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An In-depth Look at Canopy Lighting

What is Canopy Lighting?

Canopy lighting is the most common term for exterior lighting designed for under an exterior overhang. This form of exterior lighting is most typically mounted under overhangs or on buildings with the primary purpose of providing directional illumination for vehicles and pedestrians.

Some of the most commonly used canopy lighting applications utilized today are Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, and Mercury Vapor Lamps, which are all forms of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. Below are a few visual examples of non-LED canopy lighting applications.

Common Issues in Non-LED Canopy Lighting

Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium, and Mercury Vapor Lamps are all forms of HID lamps and have shared common issues.

Energy Cost

Common HID lamps used in canopy lighting applications have a typical range of 100 watts to 1000 watts, with the higher wattage producing higher light output. There are several factors that play a role in the number of wattages that are utilized, such as quantity, spacing, mounted height. A 400w or 1000w HID fixture can cost up between $220 and $550 to operate per lamp/year in electricity costs alone.

Lighting Performance

The performance characteristics of HID lamps can vary significantly, depending upon the type that is utilized in your facility. If your facility is utilizing High-Pressure Sodium, you could be seeing a longer useful life then some of the other forms of HID due to slower lumen degradation. But due to their fuel structure, they can produce an Orange light with a very low Color Rendering Index. The illumination produced by operating Metal Halide lamps will initially provide a white light, but with the accelerated lumen degradation common to Metal Halide lamps the overall lifetime of your lamps will decrease and produce a pink illumination that barely provides light.

Maintenance Costs

When it comes to canopy lighting, maintenance costs are always a big concern. Not only do you have to worry about the lamp’s lifetime, but these fixtures also require the use of a bucket truck or lift to change out the lamps and ballasts. If your organization does not have its own bucket truck or lift, you are forced to hire an outside contractor to maintain the flood lighting in your facility. These expenses add up fast and over the course of 3 years, you could be looking at $1,200 in labor and materials to maintain a single canopy light fixture.

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The Benefits of an LED Canopy Lighting Retrofit

There are substantial benefits of contacting a canopy lighting company to performing and LED retrofit to your organization’s canopy lighting. Light Emitting Diodes or LED’s generate light utilizing a semiconductor and do not rely on the consumption of a fuel source like an HID lamp. Most LED fixtures utilize multi-point sources which means the fixtures have multiple diodes with individual optics. When compared to the way HID fixtures distribute light, the results in illumination is more evenly distributed across a surface. With this in mind, let’s look at the three most common benefits of contacting a canopy lighting company to perform an LED retrofit.

Energy Savings

LED canopy lighting commonly utilize wattages between 40 – 600 watts, which often result in a 40%-60% reduction in energy consumption. This could mean savings of up to $300 per fixture, per year in electricity costs.

For more on an LED’s energy savings, check out the section on Energy Savings on our LED Education Page.

Lighting Performance

As a result of an LED fixtures multi-point design, you will see a bright evenly distributed light pattern perfect for illuminating your exterior areas. The illumination across a given area will vary less and will eliminate the common bright spot produced by HID fixtures. In addition to your evenly displaced illumination, LED’s come in a variety of color temperatures providing a range of options in increasing the visual perception of brightness.

For more on an LED’s lighting performance, check out the section on Lighting Performance on or LED Education Page.

Maintenance Savings

Due to the way LED’s generate light their functional lifespan is much longer. An LED’s generated light output will degrade very slowly over time, and as a result, their functional lifespan can often exceed 100,000 hours. The LED’s lifespan drastically reduces the costs associated with maintaining your canopy lighting.

For more on an LED’s lifespan, check out our blog, Understanding LED Lifespan.

Determining Next Steps in an LED Canopy Lighting Retrofit

You have weighed the pros and cons of contacting a canopy lighting company to retrofit your canopy lighting to LED, and the LED is the clear winner. So, now the big question is, what are the next steps in the process? We have a few considerations for you to review.

Consider partnering with a commercial lighting service provider that can supply a regional, national, and multi-unit LED lighting and electrical project management program. Review these items when vetting a national LED lighting, electrical, and signage service provider.

Interested in Learning More About an LED Canopy Lighting Retrofit?

The first step in any LED canopy light project should be to contact a lighting solutions provider or canopy lighting company that is manufacturer and product-neutral. With neutrality comes a higher focus on your needs as opposed to the desire or limitation of selling a specific product.

A LED Retrofit provider should ask you about your project

  • What are your desired results?
  • Are you looking at budget or project completion constraints?
  • Do you have an energy reduction target?
  • Are there lighting performance specifics needed to be taken into consideration?

At Action Services Group, our business model is designed to offer you the maximum ROI while taking your lighting performance, maintenance cost, and energy efficiency into consideration. No solution or product is ever a one size fits all, and we understand the need to customize solutions to meet the organization.



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