Well-designed parking lot lighting can help prevent accidents, deter crime, make your employees and guests feel more secure while still maintaining an attractive community environment. Poorly designed parking lot lighting can cause accidents, enable crime and be a detriment to a community’s image.
There are many considerations to take into account when planning for your parking lot and property lighting. If you are a facility manager, business owner or developer it can be a daunting task. Where do you go to find out if there are any specific requirements, guidelines or standards? To get started, follow the five guidelines listed below for parking lot lighting design.
1. Know Local Ordinances and Use Community Resources
Local resources such as your city government and local lighting sales representatives can assist you with bringing you up to speed on local light ordinances. You can research ordinances and codes on your own by looking on your local government website. Frequently, the easiest way to cut through the red tape is to directly call your local city planning department and explain to them what you want to do, and if your plans are allowed by city ordinances and codes.
You may want to redesign and retrofit your existing lighting or you may be in a new construction or renovation position. These two different scenarios will likely take two separate pathways. Redesigning and retrofitting typically does not require a permit or plan to be submitted for approval to implement. New construction or a major redesign will likely require you to submit a site plan with photometric calculations in order to receive the proper permit or occupancy.
2. Know Industry Standards for Parking Lot Lighting Design
If you have limited resources and knowledge on lighting or you do not have a design professional involved, you may want to reach out to your local lighting professional. Look for professional companies that have experience and consider themselves an “Energy Savings Company”. They may be electrical contractors, distributors or even lighting manufactures. Your best referral source is your local electrical utility company. Most utilities have “Trade Ally” programs. These Trade Allies understand the process and can offer turnkey solutions regarding parking lot lighting audit, design, recommendation, installation, incentive offers and financing.
What if your local government does not have any guidelines? How you or your lighting professional know how to create a well planned lighting design? The good news is that there are industry standards for parking lot lighting design. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES or IESNA), is an organization that monitors and controls the standards and illumination guidlines for all of the lighting industry. IESNA has created Recommended Practices called RP’s for different application types.
3. Know Your Insurance and/or OSHA Requirements
It is a good idea to contact both your insurance agent and OSHA representative to see if there are any additional stipulations to meet in order to keep you and your business protected from litigation.
4. Know the Equivalent of Energy Star for Parking Lot Lighting
Now we are ready to select luminaires. Most of us are familiar with the Energy Star label and what it means. It offers a consumer comfort that the performance listed on the product label is accurate and verified by a third party. However, Energy Star does not cover outdoor lighting. But, the Design Lights Consortium (DLC) does. Learn more on what the Design Consortium offers in labeling and certification for lighting products.
Using products that are labeled with Energy Star or DLC also offers another benefit—many electrical utilities offer rebate incentives to make the switch to more energy-efficient lighting. Most require that you use a product that has one of the two labels in order to be eligible. Your lighting professional can assist you with the process.
5. What do Similar Businesses do for Lighting? Should You Create Your Own Specifications or Follow Theirs?
Many organizations that have gone through this process decide to create their own lighting specifications. This saves time, money, and gives the opportunity to send projects out to bid for multiple solution providers based upon performance requirement. Some firms have the ability to assemble this themselves and others subcontract the task to a design or engineering firm.
Take a look at these resources to learn more about the lighting specification process:
- Architectural Lighting
- Commercial Building Energy Alliance LED Site Lighting Specification
- Federal Facilities
With these guidelines in mind, you can effectively create a parking lot lighting design that is allowed by your local government’s codes, follows foundational design standards, and perhaps even save you some money through rebate programs. If you have interest in parking lot design for your business, contact Electro-Matic.