Illuminating Your Commercial Parking Structure

Illuminating your car parking structure image 32220Proper lighting in commercial parking structures is the difference between a safe and hazardous place to park. Without it, drivers are more likely to bump into cars and structures, and individuals are more at risk for burglary or kidnapping. The problem is that recurring incidents, even minor ones, cause issues not only for those parking but also for the person or company who owns the parking structure.

The three most popular types of lighting are metal halide, linear fluorescent, high-pressure sodium, and compact fluorescent lighting, which can work perfectly fine as well.

Metal Halide Lighting

Metal Halide Lights are a popular choice for parking garages as they offer a bright white light. As their color rendering index (or CRI; the ability of an artificial light source to show the color of an object compared to natural light) gets closer to 100, visibility increases. The lifespan of metal halide lights is between 10,000 and 15,000 hours, which isn’t long, considering that most parking structures remain lit throughout the day.

Linear Fluorescent Lighting

Linear Fluorescent lights are the best in class in terms of lifespan, often lasting up to 20,000 hours. The Tube (T8) is one of the more common models of linear fluorescent lighting.

High-Pressure Sodium Lighting

High-pressure sodium lights offer what is called a “broader spectrum” than many other kinds of lighting. For some, though, high-pressure sodium lighting has fallen out of favor. Why? Because despite it’s range of color temperature, it does not provide an even color rendering.

When installing any of the above four options, you also need to consider the following:


Shadows not only cause visibility problems, but they can also make customers feel unsafe. You should use high lighting in and around stairwells and elevators to eliminate as many shadows as possible and to ensure your customers feel safe.

Time of Day

You will typically need to beef up the amount of lighting your parking structure uses at night.

More lighting at night does not, however, mean that you need to waste money. You can and should install timers and or motion sensors to ensure your customers have the light they need while also taking into account energy saving procedures.


Your parking lot should include illuminated exit signs, along with illuminated “Stairs” and “Elevator” signs for pedestrians. These signs not only help simplify things for your customers they also eliminate anxiety and improve the flow of traffic in your garage. When bad lighting and signage cause frustration for drivers, they’re more likely to avoid using your garage.

Your parking garage should also have clearly marked fire lane signs and signs for selective parking to save your patrons from being accidentally towed.

Finally, be sure to employ speed limit signs. It might seem self-explanatory that customers should drive slowly, but it’s better to set a rule than to put pedestrians at risk.


Interesting related article: “Lowering your commercial electricity bills.”