Lighting: Cost Savings, Quality, Brightness and Safety


Lighting: Cost Savings, Quality, Brightness and Safety

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When it comes to parking garage and surface lot lighting, some of the most crucial variables for smart decision-makers include energy cost savings, superior quality and brightness, and customer safety and comfort.
Those are top priorities when retrofitting commercial and industrial garages and lots, says Orion Energy Systems.
One large four-garage project in Texas, for example, involved swapping out more than 2,000 heat-generating, electricity-sapping metal-halide and high-pressure-sodium fixtures and replacing them with Orion’s application-specific T8 fluorescent parking garage fixtures.
Based on blended electricity rates, cumulative projected annual lighting electricity cost savings for the four garages will be $75,408, the company says.
Orion notes that it has mastered the art of maximizing energy reduction, but not at the expense of superior light quality and output. In the Texas garages, for example, based on foot-candle readings, light levels to the ground are 91% better than they were: 21 foot-candles compared with 11 f-c’s with the previous high-intensity discharge (HID) system.
Surface lots provide great opportunity for energy cost reduction and improved profitability. Orion retrofitted the Sierra Vista Mall in California, replacing yellowish HID fixtures with clean-white fluorescents and generating an annual cost reduction of more than 70%. Based on blended utility rates, Sierra Vista can now expect annual energy savings of $37,231, the company says.
How much more efficient has Orion’s technology been at Sierra Vista? Consider that previously, a four-fixture pole used 4,232 watts. Its four-fixture pole requires just 1,408 watts – yet provides 31% better light (an average of up to 14 more foot-candles in certain areas of the lot).
The company’s exterior parking lot fixture provides superior zonal coverage with less glare than other types of fixtures. It’s made of durable “galvannealed” steel with a polycarbonate lens, a venting technology designed to reduce chances of moisture infiltration, and proprietary optics that aim to distribute the light exactly where needed.
Additionally, its parking garage fixture is specifically designed for the relatively low ceilings and general dimensions of industrial parking structures. Its reflector is engineered to disperse light in a wide pattern, not just directly below. In addition, the robust enclosed fixture is extremely resistant to dust and moisture, and can withstand even high-pressure wash-downs, the company says.
In terms of safety and comfort, poor or uneven lighting in a parking garage or on a lot can create dark pockets and “blind spots,” which can compromise the range and effectiveness of security cameras.
Orion Energy Systems, with its InteLite Basic and InteLite Smart Motion technology, has devised the ideal solution for multi-level parking structures.
With InteLite Basic, motion control is fixture-by-fixture. When no motion is detected, lights remain on at a baseline level of 20%. They ramp up accordingly based on foot or vehicle traffic.
InteLite Smart Motion takes that technology another step. Through the company’s proprietary Blaster technology, fixtures communicate via radio signal. The strategy again involves keeping parking garage lighting on at a cost-saving low level ­– 20% of the fluorescent fixtures’ output – when there is no activity.
Human or automobile traffic triggers full activation of the fixtures. The most unique aspect of Blaster is that the radio signal talks to the other fixtures in a zone, turning them on to 100% – ahead of the traffic. After a programmed amount of time, the fixtures drop back to 20%, maintaining safe, comfortable level of lighting.
With this low-to-high approach, the company says its technology saves garage owners a tremendous amount of money on lighting electricity bills, while maintaining superior light output, safety and comfort.
Orion Energy Systems is a Wisconsin-based power technology company that designs, manufactures and deploys energy management systems, which include high-performance fluorescent and LED lighting platforms, occupancy controls, and direct renewable solar technology.

For more information, go to Andrew Osborne is Marketing Director for the MEI Group. He can be reached at      


Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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