Update Parking Lot Lighting to LED – The Complete Guide

Parking lot LED area Light fixture

Making the Switch to LED Lighting for Parking Lots

Did you know that, according to the US Department of Energy, LED lights can last 25 times longer and use at least 75 percent less energy than the incandescent lighting alternative? If you’re a lighting and electrical supply distributor, then you may be considering selling LED lights to your customers.

If this is the case, or if you’re an electrical contractor or agent, then you might want to learn about how LED area lights can work as a parking lot light fixture. You may be asking yourself questions such as:

“How can I calculate the savings that come from switching to LED lights?”

“What LED wattage is best for parking lots?”

“Are there energy-saving controls available for parking lot LED lights?”

Considering how many options there are when it comes to LED parking lot light fixtures and the different ways they can be installed in a parking lot, you might be confused if you don’t have the answers to these questions.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. We’ll cover everything you need to know about LED parking lot light fixtures and area lights. That way, you’ll know how to answer any questions customers or distributors ask you. Read on to learn more.

Parking garage lights
Upgrade parking garage light fixtures to efficient LED lights

Upgrading to LED Parking Lot Lights

Upgrading to LED parking lot lights has many benefits. These lights are better than the incandescent alternative and they will also help you save money on your energy bills. Even though LED lights are more expensive than incandescent lights, you’ll get paid back that difference (and more) once you’ve used them for long enough and save on energy.

The cost of disposal for LED lights is also cheaper since metal halide lights and fluorescents contain mercury, which requires a special type of disposal procedure.

As for installation cost, there is one, but it’s easy to do.

An additional saving you might get from upgrading to LED parking lot area lights is from getting a rebate for using energy-saving lights. So, in addition to saving on your energy bills, you’ll also get money back.

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of switching your parking lot lights from incandescent lights to LED lights, we’ll go over some of the details, starting with cost.

Calculator for LED cost savings
Calculate your savings by switching to LED parking lot lights

How to Calculate Your Savings from LED

To calculate your savings from switching to LED lights, there are several steps you take. Step one is to figure out what the current wattage of your current fixtures is. This will include the ballast draw. To do this, you’ll multiply 1.15 and the wattage of the fixture. This way, you’ll have the current wattage of each fixture.

Step two requires you to figure out what your electricity cost is. This is how much you’re paying per kilowatt per hour. Usually, this amount is between .06 and .30.

For step three, you’ll figure out how many hours your lights are on daily.

This will help you know how much you’re paying per day and per week, multiplying it by the electricity cost you came up with above.

If your final calculation is high, then it’s probably worth switching to LED parking lot lights. Additionally, if you know you’d get a big rebate for installing LED lights, this is another reason to make the switch.

Area light in a parking lot
Old fashioned Parking Lot Light Fixture

Replacing Existing Parking Lot Area Lights

If you’ve decided to switch to LED area lights for your parking lot, you might not have to install new mounting options for your LED lights. Sometimes, it can be as simple as replacing your old lights with the new LED ones.

Even if the mounting options have to be slightly retrofitted for LED lights, this is still a good thing, since installing completely new mounting options will be pricey.

This is because you’d have to re-do the electrical wiring, which is expensive.

If you aren’t sure whether you should replace existing lights or do a whole new installation, we recommend you get in touch with a contractor. They can take a look at the site and tell you what will work best for you.

Parking lot with snow and light pole
Parking Lot with Snow in the Winter

Adding New Area Lights to a Parking Lot

If you need to install new area lights in your parking lot, you should get in touch with a contractor about the installation. To get ready for this project, you’ll need to have the answers to these questions:

  • What fixtures do you have already, and how can you mount LEDs on them?
  • What is the line voltage, and how many watts will be used?
  • Do you want to use special controls like timers or photocells?
  • What brightness are you going for?
  • How do you plan to have your fixtures mounted?

By having the answers to these questions, you can ensure that the installation runs smoothly. Additionally, the contractor will be able to give you an accurate estimate of how much the installation will cost.

Once you’ve reviewed the rest of this article, you’ll have a good idea about additional costs, such as light fixture types, LED wattage, and energy-saving controls.

Area Light Mounting Options for Parking Light Fixtures

Once you’ve decided to go with LED lights, you have to decide on which type of mounting option will work best. Parking light fixtures need to be installed correctly if you want them to shine down on your parking lot correctly, so it’s important to know about the different types of mounting options.

The slip fitter mounting option makes it possible to mount your LED light on a bull horn. This slip fitter is put inside the tenon. Usually, the tenon has a diameter of 2 and ⅜ inches.

The trunnion mounting option is the type of mounting most often used with floodlights. This mount attaches to a wall, arm, or pole.

Trunnions, also referred to as yoke mounts, can adjust for many needs, so they’ll give you flexibility when it comes to installation.

Finally, the straight arm mounting option is one that is attached directly to the light pole. All you have to do is have the pole pre-drilled so that you can then install the straight arm onto it.

Area Light Distribution Patterns to Consider

When installing your new LED lights, you’ll also want to consider parking lot lighting distribution. There are two types: Type III and Type V. Type III parking lot lighting distribution is used for roadway lighting and parking areas.

The light is taller, but it doesn’t spread out as much. Type V parking lot lighting distribution, on the other hand, lights out in a broader way.

So if you want to allow people in your parking lot to see well while they’re walking around it or putting their groceries away, this is the right choice.

To make your decision on which area light distribution pattern works best for you, you should think about how the parking lot itself will be used. If you aren’t sure, walk around the area imagining that you are one of the people going in or out of their car when it’s parked.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll know which area light distribution is best.

Retrofit or Non-Retrofit Area Light Fixtures?

If you want to replace your old bulbs with LED bulbs, then a retrofit kit makes this easy to do. Many LEDs will come with these retrofit kits, so you won’t have to spend additional money on one. You’ll have everything you need, including a slip fitter bracket, trunnion, or arm along with the LED itself.

Retrofitting is a good option if you don’t want to change the entire setup you have. When you do this, you change the inside of the light, instead of the entire light fixture itself.

You’ll simply be putting in an LED light system where the old light engine was before.

This is a good idea if your lights are still in good shape, or if you like the look of the outside of them. It’s also cheaper than changing the entire light. However, if the lights you have aren’t in good condition, then you’ll have to replace them entirely.

What LED Wattage is Best for Parking Lots?

Because LEDs don’t use up as much energy as traditional lights, you shouldn’t actually think about wattage when deciding which LED to buy. Instead, you should consider the lumen amount. The number of lumens is a reflection of the visible light that comes out of the LED light.

To figure out what amount you need, you need to think about lumens per watt. If the LED lights you’re considering getting don’t list the number of lumens per watt, simply calculate this by dividing the lumens by its wattage.

If the lumens per watt is lower than 110, then don’t buy this LED.

This is the amount old LEDs have. Instead, you’ll want to go for 130 lumens per watt or higher. This way, you can guarantee that LEDs shine brightly enough for your parking lot.

Don’t forget to check out the DLC qualification. This is a guarantee that the LED is high-quality. If the light doesn’t have one, don’t buy it.

How to Determine Color Temperature for Area Lights

The best color temperature depends on how you want your lights to look in the parking lot. If you want a more comforting ambiance, then you should go for warmer lights. However, if you need lights that will improve visibility, you should get blue-hued LED lights.

For example, if the parking lot is an area where people will need to attach things to their car in a careful way, then a blue color temperature is better.

This would work best outside of a furniture store or hardware store, where customers might need to attach large objects to the top of their car.

On the other hand, if the parking lot is outside of a shopping area where people are buying books or have just gone out for dinner, they won’t need to see as well. However, they will find ambient light more pleasing, which will add to their experience.

If you aren’t sure which way to go, think about who will be using the parking lot most and which light color temperature will be best for them.

Energy-Saving Controls for Parking Lot Lighting

If you’re considering installing LED lights in your parking lot, then part of why you’ve made this decision is to save on energy costs. It makes sense, in this case, that you also think about getting energy-saving controls.

That way, you’ll save even more money—and you’ll be helping the planet out, too.

The first option to consider is photocells for dusk to dawn options. This is an automated technology that will shut off your LED lights when the sun goes down and turns them back on when it comes back up again.

Other options include motion sensors and dimmable lights.

If you have a lot that’s full at times but empty at others (even during the day), then you’ll save energy by using these energy-saving controls. They’ll simply turn on when there’s a car or person in the parking lot.

Call LITE LUME for Parking Lot Lighting Quotes

Now that you’ve learned about the right LED mounts and parking lot light fixture for you, you might be looking for the right place to buy parking lot lighting from. You should look no further than LITE LUME. At LITE LUME, we’re experts when it comes to LED lights, the aesthetics of parking lot lighting, and the lighting industry.

If you want parking lot lighting quotes, we can provide you with affordable rates for the best LED lights and fixtures in the industry. To get in touch, contact us here!

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