Car park lighting: the best approach
Car park lighting creates optimal visual conditions for both pedestrians and drivers. Irrespective of the specific type of car park and the unique needs of each project, uniform lighting is a must in all cases, as are safety, visual comfort and energy efficiency.
In this article we will talk about...
- Features of car park lighting
- Current regulations on car park lighting
- Types of luminaires
- Secom recommends
Features of car park lighting
Most public car parks in Spain are under cover, typically underground or in multi-storey buildings. In other countries, outdoor car parks are more commonplace. In the USA, for example, parking lots are filled with cars at all hours of the day and lighting such spaces is similar to lighting a street. Solar panels often form part of the lighting design.
The environment in a covered car park is an important factor since these buildings can concentrate humidity, dirt, dust and exhaust emissions. The luminaires must therefore have a high IP rating.
The distribution of the fixtures is sometimes more important than their power rating. The building structure determines where the devices should be located. The standard approach is to install them on the ceiling to ensure all zones – including the entrance and exits – are well lit. A technical lighting study is the best way to determine the key lighting points and power ratings and ensure the right decisions are made. Emergency lighting is also important, as is evacuation lighting to guide people out in case of emergency.
If there’s one crucial factor in any car park lighting project, it has to be visibility. Car park users must be able to see the spaces and the entrance and exit, as well as pedestrians. Emergency zones, toilets, staircases and payment points should also be clearly visible.
This is where control systems can help. For example, motion sensors, timers or natural light sensors can help save energy while ensuring the provision of optimal lighting.
Evacuation and emergency
This type of lighting is installed 2 metres above floor level to provide maximum visibility and safety. For indoor car parks larger than 100 square metres, luminaires should be installed in parking areas, staircases, corridors, other shared areas and exterior zones. With very few exceptions, these types of car parks cannot take advantage of natural light and would be plunged into darkness in the event of a power outage unless emergency lighting is in place.
Correlated colour temperature (CCT) is a term describing the tone of a light source and is measured in kelvins (K). Warm lighting has a CCT below 3500 K, while a neutral light source has a CCT of between 3500 and 4500 K, and cool lighting exceeds 4500 K. CCT is not a performance metric – a higher number is not necessarily better. Rather, CCT describes the warmth or coolness of the light to the human eye. A luminaire with a CCT between 5000 and 6000 K provides a clear, crisp white light, all of which is perfect for a car park.
Current regulations on car park lighting
Standard UNE EN 12464-1:2011 is the main piece of legislation for car park lighting in Spain. It differentiates between lighting for access ramps, driving lanes, parking spaces and even the payment point. There should be 300 lux at access ramps and the payment point throughout the day. For other zones, an average of 75 lux is sufficient. For outdoor car parks, UNE EN 12464-2:2008 stipulates 5, 10 and 20 lux for light, medium or heavy traffic, respectively.
Types of luminaires
LED luminaires are fast becoming the lighting of choice for car parks, though of course there are several factors to consider. LEDs can save energy while providing clean white light with high colour rendering, and they have a long useful life.
In fact, many LED devices are rated 50,000 hours. They are an efficient alternative to HPS and metal halide fixtures and are suitable for hard-to-reach places such as lighting poles in parking spaces and very high ceilings.
The initial upfront cost may be higher, but these luminaires soon pay for themselves. Energy savings aside, there are also minimal replacement, maintenance and cleaning requirements. When selecting luminaires for a car park, it is important to remember that this is a permanent lighting system exposed to all manner of potentially corrosive external substances. Regulation devices and motion sensors can help optimise energy use and should also be factored in.
Secom supplies a range of luminaires, floodlights, wall lamps and bollards suited to lighting an indoor or outdoor car park.
For example, the extremely durable Alitek Estanco IP65 provides optimal lighting output and linear lighting in all conditions. It ensures uniform lighting with minimal dispersion, and it complies with car park lighting standards.
There is no one approach to car park lighting since the characteristics and parameters of each project depend on the specific structure of the space. Regardless, the lighting in any car park facility should provide visibility and visual comfort, ensure people can move around safely, be energy efficient, and enable automation and control.More in our blog