The Changing Profile of Parking Lot Lighting

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

The Changing Profile of Outdoor Light Fixtures

Leg warmers and parachute pants. Acid washed jeans and penny loafers. Certain looks have their time and then (some mercifully) fade away.

Is the shoebox fixture going the way of the poodle skirt? Installing a bulky, high profile HID parking lot lighting might date your building faster than a mullet. LED parking lot lighting, with their sleek new profiles are popping up on new project sites worldwide. Soon, a quick glance at the parking lot lighting will be a dead giveaway of the age of your building – or at least of when it was last remodeled.

The Changing Profile of Outdoor Light Fixtures

I'm not saying it's good or bad or that everyone should go out and change their existing parking lot lighting fixtures. But I will say that I am surprised – shocked even – when I see a new project being installed today with large parking lot lighting fixtures. It just seems unusual and out of place. If energy savings don't justify LED in your projects, will keeping up with aesthetic trends influence your decision? Early versions of LED fixtures were mostly traditional products with LED guts, but new LED fixtures take advantage of the low profile and light distribution inherent in the source to create products that "look like" LED fixtures. Would you rather have an LED fixture that "looks like" an LED or one that has LEDs installed in a more traditional luminaire shape?

While roadway and other types of lighting are also trending toward LED, the appearance isn’t as markedly different. The major impact on form factor (so far) is on the basic shoebox parking lot lighting fixture.

The Changing Profile of Outdoor Light Fixtures

How important is it for your parking lot to look up-to-date? Will this type of first impression impact traffic to your store/hotel/hospital/school? If your parking lot looks like a polyester pantsuit, will people just drive by? Time will tell…


Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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