Nine Steps to Choosing the Right Parking Lot and Area Light

By Accent Led Lights

Wed, Aug 29, 2018


Below given are the 9 steps that you need to consider to choose the right parking lot and area light.

1. Is it really needed to upgrade the parking lot to LED?

Many things need to be taken into consideration when a big investment is to be done. Firstly one needs to understand what their payback is. It is the simple calculation which determines the account based on saving. And how long does it take to recoup this cost, it depends on the points given below:

  • The fixture cost.
  • The installation cost.
  • The disposal of your existing fixtures cost.
  • To convert over to LED the amount of rebate your utility company will provide.


How the calculation of your savings is done? Firstly you have to understand:

  • The current total of your fixtures which includes ballast draw is simply calculated. Then the wattage of the bulb is taken and multiplied by 1.15. This will give the power consumption of single fixture.

Follow some simple guidelines:

  • it may make sense to convert  If your cost per kw/h is high, then.
  • it may make sense to convert If your hours of usage is high and If you are getting a good rebate from your utility.


2. is there already existing lights or will you be adding new lights?

What type of fixture is already there? Take a picture, if not sure.

  1. Where is this fixture mounted? Whether to a pole to a wall? What is the type of fixture mounting?
  2. What type of light bulb is available with you? Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium? 
  3. How many watts do the light bulb consists of? 400W? 1000W?
  4. What is a line voltage, Single phase or three phases?? 277V? 480V?
  5. What is the cost of electricity?
  6. Which is the electricity utility company?
  7. What is the total amount of time in a day do you run your lights?
  8. What do you feel about your current existing light? Is it good enough or is it too bright? Whether it is not bright enough.
  9. How good are your existing fixtures?


3. The different mounting types for your outdoor shoebox lights

It is necessary to understand the fixtures mount onto the existing poles and walls. This is paramount to converting over to LED. It is very frustrating to get your lights out to the facility. The electrician will have to go back and reschedule the new light which either needs to be ordered or will be replaced. These mounting on the lights are then sent.

4. New LED fixtures or retrofit your existing fixture?

It is now known about a new fixture that the time you get a new fixture, it needs to have everything that has to be replaced from your existing fixture, which also includes a new arm, a slip fitter bracket. This means you are totally changing your old fixture to led fixtures.

The retrofitting is replaced by the old light engine along with a LED light fixture system in the existing fixture. It is usually a bulb and ballast replacement.

  • fixture/retrofit cost
  • rebate size
  • payback.
  • existing fixtures condition
  • versus retrofit installation cost
  • disposal cost


5. What LED wattage should you choose for your parking lot and area light project?

A bad way to think about this is watts. One really needs to focus more on lumens. Amount of light one fixture produces are the lumens. The amount of energy a fixture consumes to produce lumens, or light, is Watts. Every fixture does it in a different way. In short, this means that some LED products are way better than others in the field of producing light that uses less energy. And this the main reason why we need to convert the lightings


  1. On the cut sheet one needs to check out lumens per watt. Take the total number of lumens the fixture produces if they don't advertise this, and then divide it by the total number of watts that it consumes. This is the final result.
  2. You are looking at very old LED technology, if it's below 110 lumens per watt.


6. What distribution pattern should you consider?

 In your parking fixture optics can be added, this is very helpful in order to change the distribution of the light which is the best suit to all your needs. So, how to select amongst all these that which is the best?

One can actually model your area, before you purchase with photometric software. By using different lights and different optics this software allows you to model lighting layouts. Which light and optics provide best light distribution is determine by these light designs, in your area.

Type 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are five basic light distribution patterns. Amongst these five types, type 3 and type 5 are very common. They are ideal for a parking lot that has long aisles in between the parking spots.

7. What is the best colour temperature? And what is CRI?

Another item that needs to be put into consideration is the colour temperature. What is it exactly? It is simply stated that colour is measured on the kelvin scale, for the purposes of this discussion there is a predefined range that should be put into consideration. From about 3000K as it starting point till 6000K. 
So what is its meaning? Colour temperatures tend to produce white light with yellow or warm tones on the left side of the scale. Colours on the right side tend to produce white light with bluish tones of the scale.

Realistically, only two common colour temperatures are probably being selected by 99% of outdoor applications. The scale ranges from 4000K or 5000K where 5000K tends to mimic metal halide quite well.

8. Rebates – helps you to save a lot of money during purchase.

A utility company handles out Rebates and it varies by every utility company.

It is now known very simply the reason behind a utility company giving out a rebate? The utility has to make a choice; as we consume more electricity, people tend to consume less or make more. Only a finite amount is produced. They have to make more, once their customers consume all they can produce. Costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time while trying to make more.

It’s better to make customers consume less is the thought that is now getting popular. A big part of this has been LED. Remember, with 100W of LED one can replace 400W Metal Halide. This is at least a 75% reduction of the total consumption. 

9. The warranty - how long does it last and who helps if there is a problem involved with it?

The reason behind the good working of a manufacturer is that, here's what you need to do.

  1. Check the length of the warranty. A product is not designed to last long with a two year warranty. All DLC qualified products have the warranty for five years.
  2. Read the warranty. Amazingly long warranties are promised by some manufacturers, along with small print that makes it next to impossible to make a warranty claim are designed by some .
  3. Check the Better Business Bureau. To not honour their warranties, Sometimes companies find clever ways. As the reason the lights fail, they claim 'Installation Error'. Working with a reputable dealer is very essential. Customers often call with a complaint of failed lights that gives warranties which are not being honoured.
  4. Online purchases - buyer beware. Products with 30 day return policies are sold on some large online sites sell and apparently they have warranties if the product fails. Which company is behind those warranties? One needs to be careful of what is being bought and from where to buy it. If you want these lights to work, for a longer period of time, and someone should be there to help if in case any issue arrives.


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