Last year, Aelux joined the Green Parking Council (GPC) to take a leadership role when it comes to energy efficient lighting in parking garages and lots. We have been retrofitting parking facilities for years and our experience has shown that often dramatic savings are possible via efficient lighting solutions.
One of GPC’s top initiatives is the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking campaign (LEEP). LEEP offers free guidance and recognition to those interested in implementing energy efficient lighting solutions in their parking facilities, showing owners ways to take advantage of saving opportunities. The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, the Green Parking Council, and the International Facility Management Association make up the LEEP campaign and work together to help facility owners find the right solutions for their needs. To find out more about LEEP, become a participant or a supporter, check out their website here. You do not have to own or manage a parking facility in order to become a supporter. If you’ve completed a facility or are contemplating it, you can sign up to become a LEEP participant and use your case study to earn recognition, get support and join a community of owners/managers with experience lighting parking facilities.
The unique needs of parking facilities. More than most spaces, parking decks have variable occupancy. Though the whole space should be lit at all times at minimum safety levels, only active areas need full illumination. Step or linear dimming controls allow you to use as much or as little light as you need given the exact occupancy and use of the facility. Advanced controls allow you to set maximum light levels by area, and can even tell you when a lamp is burned out or malfunctioning. In some cases, attendant-staffed garages need even less illumination and controls become even more important.
Inefficient vs. Efficient Technology. If you still have HIDs or T12s in your facility, then it’s time to update your lighting. Both technologies are inefficient and T12s have actually been taken off the market. As of July 2012, the Department of Energy required the discontinuation of many T12 lamps and ballasts and replacement fixtures are no longer available. Learn more about the T12 phase-out here. Various configurations of T8, T5, LED and induction are much more efficient technology and can save you drastic lighting and energy costs. LED solutions continue to be more cost competitive and offer maintenance savings that lead to high ROIs.
What to remember when updating lighting in parking facilities:
- Consider occupancy/vacancy sensors with dimming ballasts. These will allow you tailor your light levels appropriately in real time in a variable occupancy setting.
- Set your maximum light levels by area. “Full on” doesn’t always mean the same thing everywhere. The human eye cannot detect a 20% decrease in light levels, so 80% illumination is typically just as effective.
- Have an above ground facility? Where appropriate, daylight harvesting (photocells) maintains fixed light levels and decreases your artificial light load when daylight will suffice, saving you more money than energy efficient fixtures alone.
- Every garage should consider both elements of efficient lighting: Fixtures and Controls. Ignoring the benefit of controls wastes 40% to 75% of potential savings.
If you’re ready to update your parking facilities lighting, give us a call or request an audit to get started today. Interested in seeing an example of potential savings? Check out our case study here.
Any questions? Leave a comment!
Alyssa Modica is the Marketing Associate at Aelux and has been with the company for a little over a year. She is a Temple alum and likes to rock climb in her spare time.