How Dim Parking Garage Lights Increase Liability
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.
- Easy to Install – Constructed with installers in mind, Chaperone garage luminaires are designed to easily replace ceiling-mounted garage fixtures and represent a complete solution that can be seamlessly integrated with many different control system options to ensure fuss-free retrofits.
- 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, http://chaperone.amerlux.com/