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Parking Garage Lighting

May 31, 2008
Commercial parking garage lights are extremely important to maintaining a safe, secure facility. Selecting and installing these critical fixtures requires careful attention to many factors that contribute to effective lighting and energy savings. Such considerations as light intensity levels; glare reduction, lumens per watt efficiency, and optimal horizontal and vertical foot candle levels have to be carefully taken into account before making any purchase, as not only front-end pricing, but also lamp life and power consumption over long periods of time determine cost effectiveness.

The three standard types of commercial parking garage lighting fixtures are Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, and Fluorescent. Each fixture type offers unique advantages that must be considered in terms of cost, commercial lighting quality, and the size of your parking garage.

Metal Halide Fixtures

Metal Halide commercial parking garage lights are the most commonly used lamps for parking garage lighting. Metal Halide fixtures represent a mid-range price point and offer exceptional quality in visual lighting effect and color rendering. Metal Halide fixtures, however, have the shortest lamp life (only 10,000 hours) and the lowest lumens to watt efficiency rating.

If quality is your primary objective and you have the budget for frequent lamp replacements, metal halide lights will prove an excellent light source for your parking garage.

High Pressure Sodium Fixtures

High Pressure Sodium lights have the highest lumens per wattage output and are the best choice for lighting large commercial parking garages with high ceilings. This is because these parking areas typically have heavy beam supports and other obstructions that pose a potential hazard to drivers. It is important to fully illuminate the front vertical surface of any potential obstructions with HID (High Intensity Discharge) fixtures located at or near the top of the vertical cube.

High Pressure Sodium fixtures are also a very cost effective source of commercial parking garage lighting. Although they rate very low on the color-rendering index, this is normally not an issue in industrial facilities where high lighting levels, minimized replacement costs, and safety are far more important concerns.

They are the least expensive fixtures in terms of initial purchase price point and are ideal for large corporations requiring dozens, if not hundreds of light fixtures.

Fluorescent Fixtures

In warm climates where ballasts will not be affected by cold weather and extreme temperature drops, commercial parking garage lighting with fluorescent fixtures offers both an optimal price point and optimal savings on power costs for companies on tight budgets. Fluorescent lights also provide the very best color rendering of any lighting fixture and feature a lamp life of 20,000 hours. Fluorescent lamps are nearly equivalent to high-pressure sodium lights in cost and consume the least amount of power.

In terms of short-term savings on the front end and long term savings on the back end, they are the most economical source of commercial parking garage lighting.

Glare Reduction and Safety

To ensure not only the brightest levels of lighting in your commercial parking garage, but also the safest possible environment, Be sure to work with a qualified designer who can help you who can help you find the answers to these questions and install your commercial parking garage lighting system. High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide lights can be ordered in cutoff, semi-cutoff, and refractor style designs that will distribute the light evenly down the vertical cube and evenly light your horizontal space with a minimum of hazardous glare.

Glare reduction depends heavily as well on not only what type of commercial parking garage lights you purchase, but also on how you design the lighting system itself. The size of the facility, the height of the ceiling, the amount and type of vehicle traffic, pedestrian presences, and the architecture of your parking garage (underground, above ground, multi-storied) all represent critical factors that must be carefully balanced so your parking area has the brightest possible light with the least amount of glare.
About the Author
Easy Rack provides a full selection of material handling products and commercial lighting fixtures on a nationwide basis. We supply both new and used equipment and drop ship directly to location of install. For more information on commercial lighting and material handling products, visit http://www.easyrack.org/parking-garage-lighting-a-463.html and http://www.easyrack.org.
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