lights are simply more efficient than older models, by between 40 and 60 percent.
So, while LED lights have an up front cost, they save you money in the long term by dropping your power bill significantly. Some parking lots have solar lights, which drop power usage further.
More Uniform Illumination
LED lights tend to provide more uniform illumination, thanks to their multi-point design. This eliminates shadows and “dark spots” in your parking lot and makes it easier for drivers to see where the lines are. You don’t have spots of bright light and then areas of darkness where pot holes and wildlife can hide. Surveillance cameras can catch everything, reducing the risk of crime; criminals will tend to take their activity elsewhere when they see how well lit your lot is.
They are also brighter than the yellowish tinge of more traditional street lights, which improves visibility. In some cases, you may even be able to reduce the number of fixtures without losing anything in terms of illumination and safety. However, it’s best to work with our designers on this so that we can make sure that you don’t compromise on safety.
Longer Maintenance Cycle
While LED lights are more expensive up front, they last a lot longer than older systems. LED lights can last for years. This means you are not only spared the expense of replacing the lights themselves as they burn out, but the time taken to replace bulbs. Instead of replacing bulbs, your maintenance people can keep up with other things and if you need to hire somebody to replace bulbs, you won’t need to do so as often.
This contributes to the overall lower costs over time and makes the up front expense more than worth it for most businesses.
Higher Control of Illumination
As well as providing more even light, LED lights are more directional. You can direct light away from the sky, reducing pollution, and away from residences nearby, reducing complaints.
You can set things up so you light your lot and only your lot. You are not wasting light lighting the sky, the empty lot next door, etc. Smart lights can make this even better. For example, if there is a part of the lot reserved for a deli that stops serving at 6pm, you can reduce the lighting in that area, saving money and giving a visual cue that that part of the lot should not be used.
Things to Think About Before Switching
The biggest downside to switching to LED parking lot lights is the upfront cost. Sadly, this can sometimes be prohibitive. However, LED lighting systems have already come down substantially in price and are likely to come down further. You might be able to reduce your costs by applying for a grant or rebate from your state, depending on where you are, especially if you are doing a full lightning audit and upgrade.
Make sure to choose a contractor who is experienced with parking lot and street lighting. Doing an energy audit of your parking lot and building is often worthwhile as it can help you find issues that you might have missed. Also make sure that the contractor is willing to work with you on timing to minimize the amount of time your lot is closed at peak customer hours.
Envocore can help. If you are thinking about upgrading your parking lot lights to LED, want an energy audit, or need information about an upgrade because your existing lighting system is not what it used to be, contact us now.