Magazine

Lighting That Leads For Parking Facilities

By John George

A well-designed lighting system is a critical success factor for a parking facility that wants to create a welcoming environment leading to repeat business. Consider the following when addressing your lighting needs so your customers can feel safe and secure.

• PROPER ILLUMINATION LEVELS

Provide adequate illumination in areas of the parking facility depending on the task conducted. Increased light levels are needed where activity is higher or where vehicular and pedestrian traffic may cross, such as drop-off zones or entrances. Excessive illumination is unnecessary and wastes energy.

• OPTICAL CONTROL

Create an atmosphere of excellent visibility by lighting vertical surfaces to note potential obstacles, such as changes in elevation or traffic intersections. Well-placed luminaires with appropriate photometric distributions avoid glare for drivers and pedestrians, and eliminate dark areas where intruders might hide. Good vertical illumination allows quick identification of objects and people, as well as proper imaging by surveillance systems, and also minimizes contrast between bright light sources and adjacent walls or surfaces.

• SUSTAINABILITY

In addition to energy efficiency objectives, many corporate and community sustainability programs have been adopted to address other environmental issues. Among these are “light trespass” and “Dark-Sky” initiatives. By selecting light fixtures with efficient optics and directing the light output effectively, the amount of light spilling across property boundaries or up into the night sky can be limited or even eliminated, as often required by local ordinances. Accommodation for alternative transportation, green-powered motor vehicles, and electric vehicle charging stations also might be provided to support green building programs.

• COLOR QUALITY

Select light sources with good color-rendering properties. This facilitates the quick identification of one’s own vehicle, as well as other pedestrians. When unfortunate incidents do occur, the accurate description of an object or person may lead to rapid resolution.

• TECHNOLOGY SELECTION

Selecting energy-efficient and long-life lighting systems decreases operating costs for parking facilities and projects the image of a well-maintained business. Utility bills and labor costs to replace lamps or maintain luminaires are reduced, both positively impacting the

bottom line.

• CONTROLS STRATEGY

A “smart” lighting control strategy can help a parking facility save energy, while creating a more comfortable structure for visitors. Luminaires may be dimmed during the day when natural light is available, particularly in perimeter areas. Lighting in transition areas, such as entrances and exits, may be programmed to assist in visual adaptation, particularly when entering from bright sunlight. Occupancy sensors and time scheduling may be incorporated where volume varies greatly by time of day or between weekday and weekend hours. Bi-level switching triggered by occupancy sensors may also be used as a way to highlight activity as part of a crime prevention program.

• WAYFINDING AND SIGNAGE

Lighting can be a fun and creative way to help direct traffic through a space. Using visual cues, such as signs, colors or lines of light, can be an extremely effective way to highlight certain key areas, such as parking zone identification, elevator lobbies, stairwells, payment kiosks, and exits. Speedy flow and transaction times contribute to increasing one’s sense of security in a parking facility.

• UTILITY REBATES

Parking garages can reduce their overall energy bill through incentive programs offered by national utilities. For example, the Sylvania Source Incentive Tracking system was created to provide access to information concerning available incentives related to the lighting industry. Utilizing government and publicly available resources, together with direct contact with energy professionals, Osram Sylvania monitors incentive developments for federal, state and individual utility incentive programs. Unless otherwise specified, the noted incentive programs are ongoing or available until funding is depleted. The database is updated on a monthly basis. More than 1,700 utilities (IOU, MUNI & Co-ops) are monitored, and more than 750 utilities have lighting incentive programs – and growing.  

CASE STUDY: Lakeland HealthCare Parking Facility

Stretching across three counties in Southwestern Michigan, Lakeland HealthCare is a not-for-profit, community-owned system of care, and one of the region’s preeminent providers of integrated health-related services. Its network consists of four acute-care hospitals offering cardiovascular care, obstetrics, cancer care and surgery, as well as a range of other care options, including walk-in clinics, long-term care, homecare, laboratory and radiology services, rehabilitation and other services.

Lakeland has strong ties to the community, offering health, safety, wellness and prevention events, classes and programs throughout the year. Its commitment to those communities stretches beyond just the services it provides to patients, and Lakeland feels a strong sense of responsibility to strive toward safety, sustainability and energy efficiency as well.

That commitment was put on display when the health care system decided to upgrade the 175W metal-halide lamps in a four-level parking facility at its Lakeland HealthCare facility in St. Joseph, MI. A power outage at the site would often cause the existing metal-halide lamps and ballasts to fail, raising security concerns.

Lakeland undertook a careful examination of available solutions to replace the 231 metal-halide lamps on-site. The healthcare provider selected the LED Retrofit Kit because of its low-power output, providing significant energy and cost savings. The directional distribution delivered light only where needed, while improving safety and security within the parking facility.

Before the Retrofit Kits were installed, a power outage would often cause the existing metal halide lamps and ballasts to fail. With the implementation of the LEDs, this problem was instantly resolved, as the LEDs immediately powered on after an outage. This allowed for Lakeland to wire the fixtures directly into the backup generator, providing backup lighting in the case of an outage, keeping the facility well-lighted at all times.

The retrofit project is estimated to deliver impressive energy, cost and maintenance savings for Lakeland’s St. Joseph HealthCare facility. This lighting retrofit will save 326,299 kWh annually, thanks to the reduced energy consumption of the LED retrofit kit, saving $26,103.92 in annual energy costs for the healthcare facility. It also will result in a savings of 641,277 lbs of CO2 annually.

Additionally, this lighting retrofit stands to save Lakeland an estimated $18,212 annually in maintenance costs. Combining these savings with a utility energy rebate, the project will provide tremendous benefit for a not-for-profit organization such as Lakeland now and into the future.

The results of this project helped create a chain reaction within Lakeland, and the organization quickly began examining what other facilities could be retrofit with an energy-efficient LED lighting solution. Future plans include similar LED retrofits in other facilities, helping increase energy and cost savings even further.



John George is Vertical Sales Manager at Osram Sylvania. Contact him at press@sylvania.com.

Article Abstract from July, 2013




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