Best Retrofit: Why ESCOs Choose Amerlux’s Avista

Los Angeles, C.A. cut energy costs by 75 percent in its historic downtown area by retrofitting street lights with Amerlux Avista LED light engines.

Upgrading street lights from outdated and energy hogging lighting systems is a great way to quickly transition a city to lower energy consumption levels. Since they use only a tiny fraction of the energy required by conventional lighting, LED lights are hands down the best option for reducing power usage. Enter Amerlux’s Avista — a highly efficient LED light engine designed with easy retrofitting in mind.

Avista LEDs are simple-to-use light engines ideal for retrofitting traditional and post-top light fixtures (luminaires), as well as new construction applications. With a completely-sealed LED optical chamber, the highly-efficient Avista delivers cutting-edge optics and extraordinary output to meet the most demanding streetlighting needs. Avista’s simple-to-install design features adjustable height levels and other customizations to ensure optimal application and maximum performance.

The versatility baked into Avista’s design allows Avista to be a “skeleton key” of sorts because it can be used in a wide variety of fixtures, including those by Holophane, Hadco, King, Louis Poulsen, Lumec, Pemco, Sternberg and Visco. Most installations take 15 minutes or less.

Avista is made to accommodate some of the most challenging light fixtures (luminaires) around, including the vintage fixtures still in use in many historic areas and city centers today.

The cities of Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California, both recently found themselves stuck between trying to decrease their energy consumption and preserve the character of the cities’ historic neighborhoods.

Using Amerlux’s Avista, Portland decreased its energy consumption by 60%, while keeping its beautiful vintage luminaires in place all over the city. LA did even better, cutting energy costs by 75% in the historic downtown area.

Amerlux’s Avista LED light engines helped Portland, Oregon preserve its vintage light fixtures, while reducing energy consumption by 60 percent.

In Portland, the “acorn” fixtures were the challenge: “Our poles and ornamental castings go back as much as 100 years and are attractive, but finding LEDs to adapt to them was difficult,” said Lisa Elbert, P.E., Signals and Lighting Engineer with the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Some manufacturers wanted to sell us a complete fixture with the pole, but Portland’s castings are historic and we wanted to use them – we absolutely didn’t want to replace them.”

Amerlux customized Avista LEDs to Portland’s exact needs, allowing the city to retain its original fixtures, while also significantly reducing energy costs. The installation process was so simple that city contractors did not even need tools to affix the new lighting engines, and they were quickly installing more than 80 a night.

In Los Angeles, the 1920s-era streetlights dotting the downtown area (including the Arts District and Historic Core) were a difficulty.

“Some of our bigger post-top and glass globe fixtures throughout the city and downtown couldn’t use a standard screw-in lamp. We needed a more creative solution and this led us to Amerlux’s Avista fixtures, which are working very well,” said Norma Isahakian, assistant director for LA’s Bureau of Street Lighting. “Our total LED program is saving up to 75 percent in energy consumption, which amounts to quite a bit of cost savings annually, and is meeting all of our lighting needs.”

Besides the significant savings in energy usage, Avista LEDs also provide savings in reduced maintenance costs. Avista lights deliver 50,000 to 100,000 hours of maintenance-free operation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, maintenance savings derived from installing LED lighting equates to roughly $50 annually per fixture, delivering tremendous financial advantages over the life of the lighting engine.

With its ability to fit in almost any existing light fixture and its easy installation, Avista lighting lets cities enjoy the benefits of modern lighting and while maintaining their history.

Avista by Amerlux can be delivered in just 10 days, so your city can start seeing energy savings immediately.


Want more?

Download the full Avista case study

Lead Capture

How Contractors Reduce Costly Call-Backs

Not all lights are created equal and contractors understand that the best long-term solution requires quality products from trusted manufacturers. A leader for more than 30 years, Amerlux’s Passo step lights are efficient, high-performing and reliable.

Electrical contractors are extremely busy these days, as more organizations rush to upgrade their lighting to take advantage of tax credits before they expire.

Because the clock is ticking, contractors don’t have time for lighting fixtures that are difficult to install or skimp on quality. Their customers demand high-performing, energy-efficient and reliable illumination that enhances safety, as well as aesthetics.

Getting it right the first time means fewer costly call-backs for contractors, which can tarnish their reputation and dramatically reduce repeat business that generates the bulk of profits.

When contractors want steadfast step lights that work whether it rains or shines, they choose Amerlux’s break-through Passo step lights.

Contractors understand that all lights aren’t created equal.  For the best long-term solution, they opt for quality products from trusted manufacturers.  As a leader in application-driven lighting innovation for more than 30 years, Amerlux’s Passo step lights deliver high-performing, reliable, energy-efficient, as well as comfortable illumination to stairs, pathways and building exteriors.

“We understand the complications of installing step lights and have successfully addressed those with our Passo family of step and wall lights,” said Bill Plageman, Amerlux’s vice president of marketing.

Here’s how Amerlux has specifically addressed several concerns from contractors:

  • Ease of Installation: Constructed with installers in mind, Passo’s retrofit models are specially designed to easily and quickly replace costly, high-maintenance step lights driven by conventional lighting technology. Passo models designed for new construction projects feature an injection-molded PVC housing with integral machined brass anchor blocks that complement the sealed properties of the LED module and driver, ensuring added protection against corrosive environments.  Whether a retrofit or new construction application, Amerlux’s Passo step lights provide contractors with a hassle-free installation experience.
  • Engineering for Reliability: Weather-proof Passo step lights feature game-changing innovation, including an independently sealed LED optical chamber (encompassing an LED array and heatsink enclosed in an IP66-rated sealed glass tube) that eliminates water infiltration, the No. 1 cause of product failure. Such innovation minimizes the risk of outages and the subsequent high labor costs associated with maintenance.  The bottom line?  No dissatisfied customers or costly call-backs for contractors.
  • Flexible Design: Passo is available in a wide selection of sizes, faceplates, color temperatures and light output levels to meet the needs of most any project. Specifically, Passo step lights come in louver, stainless steel louver, and tempered soft glow lens versions and in round, square, and rectangular shapes for new construction projects, as well as 8-inch and 12-inch rectangular shapes for retrofit projects.  A choice of solid color composite, brushed stainless steel, or painted cast aluminum faceplates provides additional flexibility and design versatility that will satisfy even the most discerning customer.
  • Flexible Light Output: Passo luminaires offer added versatility thanks to their availability in a choice of two light output levels, enabling contractors to tailor the desired illuminance to the specific project and ensure the optimal visibility and aesthetic effect.
  • Connectivity and Compatibility: Passo’s standard 0-10V dimmable driver ensures greater integration with the market’s most popular controls, minimizing complexity and product compatibility issues for contractors.
  • Service with a Smile: Amerlux knows that long wait times and delivery issues can cost contractors time and money….and sometimes even the job! Most Passo step lights can ship in 10 days or less from the time they’re ordered to quickly advance any new construction or retrofit project; contractors or customers with special requests can also avail themselves of Amerlux’s renowned concierge services.

For more information, sign up for news about Amerlux’s family of Passo step and wall lights.

Want more?

Get More Like This in Your Inbox!

How Dim Parking Garage Lights Increase Liability

Shadowy parking garages are uncomfortable and dangerous places that invite crime and car accidents. Amerlux’s Chaperone LED lighting offers a cost-effective solution to these problems.

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.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ recent National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported that more than 2.4 million crimes occurred in parking lots or garages between 2004 and 2008. Overall, more than one in 10 property crimes—including motor vehicle theft and property theft—occur in parking lots or garages.
  • 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.

For more information on Chaperone,


Get More Like This in Your Inbox!

Top Pitfalls Lighting Designers Should Avoid When Selecting Step Lights

All qualified lighting designers know that lighting products are most effective when optimally matched to the unique conditions of the specific application. This is especially true as it relates to step or directional lighting, which, by illuminating the way forward is critical for helping to prevent injuries, while also enhancing a property’s architectural appeal.

According to Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents, slips, trips, and falls related to staircase/step mishaps are among the nation’s 10 most common worker’s compensation claims. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control report that each year, one in every three individuals older than 65 will experience a fall, at a collective cost of more than $31 billion annually to Medicare alone.  Whether a commercial/industrial building, hospital, school, resort, or hospitality setting, step and directional lighting enhances visibility and brings the critical elements of safety, security, comfort, and aesthetics to a range of indoor and outdoor applications, both new construction and retrofit.

For those reasons, it’s critical for lighting designers to fully understand the lighting application at hand and the needs of their client when recommending step light products. Following, lighting industry veteran and seasoned lighting designer Quentin Thomas, president of Douglaston, New York-based Quentin Thomas Associates, Inc., suggests top pitfalls that lighting designers should avoid when selecting step lights for a client project:

  • Avoid Incompatibility with LEED – If your client is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a globally-recognized symbol of sustainability achievement administered through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides a framework for the creation of healthy, highly-efficient, and cost-saving green buildings) and specifically LEED Light Pollution Reduction compliance, “be sure to avoid fixtures that don’t conform to the LEED Light Pollution Reduction credit,” Thomas said. While he confirmed that the credit offered for compliance with this category is very positive in the sense that it aims to reduce light pollution traveling up into the night sky or onto adjacent properties, Thomas notes that at this point in its evolution, that credit is extremely restrictive and difficult to meet. “You can’t uplight a flag or tree or have step lighting or lighting in handrails that has a glow of any kind—the lighting must face downward, be shielded, and light only the surfaces you’re looking down at in order to be eligible for the credit,” he said. “Luminous tubes, globes with opal or frosted faces, or decorative lights with a glow would all be completely disallowed. Overall, if you’re working towards LEED’s Light Pollution Reduction credit, you can’t select any step light that glows and the light source can’t be visible—it must be shielded.”


  • Don’t Overlook Lighting Placement in All Positions – Thomas advises lighting designers to consider the impact that the placement of a step light will have on users in all positions—not just on those standing upright but those in a seated position as well. “Step lighting can’t be perfect for people when they’re standing but then blind them when they’re sitting on a bench or driving along a pathway you’ve lit,” he said. “There must be no direct view of the light source from seated positions. You don’t want people looking directly into the step light when they’re sitting or driving.”


  • Avoid Products That Aren’t Well-Engineered – Thomas encourages lighting designers to select step lights that are durable, well-engineered and impervious to water and other elements. “Condensation inside the fixture can cause it to short out,” he confirmed. “In addition to the fact that these lights are often recessed into expensive materials, any fixtures that are malfunctioning, flickering, or burnt out will make the whole plaza or outdoor space look awful. LEDs last for a long time but they’re still electronic devices after all, so be sure to avoid products that don’t provide the highest protection against infiltration by water, bugs, or dirt/dust, as measured by the various Ingress Protection (IP) ratings.”


  • Don’t Overlook Practical Considerations – By the same token, Thomas said that a variety of other functional/operational issues should be taken into account when selecting a step light. Among those, “avoid products that don’t have an integral driver—it’s helpful to not have to locate a separate driver in a secondary location that needs to be waterproof,” he said. “Also, you’d need to determine whether the application is in a coastal location with salt water/air, because exterior step lights can get degraded by these elements and look bad over time. At the same time, is the paint finish on the fixtures either an anodized or stainless steel material or is it something less durable? And is the building’s location prone to flooding?” he said. “Thanks to the properties of LED technology, temperature issues have largely been done away with, but because step lights are sealed, the lighting designer must also ensure that the step light product has been engineered to dissipate heat backwards.”

A Step in the Right Direction

Delivering the benefits of energy efficiency, long life/low maintenance, consistency, reliability/durability, environmental friendliness, LED technology has revolutionized the step lighting category. And Amerlux’s Passo LED Step Lights take lighting and landscape design to the next level, providing landscape architects, lighting designers, and facility managers with an aesthetic detail that not only enhances indoor and outdoor safety and security, but adds a touch of beauty as well.

Available in louver, stainless steel louver, and tempered soft glow lens versions and round, square, and rectangular shapes for new construction projects and in 8-inch and 12-inch rectangular shapes for retrofit projects, Passo LED Step Lights are designed for flexibility, while their independently-sealed LED Optical Chamber (encompassing an LED array and heatsink enclosed in an IP66-rated sealed glass tube) eliminates water infiltration, the #1 cause of product failure, and ensures that they’re engineered for reliability.

Easy to install, Passo models designed for new construction projects feature an injection-molded PVC housing with integral machined brass anchor blocks that complement the sealed properties of the LED module and driver, ensuring added protection against corrosive environments.  Further incorporating a standard 0-10V dimmable driver for greater integration with today’s most popular controls, Amerlux’s family of Passo LED Step Lights represent a step in the right direction for lighting designers.

Want more?

Get More Like This in Your Inbox!