Light It Up

March 1, 2013
Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport retrofits it's public parking garage lighting, a switch that takes less than five minutes per fixture and produces more than 70 percent energy savings

The Airport Authority for the City of Cleveland, OH realized state-of-the-art LED parking-garage interior lighting systems could save significant energy compared to metal-halide systems presently employed. 

The project’s lighting-design goals were straight-forward:

  • Substantially reduce energy costs 24/7/365;
  • Strive to increase light levels day and night in front of cars entering the garage looking for parking spaces, or leaving;
  • Similarly increase light levels at the rear of, and in-between parking spaces whether available or occupied, perpendicular to motorist line of travel;
  • Materially reduce routine light-fixture maintenance, malfunctions, and necessary lamp replacements;
  • Reduce lighting glare in motorists’ eyes;
  • Provide a long-lasting lighting solution, not likely to become predictably outdated

The Airport Authority requested proposals from seven different lighting manufacturers nationwide with Cleveland-area sales representation, who offered various alternatives to present metal-halide lighting.  All seven responded.  After viewing product samples, reading proposals, and conducting an R.O.I. analysis of proposals, all selection criteria clearly pointed to a new-type of specially-designed parking-garage luminaire, exclusively employing unique LED arrays: the Endura ceiling-mounted LED interior luminaire, with low-glare “Dual-Directional” Drive-Lane Optics.

LED-Based Fixtures

The consensus of Airport Authority testing was that actual light distribution inside their existing parking garage, showed Endura LED luminaires to have superior distribution along drive lanes, with great evenness, no “hot spots,” and low-glare high-color-rendition white light. This light projected in front of drive lanes, avoiding common problems of dark shadows in the line of travel.  

Ease of retrofit installation on a one-for-one basis in place of existing metal-halide light fixtures, re-using existing wiring connections, was also greater than all other fixtures tested; less than five minutes per luminaire.  R.O.I. payback was calculated at 24+ months for a short-term, predictable payback.

LED-based parking-garage fixtures suffer no lighting outages with brief voltage drops or “faults” in power lines; do not have minutes-long lighting interruptions plus restriking delays until light returns to full illumination. LEDs also emit white, daylight-mimicking high-color-rendition light, and commonly have 50,000 hours of operating life, double MH, and never burn out but simply growing dimmer over time.

Endura parking-garage LED luminaires are newly designed precisely for airport and other self-park above-ground public parking garages. The lighting solution is purpose-designed and built with “Dual-Directional” LED systems, which its manufacturer, the long-established Beacon Products division of Hubbell Lighting, terms Drive-Lane Optics.

Drive-Lane Optics achieves lighting distribution particularly effective for typically low mounting heights found in public parking garages at airports, shopping malls, urban shopping, business districts, and private parking garages integral with large-building or recreational complexes, urban or suburban.

Peak “candlepower” from Endura LEDs in the direction motorists are traveling in a parking-garage drive lane is actually reduced to a 55-degree low-glare angle, from a typical 70-degree-high-glare light angle in drivers’ eyes, in often dark parking garages.  For any type of light fixtures — HID, linear fluorescent, standard LED light fixtures or any other light-source type — most interior commercial light fixtures are not specifically designed for the special problems encountered by motorists when entering, parking in available spaces, or leaving public parking garages.

Conversely, raising part of parking-garage fixtures’ light to 70 degrees in the direction of perpendicular parking spaces on either side of a driver’s lane of travel raises peak candle power to benefit any motorist searching for a parking space. More light from this higher angle is not directed at drivers, but directed to parking spaces perpendicular to drive lanes, and is projected towards front or rear bumpers of parked vehicles, clearly showing when spaces are filled.

Flexibility; Life-Cycle Benefits

Still further savings accrue to airport and other parking-garage owners/operators by virtue of an optional Beacon On-Board Occupancy Sensor. Such a sensor provides three light-level options on each Endura. Parking-garage owners now have a choice for emitted light encompassing both the 55 and 70-degree angles, which can be set or changed to coincide with different hours of daylight or sunlight into a parking garage. 

These light-level options range from 100 percent LED light output, to 50 percent, or to 33 percent. Endura similarly offers settable options for how long any of its parking-garage light-fixtures remain on during periods of low occupancy; from 0.5 to 30 minutes.

The fixture with Dual Directional Drive-Lane Optics is also thermally protected against either excessive heat build-up, or snow-belt cold-weather climates. LEDs typically last 50,000 hours before becoming dimmer to the point replacement is recommended; metal-halide and other kinds of HID parking-garage light fixtures commonly last 20,000 to not more than 25,000 hours. The Hopkins Airport parking garage has cut lamp replacement times and costs in half with the retrofit to LED.

Endura LED parking-garage luminaires are twelve inches square, and six and one-quarter inches high for a sleek, contemporary appearance that helps the Hopkins International Airport parking garage appear newer than it is. A domed top to Endura functions as both a design element and as a bird-nesting, debris-accumulating deterrent for additional long-term maintenance savings.