However, there’s a secret weapon in your toolbox that makes LED lighting more than affordable: Other people’s money (OPM). The only thing better than getting a great product is getting someone else to pay for it.
There are numerous opportunities available at the federal, state, and local level for incentives, rebates and tax credits to help offset the cost of switching to LED lights. These rebates and tax credits can shrink the payback period considerably, so you can quickly realize a return on investment.
When Portland, Oregon wanted to upgrade the streetlighting in its historic neighborhoods with Amerlux’s Avista pedestrian light product, they were able to take advantage of rebates from the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy. These rebates reduced the project’s payback period, complementing the 60 percent energy savings Amerlux’s Avista LED delivered.
Here’s where to get OPM to subsidize your LED lighting upgrade, retrofit or new construction project:
A talk with your electric utility company should be your first step in any LED lighting project. Most utility companies offer rebates or some other kind of incentive to upgrade to efficient technology like LEDs. These rebates can influence your purchasing decisions, so it is important to know early in the process what kind of savings are available. Some utilities can even provide design and commissioning assistance to you.
As an added bonus, utilities’ incentive programs are somewhat insulated from politics and are less likely to change with an election, unlike say, tax credits.
Check with your local utility to see what they offer and gain insight about their rebate process.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
The most comprehensive information source on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University, this online resource is easily searchable.
Energy Star is a government program managed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, which provides information about energy-efficient products. Energy Star’s Rebate Finder allows you to search for incentives by zip code and by product type.
For example, retrofit projects with Amerlux’s Avista pedestrian light product are eligible for tax credits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, in addition to incentives from local utilities.
LEDs can deliver huge savings for your organization and you can even pay for your upgrade with other people’s money to really shorten the payback period.
Parking garage developers need to fully understand the challenges that their clients—ranging from municipal managers to university facility managers—face when they become responsible for operating a dark, glare-filled venue.
While the nation’s estimated 40,000 parking garage facilities are intended to provide visitors with a safe, secure, and convenient place to park their cars, many of these facilities fall short of expectations.
The number of accidents and amount of crime soar in parking garages that are not well lit. Consequently, the potential for legal liability and bad press coverage correlate strongly.
Here are several statistics that support the need for safer parking garages:
According to Parking Today Magazine, parking facilities nationwide represent the third most frequent place in which violent crime occurs, not to mention car theft and the theft of property within cars.
Statistics reveal that of all crimes perpetrated at the nation’s tens of thousands of shopping centers, 80 percent occur in the parking lot or parking garage.
According to the Women-Safe Network, 25 percent of rapes take place in a parking garage or public area.
In terms of car accidents, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association reports that one in every five auto accidents occurs in a parking lot/facility, which doesn’t include the more minor nicks, dents, and fender benders that often go unreported. According to EHS Today(The Magazine for Environment Health & Safety Leaders), more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually, resulting in more than 60,000 injuries and 500 deaths.
Enough people experience feelings of fear and concern in parking facilities that the sensation was deemed a phobia and given its own unique name—“tingchechekuphobia” (the fear of parking garages).
As demonstrated by the above statistics, parking garage facilities at commercial, industrial and institutional venues can be grounds for accidents and criminal behavior, which facility owners can be deemed liable if proven that they failed to take reasonable precautions to help prevent them. However, proper garage illumination is a proactive measure facility owners can take to help enhance visibility, reduce the threat of criminal activity, create a greater sense of safety, security, and comfort for visitors and facility attendants alike, and enhance the appeal and brand image of the entity that owns the facility. At the same time, optimal parking garage lighting can also offer outstanding opportunities for owners to significantly reduce their site’s operating expenses.
The LED Revolution in Parking Garage Lighting
Previously dominated by more conventional halogen, incandescent, fluorescent, and HID light sources, such as metal halide and high pressure sodium, parking garage lighting has been revolutionized by the emergence of LED technology during the last five years. As such, parking garages have been among the fastest-growing applications to embrace LEDs with a recent U.S. Department of Energy study forecasting the percentage of all parking garage lighting accounted for by LED technology to grow from 4 percent in 2013 to 67 percent by 2020 and 99 percent by 2030.
Specifically, LEDs deliver the following benefits to parking garage facilities:
Energy Efficiency – LED technology draws only a fraction of the power of its more conventional lighting counterparts, reducing energy bills by anywhere from one-third to as much as 90 percent. According to Energy Manager Today, the nation’s parking garage owners spend more than $6 billion a year on energy costs to light their facilities, an expense that could be reduced significantly by LED technology.
Long Life – While conventional light sources require more frequent change-out and maintenance due to their more limited lifespan, the 50,000-100,000 hours of rated life available on many LED parking garage fixtures ensure years—even decades—of maintenance-free operation.
Consistency – While conventional light sources can suffer from significant lumen depreciation over time, LED technology maintains a significantly higher level of light output for much longer (per the industry’s L70/LM-80 measures) and is not subject to performance issues, such as color shifting and hot spotting, both of which can cause gaps and shadows in parking garage illumination that can promote criminal behavior or lead to accidents. Their availability in a variety of color temperatures offers clean, white light that delivers improved visibility and a greater sense of security to occupants.
Reliability – While conventional light sources may not always be able to withstand certain types of harsh environments, extreme weather conditions, or temperatures below or above specific thresholds, the properties of LEDs render them extremely durable and weather-resistant. In fact, LEDs tend to gain efficiency in colder temperatures, ensuring their reliable operation (and owners’ and users’ peace of mind) in colder climates. Whether the parking garage is fully-enclosed or open-air, LEDs can be counted on to provide consistent, reliable illumination no matter the weather.
Environmental Friendliness – Unlike fluorescent and HID sources, LEDs contain no mercury or other hazardous substances and run much cooler and more efficiently, losing far less energy in the form of heat relative to their predecessors.
Discreetness – Powerful yet flexible and low-profile, LED parking garage lights are unobtrusive and are available in a range of popular shapes and styles to match and/or complement any interior or exterior design or décor.
Chaperone Fixtures Deliver a New Sense of Security to Garages
Ideal for everything from commercial and institutional parking garages to garages at municipal, hospitality, mall, and other settings, Amerlux’s Chaperone LED fixtures use an upward-facing LED board and reflector to softly cast light towards the ground, while sending a small amount of light upwards to illuminate the ceiling, eliminating the cave effect present in many garage lighting systems and creating an inviting environment that makes commercial garages feel safer and more secure. Delivering crisp, attractive, comfortable, and glare-free lighting in a highly efficient package and desirable Type III and Type V distributions, Chaperone LED fixtures turn desolate, uncomfortable parking environments into pedestrian-friendly venues with exceptional visibility, heightened new levels of safety, and measurable cost savings.
Among other benefits, Chaperone Garage Lights are:
Engineered for Reliability – Chaperone garage luminaires feature a die-cast aluminum housing for lasting durability as well as an integral driver and die-cast aluminum heat sink for maximum thermal protection. Such innovations minimize the risk of outages and the subsequent high labor costs associated with burn-out or other maintenance.
Designed for Flexibility – Chaperone is available in a wide selection of wattages (37 watts, 61 watts, and 79 watts), color temperatures (3000K, 4000K, and 5000K), and mounting configurations (junction box/pendant or trunnion mounting) to meet the needs of most any project. Chaperone luminaires are also available with a premium silver finish or in a palette of other custom finishes to match and/or complement any decor.
Instant-On – Unlike high-pressure sodium or metal halide light sources, Chaperone’s “instant-on” capability avoids the need for a lengthy restart time in the event of a momentary power loss. Chaperone fixtures work when you need them to with no disruption in service.
Easily Controllable – Incorporating a 0-10V LED driver to control energy costs, as well as dimming capabilities down to 0 percent, Chaperone’s sensor delivers these additional levels of sustainability and energy efficiency without compromising on safety.
At Your Door – Chaperone garage fixtures can ship in 10 days or less from the time they’re ordered to quickly advance any new construction or retrofit project. Customers with special requests or requirements can also contact Amerlux’s renowned concierge services.
Offering innovative and durable design, outstanding efficiency, long life, appealing aesthetics, and reliable performance to support enhanced safety within the nation’s broad range of parking garage facilities, Amerlux’s family of Chaperone LED luminaires will put your garage in the driver’s seat.
Ever since Amerlux launched its first line of products in the 1980s—signature ED-17 metal halide lamps housed in custom track heads for use in the perimeter aisles of supermarkets—the company has demonstrated a passion for walking in its customers’ shoes and developing solutions to address their specific needs. In the case of the specialized supermarket track light Amerlux designed to replace the PAR 30 and PAR 38 halogen lamps, which dominated the grocery segment at the time, “our fixture was longer-lasting, affordable, offered 3000K halogen-like color, and didn’t project heat, so it didn’t dry out ice or produce, which was critical to managers in produce aisles or other refrigerated areas of the store,” said Bill Plageman, Amerlux’s vice president of marketing. “Supermarkets nationwide took notice of our ‘ruggedly handsome’ solution and we penetrated that market because we were the only one offering this solution.”
Amerlux further expanded beyond the grocery segment through the 1990s, bringing its solution-oriented approach to the high-end retail arena. Determined to solve the color and heat issues retailers and lighting designers were experiencing with then-dominant halogen MR-16 technology, “we worked with the industry’s top lamp manufacturers to help us deliver the best products using high-quality ceramic metal halide, which offered great color, improved beam projection, and no heat,” Plageman said. Presenting its solution to architects and lighting designers, the company quickly secured business from a broad range of large, well-known retailers nationwide, “which we did by listening to the market rather than developing the product first,” he said.
Since launching its first fixtures to the market more than 30 years ago, Amerlux continues to leverage customer feedback as a critical source of new product innovation. The company remains dedicated to developing customized solutions that optimally address its customers’ pain points. According to Plageman, “our inspiration truly comes from listening and we take a thoughtful approach to lighting. Innovation is about taking disruptive technology that’s emerging and understanding exactly how it will be used by the human race, so we listen to our customers, as well as scientists, designers, doctors, retailers, and other experts in the industry and consider their input very carefully before we launch new products and solutions.
Following are a number of other products that demonstrate Amerlux’s customer-focused orientation and legacy of innovation through the years:
Chaperone – Developed in 2016, “Chaperone brings a quality LED approach to garage lighting,” said Plageman, who confirmed that garage developers/owners desire reliable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient fixtures that avoid glare and shadowing in their facilities. Based on the typically low ceilings that often create glare issues in parking garages, “we designed these fixtures with LEDs in the bottom. LEDs are positioned in the lower section of the luminaire to essentially deliver lighting in a comfortable indirect fashion. This unique approach provides soft, glare-free, effective lighting with no shadows and promotes greater visual acuity, comfort, and peace of mind for occupants and owners alike,” he said. According to Plageman, Chaperone provides more than surveillance and communication features, accepting various plug-in chips, such as photo cell, motion, daylight and data-collecting sensors.
Avista – An advanced LED light engine for use in retrofitting traditional and post-top luminaires or for new construction, Avista offers a high-performing LED alternative to outdated high-pressure sodium, metal halide or mercury vapor pedestrian streetlighting technology. Along with outstanding light output and a fully-sealed LED optical chamber to protect against the elements, Avista’s adjustable height levels enable light to be flexibly positioned for maximum performance. “We designed Avista in a disc shape with the LEDs positioned on the underside of the heatsink to maximize efficiency, resulting in a DLC-listed light engine that optimally addresses everything from energy-savings to Dark Sky compliance,” said Plageman about Avista, which takes exterior LED lighting to the next level and has been a top pick by a broad range of major cities and towns nationwide.
Passo – When a lighting designer complained that the customer he represented—a renowned resort in the Bahamas—was experiencing an unprecedented number of step light outages at the hands of the area’s salt water and air, “our engineers created our Passo step lights, which feature a completely sealed optical chamber and a highly-durable housing to ensure years of exceptional performance with virtually no maintenance,” Plageman said. “The sealed chamber prevents the penetration of water, bugs, or dirt and the fixtures’ high-quality construction using cast aluminum, composite and stainless-steel materials will ensure reliable operation. We essentially built the last and final step anyone will have to take when designing with step and wall lights,” he said.
Lunetta – Creating a glare-free, gradated look in pedestrian lighting that reinvents the nightscape, Lunetta’s hidden LEDs allow both head and post to become illuminated as one in an appealing silhouette. “We developed Lunetta after a designer came to us in search of a pedestrian lighting fixture that would not only project soft light out from the pole, but cascade light to light under the pole, as well as see the pole itself,” Plageman explained. “Designed as a two-piece pole and head system, Lunetta utilizes a top-down approach that serves both functional and decorative purposes.”
Evoke – This innovation was developed after one of Amerlux’s lighting designer customers expressed a desire for the smallest-aperture downlight possible that delivers a comfortable, glare-free, specification-grade lighting performance. Sporting just a 2.9-inch aperture, optics recessed deep enough so as to prevent glare, and flexible aiming capabilities, Evoke brought true performance and control in an LED round or square-fixed downlight, adjustable wall washer and pinhole. “Evoke proved ideal for high-end commercial hallways, entrances, foyers, and other high-ceiling areas that require a lot of lumens,” Plageman said.
Essenza – Amerlux developed this fixture to meet the unique design needs of hotel and residential high-rise apartment developers. “A building designer we worked with shared that he would be able to add additional floors in the building if manufacturers could just ‘squash’ their materials and design more compact products to fit between floors,” Plageman said. “Based on the need for a recessed downlight shallow enough to fit in urban apartments, we developed Essenza in 2016.”
Quintetta – “The emergence of LEDs a decade ago allowed us to take a breath and consider what the technology should and could be,” Plageman said. “A typical lens resides at the bottom of a fixture, which limits light output, so we thought, ‘what about a fixture that has five lit sides?’ We ultimately designed Quintetta, which features five lit sides, out of this process,” he said of the innovation introduced in 2008. As linear 4- or 8-foot fixtures that deliver a soft glow and are free of power cords, “Quintetta offers a more streamlined design for use in such applications as hotel/corporate lobbies, reception areas, conference rooms, coffee nooks, or any area you want to highlight with clean and aesthetically-balanced illumination.”
“During this time of disruptive technology in the lighting industry, we don’t just run with the pack at Amerlux,” Plageman said. “We listen hard and think very carefully before launching a product. We’re capable of developing any product. Our philosophy—‘It’s not the big that eat the small but the fast that eat the slow’—that results in delivering solutions when our customers really need them.”