Requirements and Rewards for Good Lighting Design

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					                              BY PETER KELLY

  Requirements and Rewards
  for Good Lighting Design
                            Improving accessibility with quality lighting upgrades in            QUALITY COUNTS
                            parkades does not have to be an expensive or arduous
                                                                                                     In addition to these aesthetic conditions, good lighting
                            proposition if the buyer is familiar with several basic
                                                                                                 systems must include quality light fixtures with
                            conditions that should be met by a garage lighting system
                                                                                                 manufacturer’s warranties on all the components (fixture,
                            (especially in cold temperatures). If these requirements are
                                                                                                 ballasts- if applicable- and lamps). The parkade
                            adhered to the rewards can include better quality of light,
                                                                                                 environment is moist, caustic and experiences wide
                            increased occupancy rates, reduced energy consumption
                                                                                                 temperature fluctuations. Therefore another critical
                            and tremendous cost savings.
                                                                                                 characteristic of the proper fixture is that it is vapor tight
                                                                                                 and has been independently cold weather tested (as
                            MEETING AND BEATING                                                  opposed to being tested ‘in-house’). A vapor tight fixture
                            INDUSTRY STANDARDS                                                   will assure that heat stays in and moisture, dirt and insects
                                Parkades offer a uniquely harsh environment for any              stay out. The fixture body needs to be CSA listed and all
                            electrical system. They typically operate 24 hours a day, 7          points of entry into the housing (electrical wire, mounting
                            days a week; systems are exposed to corrosive fumes and              brackets, lens, etc.) should be completely sealed.
                            to the elements and, in Canada, wide temperature                         Fixtures should have a manufacturer’s warranty of no
                            fluctuations. Fixtures are vulnerable to theft and vandalism         less than 5 years and should have a track record. Most
                            and need to be carefully maintained so that patrons are              manufacturers will give lamp life warranties based on a
                            safe and standards are met.                                          maximum of 12-hour burn cycles. If lighting is maintained
                                There are two standards recognized by the industry               24/7, this has been shown to extend the life of the lamps
                            including the American Society of Heating Refrigeration              which are adversely affected with frequent on/off
                            and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2004                    restriking. The less the lamp is turned on and off, the
                            building energy code standards (, and the             longer the life of the lamp.
                            Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA
                   ).                                                     INSTALLATION
                                These standards identify recommended light levels at
                                                                                                     Proper installation is a prerequisite for an efficient
                            different locations within the facility. For example, entry
                                                                                                 system. The ideal scenario would be the installation of a
                            ways and exits require brighter light (more foot-candles) as
                            do handicapped parking areas. A qualified lighting                   preassembled, vapor tight fixture. This minimizes
                            designer can provide point-by-point calculations to                  installation costs and risk of accidentally breaking the seal.
                            optimize the layout using existing fixture electrical                Evidence of a broken seal after installation includes reduced
                            connection points for retrofits or ideal fixture locations for       light production, moisture in the fixture, rust, dirt and
                            new construction. Documenting light levels enables the               insect infestations, which also reduce light output. The
                            owner to qualify for rebates and other incentives.                   installer should be a licensed electrical contractor, work
                                Both of these standards identify light levels taken at the       with the designer on best placement and direction of the
                            car bumper level in the facility and ignore a critical element       fixture as well as determining the proper height and
                            in lighting for a garage: Uplight Contribution. As enclosed          positioning. A fixture hidden up inside the Double-T
                            spaces without adequate illumination on and reflection               construction will not provide good light distribution. In
                            from the ceiling, garages can take on a tunnel-like                  both instances- fixture and installation- cutting corners will
                            appearance. Painting the ceilings a light color (even                ultimately cost more money. If the fixtures are not surface
                            concrete gray) will provide good reflectivity and help in            mounted (which is never an option with Double-T ceiling
                            this regard but ample uplight from a fixture that is hung at         configurations), assure that the mounting brackets are
                            the right height is most important.                                  robust enough to support the weight of an individual.
                                                                                                 Vandals, particularly in university settings, are seemingly
                                                                                                 compelled to use fixtures as swings.
Foreground - No Uplight /
 Background - Poor Color                                                                         CHALLENGES OF RETRO-FITTING
                                                                                                    The parking manager’s primary concern is to minimize
  and Uneven Distribution
                                                                                                 disruption to the normal operation of the facility while
                                                                                                 maximizing the owners return on investment. Qualified
                                                                                                 lighting design and installation professionals understand
                                                                                                 this concern, and so they should be counted on to plan
                                                                                                 design and construction solutions that are innovative and
                                                                                                 cost effective, which meet the owner’s needs, and are both
                                                                                                 technically appropriate and aesthetically appealing.

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The Height at Which the
    Fixture is Hung Will
Affect Light Distribution

                                                                               Before                                                           After

                               It is reasonable to expect- and possible to ensure-           is of good quality and that the gaskets will not contract in
                            maximum and safe utilization of the facility during a            cold weather, which creates gaps in the seal.
                            lighting retrofit. Express your expectations early in the            When this occurs, insects will find the fixture more
                            design phase. Appropriate phasing and planning                   desirable than the owners will. New developments in
                            recommendations will ensure smooth and timely                    composite materials are facilitating the production of
                            completion of the work.                                          longer life, more durable fixtures that are resistant to
                                                                                             discoloration, unaffected by temperature, and can be
                            TYPES OF LIGHTING                                                warranteed for up to 5 years. Ballasts are also warranteed
                            TECHNOLOGY                                                       for 5 years (rated life 100,000 hours) by manufacturers
                                                                                             unless voltage regulators are used and lamps are
                                Traditionally, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium
                                                                                             fully warranteed for 3 years (rated life from 30,000 to
                            fixtures have been specified for parking garages. These are
                                                                                             48,000 hours- depending on burn cycle) and are
                            outdated, energy-inefficient technologies that will end up
                                                                                             inexpensive to replace.
                            costing more in electricity from the moment they are
                            switched on. Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) are being used
                            in several specific architectural applications. LED’s are
                                                                                             BETTER LIGHTING CAN IMPROVE
                            being tested in garages and still face certain challenges.       YOUR BOTTOM LINE
                                Today there are a range of induction and fluorescent             Lighting in a parking garage is the most visible decision
                            systems that are deployed in the parking environment and         an owner/operator will make. A well lit garage is the sign
                            will qualify for rebates. The fixture design will determine      of a well maintained, well managed facility. It provides the
                            uplight contribution capability. Avoid solid box shaped          client’s first impression of their destination (adjoining
                            fixtures that limit light distribution.                          office building, shopping mall, hospital, etc.) and lingers
                                Induction lighting systems are now being installed in        as the last experience they have from their visit. A positive
                            garages and are an energy efficient alternative. The             experience will improve the chances that the parkade will
                            fixtures are expensive and are typically only warranteed for     get return business. A negative experience will have an
                            one year. Replacing components can be such a challenge           adverse ripple effect and operators will see a drop in
                            that many manufacturers recommend replacing the entire           utilization and a potential increase in insurance rates.
                            fixture. Although new designs are enhancing uplight
                            contribution, more fixtures are required for good broad          ABOUT SAFETY
                            light distribution which can increase costs.
                                                                                                 Good, clean, white light enhances the functionality of
                                There have been advancements in fluorescent lamp
                                                                                             security cameras. It makes signage legible and enables
                            technology with low mercury, T-8 lamp and ballast
                                                                                             differentiation of colors and depth while minimizing the
                            configurations, multi-level switching and controls,
                                                                                             chance of accidents and collisions. Even in valet-only
                            photocells, etc.
                                                                                             areas, improved light levels have helped reduce the
                                There are voltage regulators that can be installed at the
                                                                                             incidents of damage to vehicles. Quality lighting has been
                            electrical panel that reduce electrical loads by lowering the
                                                                                             shown to improve people’s moods and, in the parking
                            voltage of the system, which in turn lowers light levels and
                                                                                             environment, enhances clients’ sense of security.
                            saves energy. These controls have been shown to have an
                                                                                                 With the advent of new technologies in lighting, these
                            adverse effect on the components’ life and therefore the
                                                                                             improvements do not have to come at a high cost;
                            overall life of the system. It should be noted that use of
                                                                                             actually the reverse is oftentimes true. Good lighting
                            voltage regulators may void ballast manufacturers’
                                                                                             design will save energy, money on electric bills and on
                                                                                             lamp replacement/maintenance costs. With the right
                                Some fixtures now use mirrored reflectors to bend and
                                                                                             lighting system, light level standards can be met and
                            shape the light to direct it where needed for proper
                                                                                             actually beaten using lower wattages (i.e. less energy).
                            luminance. In order to maximize the efficiency of these
                                                                                                 Experience shows that a well maintained facility will
                            reflectors, the fixture should have a deep lens. Shallow lens
                                                                                             retain clientele. The Winnipeg Parking Authority
                            prohibit ample light to “escape” out of the fixture
                                                                                             experienced this very thing. Previous to their upgrade to
                            resulting in little to no uplight, limited sidelight and more
                                                                                             meet the Canadian Parking Association’s PFSA standards
                            downlight, causing spotty light uniformity.
                                                                                             program, people were weary of parking in their facilities,
                                First generation fluorescents had a problem
                                                                                             especially at night. Security levels were enhanced and the
                            maintaining light levels in cold temperatures. Without
                                                                                             patrons of the parkades now feel safer. Well-distributed
                            good-quality, vapor-tight fixtures that meet the criteria
                                                                                             lighting assures that there is no place to hide, and so
                            previously described, this is still an issue. With fluorescent
                            fixtures you get what you pay for. Make certain the fixture

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                   discourages illicit activities. Improved quality of light means      system using asymmetric reflectors can stop the light from
                   better visibility and improved ability to differentiate colors.      trespassing out of the perimeter walls. Lighting can be
                                                                                        directed only where needed, eliminating complaints from
                   “After a lighting upgrade to fluorescents, painting the              neighbors and municipalities, as well as reducing waste.
                   interior of the facility (walls and ceilings white) and                 Canadian Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy
                   improving signage, we saw a 30% increase in occupancy                and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the standard
                   rates within the first TWO WEEKS!”                                   for best-of-breed sustainable buildings, requires compliance
                   David Hill, Winnipeg Parking Authority                               with ASHRAE 90.1-1999 building code standards. Best
                                                                                        possible light levels can be achieved and can exceed even
                      Increasing energy costs and demand on facility managers           the more rigorous 2004 version (ASHRAE 90.1.2004) helping
     A well lit    to reduce consumption are both addressed with proper                 put the entire building well on the way to achieving LEED
                   upgrades. In addition to saving money on electricity, a              requirements.
 garage is the     quality system can reduce maintenance costs (time spent
 sign of a well    changing lamps and cleaning fixtures). To further economic           RECOMMENDATIONS
                   benefits, lighting upgrades in parkades are eligible
   maintained,     for rebates and tax incentives if specific eligibility measures          How does an owner/operator know if a lighting upgrade
well managed       are met. See requirements as outlined by Natural                     is in order? If the facility currently has energy inefficient HID
                   Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency                       fixtures (Metal Halide / High Pressure Sodium) and energy
       facility.   (                                            prices are escalating; if maintenance crews are complaining
                                                                                        or simply costing more money; if there is a drop in
                   SUSTAINABLE DESIGN IN                                                occupancy rates or an increase in crime; if at night there is
                                                                                        not good, even light distribution (dark corners, places to
                   PARKADES- AN OPPORTUNITY TO
                                                                                        hide); if city/provincial ordinances change or neighbors
                   TAKE THE LEED                                                        complain about light trespass at night, then the parkade
                      As building owners grapple with how to be more ‘green’,           would benefit from an energy audit performed by an energy
                   the parking industry is in a unique position to take an              services company or a lighting designer.
                   aggressive lead simply by implementing energy efficient                  Make certain that the type of lighting and the fixture they
                   lighting systems.                                                    recommend meets the needs of the parking facility. Visit sites
                      Quality light design can ‘harvest daylight’ or utilize what       at night where the fixtures are installed, talk to referrals and
                   nature can provide by day using photocells around the                previous customers, get warranties and installation
                   perimeter of the facility. Calculations can be done to               guarantees, and have some test fixtures installed. There is
                   determine if the adverse effects on lamp life offset the             tremendous savings to be enjoyed if a lighting design project
                   benefits of restrikes. In addition, a properly designed lighting     is executed correctly. ■

                   Peter Kelly is an architect specializing in lighting design. He is the Managing Director of IntellEnergy an Energy Services Company
                   with offices all over North America and has over 25 years of commercial lighting design experience. You may contact him @

                            The Box Shape                                                                                Infestations are a
                            Prevents Any Uplight                                                                         Telltale Sign of a Broken
                                                                                                                         Vapor Tight Seal

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