How to Easily Choose the Right LED Shoebox Lights for your Parking Lot
July 26, 2017
Any electrical contractor and almost all commercial property owners, including managers, will consider installing LED Shoebox Lights in their parking areas to save energy and maintenance costs over time.
You agree, right?
The only problem is, you don’t have the time to research dozens of websites to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and answer all of your questions about what is the right LED Shoebox Light Fixture for your needs.
For this reason, I am addressing all what you need to know about LED Shoeboxes, Parking Lot and Area Lighting in this article.
To get you to the point, there are 7 steps you need to follow when you are considering installing LED Lights in your parking lot areas:
1 – Is it actually worth to upgrade your Parking Lot Lighting to LED?
This is the first question you need to address. Not in all cases is worth doing the upgrade.
You do not want to waste your time and money without knowing first if the project to implement LED technology will actually give you an ROI.
For this reason, we have designed a quiz that will help you find out if it is – or it’s not – the right time to upgrade your Parking Lot lighting to LED:
2 – Does the area you are considering for lights have existing lighting or will these be new lights
Why is this important?
Because this will define the approach you will take into the project.
Let’s say you are installing new lighting for a new building or facility, chances are your local municipality may require an environmental impact study or some other permitting.
If you have an existing building, let’s say a repurposed property that now requires lighting, you could be tasked to step through many hoops possibly.
Please be sure to check with your local municipality to insure you are moving forward without becoming in violation of any codes or laws.
Now, let’s move to another issues related to this point…
An environmental impact study with consider many details, often unique to your area of the country, and will make a recommendation within limits defined by your local ecological plan.
If your local municipality does not require any of this, your LED lighting consultant can help you through the normal ways (typically software is used) used to determine how many watts are sufficient to meet your lighting goals, given the size of the area.
3 – The Different Mounting Types for your LED Shoebox Lights
The main focus here is now the style of mount you may use for your new LED Shoebox Lights.
If you are installing new poles and your lights, the pole will have specifications that will dictate the kind of mount you may require.
While a retrofit pole can have a completely new style of mount than the old shoeboxes that are to be removed.
So what are the main LED Shoebox Lights mounting styles?
A Slip Fitter Mount will mount to a pole on a kind of stump called a “tenon”, which about 4” long and 2 1/2“ (or less) in diameter.
A tenon can be mounted to the top of a pole in the form of a cap. A cap can be square or round, depending on the pole.
A cap would most often be used on a metal lamp post, while wood poles are most often round and require a side mount to be attached to the pole.
Tenons are also used to affix a slip fitter mount shoebox lamp to a wall.
Straight Arm Mounts are also very common mounts, and are most often what will fit an existing square pole.
This is especially true if the shoebox lights to be replaced are already on straight mounts.
This means the pole has been predrilled to accommodate fitting.
The straight arm is a very clean mount that looks best, as it integrated to the pole itself.
A Trunnion Mount is the third and most versatile mount.
This mount fits at the base of the LED Shoebox Lights body.
Its design comes from the mount found on floodlights, know as a “yoke” mount.
If your lamp is to be mounted, let’s say on a billboard, or used in any challenging place that requires a more creative solution, the trunnion mount is the go to mount in these circumstances.
Trunnion mounts can be used by skilled crafts-persons to overcome those unique situations we run into on occasion.
Mounts are not complicated, but have more variables than are outlined in this article. The three mounts discussed here will accommodate most all scenarios, while other options are used very infrequently.
Once again however, the pictures and project details you provide to your LED lighting rep will most accurately help you identify exactly which mount makes the best sense for your needs.
4 – Select the Power (Wattage) for your LED Shoebox Lights
If you have existing lighting to be converted
You just need look at this chart, it contains the most common replacements for when you are upgrading from Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium to LED Technology.
Metal Halide / High Pressure Sodium to LED Wattages Conversion
70 Watt Metal Halide
30 Watt LED
100 Watt Metal Halide
40-50 Watt LED
150 Watt Metal Halide
60-70 Watt LED
175 Watt Metal Halide
80-90 Watt LED
70 Watt High Pressure Sodium
40 Watt LED
100 Watt High Pressure Sodium
50-60 Watt LED
150 Watt High Pressure Sodium
80-90 Watt LED
250 Watt High Pressure Sodium
90-125 Watt LED
It should be noted that it is possible the existing lighting is too much or not enough light for the use of the area.
In these cases, the LED replacement can be outside of the conversions listed above.
This is where the goals of the property owner or manager are important.
Be sure to consider this detail and discuss with your lighting supplier. They will help you make any necessary adjustments up or down.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask about this, even the professionals need some feedback sometimes.
If it is a New Project
If you are building a new property or installing area lights for the first time, then the selection of the right power might not be easy.
A Lighting Designer will be required to ensure that the area lighting meets the standards and you will have the result you are looking for.
5 – Decide What is the Best Color of Light (Color Temperature) for Your Application
When your new LED Shoebox lights are installed, the first thing people notice is the light color, and quality.
What does this mean?
When speaking about LED lights, the color is one of the specifications that is often referenced.
One of the unique features of LED lights is general is that the color can be consistently controlled over time.
Traditional forms of lighting experience an erosion of color over months and years of use.
Outdoor lighting is often oriented to a 5000k color.
LED Pro Tips:The sun is 5778k, and in the LED industry, 5000k is considered to be the closest to natural sunlight.
K stands for “kelvin”, which is a unit of temperature measurement, and is used to measure the temperature of stars.
So if a piece of iron is heated to 5778k, it will glow the same color as the sun.
Cooler stars are yellower in color, hotter stars are whiter, and the hottest stars even have a blue color that becomes visible at very high temperatures.
5000k light color is used in outside areas, warehouses, assembly lines, showroom, etc. Anywhere lighting should be clear and details should be seen.
4000k are most often found in office spaces, where people often complain about lights being too bright. LED lighting even features a comfort-view attribute that is easier on the eyes than other forms of traditional office lighting.
While 3000k colored lights are mostly used in domestic homes.
There are very few other LED color options used, other than 6000k and 6500k LED lamps.
These can be found in a few car showrooms, some convenience stores and cooler displays can also utilize these very white colors.
The fuller spectrum of light is another attribute LED lighting also offers.
This means you will see details you were not able to see before under other lighting options.
Pictures taken with cameras, and security systems will shoe more details under the fuller spectrum of an LED light.
Bringing this all together, the 5000k color option allows a white color not seen in parking areas before.
Aside from that, when purchasing your LED Shoebox lights, you will need to know the line voltage.
Most modern lights accommodate 100v – 277v, but some voltages can be higher and some lamps can be voltage specific.
To insure you get the right lamp the first time, be sure to discuss this detail with your supplier.
7 – Installation of you LED Shoebox Lights in your Parking Lot
In this guide we are considering that your electrical system is working fine and the wiring is in good conditions.
If not, a qualified electrician or electrical contractor will be required to make any improvements your electrical system may need.
The installation of Shoebox lamps frequently requires a lift or bucket truck.
Often it takes two people to remove the old shoeboxes, but only one person to install the LED Shoebox replacements.
Tenons have to be secured with bolts, and the slip fitter arms are secured the same way.
Straights arms have their own hardware that is included, and should require no modifications.
Trunnion mounts, again are used when no other practical solution exist.
This is a fairly complete overview of the details that you will most often consider in order to convert your parking area to a lower wattage LED:
Check if it’s worth to upgrade your Parking Lot Lighting to LED.
Know if the area you want to convert has existing lighting or if will you need to install new lamps.
Select the mounting type for your LED Shoebox Lights
Select the right wattage for your Lights (or ask for help!)
Decide what is the Best Color of Light for your application
Purchase LED Shoebox Lights from a reliable manufacturer
Make any necessary electrical system upgrades and install the fixtures.
Now you are better prepared to make an informed decision, and decrease the risk of overlooking an important detail concerning your LED Shoebox conversion.
Have you converted a Parking Lot to LED Lighting? Do you have any other tip to help our readers to choose the right LED Shoebox or Area Light? Our comments box is open for your thoughts and questions, so feel free to write your ideas!