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old parking garage lighting

Parking garage lighting is a term used to describe lighting that is commonly surface, pendant, or recessed mounted to a parking structure’s ceiling, soffit, or overhang. This type of lighting is generally used to provide illumination for vehicles and pedestrian use. There is a wide range of fixture sizes, shapes, and mounting types that can be categorized as lighting for parking garages or canopies. In today’s blog post we will look at three common issues with old (typically HID) parking garage lighting.

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Energy Costs

Energy costs with typical HID (high intensity discharge) parking garage lights are higher than necessary. If we look at common lamp wattages used for wall pack lighting, the range is between 70 watts and 400 watts. In general, the higher the wattage the higher the light output on the surface below.

The function of the area being illuminated combined with the quantity, spacing, and mounting height of the lamp also play into the wattage utilized. From a cost perspective, a 175 watt or 250 watt HID fixture can cost up to $91 and $131 to operate per lamp, per year, in electricity costs alone. Depending on the size of your facility these costs can really add up over time.

Maintenance Costs

In addition to the high energy costs associated with utilizing HID parking garage lamps, maintenance costs are often a big concern as well. In addition to the potential lamp lifetime concerns, exterior building lights are commonly mounted on building walls in excess of 15 feet and may require the use of a lift to change out a lamp or a ballast.

Many buildings and facilities do not own a lift and have to hire an outside contractor to maintain these of types fixtures. These are expenses that can add up over the course of a few years. It can easily cost up to $4,459 in labor and material to maintain a single wall pack light fixture over the course of three years.

Lighting Performance

Depending on the type of HID lamp your facility utilizes, the performance characteristics of your parking garage lighting can vary significantly. For example, if you are using metal halide lamps, you may see light that is whiter, but these types of lamps tend to have accelerated lumen degradation, meaning the light output of the lamps decrease quickly after initial install, and as a result the overall lifetime of the lamp decreases.

If you are using high pressure sodium you may see longer useful life as these lamps see less lumen degradation than metal halide, but their fuel structure produces a very orange light with a very low CRI (color rendering index). So basically you trade a longer life for a poorer quality light, in regards to visual perspective.


In conclusion, old parking garage fixtures (HID lighting) create a myriad of issues for your facility. By utilizing these types of lights you will be paying higher than necessary energy costs, your maintenance costs will arrive too frequently, and the overall performance of your lighting will be less than optimal. To learn how LED parking garage lamps can mitigate all of these issues, contact us at Stouch Lighting.