An In-depth Look at Parking Lot and Area Lighting

What is Parking Lot and Area Lighting?

Parking lot and area lighting is the most common term for outdoor lighting designed for parking lots, driveways, and pedestrian pathways. Therefore, you will find this form of exterior lighting typically mounded on poles. Consequently, the primary purpose is for providing illumination for vehicles and pedestrians. It is not unusual to see different fixtures with various mountings on a single pole.

Some of today’s most commonly used area lighting retrofit applications utilize LED, Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium, or Mercury Vapor Lamps. Subsequently, most of these are all forms of High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. As an example, below are a few visuals of non-LED parking lot lighting installation applications.

Example of a parking lot and area lighting application 1
Example of a parking lot and area lighting application 2
Example of a parking lot and area lighting application 3
Example of a parking lot and area lighting application 4

Common Issues in Non-LED Parking Lot Lighting Installation Applications

Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium, and Mercury Vapor Lamps are all forms of HID lamps and have shared common issues. These factors should be reviewed before any area lighting retrofit or parking lot lighting repair.

Energy Cost

Firstly, common HID lamps used in parking lot lighting installation applications have a typical range of 100 watts to 1000 watts. The higher wattage producing higher light output. There are several factors that play a role in the number of wattages that are utilized. Such as quantity, spacing, and mounted height. A 400w or 1000w HID fixture can cost between $200 and $500 to operate per lamp/year in electricity costs alone.

Lighting Performance

Secondly, the performance characteristics of HID lamps can vary significantly. It depends upon the type utilized in your facility. If your facility is utilizing High-Pressure Sodium. You could be seeing a longer useful life than some of the other forms of HID due to slower lumen degradation. However, due to their fuel structure, they can produce an Orange light with a very low Color Rendering Index. The illumination produced by operating Metal Halide lamps will initially provide white light. But with the accelerated lumen degradation common to Metal Halide lamps. The overall lifetime of your lamps will decrease and produce a pink illumination that barely provides light making you performing a larger range of parking lot lighting repairs.

Maintenance Costs

Thirdly, when it comes to parking lot lighting repair, maintenance costs are always a big concern. Not only do you have to worry about the lamp’s lifetime. But these fixtures also require the use of a bucket truck or lift to change out the lamps and ballasts.  If your organization does not have its own bucket truck or lift. You are forced to hire an outside contractor to perform parking lot lighting repairs in your facility. These expenses add up fast. Over the course of 3 years, you could be looking at $1,200 in labor and materials to maintain a single parking lot or area light fixture.

The Benefits of an LED Parking Lot Lighting Retrofit

There are substantial benefits to performing an LED area lighting retrofit. Light Emitting Diodes or LED’s generate light utilizing a semiconductor. They do not rely on the consumption of a fuel source like an HID lamp. Most LED fixtures utilize multi-point sources. Which means the fixtures have multiple diodes with individual optics. When compared to the way HID fixtures distribute light, the results in illumination is more evenly distributed across a surface. With this in mind, let’s look at the three most common benefits of an LED area lighting retrofit

Energy Savings

Parking lot LED retrofits commonly utilize wattages between 40 – 600 watts, which often result in a 40%-60% reduction in energy consumption. This could mean savings of up to $300 per fixture, per year in electricity costs.

For more on an LED’s energy savings, check out the section on Energy Savings on or LED Education Page

Lighting Performance

As a result of an LED fixtures multi-point design. You will see a bright evenly distributed light pattern perfect for illuminating parking lots and exterior areas. The illumination across a given area will vary less and will eliminate the common bright spot produced by HID fixtures. In addition to your evenly displaced illumination, LED’s come in a variety of color temperatures. They provide a range of options in increasing the visual perception of brightness.

For more on an LED’s lighting performance, check out the section on Lighting Performance on or LED Education Page

Maintenance Savings

Due to the way LED’s generate light their functional lifespan is much longer. An LED’s generated light output, will degrade very slowly over time. As a result, their functional lifespan can often exceed 100,000 hours. The LED’s lifespan drastically reduces the costs associated with maintaining your parking lot and area lighting.

For more on an LED’s lifespan, check out our blog, Understanding LED Lifespan.

Images and Video for Review

Here are a few comparison images from one of our LED parking lot lighting retrofits. Check out the video review of this case study: A Before and After Comparison of an LED Parking Lot Retrofit


More LED Parking Lot Lighting Retrofit Resources to Explore

Buying LED - A Buyers Guide to Understanding LED Lighting Specs

LED Retrofit Education

When narrowing down the best solution for your organization, you will find it to be a challenging endeavor. Because of the thousands of lighting options available in the LED Industry, not all of them offer the same results. With this in mind, we have created an in-depth look at LED retrofits that covers things like;

  • What is a turn-key commercial LED retrofit?
  • Examples of commercial LED retrofit goals.
  • LED lighting Performance
  • Commercial applications
  • LED energy savings
  • LED maintenance Savings
  • And so much more!

Read more about LED retrofits here!

Parking Lot and Area Lighting, Where Illumination Makes a Difference

Parking Lot and Area Lighting, Where Illumination Makes a Difference

As business owners and facility managers, it is one of your jobs to make sure your customers and staff are safe while shopping, eating, or visiting your establishments, but an often-overlooked area (Parking Lot and Area Lighting) can bring significant liability to your organizations. Assault, robbery, rape, and even murder are a few of the rampant occurrences plaguing parking lots across the U.S.

In this article, we will review the things business owners and managers can do to lessen the risks associated with parking lots.

Read the full article here!


eBook Cover - Action Services Group Parking Area Liability, are You Vulnerable

Parking Area Liability, are You Vulnerable?

In a retail or restaurant setting, a dark and foreboding parking lot or garage is a business owner’s worst nightmare. While certainly a perfect setting for a horror movie, in real life, an unlit or poorly lit parking area is a recipe for disaster. As a result, assault, robbery, rape, and even murder are a few of the rampant occurrences plaguing parking areas across the US. They have low lighting, shadowy expanses, and distractions that make for a tempting invitation for criminals. 

In this e-book, we will review the top parking area liabilities, and we have included cold hard facts from the Office for Victims of Crime as well as infographics created from statistics pulled from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System

Download the free eBook Here!


Interested in Learning More About an LED Parking Lot and Area Lighting Retrofit?

When contemplating an LED Parking Lot Lighting Retrofit you should contact a lighting solutions provider or lighting company. WE recommend that you make sure they are manufacturer and product-neutral. With neutrality comes a higher focus on your needs as opposed to the desire or limitation of selling a specific product.

An LED Parking Lot Lighting Installation provider should ask you about your project.

  • What are your desired results fro your parking lot and area lighting retrofit?
  • What are your budget or project completion constraints?
  • Do you have an energy reduction target?
  • Do you have lighting performance specs?

At Action Services Group, our business model is designed to offer you the maximum ROI. While taking your lighting performance, maintenance cost, and energy efficiency into consideration. No solution or product is ever a one size fits all. We understand the need to customize solutions to meet the organization.

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