A Breakdown of Lighting Requirements for Parking Lots

A Breakdown of Lighting Requirements for Parking Lots

There are many reasons to want to keep your parking lots well illuminated in the evening hours. Lights provide guidance, reduce potential automobile accidents, and increase overall safety in the area. Ideally, you want to use lighting to increase safety for automobiles and pedestrians.

You can consider factors like the number of lights you use, their positioning, and the types of bulbs that you use. To ensure that your lot follows the Illuminating Engineering Society's (IES) safety standards, we provide a helpful breakdown of lighting requirements for parking lots. Following these tips and guidelines will help ensure you have a safe and well-illuminated parking area that everyone can feel comfortable using.

General Layout

General positioning is one of the first things to consider when adding lighting fixtures to your parking lot. It's always a good idea to install light fixtures in areas that benefit from the additional illumination, such as entrances and intersections where cars may cross paths.

Ensuring that higher-traffic areas of your parking lot have proper illumination allows you to keep those areas safer. You may use these markers and locations as starting points to reference when deciding where other fixtures should go and what style of lighting works best for your needs.

If you operate a parking garage or have a building structure, you should also include wall pack or ceiling lights. The general idea of your layout is to have fixtures illuminate walking areas, reduce shadows, and reveal potential tripping hazards. No matter what style of parking structure you have, it’s a good idea to focus on both vertical and horizontal lighting to maximize safety.

Lighting Fixtures

Picking the right fixtures for your parking lot is an essential part of the process. Your light poles can help you determine your parking lot’s general layout and spacing. The IES has a few guidelines when it comes to installing vertical poles that may vary depending on factors like height and luminescence.

If you’re using light poles that are between 15 to 20 feet high (these are typical for smaller parking lots), you generally want between 20 to 30 feet between units. The more standard pole size of 20 to 25 feet generally requires a space of around 30 to 40 feet. Taller fixtures of 25 to 35 feet are usually in stadiums and other expansive outdoor areas. They should have approximately 40 to 50 feet between poles.

Owners may need to adjust the space between the lights and the style of lighting fixtures they use on top of the pole. However, for the most part, taller light poles have a greater distance between them since they cover a wider area.

Best Lighting

Many parking lots used to use halogen lights since they provided decent illumination while using less power. However, many modern fixtures use LEDs because they give off a brighter white or blue light that’s ideal for illuminating areas requiring extra security. LED lights are long lasting, require little maintenance, and don’t use as much energy as other varieties of light bulbs. If you run a retail business, you should focus on having brighter lights. Additionally, you want to have uniform lighting throughout your parking lot and on the side of your building to help reduce visual confusion that could arise because of the contrast between lighter and darker spots. You can achieve this consistency by using the same type of bulb throughout the area. This helps eliminate potential tripping hazards or visual issues between the parking lot and your building structure.

Control Options

This breakdown of lighting requirements for your parking lot wouldn’t be complete without looking at some of the control options available. You may have different choices depending on what type of fixture you have.

One popular option is for businesses to install solar panel light poles. Solar options are popular because they’re easy to install and don't need to connect to the primary power grid. Solar options are self-contained and connect to a battery at the base of the pole.

These lights offer strong, long-lasting illumination by absorbing sunlight during the day and using it through the evening. Solar bulbs are great, particularly if you live in an area where the power grid is susceptible to natural disasters.

Solar lights last for several years and require little maintenance besides cleaning the panels and ensuring they’re free of obstructions. When your light fixtures can’t absorb sunlight, they’re less effective in the evening hours when you need them.

Other common control options for light fixtures are to invest in timers or sunlight detectors. Timers are good when you want a consistent light source between designated hours, though you may need to adjust the on and off times between seasons and because of daylight savings time.

If you don't want to use an automatic timer, you have another option. Many light fixtures have daylight detectors that automatically activate when the sun starts to go down. Unlike lights with timers, these may not all activate at the same time. However, they offer a reliable and energy-efficient light source for your parking lot.

General Tips

After you have your light fixtures picked out, adequately spaced apart, and controlled the way you want them, you have a few other things to keep in mind. For example, you should always check the local ordinances on light pollution, which may limit the amount of lighting and brightness you can have in your parking lot.

It’s a good idea to understand that more brightness doesn’t automatically equal more safety. Excessive lighting may cause glares or other visual obstructions on your security cameras. Another common risk is that an overly bright fixture at the entrance impacts drivers’ ability to see around them. Still, you want to use lighting to highlight potential blind spots and hiding places to ensure that pedestrians can move about safely. Aim to find the right balance that meets your facility’s needs.

If you want to find the right LED parking lot lights for your commercial or industrial property, Induction Lighting Fixtures is here for you. We have a wide range of pole lamps, wall pack lighting, and self-contained units that are perfect for your exterior needs. With plenty of bulbs to choose from and helpful guides on how to install and maintain your new fixtures, Induction Lighting Fixtures is your one-stop shop. For any additional questions, comments, or concerns, contact us anytime. We’ll be happy to assist you.

A Breakdown of Lighting Requirements for Parking Lots

Apr 10th 2023 Ralph McGinnis

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