Want to provide more safety and security to customers and employees? Provide good lighting to prevent theft and vandalism. Here are six steps to completing a lighting project for a business parking lot.
Step 1 – Identify the area that is requiring lighting
What is the total size of your parking lot? How many cars can it fit? Does the parking lot wrap around your building or is it just to the front? Identifying the entire area that needs to be lit is the first step in the design process whether the parking lot already exists or is still in development and design phases.
Step 2 – Determine how long the lights need to operate
Is your business open all night or just until 10 pm? When do the employees go home? When does it open in the morning? Does the parking lot require all night lighting or can they shut off a couple of hours after your business closes and then on again before it opens? The less the lights have to operate, the lower the power usage will be. Even cutting back 3-4 hours a night can provide a drastic change to the energy requirements.
Step 3 – Research the lighting requirements of your area
Different cities have different lighting requirements, especially for businesses. Contact your local municipality to find out what their lighting requirements for your business are. Higher lighting levels can be required in more urban areas where lower lighting levels can sometimes be used in rural areas. Knowing standard IES requirements are also a great place to start when looking into lighting levels.
Step 4 – Speak to your lighting designer
Now that you have determined the area you need to be illuminated, the time the lights need to operate, and the lighting requirements, it is time to talk to your lighting designer. They will help you determine the best fixture, the height of fixture mounting, placement, etc. to complete the project successfully. They should also provide you with a lighting layout to show you how your design will look once installed.
Step 5 – Figure where the poles would need to be installed
Once you receive your layout from the lighting designer make sure it fits well within the parking lot. Double-check and see if poles are going to be installed in medians, on the edge of the roadway, in-between spaces, etc. This is also a good time to determine if you want to use an anchor base or direct burial pole if the pole needs a foundation and many other factors that can vary before final installation.
Step 6 – Decide if you want to use solar-powered parking lot lights
The final step is to decide if you want solar-powered parking lot lights or standard grid-tied electrical lights. If your parking lot already exists or is still in development and planning phases, and there is no electricity existing where the lights need to be installed, opt for a solar-powered solution. This will cost less than bringing in the power lines, especially when trenching the lines or tearing up existing concrete, while also providing you lower costs overall as there will be no electric bill ever for the lighting.