Parking ramp lighting, as well as other exterior lighting applications are considered to be the latest frontier when it comes to energy efficiency projects for businesses. The fact is, these services present huge savings opportunities. Many utility companies are now offering rebates for various exterior lighting improvements, in some cases. Also, thanks to the longevity of new lighting technology, such as LEDs, and more rugged fixture options that perform well in various weather conditions, the ROI and feasibility of these exterior lighting projects are more appealing than ever before.
Any lighting design that is being done needs to take into consideration the function of the space. This is true for any location, including parking ramps and garages. If you are trying to drive or navigate a ramp as a pedestrian, then the fixture choice is going to influence the way the light spreads and, as a result, the security and safety of the entire facility. In most cases, choosing a “cut off” fixture is not a good option, since this can create a dark ceiling or cave effect. If this happens, it may cause eye strain and make it exceptionally difficult to distinguish between shadows and objects in the area.
A better option would be a refractor or semi-cut off, which is going to help and brighten the entire driving area, walls and parking area. The majority of parking ramp locations will require five food candles for each square food. If you use a refractor or semi-cut off style fixture, especially with LED bulbs, you can direct the light to the places where it is most needed. This will even allow you to avoid glare and “spilling” the light beyond the intended area, which can result in light pollution.
According to the Department of Energy, a checklist that can guide your parking lot and ramp lighting choices is found here:
- Conduct a total inventory including information the following information on each fixture: existing light level, burn hours and wattage.
- Figure out if retrofitting or installing new fixtures will be the right option.
- Think about light quantity and quality.
- What type of controls do you want for transition areas, i.e. daylight harvesting, occupancy sensors, dimming, etc.
- Investigate the available utility incentives or various rebate programs to help reduce the initial cost of the lighting project.
- Determine the specifications for the retrofit or replacement of the current lighting system.
- Solicit multiple bids for the project.
When you follow the tips here, you will be able to upgrade your existing lighting system and enjoy all the benefits that better efficiency has to offer. When it comes to cost savings and efficiency, a retrofitted or redesigned lighting system is going to provide significant returns.