Things To Look For In Parking Lot Lighting Fixtures

By R. Neal

Parking lot fixture design and manufacture are both very important. Take for example the wide variety of parking lot fixtures that are used to light car dealerships. It is not uncommon to find a diversity of fixture types illuminating vehicles, buildings, and driveway entrances at night. Shoebox fixtures are frequently used as cost savers for dealerships located in coastal areas prone to tropical storms and occasional hurricanes. By fitting a more aerodynamically designed fixture to the top of a light pole, it is often possible to use smaller, less expensive poles to achieve optimal results on a car lot.

This is only one example of how choosing the right parking lot lighting fixtures can play a pivotal role in developing a proposal that exceeds client expectations without exceeding the limits of their budget. The point is not to lock yourself into any one set of preconceptions about which light fixtures will work best in your client’s parking lot until after you have looked at all the other mitigating factors that go into planning and developing a parking lot lighting design.

For instance, if you are lighting a small retail parking lot with a restaurant drive through or an outdoor coffeehouse patio, could it not be just as effective to use a wall-mounted fixture rather than a pole mounted fixture? Many such fixtures not only can add a historical or contemporary decorative element to the walls surrounding a parking lot, but such lights can often house more energy efficient types of lamp that emit a higher level of luminance than your client has had in the past with a significant decrease in electrical usage. In many communities, actual fixture type is dictated by decorative concerns such as those commonly found in homeowners restrictions and historical portions of town. Lighting a parking lot with combination wall mounted and pole mounted fixtures can often fulfill both luminary and regulatory requirements simultaneously.

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Of course, any parking lot, large or small, must be lit with security as well as visibility foremost in mind. Any number of flood light fixture types can be used to secure the perimeter of a parking lot by eliminating shadows along walls, behind buildings, and in gaps between storefronts. This may create a challenge for some contractors working in a community with stringent light pollution controls in place. Illuminating your client’s 5,000 square feet of pavement may require using 1,000W Metal Halide Lamps to light the perimeter and entryways and distribute light out and across the pavement. However, if dark sky laws mandate strict light spillage containment, you will need to house these lamps in a variety of housing design options ranging from full to semi-cutoff luminaire build. Otherwise, the light will go into neighboring residences and businesses, or even into the eyes of passing motorists.

In many instances, the degree of cutoff evident in a parking lot light fixture can be coupled with a specific optics type that further allows for energy-savings and lighting regulation compliance. For example, it may not be necessary after all to use floodlights that are all rated at 1000W. You may only need to selectively one or two 1000W, then use lower 400W fixtures arranged at specific angles of lighting incidence to create the desired foot candle plots needed in parking areas, store fronts, and delivery zones.

Calculating how to create this type of ‘less is more’ lot lighting design using fixtures combined with optics, lighting angles, pole heights, and a diversity of mounting options is a task you can assign to an RLLD Commercial Lighting specialist. Using AGi32, our team can create multiple three-dimensional models that will show both you and your client different options to choose from and provide a more streamlined approach to developing a final equipment list that best fits everyone’s budget.

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