Nearly every company today has a parking lot. In most business environments throughout the country, they’re a necessity: customers, clients, and employees alike use parking lots to both enter and exit a commercial property.
During the day, a typical business parking lot is perfectly illuminated—visibility is clear and safety concerns are at a minimum. However, at night parking lots can be a different place altogether, and if a parking lot is not well-lit after sunset, customers will not feel secure and may actively avoid a business for this reason alone.
And they’re not necessarily wrong to do this. Poorly-lit parking lots attract crime, including vehicle break-ins, robberies, property crimes, and much worse. The poor visibility of dark parking lots also presents other safety issues, such as an increased likelihood of vehicle accidents. In addition, customers often perceive businesses to be closed when parking lots are not well-lit and may drive to another store to do business, potentially costing companies possible revenue time and time again.
There’s simply no benefit to avoiding skimping on commercial parking lot lighting. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite: at the end of the day, dark parking lots result in lost money and invite crime and danger to the premises, and depending on the situation, potentially even resulting in liability. If a crime does happen, darkness also obscures any footage recorded by security cameras.
Fortunately, this problem is easily solved—there’s no shortage of options on the market to increase parking lot visibility and safety.
From Blazing Heat to Bitter Frost
Parking lot lighting isn’t simply a matter of finding the tallest, brightest light poles possible and being done with it. There are a variety of factors to consider before settling on a specific model and figuring out the proper placement.
For example, pole lights must be able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Whether it’s days of scorching sunlight with temperatures in the 100s or the bitter frost accompanying a blizzard, parking lot lighting systems must remain in regular operation regardless of the weather. Indeed, lighting becomes particularly important during inclement weather, in which parking lot illumination can potentially make all the difference in patron’s and employee’s safety.
Fortunately, today’s light pole models are more advanced than ever been before and far easier to both install and maintain than any of their predecessors. Today’s consumers also enjoy easy access to LED lighting. Not only are LED lights reasonably priced, they also last far longer than most other options while remaining just as bright.
And unlike their predecessors, LED lights also require no time to heat up and can instantly produce extremely bright and powerful light. LED lights are also extremely efficient, using far less electricity and lasting much longer than their so-called conventional cousins and thus soon paying for themselves. Due to all of these benefits, many modern pole light systems use LED bulbs for parking lot lighting.
There are other less obvious considerations that a business owner or contractor should make before installation that requires additional forethought. One such factor is soil type: can the soil of the commercial property handle the weight of the pole lights? If not, there will need to be some additional considerations and steps to the process. At either rate, an electrician or engineer should be consulted before installing most pole lighting systems.
How Much is Enough and How Much is Too Much?
Beyond selecting the model and following professional installation practices, there are other factors to consider when installing parking lot lighting. One aspect to consider is the proper level of illumination needed. In other words, is a parking lot too bright or not bright enough?
Simply put, it depends on one’s needs. Some crime prevention organizations recommend that all areas of a parking lot be lit by two pole lights, resulting in a significant decrease in shadows. Light poles that are at least twenty feet tall also reduce shadows. Certainly, shadows are something to consider when installing lights, particularly because shadows can appear in unexpected places, such as beside vehicles.
Ultimately, before installing light poles, it’s wise to consult professionals who regularly deal in commercial lighting systems. Not only will they know the ins and outs of where and why to place light poles, but they can potentially save a company both time and money by avoiding mistakes.