Parking Garages have one important thing in common, security! Unfortunately, they have been a magnet for criminals because the value of the automobiles and their contents as well as the occupants themselves. So it is important to have a well-lit parking lot and garage. But, it does not have to cost you a fortune. See why parking garage LED lighting is the perfect alternative to Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium Lighting.
Old Parking Garage Lighting Technology
Lighting of outdoor areas such as streets, roadways, parking lots and garages and pedestrian areas have been dominated by metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) sources. Because this type of lighting is not suitable to dimming and frequent switching, operation is typically done the entire evening, even when the parking lot or garage is completely empty. In many areas law requires parking garage lighting 24 hours a day.
Current Technology for Parking Garage Lighting
Today LED lighting technology has brought significant advancements while using approximately 50% less wattage than its Metal Halide or HPS counterparts. Another advantage of LED Lighting Technology is that they work extremely well with lighting controls. LED lights are themselves a semiconductor device with a computer chip that emits light when energy is applied to it and an electronic driver is used to control voltage and color. Although there are several types of lighting controls the one most suited for parking garages and lots would be bi-level occupancy sensors. Using bi-level technology means that when there is no-one present in an area, the luminaire can go down to about 20% of full power while still maintaining an acceptable standard of light. The motion sensor is in place to detect someone coming and would seamlessly boost the fixture to full power. The combination of both technologies can yield approximately 80% less power wattage than the typical MH or HPS bulbs.
High Maintenance Costs for Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium
Along with the high cost of power usage, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs require a lot of maintenance. Industry research shows that about 2/3 of the costs associated with lighting come from energy usage and bulbs, while a third of the costs are associated with maintenance. For parking lot lights, the maintenance factor is greater because of the access factor.
Most companies use a private lighting contractor for maintenance of their parking garage lighting. For MH fixtures, these costs can vary, but a conservative estimate of $200.00 per fixture is common. These costs include materials, maintenance, 3-year scheduled re-lamping and periodic spot re-lamping, all provided by the contractor. This however is also a conservative measure, as most MH lamps degrade quicker than 3 years, with their lumen output greatly diminishing long before that and outputting only a fraction of the light. A more typical lifetime for the MH is somewhere between 12-18 months before they start to decay significantly.