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A Lot Brighter: Upgrade Your Store’s Parking Lot with LED Lighting
Have you ever noticed how many movies set their tense or scary scenes in parking lots and parking garages? They’re a great choice for it, really. The harsh, eerie yellow light. The pools of shadow lamps don’t quite reach. The occasional flicker of a light as a lamp nears the end of its life. Spooky!
But not exactly the kind of thing you want customers to associate with your store. Making customers feel safe and welcome is an important part of the retail experience, and that shouldn’t start and end at the front door. For this reason, many organizations are turning to LED (light-emitting diode) lighting for their parking areas. LED lights produce consistent illumination, avoiding the “hot spots” and areas of shadow traditional, high-intensity discharge (HID) parking area lights can produce. On top of that, LED lights are incredibly energy efficient, making them a great choice for both your customers’ and your accountants’ peace of mind.
High-intensity discharge does not mean higher-quality light
Compared to HID lights, LED alternatives produce higher average lighting levels with improved uniformity – which again goes back to the idea of providing consistent illumination and avoiding the dark patches that can make an area feel uninviting. Additionally, LEDs produce a more crisp white light, which puts customers at ease. Meanwhile, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, one of the more common HID types, cast a yellowish light that can put customers more on edge.1
At the same time, wall-mounted fixtures that illuminate areas in close proximity to a building, known as wall packs, often use HIDs. However, wall pack HIDs suffer from many of the same problems as their equivalents elsewhere in parking areas, including inconsistent illumination, which is a major issue. Wall packs are generally used to improve security, an effort that is undercut by hard-to-see areas. LEDs’ more uniform output addresses this concern.2
Driving savings through the parking lot
At a time when nearly one-third of small business owners’ spending on electricity goes to lighting costs,3 ways to save in that space are in high demand. LED lights’ naturally lower power consumption is a boon to cost-savvy business owners, and LEDs’ capability for precise control, facilitating adaptably dimming installations, make them an even better choice. Businesses implementing an aggressive strategy of LEDs with standalone sensors and/or lighting controls on a network during low-use times have seen energy savings of 30% to 75% over traditional implementations.4 Meanwhile, LEDs adjusted to low light to account for times of limited use consumed as much as 85% less power than HID alternatives.5
These savings have been studied extensively, with the University of California, Davis, seeing excellent results in their program to reduce exterior lighting energy consumption. Adopting LED luminaires, occupancy sensors and a radio-frequency mesh network to control power consumption, the university well exceeded its goal of 60% savings, achieving an 86% reduction in outdoor lighting energy use, which translated to roughly 1 million kWh – or $100,000 worth of spending on utilities and maintenance – savings per year.6
Adapting to adaptable LED exterior lighting
Implementing a new approach can be daunting. However, with advancements in LEDs in recent years, the luminaires are more affordable than ever, with just as many savings to go around. In fact, organizations have seen LED exterior lighting pay for itself quickly, with savings making up the cost within 3.3 years for a new construction project or 4.7 years for a retrofit.7
Additionally, many utility providers – including Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) – offer incentives to encourage sustainable practices, such as the implementation of LED exterior lighting. Lighting rebates make new installations and retrofits more affordable for business owners.
By working closely with your utility provider and contractors, you can steer your business clearly through to big savings and a more welcoming retail experience. The horror directors may not like it, but they likely make up a very small percentage of your customer base.
To learn more about different types of adaptive exterior lighting solutions and how they can optimize energy savings for business owners and managers, download PG&E’s free guide, “Exterior Lighting Solutions for Businesses.”
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