The highest operating cost for parking lots and garages is going to be lighting, making them a huge beneficiary when it comes to a lighting retrofit. Their maintenance costs are colossal as they are constantly replacing bulbs and ballasts. Most property owners understand that a well lit lot makes their customers feel safer and their cars less likely to get broken into. Also the more lights that are out in a lot, gives the customer the appearance of poor management.
Most lots have their lighting on 24 hours a day 7 days a week or 8,760 hours a year. The main types of lighting used in parking lots have always been Metal Halide (MH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or T-12 fluorescent. With such long hours, bulbs and ballasts have to be constantly changed as the average life of a bulb is from 10,000 for fluorescents to 15,000-24,000 for MH or HPS. This results in huge maintenance costs as the owner is constantly buying bulbs and ballasts and having to pay someone to change them out. Now a days as owners and Facility managers look to manage growing operating costs, a new choice of lighting is being installed.
Induction lighting was invented by Nicolas Tesla in 1891 and has been slowly making its appearance into the mainstream markets. It is now recognized as one of the most efficient light sources available with almost double the life span as LED lighting. Most municipalities have already realized the benefits and have retrofitted their pole lights to Induction. Induction light fixtures produce the same amount of usable lumens(light) as Metal Halides or HPS and only use about 50% of the electricity, that means that as soon as the fixtures are retrofitted, you will see an immediate drop of about 50% in the electric bill the next month. They also have a lamp life of 100,000 hrs. or approx. 20 Years. If they are on 12 hrs. a day, 365 days a year.
lighting represents 40% of the average commercial building’s electric bill
There are also benefits for switching over in the form of State Incentives and Federal Tax credits available. Many states have been offering an incentive for every fixture retrofitted or replaced with an energy efficient fixture. There are also Federal tax credits available through the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction (CBTD) and Bonus Depreciation.
The CBTD or EPAct (Energy Policy Act) allows a business who has installed or retrofitted his interior space (Including Parking Garages) with energy efficient lighting and while still meeting acceptable light levels to earn an accelerated Tax credit of up to 60 cents a square ft. For example, a 100,000 sq. ft. parking garage, the Credit would be $60,000. For an exterior retrofit (e.g. Pole lighting) the parking lot owner can use the bonus depreciation Deduction which allows the owner or leaseholder to deduct 100% of the equipment purchased in the year it was put in service rather than the typical 39 year straight depreciation. The Government has recognized the obvious benefits of retrofitting and will not be offering these state and federal benefits much longer. This Act was extended to until 12/31/2011, after 2011 the amount that can be deducted is 50% and in 2013 the Deduction is scheduled to be phased out. So the most opportune time is now within the next 6 months! The cost of waiting is huge.