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Parking Lot Lighting

IES recommends illuminance levels for parking lots are similar to roadway illuminance levels based on the amount of nighttime activity expected, both pedestrian and vehicular. Nighttime activity classifications are high, medium or low.

  • High activity areas include: sport arenas, major civic or cultural events, regional shopping centers and fast food facilities.
  • Medium activity areas include: community shopping centers, office parks, hospital parking areas, transportation parking such as airports, cultural, civic or recreational events, residential complex parking.
  • Low activity areas include: neighborhood shopping, industrial employee parking, educational facility parking, church parking.

If the nighttime activity involves large numbers of vehicles, then the activity level for low or medium should probably be bumped to the next higher level. Based on the activity level, decide the average maintained illumination level. 2 fc for High - 1 fc Medium - And Low - 0.5 fc.

Where pedestrian traffic is present, as in most parking lots, IES also specifies the minimum illumination levels required: 0.9 fc for high, - 0.6 fc for medium and 0.2 fc for low. For example, an apartment building parking lot falls into the medium activity level. So the recommended average fc level is 1 and the minimum is 0.6 fc.