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January 2018

Characteristics of parking lot lighting systems

Whether we park our vehicles in a parking garage or in multi-level parking lots, lighting systems play a significant role in our experience. We are always pleased when the circulating through these spaces is easy and safe. Light meets two fundamental goals: it ensures user safety and simplifies user guidance through these areas. An economical parking lot lighting system with an extended lifespan is an additional boon. Today’s smart lighting systems meet a variety of these needs.

Objectives of Parking Lot Lighting Systems

Enhance User Safety

Parking facilities users should be able to clearly see all direction indicators as well as angles and people who circulate throughout the facilities. Maximum visibility will greatly reduce the risk of accidents and improve user safety.

To achieve this objective, parking areas should ideally:

  • Install lighting fixtures that are evenly distributed throughout the space
  • Illuminate vertically as well as horizontally
  • Ensure elevated light intensity
  • Reduce the glare factor
  • Eliminate dark areas
  • Ensure immediate illumination to avoid any waiting time

A well-proportioned and smart blend of horizontal and vertical lighting is the ideal setting. The first lighting form ensures the desired consistency as well as heightened visibility of the outline of objects. The second reduces shadow areas and provides better awareness of faces.

Furthermore, the selected lighting system should operate during power failures. Installation of a safety-compliant back-up lighting system is highly recommended.

Facilitate User Orientation

Exits and signage must be highly visible and explicitly identified. An appropriate lighting system readily complies with these criteria.

Colored lights help delineate specific zones throughout the parking facility; users need not need to drive in circles in an attempt to find their way. In addition, colored sets of lights add brightness to the parking area.

Suggested Luminaires

First of all, these spaces need to be lit with luminaires with an IP code of 65+ set in a watertight, pollution-proof insulated box that protects luminaires and their components against dust, insects or foreign objects.

It is also important to examine the lighting system to determine the number of foot-candles it provides. The Illuminating Engineering Society recommends that luminaires offer an average of 5 foot-candles, with a minimum of 1 foot-candle as well as a uniformity ratio of 10 to 1 for parking garages.

Durable and strong luminaires are in high demand in these spaces as they are resilient enough to withstand impacts, high pressure water jets, and dust as well as temperature fluctuations. It is critical that these luminaires be well maintained and cleaned regularly to avoid loss of light due to the accumulation of dust.

A number of lighting systems are specifically designed for canopies and parking areas. Thanks to their solid build and slim line design, LED luminaires are a perfect solution.

What About Energy Efficiency?

Lighting management systems are equally important in these areas. They can allow for significant energy and cost savings by supplying the requisite amount of light, both day and night, my regulating light intensity based on occupancy and the input of natural light.

In short, proper lighting in outdoor or indoor parking facilities should be efficient, economical and long-lasting. These attributes allow us to reduce the cost of energy consumption and maintenance fees while increasing visibility and safety for all users.