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8 Types of Lighting for Parking Lots

Updated: Jul 10


 

This overview summarizes the characteristics of common lighting used in parking lots. It gives the details of the several types of lighting for comparison to the preferred choice, which is the LED lighting parking lots benefit from having.


Modern LED streetlight with two rectangular panels against a clear blue sky, with some tree leaves visible.

8 Types of Parking Lot Lights


When choosing lighting for parking lots, it's essential to consider factors like energy efficiency, installation, operating and maintenance costs, light quality (color rendering), and environmental impact.


Here is a list of lighting types used for parking lots:


  • Halogen - Short lifespan, high energy consumption, and generates a lot of heat.


  • Fluorescent - Energy-efficient, suitable for smaller parking areas or low-mounting applications.


  • Metal Halide - Bright white light, suitable for high-intensity lighting.


  • Low-pressure sodium - Highly energy-efficient, very long lifespan, but poor color.


  • High-pressure sodium - Long lifespan, energy-efficient, good for large areas. Needs warm-up.


  • Mercury Vapor - Suitable for large areas and good energy efficiency. Needs warm-up.


  • Induction - Long lifespan, good color rendering, energy-efficient, and instant on/off.


  • LED - Highly energy-efficient, long lifespan, instant on/off, and low maintenance.


LEDs are currently the most popular choice due to their efficiency, longevity, and versatility.


Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Parking Lot


Assess your needs to determine the required illumination levels, uniformity, and color rendering index (CRI) based on your parking lot's use and layout. Then, you can compare different lighting types based on those factors.


When considering costs be sure to analyze the initial investment, the operating expenses, and the maintenance costs to determine the most cost-effective option over the long term. When you make the full cost of ownership calculations, you will see that LED lighting systems create the stronger value proposition.


Consult with a lighting design engineer at NetZero Energy to optimize the lighting plan and to ensure the chosen lighting meets local codes and standards. NetZero Energy has specialists in LED lighting for Oregon installations, LED lighting Washington businesses appreciate, and LED lighting for Alaska projects that are subject to severe weather.


Comparison of Common Lighting Used for Parking Lots


An empty parking lot at night, brightly illuminated by streetlights.

1. LED (Light Emitting Diode) Fixtures

Initial Cost - High (typically $200-$1,000 per fixture depending on the wattage and brand)

Operating Cost - Low (high energy efficiency, around 50-150 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - Low (long lifespan, around 50,000-100,000 hours, minimal maintenance required)


2. Halogen Lamps

Initial Cost - Low (typically $20-$50 per fixture)

Operating Cost - High (less energy-efficient, around 300-1,000 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - High (short lifespan, around 2,000-4,000 hours, frequent replacements needed)


3. Fluorescent Lamps

Initial Cost - Moderate (typically $50-$200 per fixture)

Operating Cost - Moderate (energy-efficient, around 32-100 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - Moderate (lifespan of around 10,000-15,000 hours, regular maintenance needed)


4. Metal Halide Lamps

Initial Cost - Moderate to High (typically $100-$250 per fixture)

Operating Cost - Moderate to High (less energy-efficient, around 250-400 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - Moderate (lifespan of around 10,000-20,000 hours, moderate maintenance)


5. Low-Pressure Sodium (LPS) Lamps

Initial Cost - Moderate (typically $100-$200 per fixture)

Operating Cost - Low (highly energy-efficient, around 35-180 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - Low (very long lifespan, around 18,000-24,000 hours, minimal maintenance)


6. High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lamps

Initial Cost - Moderate (typically $50-$150 per fixture)

Operating Cost - Moderate (energy-efficient, around 50-400 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - Low to Moderate (long lifespan, around 24,000-30,000 hours, moderate maintenance required)


7. Mercury Vapor 

Initial Cost - Low to Moderate (typically $50-$150 per fixture)

Operating Cost - High (less energy-efficient, around 175-400 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - High (lifespan of around 16,000-24,000 hours, but frequent lumen depreciation)


8. Induction

Initial Cost - High (typically $200-$500 per fixture)

Operating Cost - Low (energy-efficient, around 40-400 watts per fixture)

Maintenance Cost - Low (very long lifespan, around 50,000-100,000 hours, minimal maintenance)


Here is a comparison table of the features of parking lot lighting types:


Type

Lifespan

Efficiency

Color

Cost

LED

100,000 hours

high

bright white

lower over lifespan

Halogen

3,600 hours

low

warm yellow

high

Fluorescent

10,000 hours

moderate

warm white

moderate

Metal Halide

6,000 to 15,000 hours

moderate

nearly white

moderate

Low-pressure sodium

18,000 hours

high

yellow orange

low

High-pressure sodium

24,000 hours

moderate

yellow

moderate

Mercury Vapor

24,000 hours

low

bluish white

high

Induction

100,000 hours

high

bright white

low


LEDs, low-pressure sodium, and induction lamps are the most energy-efficient options. LEDs and induction lamps have the longest lifespans, reducing maintenance costs over time. Halogen and mercury vapor lamps have the lowest initial costs but are more expensive to operate and maintain.


LEDs, despite their higher initial cost, often prove to be the most cost-effective over the long term due to their low operating and maintenance costs.


LED Lighting for Your Parking Lot


LED lighting for parking lots is designed with efficiency and performance in mind, our LED lights offer a multitude of benefits that will enhance your operations and contribute to significant energy savings.


Reach out to us  by phone (360.636.5337), webform, or email (info@dynamicnrg.net) to start the conversation about using LED lighting for your parking lot.

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