With rising energy costs set to get even higher, just about all commercial property owners should consider installing LED lights in their parking lots and other areas to save energy and maintenance costs over time. But with so much information out there, it’s hard to know where to start. We have some ideas you can use to help you decide on whether to convert to LEDs in your parking lot or other large areas.
- Ask yourself: is it worth it?
The first thing you need to do is to ask yourself if it will be worth it to upgrade your parking lot lighting to LED. It’s not always worth it, so this question needs careful consideration.
- Are there existing lights?
Ask yourself if there are existing lights in the area you are considering, or will you have to purchase new lights. This is more important than it might seem. New lighting for a new building might require an environmental impact study or some other permit from your local authority. Check with your local municipality for details, and ensure that you conform to any procedures put in place. If no such study is required, consult your LED lighting professional about how much light is necessary for the area in question. This is usually ascertained via computer software.
If the building already exists but needs new lighting, you might have to do some fancy footwork. Check with your local municipality about any laws or codes in place that you must not violate. Your LED lighting manufacturer needs to know what sort of facility it is, the type of fixtures you have (flood lamp, shoebox, etc.), the wattage of existing lamps, the line voltage, and your new lighting needs. Take photographs for reference.
- What mounting style should you use?
Various types of mounts are available for your new LED shoebox lights. If you are installing new poles and lights, the pole will have specifications of what mount is required. Your LED representative will be able to identify which mount will work best in your area precisely.
- What power (wattage) is suitable?
If you have existing lighting to be converted, your LED lighting specialist will be able to convert the wattage of your existing lamps to the (much lower) wattage required for your LEDs. They will also be able to advise you of the wattage needed to increase or decrease the level of light in the area if needed. New lighting for a new building must meet specific standards. Most LED suppliers offer assistance to help you choose the right LED lights for your parking area.
- What color temperature do you want?
LED lights emit varying levels of ‘warmth’ or lack thereof, depending on the ‘temperature’ of the light. 5000k light colors are used in many outside areas, assembly lines, showrooms and anywhere that requires clear lighting and easily-visible detail. Offices often use 4000k light colors, and people usually use 3000k lamps in their homes. For new parking lots, the 5000k color option is recommended for a clear, white light that offers greater visibility, vibrant colors and better detail.
- Purchase your LED lights
Whatever you do, make sure you consult a reputable LED lighting company. There are so many new companies being born all the time that it’s hard to know who to turn to. Look for a reliable manufacturer and make sure they can deliver on both quality and service. Doing some research before you settle for your lighting specialist is essential. Look for referrals for well-known local contractors.
- Install your new lighting
Now it is time to make any electrical system upgrades that are necessary and to install your new fixtures. A qualified electrician will be needed if your existing system is not in good order. Your LED specialist can help you find a reputable contractor to meet your lighting needs.