Strategic Lighting - Be Prepared for Daylight Savings Time

woman in dark garageAs Jennifer leaves for the day at 6:15 pm, she realizes that it is much darker than before. She starts for the parking garage, but she has an uneasy feeling. She does not remember the parking lot being so dark. But, it is the first week of daylight savings time, and the normally bright day, is now covered in complete darkness. She suddenly feels less safe just trying to make it from the building to her car.  She hears a noise in the distance, but can’t see what made the noise. She briskly walks to her car, quickly opens the door, slams it shut, and immediately locks all of the doors. Feeling a little safer, now in her car, she finally takes a deep breath and sigh of relief. Jennifer made it safely to her car, at least for tonight. This may be a fictional example of what could happen in a dark, not well-lit parking garage, but this is an unfortunate and tragic reality for many employees. dark parking lotAccording to the Bureau of Justice, 40% of all violent crimes occur in a commercial parking lot or garage.[1] This is a frightening statistic that all business owners and property managers should not ignore. With daylight savings time upon us, most employees will be leaving the building in the guise of darkness. You can keep employees and customers safe from what may lurk in the shadows by strategically placing exterior lighting in parking lot structures and garages.   What is strategic lighting? Strategic lighting is a holistic approach to designing and placing lighting systems in areas that may be more prone to accidents, exposed to high traffic areas, or in isolated regions that have safety hazards. Sufficient parking lot lighting can reduce the likelihood that a property or violent crime will occur. Lighting can also be a preventative measure to reduce the number of car and pedestrian accidents on your facility’s grounds. Did you know that 300,000 car accidents each year are a direct result of improper lighting in commercial parking structures?[2] dark parking garageStrategic light placement is an important planning method that all property managers and building owners can implement. This strategic lighting planning process starts with a thorough analysis of the lighting used for all external structures. Property managers should walk or drive the same path(s) that employees will travel to get into and out of parking structures. The key is to look for areas that have dark corners, tripping hazards, and blind spots. Additional parking lot areas to examine include:
  • pedestrian walkways and sidewalks
  • entrance areas to parking lots and structures
  • lighting near and around parking spaces
  • lighting when exiting the parking lot onto main streets
After the lighting inspection, a licensed and experienced electrical contractor can help design and install appropriate parking lot lights. The lighting may be automated or motion activated. Automated parking lots can be programmed to turn on at the same time each day - a great way to ensure lighting is provided consistently on a daily basis. Lights can also be scheduled to switch on earlier during daylight savings times, or later during the brighter summer days. Other systems are activated with movement, so your lighting is only being used when it is needed. When employees exit the building, exterior lighting would be turned on (if not already activated by motion), revealing any potential hazards. When you’re ready to conduct your parking lot lighting inspection, contact us, and we’d be happy to set up an appointment to determine your lighting trouble spots, and what lighting systems may work for your facility and your budget. [1]http://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/85678-securing-parking-lots-with-infrastructure-and-lighting [2] http://www.gnrtech.com/lot_safety.php