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How to choose the right outdoor parking lot LED light?

In order to ensure the security and safety of both drivers and pedestrians, lighting is crucial. Parking lot lighting is outdoor lighting that illuminates areas such as parking lots, streets, pedestrian walkways, etc. To cover a broader illumination area, the majority of the parking lot fixtures are mounted on poles. The requirements for various locations differ from one another. The illumination in parking lots should be relaxing for the eyes. Other than the IES standard, each application has its own set of lighting standards. For instance, the lighting requirements for a parking lot at a large mall are more complex than those in rural and residential areas. As a result, there are no standard procedures for choosing the right fixture for every application. This article will demonstrate the typical and fundamental factors to take into account while selecting outdoor parking lot fixtures.

Measure your parking lot first

You can only accurately determine the size and layout of your parking lot by taking thorough measurements. After choosing where to position the fixtures, draw the parking lot using the measured dimensions. You may put fixtures more effectively with the aid of a good layout, which will improve space utilization and lower energy costs. Larger parking lots unquestionably require more lighting and lamps with stronger illumination. But keep in mind that having more fixtures does not necessarily translate into a better lighting experience; lighting performance should also be considered.

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Consider the effectiveness of the lighting

Illuminance, color rendering index, correlated color temperature, lighting distribution, and resilience to external environments should all be taken into account when evaluating lighting performance. The atmosphere and facial recognition will benefit from premium lighting performance, making people feel safer.


The term “illuminance” refers to the quantity of light flux that illuminates a surface per unit area. While parking lots only need 10 lux of illumination, parking garages demand an average of 54 lux. For parking lot lighting, there are two types of illumination: horizontal and vertical. The lighting levels measured on ground surfaces are referred to as horizontal illuminance. The lighting levels measured 90 degrees from the nadir at an average height of 1.5 meters above the ground are known as vertical illuminance. Signage, building facades, trees, and other plants should all be taken into account when designing vertical lighting features. Place the fixtures away from vehicles or pedestrians to prevent them from shading them or provide more light for improved visibility. The recommended illuminance levels for parking lots are shown in the following table.


Recommended illuminance targets (fc)

Horizontal min

Vertical min

 Asphalt surfaces



Concrete surfaces



Transaction areas



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Color rendering index 

The capacity to reflect an object’s real color is known as the color rendering index. The more naturally the colors of the product seem, the closer the color rendering index is to 100. For humans to see clearly, LED lights that can accurately reveal an object’s color are crucial. An inferior color rendering performance is indicated by a color rendering index of 60 or less. However, as the cost would rise with higher values, there is no need to pursue the greatest color rendering index. For the majority of the parking lot, a color rendering index of at least 70 is usually appropriate.

Color temperature 

A light source’s hue can be determined by its CCT (Correlated Color Temperature). CCT is what we typically refer to as “cold white” or “warm white.” Warm light has a CCT of less than 3500K, whereas cool light has a CCT of more than 4500K. For most parking lots, the CCT range of 3500k to 5000k is appropriate. The light that helps individuals feel more at ease is pure, natural light.

Light distribution

Parking lots are not isolated but rather found near commercial structures, homes, schools, etc. Thus, the distribution of parking lot illumination will have an impact on human activities. Bright enough parking lot lighting that reduces glare, backlight, and uplight is considered qualified. The BUG rating describes the possibility for light pollution and the dispersion of outdoor illumination. “B” stands for backlight, “U” for light that is directed upward above the luminaire’s horizontal plane, and “G” for glare (high angle forward light). The BUG rating assesses the optical performance of sky glow, high angle brightness, and lighting trespass.

IES categorized ambient environment light according to ambient light characteristics to provide safety and minimize lighting pollution. The surrounding parking lot lighting zones and illumination suggestions are as follows.

  • Luminous zone 0. There is no need for illumination in the neighborhood because it might harm the nearby things. The suggested illumination level in this location is quite low, and human vision can function in complete darkness.
  • Luminous zone 1. Low ambient lighting is present. Continuous and consistent lighting is not required.
  • Luminous zone 2. Areas that need moderate, convenient lighting for safety.
  • Luminous zone 3. These places’ lighting ensures convenience, security, and safety. It is advised that there be uniform and/or continuous lighting for better human vision.
  • Luminous zone 4. These locations need lighting that is tailored to the ambient conditions for convenience, security, and safety. The majority of the lighting is consistent and/or uniform.
Glare of street lighting
Harsh environment resistance

Parking lot fixtures are exposed to the sun, wind, rain, and extremely high or low temperatures for an extended period of time. High quality fixtures are needed since parking lots are tough environments. A parking lot fixture’s ability to withstand the harsh environment depends mostly on its resistance to water, dust, impact, and corrosion.

IP rating, IK rating, and corrosion resistance are the corresponding standards. A measure known as IP (Ingress Protection) indicates how well-protected electrical equipment enclosures are against the entry of extraneous items. Most often, two digits are used to describe the protection level, then IP. The levels of protection are specified using the numbers.

Two numbers, IK01, IK02, IK03, IK04, IK05, IK06, IK07, IK08, IK09, and IK10, make up the IK rating. The better the protection, the higher the number. The majority of mechanical impacts can often be handled by fixtures with an IK code higher than IK08, while lights with an IK10 rating are outfitted with the highest level of protection.

Corrosion is the process through which materials in the environment cause objects, both metal and non-metal, to lose and be damaged (water, air, acid, alkali, salt, solvent, etc.). The best way to prevent corrosion is to keep LED lights far from dangerous objects and the environment. In order to prevent corrosion, producers employ stable materials and add coating films to fixtures.

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Take into account the external cost

Cost for energy usage, installation, replacement, and maintenance is equally important for cost management as the cost of buying fixtures. You can reduce prospective costs by giving the whole cost more thought.

Energy bill

Effective input-to-output conversion, or turning electricity into more photic energy, is a capability of energy-saving fixtures. The efficacy, which is measured in lumens per watt, should be taken into consideration while choosing a parking lot fixture. The effectiveness increases as the values rise. LED lights can save between 30% and 70% of the energy used by conventional lighting. Fixtures with a longer lifespan can use less energy overall. Installing smart controls can cut down on energy waste and working hours.

Cost of installation and replacement

In order to provide adequate lighting, parking lot lamps are frequently set on poles that are the right height. Due to the hiring of skilled professionals, installation is very expensive. Poles themselves cost a lot of money, as do the foundation and trench used to provide them with power. In some cases, the overall cost of the poles may be higher than the entire cost of the fixtures. The cost of labor will also be high when upgrading parking lot fixtures. Use the existing poles whenever possible if you want to retrofit the parking lot lighting system.

Cost of Maintenance

Fixtures are frequently located on poles that are higher than 15 feet, therefore when a breakdown occurs, it is necessary to employ a bucket truck or lift to repair the fixtures. However, bucket trucks and lifts are not available in all structures or facilities. As a result, it’s required to hire technicians to repair equipment. The expense of upkeep is uncertain. As a result, durable manufacturers offer warranties that may be greater than the useful life of the fixtures while also taking maintenance costs into consideration.

Lighting controls

Parking lots are illuminated throughout the day. There are times at night when there are no cars or people in the parking lots. Utilizing controls is a step toward an economical and energy-efficient lighting system. The most common types of lighting controls include photosensors, timers, astronomical clocks, and motion sensors.


Depending on how much natural light is there, photosensors either turn on or off the fixtures. Photosensors are used in the lamp housing, optics, electronics, and photocell. Photosensors enable parking lot fixtures to be switched on at dusk and off when there is enough daylight, so minimizing energy loss. The false trigger caused by climatic changes and the lower life span when compared to fixtures is the drawback of photosensors.

The timer

Controls for time clocks frequently combine a photosensor. As a result, fixtures are dimmed or switched off at predetermined times. Controls over the time clock help conserve electricity at night or after office hours.

Timing control

Based on the expected times of sunset and sunrise, which are based on the location of the parking lot, astronomical time clock controls modify the on and off of lighting. Astronomical time clock controls are unaffected by the amount of daylight, but they are unable to recognize dense clouds. There is a chance of inaccurate control as a result.

Motion sensors

Vehicles and pedestrians moving around set off motion detectors. They frequently serve both internal and exterior purposes. Without being constrained by time or daylight, the dynamic reaction enables greater energy savings.

Need us to work out a solution for your car parking lot lighting projects? Please feel free to contact us directly.

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