Parking on the ‘GREEN’ Level
A Quarterly Showcase of Innovation for the Parking Industry
By Steve Little
Technology: Remote Control Lighting and Lighting Control Strategies
This issue’s technology feature focuses on new and innovative lighting control opportunities in parking garages. Until fairly recently, lighting such a structure was more of an afterthought or a “Let’s just do what we always do” kind of thing.
While plenty of engineering is involved in properly designing and laying out an effective lighting system, the technology and often placement of fixtures make for an easily repeatable process.
As technologies advance, more and more considerations come into play when lighting a parking structure. Today, once you establish the best technology for your needs, it doesn’t stop there.
Next, it might be a good idea to add more control to your lighting strategy. For instance, the low hanging fruit to add to your energy savings is to turn off perimeter lighting in daytime operation.
Doing so can save 50% more energy on days when the ambient lighting levels are adequate for illuminating the perimeter of the garage without operating the lighting fixtures. This would be a simple task as long as the garage was pre-wired to do so, but most garages were not when they were constructed, and adding additional wiring may be cost prohibitive.
Today, it’s possible to turn perimeter fixtures on and off without adding wiring by installing an intelligent wireless control system.
Additional benefits of such a system is the ability to use motion sensors to energize (or turn on) idle lamps. By shutting down individual fixtures or by patterning large groups of them in a predetermined yet dynamic arrangement, the benefits can be overwhelming.
The most talked-about benefit of wireless controls is, of course, Energy Savings. For a garage that today remains fully lighted 24 hours a day but the parking levels are somewhat inactive at night, adding wireless lighting controls can save more money by turning off some or all of the lights at night and “energizing” them on motion.
In addition, the Security and Safety benefits of wireless controls are significant. As the garage lights turn on upon sensing motion, those intent on causing trouble will likely flee the parking deck, fearing that their cover has been exposed.
Also, sequences are available that, when implemented, would allow the police to be notified of a “trouble brewing” situation on the parking deck, which may help avert the crime before it is able to be committed.
Another big benefit of wireless lighting controls is Service. For example, if a lamp or ballast were to fail, an electronic work order could be generated for the building operator on his arrival at the parking structure the next morning.
Such an Energy Management System (EMS) was recently installed in the Plaza Park garage in Indianapolis. This property, owned by Denison Parking, has been featured in various publications and is gaining national attention.
Its Energy Savings are expected to be in the 60% range vs. the original metal halide lights, and before the EMS perimeter lighting control.
(For more information on the system discussed above, contact ECO Parking Lights at www.ecoparkinglights.com.)
Steve Little, President of Level Solutions, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The next installment of “Parking on the ‘GREEN’ Level” will feature Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology for heating and cooling common spaces of parking garages. Learn how it is taking over traditional HVAC systems in North America.
Article Abstract from September, 2010