LED Parking Lot Lights

Parking Lot lights are typically pole mounted shoe box lights or pole top lights mounted between 15 feet and 40 feet providing outdoor lighting for large outdoor areas and parking lots. These lights are usually large and powerful shoebox fixtures. Businesses prefer to convert their parking lots to LED because they deliver a powerful, high quality light source that rivals or exceeds traditional light sources such as Metal Halide. They are proven to lower maintenance costs and reduce lighting bills by 50% to 80%. LEDs work well with motion sensors and photocells.

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Get your free parking lot lighting plan.

Your successful parking lot conversion to LED is a combination of using the right amount of lumens and achieving a balanced light distribution. Distribution can be achieved with using Type 3, 4 and 5 optics. But did you know that Type 3 and 4 are forward throw optics? Do you know how that can make the difference between having a successful led conversion and one that is dark, spotty and full of shadows?

Whether you need a free lighting plan or have questions about LEDs, our expert lighting team will help you make the right choice. Choosing the right shoebox fixture is the key to success.

Contact us for a free lighting plan or to discuss your LED lighting goals.

Parking Lot Lighting Plan

An expert-guide to converting your parking lot over to LED

1. Is there a need for you to replace your parking lot lights with LEDs?

There are several main advantages to converting over to LED - better light - lower lighting bills - reduced energy costs. Moreover, you may have to replace your existing parking lot lights because the fixtures are failing.

Converting to LED is an investment, but one where energy savings can be applied to pay off the investment. Paybacks are short.

Real savings after payback are real and will last for many years with a light that needs little if any maintenance. You can make a payback assessment by considering several cost factors.

LED Lights in a Parking Lot
Warehouse light installation
Warehouse light installation
Warehouse light installation
Warehouse light installation

Cost of the Fixture

LEDs will cost a bit more than other lights initially. However, the energy savings in the long term with their low maintenance demands will quickly offset the initial investment.

Cost of Installation

Installation of LED lights are no higher than the installation of any other traditional light sources. In fact, many new LED Parking lot lights are designed so that one man can safely and easily do the installation. 

Cost of Disposal 

Metal Halide and Fluorescents contain mercury. You cannot just dispose of these in a landfill. The good news, once you convert to LED, your days of paying for hazardous disposals are over.

Possible Rebates

Many utility companies incentivize the purchase of LED lights in the form of purchase rebates. Its best to check with your utility before you buy - or ask us - we can help with that.

How to calculate your savings?

Fortunately for you, we create an energy savings calculator. This calculator allows you to enter your current energy draw of your existing lighting, the energy draw of the led light you are thinking of using, the hours per day the lights being used, and the number of days per year the lights will be on. 

Typical parking lot lights average 12 hours a day, 365 days a year for a total run time of 4380 hours. 

Our calculator will tell you the savings across a wide range of kw/h costs. So you can easily see your savings per fixture over the entire year.


LED Parking Lot LIghts

2. How to decide the right distribution pattern for your parking lot?

We can't overstate picking the right optic for your needs. Choosing the right optic, or distribution pattern, can make the difference between a successful project and one that comes up short.

Optimal lighting in a parking lot only helps in making them safe for employees and customers. Having a bright, evenly lit parking lot is ultimately the end goal you are trying to achieve. 

The answer on how to select the right light and pattern lies in developing a lighting plan. A lighting plan uses specialized software to model spaces like parking lots, adding poles, adding shoebox fixtures, and then calculating light levels and light distribution.

For the most part, when we do lighting plans for out customers, we use fixtures with Type 3 and Type 5 optics. 

Type III light distribution for parking lots

This distribution layout is meant for the parking spaces and general roadway areas. They are higher than Type II but shorter in width from them. Its the perfect choice for lighting on the edges of the parking lot area.

Type V light distribution for parking lots

This distribution type is circular that makes it generate the same amount of light in all positions. It works great for spaces that need a lot of even lighting. Its ideal for poles mounted in the center of parking lots.

parking lot light distribution

3. Know about the various parking fixture mounts

You may not have paid enough attention to this part before but it is equally important to know about the right type of mount you will need. Knowing the type of mount you need will smooth out any installation issues down the road. 

Slip fitter Mount

Slip Fitter

This mount for parking lot lights can be used to set the light fixtures on a bull horn. These mounts can be inserted into the tenons that are commonly 2 to 3/8 inches in diameter.

Trunnion Mount


Another name used for these mounts is Yoke Mount. These mounts are mostly used for the floodlights and can be attached to walls, arms, and poles too. This remarkable flexibility of the mount helps it to be useful for various installation needs and accommodations.

Straight Arm Mount

Straight Arm

This mount can be attached to the light pole only and along with adapters when being attached to the circular poles. To these mounts on any pole, it is important to pre-drill them to enable them to fit with the bolt pattern.

4. What LED wattage will be right for you?

A watt is defined as a unit of power. But because LEDs are so much more efficient than other traditional sources of light, they can produce equivalent effective lumens while using less energy.

Therefore, using "watts" is not a good start point. You should focus on the amount of lumens a fixture produces instead.

Even among LED products, there is a huge variability on power consumed and lumens produced. You will always use less LED Watts than the watts consumed by a traditional light source. Here is a quick guideline to use when converting a traditional outdoor light fixture like Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium over to a LED Shoebox fixture.

When replacing 250 Watts Metal Halide, look for a LED parking fixture producing between 10,000 and 15,000 lumens.
When replacing 400 Watts Metal Halide, look for a LED parking fixture producing between 15,000 and 25,000 lumens.

When replacing 1000 Watts Metal Halide, look for a LED parking fixture producing between 36,000 and 55,000 lumens.

5. What is the best color temperature?

For the most part, LEDs are available commercially between the color temperatures of 2700K to about 6500K. And even though this is the effective range, by far the most popular color choices are:

4000K - a warm white light. A great choice if you think 5000K is too white

5000K - a whiter, but not harsh, light. Closely resembles Metal Halide.

Kelvin Color Temperature Scale Chart

6. Parking fixture lighting controls save even more energy

Simply switching to LED lights will bring you great savings on power bills but did you know you can save even more? Well, check out the parking light controls. These automate the power on and off of lights that allow the lights to be on only when needed.

Photocells to turn lights on at dusk and off at dawn

It is commonly noticed that parking lots aren’t required much in the daytime unless the weather outside is dark. While you may be okay with manually operating the lights but that only wastes your time mostly and won’t prove useful in times of sudden situations.

The photocell timer works by turning the lights on when it's day and off when it gets dark. These work year-round and have unique functioning. Photocells automate the light control by sensing the amount of light in the environment.

Dimming and motion sensors

Good lighting ensures a lot of things including safety, security, and appearance but they don’t need to keep functioning at their best all the time. The lights won’t really serve any purpose when the parking space is empty.

To optimize the light usage in such situations, motion sensors are a great option. These sensors don’t turn off the light just like that rather adjust the brightness based on situations. They are also great for safety tasks.

7. How Many Foot Candles do you need for a Parking Lot?

The answer to this question comes in two parts. There is the recommended or required foot candles, and the foot candles that might exceed these for your location

According to DarkSkySociety.org

the average foot candles for a public parking lot is 0.8, not lower than 0.13 in any area of the lot.

for a private parking lot, the average foot candles is 0.5 fc, not lower than 0.13 in any area of the lot.

These levels may seem lower than what you think they should be, and many owners of commercial spaces request brighter lighting for their outdoor areas. It has been proven that shoppers like bright parking areas. They feel more safe and secure when there is bright, uniform lighting. They will avoid poorly lit parking lotsCar dealerships want to highlight their cars. Keeping their outdoor space bright at night attracts night time shoppers.

8. What does CRI refer to?

The quality of light is represented by CRI or Color Rendering Index. Here, understand that CRI denotes quality and Lumens denote quantity. The higher the quality, the less quantity is required. Objects look better under high quality light.

Objects appear yellowish when seen under High-Pressure Sodium (2200K) light as their CRI ranges around 20.

The same objects look more natural and appealing under LED, whose CRI ranges from 70 to 95+.

So, what would be the right CRI for you? The answer lies in your needs.

A CRI of around 70 would be good for parking spaces.

For car dealerships where making cars look appealing is part of their business, 80+ CRI would be a good choice.

Color Rendering Index Graphic

9. Replacing versus retrofitting

Led Shoebox Retrofit Kit


Shoebox Retrofit kits turn out to be extremely useful when you want to replace your HID bulbs but want to keep your fixtures. If you have a substantial investment in an existing fixture, or just like the way your lights look, then retrofitting is a perfect option for you.

When changing the light fixture altogether might not be a suitable option. If you have properly working well-maintained fixtures, then retrofitting is the best decision you must take.

300 Watt Led Shoebox Arm Mount


Shoebox Lights are new led fixtures designed specifically to replace Metal Halide and HPS shoebox fixtures. They are powerful enough to replace 250 Watt, 400 Watt and even 1000 Watt Metal Halide.

They can be equipped with motion sensors and photocells. With dimmable drivers, they can dim down to 10% when no one is around to save you even more money. And when motion is detected, they can instantly turn back to full brightness. These options just weren't available with old HID bulbs.

The new LED lights come with all the types of equipment need to change the current fixture. The set includes a light fixture with a slip fitter, trunnion, or a new arm. 

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