Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lighting for Parking Garages

The original post can be found here:

Parking garages are often considered dim, dirty and dangerous places that are concrete blights on our urban landscapes. Fortunately, this image is rapidly changing as parking garages become more upscale. Architects, owners and designers are beginning to realize that a better-looking garage with quality lighting will not only improve the environment, but will attract more customers.

The Visual Environment

Many factors will affect the visual environment within a parking garage, including vertical illumination, the light source and glare. Facility designers must achieve a balance between these factors to create a comfortable environment that attracts customers and makes them feel safe and secure.

The first question designers often face is how much light is needed within the facility. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) offers specific recommendations, as shown in Table 1. The values suggested represent the lowest levels that should be used within a parking structure.

Today, many designers and owners have increased these levels to achieve better uniformity ratios and provide a safer visual environment. Many facilities are designed to 5 footcandles (horizontal and vertical) with uniformity ratios near 5:1. To assure that the garage meets your expectations as far as the lighting is concerned, you may want to survey other facilities in your area before establishing the lighting guidelines.

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