Universal Lighting Technologies, Nashville, Tenn., has launched a new marketing initiative to open up new sales opportunities in a large but under-served market segment found in every mid-sized to major city throughout North America. More specifically, the lighting manufacturer is reaching out to parking garage owners and management companies with energy-intelligent strategies for reducing monthly operating expenses by slashing utility bills.

Energy costs are a significant drain on monthly revenue in above-ground and underground parking structures. Right now, standard operating procedure is to leave every light fixture at full power at all times. Out of the 3,000-plus parking garages in the U.S. and Canada, only a very small percentage are currently taking advantage of smart control systems. That means a simple lighting retrofit can substantially reduce energy consumption and at the same time enhance the sense of safety and security for parking customers.

Chris Holstein, vice president of marketing for Universal Lighting Technologies, said in a press release that his company approaches each garage floor-by-floor and section-by-section to develop a mix of technologies that work together to produce the greatest savings per square foot, and that its goal is a retrofit project that pays for itself as quickly as possible and then continues to put money back in the facility owner's pocket month after month.

When installed as part of a comprehensive retrofit project, he said new lighting technologies often use less than half the energy of the systems they replace. In addition, Holstein says garage owners and management companies will realize that quality lighting can make a parking structure feel safer and more inviting to customers, which can draw in more business. Right now, high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures are typically used throughout the covered parking floors, which make up the majority of square footage in a typical garage. By upgrading to fluorescent T8 lamps and the right ballasts, the fixtures will require less energy and less maintenance.

Universal Lighting Technologies says that since these areas are open to a great deal of sunlight, an opportunity exists to install photocells for daylight harvesting so that light levels can be reduced by 50 percent or more — or simply be shut off — when sufficient sunlight is available.